More On The NRA’s Bankruptcy Filing

There was a very interesting and informative blog post regarding the NRA’s bankruptcy filing on CreditSlips.org on Friday. The post was by Georgetown law professor Adam Levitin. Levitin is an expert on bankruptcy and business restructuring. His list of publications regarding bankruptcy includes both law books and multiple law review articles.

The post says there are many issues with the filing:

This is going to be one heck of an interesting case. There are already so many glaring issues (or should I say “targets”?): venue, good faith filing, disclosures, the automatic stay, the trustee question, fiduciary duties to pursue claims against insiders, executory employment contracts, the fate of Wayne LaPierre, and the generally overlooked governance provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.

Read the whole post. The gist of it is that by filing for bankruptcy, the NRA has opened a can of worms and there could be a lot of unintended consequences. For example, if as the NY Attorney General alleges, Wayne LaPierre has a contract that guarantees his salary for life even if removed, bankruptcy law limits that to one year’s salary.

I hope this is the last post I have to do on the NRA filing for bankruptcy for the time being. There are other important matters to write about such as the virtual Shot Show that starts today.

Do They Know Something We Don’t?

I came across this pop-up ad from Cabela’s on Facebook a week or so ago. It popped up again this morning.

While I do have a few of these 40-round PMAGs because, you know, I can, my imagination is running wild over the sorts of adventures that might “start here” with them.

I’m too old and too slow to be running off to Afghanistan so that’s out.

The bush wars in Africa have pretty much settled down so I doubt I’d be up for joining Executive Outcomes.

The only other adventure I might imagine would put me on a no-fly list for advocating sedition and insurrection so I won’t go there.

Though, I must say if I owned a gun store and have multiple attackers rushing into the store after ramming the front door with a stolen car, I think this would come in handy.

Clues To NRA’s Legal Strategy

Attorney Sarah Rogers of Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, filed a “Notice of Suggestion” before the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation yesterday. It was in regard to the NRA and Sea Girt LLC’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.

From the Notice of Suggestion:

Section 362(a) (Automatic Stay) of the Bankruptcy Code automatically prohibits, inter alia, the following:
* the commencement or continuation, including the issuance or employment of process, of a judicial, administrative, or other action or proceeding against the debtor that was or could have been commenced before the commencement of the case under this title, or to recover a claim against the debtor that arose before the commencement of the case under this title;
* the enforcement, against the debtor or against property of the estate, of a judgment obtained before the commencement of the case under this title;
* any act to obtain possession of property of the estate or of property from the estate or to exercise control over property of the estate.

I think that tells you exactly what the legal strategy formulated by William Brewer III is for the NRA. It is to use bankruptcy as a means to stop or put a hold on the cases involving Ackerman McQueen, David Dell’Aquila, and the State of New York. That is, at least in Federal court.

It gets more interesting according to a book put out by the American Bankruptcy Institute entitled, Bankruptcy Issues for State Trial Court Judges Third Edition.

Federal law allows the removal of civil actions from state court to federal district court if jurisdiction exists under 28 U.S.C. §1334 (the federal jurisdictional provision that creates a bankruptcy case). The petition for
removal must be filed in the district court to which the matter is removed. Removal is to the federal district court for the jurisdiction in which the state court matter is pending, not to the district in which the bankruptcy case is pending. Consequently, if the bankruptcy case is in a different federal district, a motion for change of venue to that district may be filed after the matter is removed.

The book goes on to say that this applies to all courts, state and Federal. However, if you examine the case against the NRA by the Attorney General of New York Letitia James, it probably is might be stayed against the NRA but not against Wayne LaPierre, Woody Phillips, John Frazer, or Josh Powell. That is because a §362 stay applies to the property of the estate, property of the debtor, and the debtor. The individuals named by James in the dissolution lawsuit are not debtors in a bankruptcy filing.

