Dueling Letters On LaPierre Resignation

The resignation of Wayne LaPierre on the eve of the trial in New York has generated letters to Judge Joel Cohen from both sides. In addition, the pre-trial memorandum containing the NRA’s trial brief seems to throw Wayne under the bus after three plus years of defending him.

First, the letter from Assistant Attorney General Monica Connell asserts that Wayne’s resignation has no impact on the viability of the complaint against the NRA and Wayne. She goes on to argue that the NRA should not be allowed to use Wayne’s resignation as evidence that the NRA is cleaning up its act. As to whether his resignation has any relevance, she asserts it should only come up at the remedial part of the case after the jury has decided.

In response, Noah Peters of Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, asserts, “As the NRA stated in its trial brief, Mr. LaPierre’s resignation undermines the NYAG’s request for forward-looking injunctive relief.” He goes on to imply that the NYAG must now show that the transgressions of the LaPierre era will continue with him gone which is unlikely.

Connell states, in fairness, that the NRA must give answers to some questions regarding Wayne’s resignation before the trial begins. The NRA through Peters does answer those questions. I have put the questions and answers in a point-counterpoint format below with the question in bold and the answer in italics.

What arrangements or agreements Mr. LaPierre has with the NRA or its affiliates regarding his resignation, severance, licensing, consulting or payments directly or indirectly to LaPierre and amounts of such payments;

Mr. LaPierre has no arrangements or agreements with the NRA or its affiliates regarding his resignation, severance, licensing, or consulting;

Any other position Mr. LaPierre holds or will hold within the NRA;

Mr. LaPierre holds no other position with the NRA, nor will he hold a position after his final day;

The NRA’s succession plan following Mr. LaPierre’s resignation;

The NRA’s Head of General Operations Andrew Arulanandam will become the interim CEO & EVP of the NRA until the NRA hires permanent successor;

Confirmation as to whether Mr. LaPierre’s January 2021 employment agreement is still in effect, is being honored by the NRA and whether and what payments Mr. LaPierre will receive thereunder;

After January 31, 2024, payments under the 2021 Employment Agreement will cease. There are no superseding employment or post-employment agreements with Mr. LaPierre;

Any employment, independent contracting, consulting or other work Mr. LaPierre will undertake following his resignation for the NRA or any affiliate, vendor or contractor of the NRA;

Mr. LaPierre will not undertake any other employment, independent contracting, consulting or other work for the NRA or any affiliate, vendor or contractor;

To the extent Mr. LaPierre intends to testify at trial that his resignation was due to a health problem, the nature of the health problem.

The NRA is informed that Mr. LaPierre has chronic lyme disease. The NYAG’s suggestion that Mr. LaPierre’s health condition is not the cause of his departure is false.

I would note that the NYAG never suggested Wayne’s health condition was not the cause of his departure. They merely questioned the timing of his resignation on the eve of the trial. As to chronic lyme disease, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has this on it. They note that many health experts do not like to even use the term. Another NIH article states, ““Chronic Lyme disease,” however, has no clinical definition and is not characterized by any objective clinical findings.”

According to Wayne’s 2021 Employment Agreement that was introduced into evidence back in December 2021, Sec. 4 (e) seems to preclude Wayne from contracting with current NRA vendors or contractors for his services.

Sec. 5 of the 2021 Employment Agreement gives the NRA the option of licensing Wayne’s name, likeness, and signature for up to two years after departure for fundraising, PR, or membership purposes at the rate of $500,000 per year. This option is the NRA’s alone and does not compel them to exercise the option. This section also says they will pay Wayne for in-person public appearances at the rate of $750 per hour.

There has been much speculation about a $17 million “golden parachute” for Wayne. From what I can tell, this came up during a deposition in the bankruptcy trial regarding his 2018 Employment Agreement. Sec. 8 (c) of the 2021 Employment Agreement says it supersedes any prior agreements or contracts. Thus, it would seem to me that there is no $17 million “golden parachute”. Any post-employment monies due Wayne probably would be coming from a 457(f) non-qualified deferred compensation plan which was funded by salary deferrals by Wayne himself and for which he is now eligible to collect.

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