US District Court Judge Joe Fish has ordered mandatory mediation in the case between the NRA and AckMac that is pending in US District Court for the Northern District of Texas. He has told all parties that they have 30 days to set a mediation date or the mediator will do it for them.
The named parties shall be present during the entire mediation process and each party which is not a natural person must be represented by an executive officer (other than in-house counsel) with authority to negotiate a settlement (the authority required shall be active, i.e., not merely the authority to observe the mediation proceedings but the authority to negotiate, demand or offer, and bind the party represented). Counsel and the parties shall proceed in a good faith effort to try to resolve this case
As I read that, it means the both Wayne LaPierre and Revan McQueen must be present for the entire proceedings.
To make sure they play nice, Judge Fish has said he will order sanctions if the parties involved don’t “comply in good faith.”
The lawsuit and counter-lawsuit between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen is the lawsuit that keeps on giving. Reading the amended complaint filed yesterday by Ackerman McQueen is like reading about one of those Hollywood celebrity divorce cases but only better.
I give you the first three sections of AckMac’s “SECOND AMENDED THIRD-PARTY COMPLAINT AGAINST WAYNE LAPIERRE & THE NRA FOUNDATION, INC.” The Complementary Spouse said to me when I started snorting that it must have been funny.
This Third-Party Complaint arises from a series of ethically questionable undertakings by the NRA through its longtime leader Executive Vice President and CEO, Wayne LaPierre (“LaPierre”). As a result of his authoritarian management style, love of money and power, and deep personal paranoia, today, LaPierre has reduced the NRA to a cult of personality as he continues to waste membership funds on media stunts and serial litigation with only one purpose: to save his own skin.
Through the intricate financial arrangements he constructed over decades with very little oversight from the NRA Board of Directors or other executives, LaPierre was able to obtain millions of dollars in personal benefits by keeping vendors and the NRA’s own accounting department in the dark about his personal spending. As the gathering storm clouds of a possible investigation by the New York Attorney General (“NYAG”) started to form in 2018, LaPierre became concerned the details of his financial adventurism may come to light.
LaPierre sought assistance from lawyer/media-darling, William A. Brewer III (“Brewer”), and his law firm/public-relations firm, Brewer Attorneys & Counselors (the “Brewer Firm”), who together with LaPierre’s Chief of Staff, Joshua Powell (“Powell”), formulated a plan to pin all liability on a convenient scapegoat, deflect media attention from LaPierre’s malfeasance and failed NRA programs, and maintain LaPierre’s domination of the NRA. Many of the resulting actions were made possible by LaPierre’s paranoia and guilty conscience, as he repeatedly proclaimed that Brewer was the only one who “could keep him out of jail.” By fantastic coincidence, Brewer determined that it was AMc—a company owned by his own father-in-law— who could be blamed for all of the NRA’s malfeasance and financial woes. In return for deflecting the spotlight from LaPierre, Brewer was given free rein to reap a financial windfall in exorbitant attorney fees, displace his father-in-law’s company as the public-relations firm for the NRA, and set up AMc as the perfect “fall guy.”
It was the “lawyer/media-darling” characterization of William Brewer III that had me in stitches.
While all of this is somewhat humorous to read, the sad thing is that from everything I’ve heard that Wayne LaPierre is paranoid and let Brewer be his “Rasputin” in an effort to save his own skin.
The ones to suffer from all of this will not be Wayne, Bill Brewer, or AckMac. It will be the ordinary NRA members who gave their hard-earned monies to the organization in order to protect their God-given right to self-defense as enshrined in the Second Amendment. Just when it is needed most, the NRA’s attention is on its series of lawsuits against AckMac and its bankruptcy stunt.
There are times in life when you say, “I’m tired of taking this shit.” Dan Boren had to be there when he resigned from the NRA and NRA Board of Directors yesterday.
Boren’s resignation makes the eighth director to resign from the NRA Board of Directors since the beginning of the year.
Tom King, president of the NY State Rifle and Pistol Association and a NRA Board member, reportedly had filed an ethics complaint against Boren. Taken with a grain of salt given he is a LaPierre loyalist, he told Newsweek:
“Mr. Boren resigned in the face of an ethics complaint, which I filed, that cites troubling communications and serious allegations linking him to suspected extortion against the NRA and billing fraud by the NRA’s former vendor, Ackerman McQueen,” NRA board member Tom King told Newsweek in a written statement. “Under these circumstances, this news is not surprising.”
That was just the latest in actions aimed at Boren. In the case aimed at avoiding paying Oliver North’s legal bills, the NRA contended that Boren had somehow conspired with Col. North in the supposed “coup attempt”.
