NRA boss Wayne LaPierre admits keeping bankruptcy secret from his deputies but says he did it to move the organization from ‘toxic’ New York to Texas – as he claims hunting elephants and buffalo is ‘all work’
- LaPierre was giving testimony at a virtual bankruptcy hearing on Wednesday
- He said he was trying to find a ‘fair legal playing field’ when he filed a Chapter 11 in January
- The NRA had been sued by the state of New York for corruption
- AG Letitia James said LaPierre and his deputies pilfered the company’s funds
- He defended their spending on Wednesday, saying hunting wildlife was part of the job
- He also said that he wanted to get out of ‘toxic’ New York where he claims the association is being politically targeted
- James wants the bankruptcy suit to be thrown out so she can pursue litigation
NRA boss Wayne LaPierre. He said on Wednesday that he filed for bankruptcy to get the NRA out of ‘toxic’ New York – where it has been based for years – to move to Texas
NRA boss Wayne LaPierre admitted on Wednesday that he filed a Chapter 11 to get the organization out of ‘toxic’ Democratic New York and move to Texas where it would be better received by lawmakers.
LaPierre was giving testimony at a bankruptcy hearing in Texas on Wednesday. The NRA filed for bankruptcy in New York – where it has been based for decades – after being sued by the state’s Attorney General, Letitia James, for corruption and money mismanagement. The want to move their operation to Texas, where they’ll receive a friendlier welcome from Republican lawmakers.
James claims that the bankruptcy claim is improper, inappropriate and merely an attempt to avoid having to pay any kind of settlement if she wins her case against the organization.
On Wednesday, LaPierre started trying to justify some of the exorbitant spending within the organization that James complains about in her lawsuit.
Hunting trips were one of them, he said. He claimed hunting wildlife, including buffalo and elephants, was a business expense so justifiable.
He also admitted to hiding it from colleagues when he planned to file a Chapter 11 in January, but said he did it in the best interest of the organization.
‘We filed this bankruptcy to look for a fair legal playing field where NRA could prosper and grow in a fair legal environment, as opposed to what we believed had become a toxic, politicized, weaponized government in New York state.’
The NRA headquarters are in Virginia but the association has been chartered as a not-for-profit in New York since 1871. The Virginia HQ are shown
James sued the NRA in August 2020. She claims that LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wilson ‘Woody’ Phillips, former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer used the NRA as a ‘personal piggy bank’ for years.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing the NRA. While the bankruptcy hearing goes on, her case is on pause
Her lawsuit alleges that they used NRA funds – built by donations from members – to pay for ‘trips for them and their families to the Bahamas, private jets, and expensive meals’.
The NRA denied it, calling it a political attack driven by a Democratic state and collective of liberal lawmakers and prosecutors.
The testimony came on the third day of the trial, which is being held virtually before a federal court in Dallas.
The NRA’s lawyers have framed the bankruptcy as a legitimate effort to move to a more friendly political environment and avoid a legal death blow; New York’s attorneys have argued it’s an effort by LaPierre and other executives to duck accountability for using the nation’s most politically influential gun-rights group as a piggy bank.
As the hearing on New York’s request that the case be thrown out resumed Wednesday morning, Judge Harlin Hale called it “the most important motion I’ve ever heard as a judge.”
The NRA declared bankruptcy five months after New York Attorney General Letitia James sued seeking the group’s dissolution. The Democratic official alleged top NRA executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures.
The bankruptcy process freezes pending litigation.