However, there is an exception to a §362 that I’m sure the State of New York will seek to use:

The commencement or continuation of an action or proceeding by a governmental unit to enforce its police or regulatory power. Examples would be prosecution under a rubbish ordinance, an action to close a restaurant for health code violations, or litigation to determine the debtor’s liability for consumer protection violations and liquidation of the amounts owed for those violations. The exception extends to enforcement of a judgment, other than a money judgment, obtained by a governmental unit to enforce its police or regulatory power. Section 362(b)(4)

The regulatory power involving the NRA would be that of New York’s ability to regulate charities which is the basis of the dissolution suit. It will be up to the judge hearing the dissolution lawsuit to decide whether the stay resulting from the bankruptcy filings apply. I’m sure that New York will argue that it doesn’t just as the NRA’s lawyers will argue that it does.

I should remind the reader that I’m not a lawyer and that case law usually is of greater importance than the how the law is written. In other words, how a law is interpreted by the courts trumps how the legislature wrote the law.

Wayne’s Letter To The NRA Board

An email went out at 4:01 pm EST this afternoon from NRA Secretary John Frazer to the Board of Directors announcing the bankruptcy filing and plans to reorganize in Texas. According to the time stamp on the bankruptcy filing, it was filed at 2:48 pm CST or less than 15 minutes earlier.

The email repeats much of what was reported in the press release.

Dear Board of Directors:

I am pleased to announce some exciting news about the NRA. 

The NRA announced it will reorganize the Association as a Texas nonprofit to abandon the corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York. This action will ensure our continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom.

To facilitate the reorganization, the NRA and one of its subsidiaries filed voluntary chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. As you may know, chapter 11 proceedings are often utilized by businesses, nonprofits and organizations of all kinds to streamline legal and financial affairs. 

Subject to court approval, the NRA’s new strategic plan involves “dumping New York” and reincorporating the Association in the State of Texas – home to more than 400,000 NRA members and site of the 2021 NRA Annual Meeting being held in Houston.

As many of you have observed, New York is no longer a welcome home to our Association, as its leaders have demonstrated their hostility to the constitutional freedoms in which we believe. Our filing today allows us to wisely seek protection from New York officials who illegally weaponized the powers they wield against the NRA and its members.

The NRA is not financially insolvent. In fact, this move comes at a time when the NRA is in its strongest financial condition in years.

The Association will continue with the forward advancement of the enterprise – confronting anti-Second Amendment activities, promoting firearms safety and training, and advancing public programs across the United States. No immediate changes are expected to the NRA’s operations or workforce.  

The reorganization aims to help the NRA streamline costs and expenses, organize various litigation matters that involve related facts, and realize other financial and strategic advantages.

By exiting New York, the NRA abandons a state where elected officials have weaponized legal and regulatory power to penalize the Association and its members purely for political purposes.

The Battle in New York

As you will recall, in summer 2018, New York Attorney General candidate Letitia James vowed that, if elected, she would use the powers of her office to investigate the NRA. Without a shred of evidence supporting her claims, James called the Association a “terrorist organization” and a “criminal enterprise.” As promised, she commenced an “investigation” upon being elected to the Office of NYAG and, predictably, filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the NRA just prior to the November 2020 national election.

In response to the anti-freedom actions of the NYAG, the NRA filed a lawsuit in August 2020 against the NYAG similar to its lawsuit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services, filed in 2018. The NRA pursues the defendants for attempting to “blacklist” the organization and its financial partners in violation of their First Amendment rights. The NRA will continue those legal actions.  

I firmly believe this strategic plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth and progress. One important part of the plan is reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and joins us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom. This is a transformational moment in the history of the NRA.

The NRA’s day-to-day business operations will continue uninterrupted.

This proven mechanism is a positive for us, allowing our advisors to pursue strategic advantages for the NRA as our leadership team continues to advance our mission.

We will continue to promote our Second Amendment advocacy, firearms education and training, and public endeavors. We do not anticipate any measurable impacts to our staffing, public programs or Second Amendment advocacy.

We are forming a special committee to study the possibility of relocating key segments of our business operations to Texas or other states.

A new committee, under the direction of First Vice President Charles Cotton, will study opportunities for relocating segments of NRA business operations to Texas or other states. We are exploring any option that may work in the best interests of the NRA and its members.

In the meantime, the NRA’s general business operations will remain in Fairfax.

Building Our Strengths

I have added Marschall Smith as our Chief Restructuring Officer. Marschall is a former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of 3M Company and ADM, among others, and has more than 35 years of legal and business experience with an emphasis on compliance, corporate finance, and corporate governance.

