NRA Motion for Bill Brewer to Represent the NRA in Bankruptcy
On January 29, 2021, the NRA filed a motion with the bankruptcy court to utilize Brewer Attorneys & Counsels as “Special Counsel” during the bankruptcy.
This firm, led by Bill Brewer, has represented the NRA in a host of matters surrounding the various controversies the NRA faces. In fact, Brewer’s firm was at the heart of whistleblower allegations by former NRA Board President Oliver North, who alleged that the firm had overbilled the NRA. Brewer himself has been named as a likely witness in litigations the NRA faces. The NRA’s last two nonprofit filings with the IRS, for 2018 and 2019, indicate that the NRA has paid $38.5 million in legal fees to the Brewer firm.
The motion itself indicates that Bill Brewer charges $1,400 an hour. (p.9). Despite the NRA having a separate firm representing it in the bankruptcy, the Brewer firm billed $794,582 to the NRA ahead of the bankruptcy filing “in contemplation of [an/or] in connection with the chapter 11 casees.” (p.50). Additionally, the NRA sent the Brewer firm – prior to filing Chapter 11 – approximately $2.5 million as a retainer that is being held in a trust account. (p.51). The crux of the motion is that Brewer’s firm has handled the bulk of the NRA’s prepetition litigation and, thus, is well situated to continue working with the NRA in the bankruptcy. At page 30, the NRA provides the Court a list of 16 litigations Brewer has handled for the NRA.
Interestingly, the accompanything declaration of attorney Michael Collins indicates that Brewer’s firm has referred work to other lawyers (i.e., arranged for other lawyers and firms to take work arising out of the NRA cases). This includes P. Kent Correll to represent Wayne LaPierre, William P. Davis to represent the NRA Board of Directors, and Patrick J Neligan Jr. to represent the NRA in the bankruptcy. (p.26). While there is nothing impermissible about a lawyer referring business, given the allegations of self-dealing and lack of independence at the NRA, these referrals and the reach of Bill Brewer at the NRA will be a likely question for the Court and Creditor’s Committee.
With respect to potential conflicts of interest, Brewer’s firm notes that it previously represented Wayne LaPierre in his personal capacity and that Brewer himself is “related by marriage to an executive of Ackerman McQueen, which is the NRA’s former vendor and a current litigation counterparty.” (p.25-26)
The motion claims that the Brewer firm will be capping its fees in the bankruptcy to $100,000. (p.8)