Browns Owner and Pilot Flying J CEO JIMMY HASLAM III yesterday announced that Pilot Flying J had “put an undisclosed number of sales staffers on administrative leave and planned to hire an outside investigator with U.S. Justice Department experience to conduct an independent review,” according to Rau & Roche of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. The move comes “one week after federal agents raided” the company’s Knoxville HQs. Haslam said of the fraud allegations against Pilot Flying J, “We make mistakes like any company does but there is absolutely no excuse for that kind of behavior. I don’t think I’ve ever been as embarrassed as I have been since I read the affidavit.” Haslam “outlined the company’s immediate response though he was careful to say he did not know yet whether the allegations were true.” He said, “I more than anyone understand the damage to relationships.” Haslam added that Pilot Flying J eight days ago “had the best relationships in the trucking industry with customers.” Haslam: “We now have the worst. I understand that. We went to work Saturday to try to rebuild those relationships. We’re approaching it very humbly, hat in hand” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/23). Haslam “unveiled five steps Pilot is taking in response to the federal fraud investigation” (USA TODAY, 4/23).
People and Pop Culture
Grizzlies President of Business Operations GREG CAMPBELL and Senior VP & Chief Revenue Officer MIKE HUMES "are now gone." Grizzlies CEO & Managing Partner JASON LEVIEN said that the team "isn't planning to 'formally' replace either position, but is looking to add two new executives to the business side very soon" (MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/19 issue)....The Suns yesterday "parted ways" with GM LANCE BLANKS, who had served in the position since '10 (ESPN.com, 4/22).
EXECS: WWE named IMG VP/College Division National Sales MICHAEL PINE Senior VP/Global Sales & Partnership Marketing (WWE)....USA Swimming named DANA BONNER, Marketing Manager USA Triathlon Media Relations Manager JOHN MARTIN Sports Communications Officer, WENDY PEEL Local Marketing Manager and TOMMY SCHIELD Organizational Communications Specialist (USA Swimming)....Central Washington Univ. named Drake Univ. Associate AD/External Affairs DENNIS FRANCOIS AD (AP, 4/22)....The Univ. of Minnesota named Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis Development & Stewardship Dir MICHAEL HALLORAN Assistant AD/Development and VCU Assistant AD/Marketing CORRIE SEARS to the same position (UM)....Kent State Univ. promoted Exec Dir of Athletics Advancement MATTHEW GEIS to Senior Associate AD (KSU)....The Univ. of Tennessee-Chattanooga named Univ. of Tennessee Senior Associate AD/Administration DAVID BLACKBURN Vice Chancellor & AD (UT-Chattanooga).
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ESPN.com’s Quinn & Fish reported SONIA CRUZ, the spokesperson for Yankees 2B ROBINSON CANO’s foundation, is “listed as having been a client of the Biogenesis clinic last summer, although she denies having received anything from the clinic and says Cano ‘definitely never did.’" But sources said that MLB “has possession of a Biogenesis client roster that lists” Cruz and is “investigating whether Cano had any relationship to the clinic.” Cano yesterday “denied having any knowledge of Cruz's association with the clinic.” He said that he “did not feel a need to speak to her” (ESPN.com, 4/22).
HERE'S HOW TO DO IT: On Long Island, Bob Glauber profiles Florida-based 180 Communications Corporate Communications Dir LEE GORDON, who has “counseled several draft-eligible players this year about how to engage properly in social media.” Gordon’s clients include former Notre Dame LB MANTI TE'O, Lions QB MATTHEW STAFFORD, Colts QB ANDREW LUCK, Browns RB TRENT RICHARDSON and Texans DE J.J. WATT. Gordon said of the advice he offers clients, "Make it be about positives. Focus on the fact that you're here to sell yourself” (NEWSDAY, 4/23).
DIFFERENT KIND OF STRIPES: In N.Y., Nicholas Kulish notes Bundesliga club Bayern Munich President ULI HOENESS has “overseen a record season on the field and record revenues off it.” But he now “finds himself embroiled in a scandal that has transfixed a nation.” He faces up to “10 years in prison after turning himself in to Munich prosecutors for keeping a secret bank account in Switzerland that he admits to having used to evade taxes.” The money in the account reportedly had come from former adidas Chair & CEO ROBERT LOUIS-DREYFUS, who provided about $13M in "cash and guarantees to Mr. Hoeness to invest” (N.Y. TIMES, 4/23).
NATIONAL PRIDE: The Washington DC Sports HOF prior to the Reds-Nationals game on Sunday will induct Pro Basketball HOFer ELGIN BAYLOR, former Redskins GM BOBBY BEATHARD, former Washington Senators and Redskins stadium announcer PHIL HOCHBERG, late “Sports Machine” host GEORGE MICHAEL and broadcaster BOB WOLFF among others (Nationals).
WHEELING AND DEALING: Attorneys for FRANK MCCOURT said that the former Dodgers owner has paid more than $460M "in state and federal taxes related to the sale” of the team. After “subtracting tax payments and debt assumptions from the purchase price," McCourt turned a $1.3B profit on the sale of the Dodgers (LATIMES.com, 4/22)….Boxing promoter DON KING, who “swooped in and won a purse bid in late February" for $1.5M to gain promotional rights to the third fight between MARCO HUCK and OLA AFOLABI -- even though he “does not promote either boxer -- has defaulted on his bid” (ESPN.com, 4/22)....Bruins RW JAROME IGINLA has put his 11,000-square-foot home in Calgary on the market for C$3.9M (CALGARYHERALD.com, 4/22).
NAMES: The L.A. County coroner found that the death earlier this year of SCOTT STERLING, the 32-year-old son of Clippers Owner DONALD STERLING, was “caused by a pulmonary embolism and ‘intravenous narcotic medication intake.'" The death was “ruled accidental.” Assistant Chief Coroner ED WINTER yesterday said that the “injection of ‘ground-up’ medication may have led to blockages in his blood stream” (L.A. TIMES, 4/23)….A’s 1B BRANDON MOSS, RF JOSH REDDICK and 1B coach TYE WALLER yesterday “spent about two hours” with Boston Marathon bombing victim AARON HERN at Boston Children’s Hospital (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/23)….Under Armour Founder, President & CEO KEVIN PLANK is focused on “getting his horses into Triple Crown races and ensuring that Marylanders come to see” Sagamore Farms as “their home team.” He said, “Horse racing was a great sport and it can be a great sport again. It’s our goal to show that.” Plank said that horse Heat Press is a “long shot” to gain entry to the Preakness (Baltimore SUN, 4/23)….Red Sox P CRAIG BRESLOW, Cubs President of Baseball Operations THEO EPSTEIN and A’s GM BILLY BEANE sat alongside MLB Net's PETER GAMMONS at the “Business of Baseball” lunch yesterday in Boston. The event was organized by Epstein’s charity, The Foundation to be Named Later (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/22)….Broncos WR ERIC DECKER this summer is getting married to singer JESSIE JAMES, and the E! network will “chronicle their lives in a reality show” called “Love And Other Contact Sports: Eric and Jessie” (DENVERPOST.com, 4/22)….Panthers QB CAM NEWTON “stopped by the MSNBC office" in N.Y. and said hello to the net's AL SHARPTON (CHARLOTTE.com, 4/22).