A native Texan, Marschall served 10 years as a Marine Corps officer, including four years of active duty with combat service in Vietnam. He left the Marines with the rank of major. He was a member of the Carter/Mondale presidential transition team and served as a special assistant to the Director Designate of Central Intelligence. He received his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Princeton, followed by a Juris Doctor degree from The University of Virginia and an MBA from The University of Chicago.

Marschall will work closely with the NRA senior leadership team. I know he looks forward to meeting all of you – as we embark upon this journey together.

Do not believe everything you hear in the media. We fully expect our adversaries to try to gain some sort of perceived advantage over the NRA by mischaracterizing this strategic plan. They will portray a so-called “bankruptcy” as a negative and, once again, predict our demise.

The liberal media, anti-gun gadflies, and left-wing politicians will desperately try to advance another distorted truth about the NRA.


The NRA is financially strong and well-positioned on all fronts. I am confident our members, employees, and most loyal stakeholders will appreciate the extraordinary benefits of this plan and realize the value of the NRA charting its own path forward – on its own terms. (We are making immediate outreach to our members, instructors, donors, and other key stakeholders.)

Again, this plan allows us to streamline our legal and business affairs, escape a radicalized New York political environment, and position ourselves for the long-term. It is the first step of an ambitious and exciting blueprint for the future.

We will stay in regular communication with the board. In the meantime, please visit www.nra.org/forward for more information. If you receive any public inquiries, please refer them to Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA Public Affairs, at aarulanandam@nrahq.org.

Thanks in advance for your loyalty and partnership. I’m confident we have never been better positioned in the history of our organization – or more prepared to keep winning the fight for freedom.

Wayne

I think much of the Board was caught unawares by this legal move. My legal sources are casting some doubt that this will end the case in New York unlike the impression given by the happy, rah-rah tone of the letter and other press releases.

Letitia James Responds To NRA Move

New York Attorney General Letitia James has responded to the legal moves by the National Rifle Association to reincorporate in Texas.

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today released the following statement after the National Rifle Association (NRA) declared it would seek bankruptcy protections in federal court, as well as sought to reincorporate its nonprofit status in the state of Texas:

“The NRA’s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt. While we review this filing, we will not allow the NRA to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability and my office’s oversight.”

In August, Attorney General James filed a lawsuit against the NRA, Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, and three of LaPierre’s current or former top executives for failing to manage the NRA’s funds; failing to follow numerous state and federal laws, as well as the NRA’s own bylaws and policies; and contributing to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years for the NRA. The suit was filed against the NRA as a whole, LaPierre, as well as former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Wilson “Woody” Phillips, former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer.

According to a story on the bankruptcy filing by Reuters, it is thought the move will put the New York lawsuit on hold and may remove James’ power over the NRA through the reincorporation. Maybe yes, maybe no.

NRA’s Bankruptcy Petition

There are two major things of note in the National Rifle Association’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. First, there is the resolution passed at the January 7, 2021 Board of Director’s meeting in Dallas giving Wayne LaPierre the authority to “reorganize or restructure the affairs of the Association.”

The second item of note contained in the bankruptcy petition is the list of unsecured creditors. At the top of that list is Ackerman McQueen with a disputed claim of $1,273,800.12. Also disputed are claims from Tony Makris’ Under Wild Skies and the Ack Mac subsidiary Mercury Group. The rest of the unsecured creditors are an assortment ranging from Google to UPS. Most seem to be related to fund raising or advertising.

What is most interesting in that list is what is not there. There is no mention of any legal bills due to William Brewer III’s firm Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors. This could mean that he is a secured creditor or that any monies due him have already been paid.

It seems obvious that this move has been in the works for many months. Sea Girt LLC was established in November 2020 according to the filing with the Texas Secretary of State’s office. Moreover, the litigation committee was set up in September and probably had been discussed many months in advance of that.

According to the letter from Wayne LaPierre, this move will not impact members as the NRA is simply leaving a toxic state for one that is welcoming.

NRA supporters will continue to enjoy all their full member benefits – from new members to Life Members to Benefactor Members. We will continue to publish and deliver your magazines. We will continue to train Americans and teach them firearm safety. We will continue to teach hunter safety. But most importantly, we will continue to fight for your freedom and the freedom of all Americans – as we have for all these years. In fact, we are expanding our national platform.

