NRA on Trial: Day 2 Summary of Bankruptcy Trial
Today marked Day Two of a six-day trial in the NRA bankruptcy proceedings, which represent the first time NRA executives — including NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and others — are being examined and cross-examined in open court relating to the financial scandals that have engulfed the organization over the past two years.
Today’s proceedings shed even more light on the NRA’s history of financial mismanagement and extravagant and wasteful spending. Major details are below.
- New York Attorney General Filing Details Millions in Private Jet Travel by NRA Executives. One of the major revelations of the day was a filing by the New York Attorney General’s office, which attached several spreadsheets detailing private travel by NRA executives. The flights in the spreadsheet span from 2015 through 2019 and represent the most detailed disclosure of private travel by NRA executives to date. The entries include cost, dates, locations, and in some cases passengers. These flights include several trips to Palm Springs, Las Vegas, and the Bahamas.
- NRA Apparently Paid $7 Million to Brewer Legal Team in Order to Prevent Former Top Lobbyist Chris Cox From Receiving $2 Million Settlement. NRA General Counsel John Frazer testified that former chief lobbyist Chris Cox is seeking $2 million in an employment dispute with the NRA, yet the NYAG suggested billing records indicate that Bill Brewer has billed the NRA $7 million in connection with defending that single action. Since 2018, the NRA has reported paying the Brewer firm more than $50 million, although the total is likely higher. Frazer also testified that the NRA received a “communication from an individual who alleged that the Brewer firm had created burn books” of NRA staff. .
- Testimony Suggested That LaPierre Hid NRA Bankruptcy Filing From Board Members, Even its General Counsel. During cross examination by Emily Stern of the New York Attorneys General Office, Frazer testified that he was not consulted ahead of time about the NRA bankruptcy:
STERN: And you in fact first learned that the NRA was filing for bankruptcy on January 15, the very day that the petition was being filed, didn’t you?
STERN: So the decision was made to file for bankruptcy without asking the general counsel of the association; isn’t that right?
Despite being the chief legal officer at the NRA, Frazer also did not know ahead of time that the NRA was going to file its lawsuit against former vendor Ackerman McQueen.
STERN: But you did not know that they were actually going to file the lawsuit,
isn’t that right?
STERN: And you’re the general counsel of the NRA, but you did not know that; isn’t that right?
- NRA Paid $40,000 Toward Wedding and Other Personal Expenses of Longtime LaPierre Assistant’s Son. Frazer admitted that Wayne LaPierre’s longtime assistant diverted approximately $40,000 from the NRA for her son’s wedding and other personal expenses. She was required to repay the money, yet remains employed at the NRA with LaPierre as her manager. LaPierre testified to the same in his deposition late last month.
The morning began with testimony continuing from NRA First Vice President Charles Cotton. As we detailed in Everytown’s Day One Trial Summary, the NYAG and Ackerman McQueen established several pieces of evidence from Cotton yesterday that suggested that the NRA’s bankruptcy was concealed from the board and certain NRA executives. Today, Cotton admitted former NRA CFO Woody Phillips “Apparently was involved in overriding some internal controls.” Cotton also admitted the NRA entered into a consulting agreement with Phillips – after his departure from the NRA – that paid him $30,000 a month. The agreement was signed by then NRA Board President Pete Brownell. Cotton said that “to his knowledge” Phillips never performed under the contract.