Mr. Boren entered into an agreement, combination, and/or conspiracy with the Defendants for the purpose of carrying out the fraudulent behavior, the attempt to de-railing the resulting NRA investigation, and the attempt to extort Mr. LaPierre and the NRA alleged herein. In addition, there exists a small group comprising former vendors, professionals, and consultants of the NRA whose economic incentives, like AMc’s, were challenged by the NRA investigation and, like Mr. Boren, joined the agreement, combination, and/or conspiracy.
My sources told me after the NRA Annual Meeting, that in their opinion, Boren had hoped to act as an intermediary to try and salvage the multi-decades relationship between the NRA and AckMac. There was nothing unsavory about his actions.
Boren was named Oklahoma president and Chief Banking Officer of First United Bank on October 10th. From The Oklahoman:
Boren, 46, who has spent nearly seven years as president of corporate development for the Chickasaw Nation, will begin work in early January at First United. The bank is based in Durant and has locations in Oklahoma and Texas.
First United CEO Greg Massey said, “I am excited to have Dan join our team. His passion for serving Oklahoma aligns perfectly with our purpose at First United.”
Boren, a Blue Dog Democrat, served four terms in Congress representing a district in eastern Oklahoma from 2005 until 2013. According to The Oklahoman, he had been considering a run for governor of Oklahoma last year. They note he hasn’t ruled out running for office in the future.
Taken on the whole, I’d say the NRA really needed a man like Boren more than he needed them. As a Democrat, he gave them at least some semblance of being bi-partisan. As a Congressman, even though it is now former Congressman, he gave them a strong influence on Capitol Hill. When you add that to his role with a large Indian tribe and his new job in banking, he brought a lot to the table.
What did he get in return for what he gave the NRA? A pile of paranoid crap. I’m surprised he didn’t resign earlier. I sure as hell would have and done so with a clear conscience.
Jim Shepherd of The Outdoor Wires is one of the more astute observers of the firearms world. It doesn’t hurt that he helped Ted Turner found CNN. He, of course, doesn’t take credit for what CNN has become in the years since he left!
He devoted some of his column this morning to the Federal court battle between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen. Continuing the divorce theme, he said it would drive a divorce attorney to drink.
Actually, it’s more like the Borgia family chronicles than litigation between two groups of adults. Replace the “he said-she said” with “the defendant alleges” and you get the picture. Up is down, black is white, right is wrong, and inside is outside-depending on which document you’re reading.
Central to all this, as he apparently insists on being in virtually every matter, is Wayne LaPierre. The NRA characterizes him as the ceaselessly crusading reformer, out to save the National Rifle Association from the Oklahoma hordes determined to loot the treasury, burn the building and at least savage the five million members. Ackerman McQueen draws a somewhat different picture: that of a man obsessed with absolute control of everyone and everything around him except his spending habits. There, he’s more like a drunken sailor on a short shore leave.
It’s ugly, it’s personal, and it’s likely going to get worse before it resolves itself. No one on either side looks good in this situation, and that’s about as positive a face as anyone can put on it. It’s also about all I can tell you without either speculating or presenting gossip as fact.
Jim’s correct: it’s ugly, it’s personal, and none of the participants looks good.
When you are in a war you always have to keep the end objective in mind. Is it merely to win the battle or ultimately to win the war? That seems to be the issue right now for the National Rifle Association.
The question for the NRA is who is the real enemy. Is it Ackerman McQueen or anti-rights groups like Brady United Against Gun Violence? It seems that this focus has eluded the outside attorneys for the NRA in their efforts to win the Federal lawsuit against AckMc.
In more bad news for the NRA, newly uncovered court filings show that NRA executives themselves thought NRATV was blatantly racist. Yet they continued to let it air.
The timing is convenient: It’s been unearthed that the NRA opposed its own racist content only now that it’s in court against its longtime PR firm, Ackerman McQueen.
This proves what we have long known: that the NRA will peddle any lie in order to protect its own interest — which is to sell more guns, no matter what the cost. But we’re calling them out. We won’t let them pretend they didn’t condone outright racism. They knew what they were selling.
The National Rifle Associated admitted in a legal filing that its former media operation NRATV was viewed by NRA leadership as racist and that the project’s programming “often became viewed as a dystopian cultural rant.” That is true, but the messaging at NRATV was largely indistinguishable from the racist paranoid rantings of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.
Michael Collins of Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, may have thought including that inflammatory condemnation of NRATV in his court filings was wise. His goal after all is to savage AckMac so as to win this case.
Our blood enemies are those who would deprive us of our God-given rights to an armed self-defense. They will use anything and everything against us. Since much of their strategy involves using propaganda, the use of ill-chosen words that can come back to haunt us is self-defeating. We need to be smarter and we should demand that attorneys for Second Amendment organizations likewise be smarter.
