NRA Bankruptcy Proceedings

Deposition of NRA Board Member Phil Journey (Bankruptcy Proceedings)

March 24, 2021

Filing Summary

Former NRA vendor Ackerman McQueen attached partial transcripts of depositions taken in the NRA bankruptcy matter to a March 24th filing.  This includes the deposition of NRA board member Phil Journey.  Recall, Mr. Journey,  who is also a Kansas state judge, asked the bankruptcy court to appoint an independent examiner to investigate the allegations of waste and fraud at the NRA. 

Below please find some highlights of the testimony. Pages references are to the deposition page (not the PDF page number).

Key Points

  • For the most part, counsel for the NRA prevented Judge Journey from testifying about the executive session portion of the NRA board meeting that was held ahead of the NRA’s Chapter 11 filing.  Counsel’s basis was attorney-client privilege.
  • When asked “why do you believe the NRA filed bankruptcy?”, Journey responded “… they want to get away from the New York AG.” (p.77)
  • Journey testified he was aware that the Brewer firm was paid $17 million by the NRA in the 90 days prior to the bankruptcy. (p.81).  He further testified that since he’s been on the board, he didn’t recall any discussion at board meetings about the Brewer firm’s fees. (p.84)
    • When asked about his opinion of the Brewer firm, Judge Journey noted “concerns”, among them that in reading their work product, “I didn’t think they were very well done. I thought it was more sophistry than substance….” (p.98)
  • With respect to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, Journey testified that “I’ve known Wayne for a long, long time, and he’s in such a hole, I don’t see how he gets out.” (p.99)
  • Journey testified that his “personal review of the statutes and the case law tells me that the board has to authorize” a bankruptcy filing, and that the Chapter 11 filing was a corporate activity of “major significance.” (p.34-35).  Yet, here the NRA Board of Directors was not informed of the bankruptcy filing (much less approved it). 
    • He also testified that he believed Wayne LaPierre and other leaders at the NRA had a duty to disclose the fact that they intended to file bankruptcy to the Board. (p.65)
  • With respect to the NRA Board of Directors, Journey testified that “the board operates with different levels of access, and there are some that have access and some that do not. And I’m one that does not….” (p.67)
    • He similarly testified, “Over the years, I have watched the NRA and its operations with the board of directors and officers, and I mean, you know, I know many of them. There’s been a pattern that I believe is easily established, where if a board member questions a position, they lose their committee assignments and then they’re effectively ostracized, and they basically say, well, I’m not getting paid for this and leave.” (p.160)
    • Journey said former board member, and CEO of Magpul, Duane Liptak, resigned for the board after the bankruptcy “because his lawyer told him to get out and because of the bankruptcy.” (163-164)