By Paul J. Weber and Michael R. Sisak, Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The National Rifle Association announced on Friday that it had filed for bankruptcy protection and would include the nation’s most politically influential gun-rights group. Texas Instead New York.
Months after the announcement, the New York Attorney General sued the organization over claims that top officials illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for private visits, no-show contracts for associates, and other dubious expenses.
The coronavirus epidemic has also sustained the NRA, which laid off dozens of employees last year. The group canceled its national convention and started raising funds. The NRA’s bankruptcy filing lists between $ 100 million and $ 500 million in assets and between $ 100 million and $ 500 million in liabilities. Nevertheless, the NRA claimed to announce the move, saying the organization was “in its strongest financial position in years.”
The NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court in Dallas and said it planned to be incorporated in Texas, where records show it formed a limited liability corporation, C Geert LLC, in November 2020. C Geert LLC filed a separate bankruptcy on Friday, with less than $ 100,000 in listing liabilities.
In the filing, the NRA said its longtime leader, executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, decided to file for bankruptcy protection in consultation with the “Special Litigation Committee”, which included three NRA officials who were due in September Was created to oversee its legal strategies. The NRA board voted on 7 January to clarify LaPierre’s employment agreement, giving it the power to “restructure or reorganize” the organization.
“The move will enable long-term, sustainable development and ensure continued success as the nation’s premier advocate for the NRA’s constitutional freedoms,” the NRA said in a statement.
A message seeking comment was left to a Dallas lawyer who filed bankruptcy on behalf of the NRA and C Geert LLC.
Shortly after the announcement, New York Attorney General Letitia James said she would not let the NRA “avoid accountability” or oversight. His office lawsuit over the past year has redeemed NRA and LaPierre in recent years, highlighting post-employment contracts ranging from hair and makeup to $ 17 million for his wife.
“The NRA’s claimed financial position has finally met its moral position: bankrupt,” James said.
The gun-rights group has about 5 million members. Although it has headquarters VirginiaThe NRA was appointed as a non-beneficiary in 1871 in New York and was incorporated into the state. Going forward, the NRA said a committee would study opportunities to move its areas of operations to Texas and elsewhere.
The NRA’s largest creditor, valued at $ 1.2 million, is Ackerman McQueen, the group’s former advertising agency that was behind the now-closed NRA TV service. NRA sued OklahomaThe company, based in 2019, is disputed, alleging that it is being overbuilded and stated in Friday’s bankruptcy that the debt owed. Lis pendens. A message seeking comment was left with Ackerman McQueen.
In the New York lawsuit, Ackerman McQueen was accused of backing lavish expenses by LaPierre and other NRA officials by picking up the tab and then sending a lump sum bill to the organization for “out-of-pocket expenses”.
“No financial filing can ever shroud the moral bankruptcy of Wayne LaPierre and his wife and their lap dogs in the NRA board,” said Bill Powers, a Ackerman McQueen spokesman for the NRA and former public affairs director.
Court records owe more than $ 960,000 to Membership Marketing Partners LLC, which lists its headquarters at the same address as the NRA. Another $ 200,000 is owed to Speedway Motorsports, The North carolinaAccording to the record, NASCAR is a company that owns and operates the tracks.
Republican Texas Government. Greg Abbott immediately welcomed the news, tweeting: “Welcome to Texas – a state that protects the 2nd Amendment.” The NRA said it has more than 400,000 members in Texas and plans to hold its annual conference in Houston later this year.
Sisak reported from New York. Associated Press reporter Jake Bleiber in Dallas contributed to this report.
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