The plan aims to streamline costs and expenses, proceed with pending litigation in a coordinated and structured manner, and realize many financial and strategic advantages.

You know that our opponents will try to seize upon this news and distort the truth. Don’t believe what you read from our enemies. The NRA is not “bankrupt” or “going out of business.” The NRA is not insolvent. We are as financially strong as we have been in years. (emphasis his)

While I think it is good that the NRA ditches New York, I really wish that they had listened to Professor Joe Olson when, as a board member and expert in corporate law, he urged them to do it in 1991. Think of all the monies that would have been saved in litigation expenses that could have been used to promote the Second Amendment.

NRA To Reincorporate In Texas

After 150 years, the National Rifle Association is finally abandoning New York. They have filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas and plan to reincorporate in Texas.

Here is the full press release sent out this afternoon by Wayne LaPierre. I will have more on the bankruptcy filing after I have had time to read it. Imagine how much time and legal expense they could have saved if they had listened to law professor Joseph Olson when he suggested as a board member in 1991.

NRA Leaves New York to Reincorporate in Texas, Announces New Strategic Plan

NRA Plans to Exit New York to Pursue Opportunity, Growth and Progress in Texas; Plan Benefits Association, Its Millions of Members, and All Supporters of the Second Amendment

Fairfax, VA – The National Rifle Association of America (“NRA”) today announced it will restructure the Association as a Texas nonprofit to exit what it believes is a corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York. The move will enable long-term, sustainable growth and ensure the NRA’s continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New York.

The NRA plan, which involves utilizing the protection of the bankruptcy court, has the Association dumping New York and organizing its legal and regulatory matters in an efficient forum. The move comes at a time when the NRA is in its strongest financial condition in years.

The NRA will continue with the forward advancement of the enterprise – confronting anti-Second Amendment activities, promoting firearm safety and training, and advancing public programs across the United States. There will be no immediate changes to the NRA’s operations or workforce.  

The Association will seek court approval to reincorporate the Association in the State of Texas – home to more than 400,000 NRA members and site of the 2021 NRA Annual Meeting in Houston.

“This strategic plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth and progress,” says NRA CEO & EVP Wayne LaPierre. “Obviously, an important part of this plan is ‘dumping New York.’ The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom. This is a transformational moment in the history of the NRA.”

The restructuring plan aims to streamline costs and expenses, proceed with pending litigation in a coordinated and structured manner, and realize many financial and strategic advantages.

The Path Forward

The NRA will move quickly through the restructuring process. Its day-to-day operations, training programs, and Second Amendment advocacy will continue as usual.

By exiting New York, where the NRA has been incorporated for approximately 150 years, the NRA abandons a state where elected officials have weaponized the legal and regulatory powers they wield to penalize the Association and its members for purely political purposes.

In the summer of 2018, then New York Attorney General candidate Letitia James vowed that, if elected, she would use the powers of her office to investigate the “legitimacy” of the NRA.

Without a shred of evidence to support the claim, she called the Association a “terrorist organization” and a “criminal enterprise.” As promised, she commenced an “investigation” upon being elected to the Office of NYAG and, predictably, filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the NRA just prior to the November 2020 national election.

The NRA filed a lawsuit in August 2020 against the NYAG similar to its lawsuit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Financial Services, filed in 2018. The NRA pursues the defendants for attempting to “blacklist” the organization and its financial partners in violation of their First Amendment rights. The NRA will continue those legal actions.  

“Under this plan, the Association wisely seeks protection from New York officials who it believes have illegally weaponized their powers against the NRA and its members,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA in those cases. “The NRA will continue the fight to protect the interests of its members in New York – and all forums where the NRA is unlawfully singled out for its Second Amendment advocacy.”

With respect to its headquarters, the NRA has formed a committee to study opportunities for relocating segments of its business operations to Texas or other states. The Association will analyze whether a move of its headquarters, now located in Fairfax, Virginia, is in the best interests of its members. In the meantime, the NRA’s general business operations will remain in Fairfax.

To facilitate its strategic plan and restructuring, the NRA and one of its subsidiaries filed voluntary chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Chapter 11 proceedings are routinely utilized by businesses, nonprofits and organizations of all kinds to streamline legal and financial affairs.  