The NRA and outside counsel Michael Collins should have remembered Napoleon’s advice – “when the enemy is making a false movement we must take good care not to interrupt him.” They have just given our blood enemies that “false movement”.
I don’t know which side is telling the truth in the divorce between the NRA and AckMac. It could be neither of them. It could be both sides depending upon their perception of the issues.
I will note that the AckMac description of the influence on Wayne LaPierre by William Brewer III does strongly correlate with what insiders have told me. Brewer was described to have isolated LaPierre from long time friends and associates and fed his paranoia.
That said, the narrative in Ackerman McQueen’s reply and counter-claim filed on October 1st makes for interesting reading. Of particular interest are pages 19 through 42. The rest is mostly legalese. I have embedded it below. If you click on the heading, you can also download it to read later.
As AMc’s bills grew ever larger, NRATV’s messaging strayed from the Second Amendment to themes which some NRA leaders found distasteful and racist. One particularly damaging segment featured children’s cartoon characters adorned in Ku Klux Klan hoods. Unfortunately, attempts by the NRA to “rein in” AMc and its messaging were met with responses from AMc that ranged from evasive to hostile. At the same time, when NRA executives sought performance metrics for NRATV, AMc contrived a pretext to demand that each interlocutor be sidelined or fired. Simultaneously, in closed-door meetings with Mr. LaPierre (which AMc insisted remain “confidential”), the agency presented fabricated and inflated sponsorship and viewership claims. The simple request for the number of “unique visitors” to the site was not answered, despite multiple attempts by Mr. LaPierre and other NRA executives. In fact, AMc’s representations to the NRA leadership regarding the viewership for the digital platform it created, presented, and administered were, by 2017, intentionally (and wildly) misleading. Tellingly, when NRATV finally shut down in June 2019, no one missed it: not a single sponsor or viewer even called, confirming what at least some NRA executives suspected—the site had limited visibility and was failing the accomplish any of its goals.
Ackerman McQueen fired back today on the “distasteful” and “racist” claims in the NRA’s court filing. Like yesterday’s press release, the gloves are off and AckMac is taking no prisoners.
Ackerman McQueen recognized and handled the offensive imagery on the show, “Relentless”, in a proper fashion, like any media company would. We identified those responsible and put new processes and oversight in place. NRA executives acknowledged the corrective action taken by Ackerman McQueen, were satisfied with the response and a couple months later, renewed NRATV for 2019.
However, if the NRA wants to conduct a public conversation about distasteful and racist, they should consider their systematic behavior. This is the same executive leadership team and Board of Directors that refused to address the Philandro Castile tragedy. This the executive leadership team that put their heads in the sand every time a board member said something the could be perceived as distasteful or racist. This is the same executive team and Board of Directors that ignored, and didn’t even watch, the impactful programming that the NOIR team produced, telling important stories on minority issues. There are countless more examples, decisions and comments that plague the organization and will be a part of AMc’s defense.
As AMc said in its latest filing, Wayne LaPierre defrauded Ackerman McQueen. When AMc representatives discovered what he, his executive team as well as the Board of Directors were really doing, and AMc refused to have any part of it, the cabal that is left at the NRA retaliated. Now they want to blame anyone else for the people they actually are.
I missed this story when it came out three days ago. It seems that attorneys for the NRA in their suit against Ackerman McQueen have issued subpoenas to three Board members. The subpoenas for documents were sent to Oliver North, Lance Olson, and Dan Boren.
Previously unreported court documents show the group served a subpoena on Oliver North late last month. It also subpoenaed Lance Olson and Daniel Boren, according to the documents; all three men are members of the NRA’s own board.
The subpoena asks for a number of documents from North: anything sent from April 10 to May 22 regarding people who work for the NRA’s longtime ad firm, Ackerman McQueen; any communications sent over the NRA’s contentious Indianapolis convention about CEO Wayne LaPierre or Ackerman McQueen; documents about the NRA’s expenditures; documents about North’s expenses; and communications about leaks.
The subpoena points to the friction between the NRA and its former president and highlights the extent to which the fight roiling the organization is focused on money and media. It specifically demands communications “related to a ‘leak’ or dissemination of previously non-public documents or information,” and cites stories from the Washington Free Beacon and The Daily Beast. The NRA previously alleged that the ad firm leaked confidential information to media outlets as part of an effort to damage senior officials in the NRA.
The NRA made the same document demands of Boren and Olson. It also demanded that North appear for a deposition on June 13 in a location the two parties would agree to, and that Olson do the same on June 17.
Lawyers for North did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Ackerman McQueen declined to comment.
The story did not publish the court documents nor did it specify whether the subpoenas were in relation to the first lawsuit the NRA filed against Ack-Mac or the second. Without paying a significant fee, access to the City of Alexandria Circuit Court filings is limited to a dated notation listing the filing in a case.
