Does NFL have discipline imbalance?


Even in a legal system in which business disputes are as common as speeding tickets, this one was a doozy. It spanned 20 years and involved insanely wealthy men fighting over millions and millions of dollars. This past August, after more than 200 days of litigation, Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson attempted to bring an end to the matter. From the bench in her packed Morristown, New Jersey, courtroom, she ruled that Joseph Wilf and his estate -- which includes son Zygi Wilf, owner of the Minnesota Vikings -- had breached their fiduciary responsibilities and defrauded their partners in a New Jersey real estate project known as Rachel Gardens.

"[What was done in this case] was done not with a reckless but a willful disregard of the rights of the partners, Jarwick and Josef Halpern, and it was clearly not negligent," the judge said in her summary statement. "It was not even grossly negligent. It was grossly willful. And it was done repeatedly."

The Wilfs are appealing the ruling.

Just before midnight March 17, a police officer noticed an SUV creeping along at about 10 mph in a 35 mph zone in an Indianapolis suburb.

The vehicle came to an unexplained stop before slowly taking off and stopping again in the middle of the lane, for no apparent reason.  When the Toyota Highlander started off again and made a right turn without using a turn signal, the officer pulled over the driver, who happened to be Colts owner Jim Irsay.

In the police report, the officer noted that Irsay's speech was "very slow and slurred." The officer also noted that he saw a prescription bottle; the report said "numerous prescription medication bottles containing pills" were found in the SUV before it was towed. Hours later, Irsay was booked into jail on one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and four counts of possession of a controlled substance.

The 54-year-old owner, who the team says voluntarily checked into an undisclosed rehab facility days after the arrest, has yet to be formally charged.

In April 2013, documents were filed in federal court in Tennessee alleging fraud against the travel company belonging to Browns owner Jim Haslam. The papers said that, for "many years," sales employees of Flying Pilot J withheld fuel rebates and discounts from certain companies to increase the company's profitability, as well as their personal sales commissions. The affidavit also stated that FBI and IRS agents are investigating charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud and claimed that Haslam was aware of the wrongdoing because he attended sales meetings at which the practice was discussed.

The Browns owner, who was visiting the team's training facility at the time the document was unsealed, issued a statement that afternoon that read, in part: "I maintain that the foundation of this company is built on its integrity and that any willful wrongdoing by any employee of this company at any time is intolerable. ? I value the relationships we have with our customers, our vendors and our team members across this country and regret that they have to go through this with us, but I trust and believe their faith in this company and its principles has never been misplaced."

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