NRA on Trial: Day 11 Summary of Bankruptcy Trial
The NRA rested its case today in the eleventh day of trial in bankruptcy court in Dallas, Texas. Today’s testimony featured three NRA witnesses: NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, NRA outside auditor Greg Plotts, and the NRA’s proposed Chief Restructuring Officer Louis E. Robichaux IV. LaPierre’s testimony comes after the release of a newly-uncovered video, obtained Tuesday by The New Yorker and The Trace, which showed LaPierre repeatedly failing to deliver a fatal shot to an elephant despite help from a guide, and LaPierre’s wife killing an elephant, cutting off its tail, and holding it over her head exclaiming “Victory!” The video was recorded as part of an episode of the NRA-backed TV show “Under Wild Skies,” but the footage of LaPierre was never aired on TV reportedly out of fear that it would be embarrassing for LaPierre. The article details how “LaPierre is a coddled executive who is clumsy with a firearm.”
Prior testimony in the first half of the trial established several shocking details illustrating the severity of the NRA’s mismanagement — from millions in private jet travel by executives, to testimony demonstrating CEO Wayne LaPierre hid the NRA’s bankruptcy filing from board members, to NRA President Carolyn Meadows admitting to burning and shredding documents ahead of a subpoena.
This was the second time Wayne LaPierre had taken the stand during the trial. Highlights from LaPierre’s testimony today included:
- LaPierre’s $17 Million Golden Parachute: LaPierre confirmed that a May 2018 update to his employment contract provided, even in the event of his departure from the NRA, aggregate payments of $17 million. Despite its hefty price tag, the contract and the corresponding “golden parachute” was not put in front of the NRA’s full board of directors for approval. LaPierre testified the contract was in effect until 2021, which was months after the contract was highlighted in the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit against the NRA.
- Steps Taken To Buy $6 Million Home for LaPierre, Former Employees Receive Massive Payments, and More—All After LaPierre’s Claimed “Course Correction.” LaPierre testified at length about how he initiated a “course correction” at the NRA starting in 2017. However, under cross examination, the New York Attorney General pointed out several incidents that occured after the NRA’s purported course correction, including:
- The issuance of the May 2018 LaPierre contract (discussed above).
- Also in May 2018, former CFO Woody Phillips was given a $360,000-a-year consulting contract from the NRA. Phillips has since pleaded the Fifth Amendment in this trial.
- In 2018, the NRA considered the purchase of a $6 million Dallas mansion for Wayne LaPierre. Although the purchase was never completed, a check for $70,000 was cut from the NRA relating to the home.
- LaPierre acknowledged that through at least 2019, the NRA continued to pay former NRA executive Kyle Weaver, whom he had fired, as part of a post-employment contract. As of 2019, Weaver had been paid at least $1.68 million after the end of his employment.
- LaPierre also admitted that in 2020, the NRA paid nearly $1 million in breach of contract settlements with two other former NRA executives for their post-employment contracts. The NRA continued to pay at least one of these contracts through 2018.
In addition to LaPierre’s testimony, testimony today confirmed the NRA’s previous outside auditor refused to continue working with the NRA. During testimony of the NRA’s new outside auditor, Aronson, the New York Attorney General showed a document from the NRA, which indicated the NRA’ previous auditor, RSM, had refused to continuing working with the organization (“The Treasurer’s Office was notified by RSM in October 2019 that they were no longer going to provide audit and tax services to the NRA”). This is consistent with previous testimony from former NRA CFO Craig Spray, who said the NRA had to hire a new auditor, because RSM had “effectively” fired the NRA as a client.
Closing arguments are set for Monday, May 3. At the conclusion of testimony, Judge Hale asked the parties to specifically address issues related to the potential dismissal of the NRA’s chapter 11 filing.
For further, detailed information about the NRA and the consequences of this trial, please email [email protected]. Everytown has also chronicled court filings and news articles about the various NRA scandals atwww.nrawatch.org. A specific page dedicated to filings in the bankruptcy can be found at https://nrawatch.org/case/nra-bankruptcy-proceedings/.