I can see the NRA’s attorneys issuing a subpoena to Oliver North as he is at the center of the lawsuits. I can even see the subpoena for Dan Boren who is from Oklahoma and reportedly opposed Wayne LaPierre at a reception during the NRA Annual Meeting. However, I don’t understand the subpoena to Lance Olson nor why certain other members such as Lt. Col. Allen West or Richard Childress didn’t receive subpoenas.
It will be interesting to see what happens at the next NRA Board meeting scheduled for September 13th in Anchorage, Alaska. Will there be a move to expel certain board members such as Lt. Col. North, Allen West, and others from the Board of Directors? An unnamed board member told me not to be surprised if this happens. North, by the way, was the leading vote getter in the 2019 BOD election surpassing even Ted Nugent.
UPDATE: The number of people getting subpoenas is now at least four. Rob Pincus acknowledged on Facebook that he had been served with one by the NRA’s lawyers with reference to the Ack-Mac lawsuit. Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon tweeted about it a few hours ago. A copy of the subpoena with Rob’s address information redacted can be found on Scribd.com here. He is being asked to produce letters, memos, and other communications concerning “previously non-public” information related to Wayne LaPierre, Oliver North, Marion Hammer, and Tyler Schropp. Mr. Schropp is in charge of the NRA’s fund raising operations.
UPDATE II: Checking the case number on the subpoena served on Rob Pincus it comes from the second NRA lawsuit against Ackerman McQueen. This is the lawsuit which accuses Ack-Mac of instigating a “coup” against Wayne LaPierre. I presume the other three who have been subpoenaed are being subpoenaed as a result of this suit as well.
The big picture question in all of this is what role is being played by the NRA’s outside counsel William Brewer III. Due to his ethics issues in Texas which are now before the Texas Supreme Court, he has not been granted leave to practice in Virginia.
UPDATE III: Checking the docket for this case, I see that there have been a total of six subpoenas issued. Two more were issued on June 4th. As to whom they were issued, I don’t know yet. I will report on that when I find out. To read case documents for that case directly from the City of Alexandria Clerk of Circuit Court’s website is $50 per month which I don’t anticipate me deciding to pay anytime soon.
Over and above Wayne LaPierre’s spending on his wardrobe are expenses he billed to Ackerman-McQueen for travel, food, and apartment rental for an intern according to a letter they sent to him on April 22nd. These expenses have become the basis for stories in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and many other publications.
National Rifle Association Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre billed the group’s ad agency $39,000 for one day of shopping at a Beverly Hills clothing boutique, $18,300 for a car and driver in Europe and had the agency cover $13,800 in rent for a summer intern, according to newly revealed NRA internal documents.
The documents, posted anonymously on the internet, provide new details of the clothing, travel and other expenses totaling more than $542,000 that Ackerman McQueen Inc. alleges Mr. LaPierre billed to it.
The travel expenses allegedly include more than $200,000 in “Air Transportation” costs during a one-month period in late 2012 and early 2013, in part related to a two-week trip over Christmas to the Bahamas by Mr. LaPierre.
The additional details behind the ad agency’s claims comes as Mr. LaPierre faces internal scrutiny at the NRA over his expenses amid an extraordinary falling-out between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen.
Carolyn Meadows, the new NRA President, in a statement to the WSJ said:
The NRA released a statement from Carolyn Meadows, its new president, who said the “entire board is fully aware of these issues. We have full confidence in Wayne LaPierre.” She added that “it is troubling and pathetic that some people would resort to leaking information to advance their agendas.”
I sure hope Mrs. Meadows is using the royal we to refer to herself when she says “we have full confidence in Wayne LaPierre” because I would hope that some board members – and I know there are some who don’t have full confidence in Wayne.
These photos of the letters seem to have been taken of a letter that was printed in landscape mode which explains why pages 3 and 5 only contain one line of data.
There has been much speculation about then-intern Megan Allen and why her apartment expenses were covered in part or full for three months. I’m not going to get into these but I suggest you check out her LinkedIn page for her current position with the NRA and her work and educational background. Given the controversy, I’d do that sooner than later. As to the apartment complex, The Ridgewood II by Windsor apartments are located in Fairfax.
Suing Ackerman-McQueen might have been a smokescreen as some have said to cover the fiduciary lapses of NRA executives and board members but it seems to have become a bonfire. We are now finding out that Wayne LaPierre was quite the clothes horse. Given his preference for navy blue suits and white shirts, you have to wonder just how many he needed.
As I facetiously said on Facebook, for that amount of money, Wayne could have flown to Hong Kong, stayed in a first-class hotel, gotten measured, and come home with quite a few custom suits that looked like that they actually fit him for a heckuva lot less money. Indeed, he could have even been measured by many Hong Kong custom tailors here in the United States as his measurements changed over time.