NRA Bankruptcy Proceedings

Deposition of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre (Bankruptcy Proceedings)

March 23, 2021

Filing Summary

Ahead of the April NRA trial in the bankruptcy court, former NRA vendor Ackerman McQueen attached partial transcripts of depositions taken in the NRA bankruptcy matter to an April 2nd filing.  This includes the deposition of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre; the deposition was taken over two days.  Below please find some highlights of the second day of testimony (3/23/2021). Pages references are to the deposition page (not the PDF page number).

Key Points

  • CEO Wayne LaPierre acknowledged being gifted – by a NRA business partner – use of a 100+ foot yacht (named “The Illusion”), with a full staff, for personal vacations in the Bahamas.  LaPierre never offered to pay for the use of the yacht, nor did he disclose it on his conflict of interest form. (p.283 – 288).  LaPierre testified the yacht had “several staterooms” and “two or three or four staff people there, and there was – and there was a cook” onboard, and “two WaveRunners on the boat.” 
    • LaPierre’s attempt to peg his use of the yacht  – in time –  with two mass shootings in schools.  He testified his first stay on the yacht the Illusion was  “after the Sandy Hook shooting, the summer after the Sandy Hook shooting.” (p.289).  [NB: The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School happened in December, seven months before the summer of 2013].  LaPierre claimed the use of the yacht was “offered as a security retreat where we could be safe and feel safe….” (p.285).  LaPierre testified his last stay on the Illusion was “sometime in 2018 after the Parkland shooting in the summer.” (p.289).  [NB: The mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School happened in February four months before the summer of 2018].         
    • LaPierre testified that he used the Illusion once a year. (p.289)
    • LaPierre claims he faced “presidential [security] threat” and “was looking for a place to be safe.” (p.288).  He also testified the Illusion was “the one place that I hope could feel safe, where I remember getting there going, Thank God I’m safe, nobody can get me here. And that’s how it happened. That’s why I used [the yacht].” (p.285)
    • LaPierre also testified that he participated in three or four “celebrity retreats” on the yacht the Illusion. These trips on the yacht were “most of them were in – in Europe, and I think one of them was to Greece”, he testified. (p.291).  Seeming to undercut his claim that use of the yacht was for security reasons, LaPierre testified that his Director of Security did not review safety or security on the yacht nor conducted any background checks on the other people who would be on the boat with him (whether staff; celebrities; or other passengers). (p.293)   
  • LaPierre testified that he didn’t know the NRA was running pass-through expenses through Ackerman McQueen. (p.390).  However, counsel then confronted him with a budget document from Ackerman McQueen that had a lined item called “pass through expenses.”  LaPierre responded “I don’t know what they’re for. I’ve never even focused on that before.” (p.392)
  • LaPierre acknowledged, ahead of the bankruptcy filing, the NRA set aside $5 million in a trust for the Brewer law firm to spend on bankruptcy related expenses. (p.263)
    • He further stated that he has “not received an accounting of funds spent out of that – that trust fund.” (p.266)
  • LaPierre testified a bit about his potential successors at the NRA. (p.306-308).  He named Doug Hamlin, Jason Ouimet, Tyler Schropp, and Joe DeBargalis as people he thinks the board might look to. 
  • On the day of the bankruptcy filing, the NRA announced the appointment of a Chief Restructuring Officer Marschall Smith.  LaPierre testified this was a recommendation from the Brewer law firm and he did not consult with any additional candidates.  (p.420).  As to Mr. Smith’s involvement, LaPierre described it as “strange”, that after sitting in on a day of meetings, Smith indicated he had an “emergency… and he left and went back home. And then the following week, I find out that he wasn’t going to – for whatever reason had come up, he wasn’t going to be able to do the job.” (p.422)  
  • LaPierre disclosed the NRA spoke with Arkansas, West Virginia, and Texas about moving the NRA to those states. (p.459)
  • LaPierre testified that “NRA’s money comes in based on whether you’re out there fighting on TV and whether you’re out there fighting the cause and whether you’re out there battling.” (p.309)