The NRA also announced Marschall Smith will serve as Chief Restructuring Officer. A former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of 3M Company, Smith has more than 35 years of legal and business experience with an emphasis on compliance, corporate finance, and corporate governance.

“I am honored to join the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization during this important time,” Smith says. “Our goal is to work through the restructuring process efficiently and quickly – even as NRA leadership approaches 2021 with renewed energy and an expanding national platform. This plan has no impact on the NRA’s most important goal:  serving its membership and protecting the Second Amendment.”

The NRA will propose a plan that provides for payment in full of all valid creditors’ claims. The Association expects to uphold commitments to employees, vendors, members, and other community stakeholders.

“The plan allows us to protect the NRA and go forward with a renewed focus on Second Amendment advocacy,” says NRA President Carolyn Meadows. “We will continue to honor the trust placed in us by employees, members and other stakeholders – following a blueprint that allows us to become the strongest NRA ever known.”

Additional Information:

Patrick J. Neligan of Neligan LLP, Dallas, Texas, is serving as debtor’s counsel; William (Wit) Davis is counsel to the NRA Board of Directors and its Special Litigation Committee; Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors, Dallas, Texas, serves as special counsel to the NRA. To learn more, please visit www.nra.org/forward.

Armed Society Podcast

I was a guest on Armed Society Podcast with Paul Lathrop, Rob Morse, Amanda Suffecool, and Dianna Mueller. It was recorded on the evening of January 6th and you can guess the topic of our discussion. If you said anything other than protesters invading the Capitol, you’d be wrong.

I think we all understood the frustration of many but we also understood there is a line you shouldn’t cross.

Double Quote Of The Day

The quote of the day is actually a double quote of the day. Both come from the Monster Hunter himself, Larry Correia, from his post yesterday entitled bow before AppGoogleZOn.

The first quote is in reference to some members of the Stupid Party (as SayUncle calls them) whose words and actions would make Marshal Pétain nostalgic.

 All those companies are allied with the political party that hates you and wants to see your kind utterly eradicated from society, because you are bad people who deserve it. And most of the “leadership” on our side says this is fine, and it’s more important to be polite and play by rules the other side forsook a long time ago. When they get around to throwing dissidents into gulags, I’m sure guys like Mitt Romney will still be chiding us for using impolite swear words during our executions.

The second quote reinforces my belief that censorship of conservatives by Big Tech serves to remove the safety valve. The unintended consequences of that move might make our worst nightmare pale by comparison.

When tens of millions of people are feeling fucked over and that the system is rigged against them, and the media who are assuring them that everything is in fine working order are the same untrustworthy media who’ve been caught lying to them about literally everything else daily for years, now feel like their voices are being squashed by the same cabal of mega companies that have been lying and manipulating all the information we are allowed to see for years… and an increasing number of these usually calm and responsible, but now angry and disenfranchised people (who are also the ones who make society work and keep the lights on) are starting to think that lefty style stupid political violence might be the only way to be heard… so go ahead and kick them while they are down.

I’m sure that will work out splendidly, with absolutely no long term negative consequences.

Censorship Is Never The Correct Answer

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Do we really want to live in a world where any contrary thought must be censored, stamped out, and prevented from seeing the light of day?

This is what I saw this morning when I went to open Parler. We knew that Amazon’s AWS service was planning to cut it off because they thought the content “dangerous”.

From the WSJ:

The effective disappearance of Parler shows the growing breadth and effect of efforts by big technology companies to restrict content they label as dangerous after last week’s mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. Amazon had said in a letter to Parler over the weekend that it had seen a steady increase in violent content on the site and said Parler’s efforts to remove it were inadequate.

Violent content, my ass! It is clearly a move to suppress any dissenting or contrarian voices. If your argument is so weak that it cannot stand up to criticism, then it isn’t that much of an argument to begin with.

What the Big Tech oligarchs need to fear, and indeed we all should fear, is that by removing ways for people to be heard that someone, anyone, who has nothing left to lose will engage in lone wolf attacks. Communication and the ability to be heard serves a moderating influence. With that gone, grievances fester and they harden putting all of us at risk.