In September, NY Supreme Court Judge Joel Cohen ruled that Frank Tait and Mario Aguirre did not have standing to bring a Motion to Intervene in the New York Attorney General’s case asking for dissolution of the NRA. Among the things he mentioned at the time in ruling against them was the timeliness issue and that 5% of the members were not part of the Motion. At the time of the hearing, it was mentioned in court that a director of the NRA would be joining the Motion to Intervene but Judge Cohen said he could only rule on what was in front of him
Today, Rocky Marshall, a NRA Director, filed a Motion to Intervene in the case as a defendant, claimant, and counter claimant. New York Not-for-Profit Corporation Law § 720 b (1) gives a director the statutory right to seek relief against a defendant for neglect, mismanagement, or “other violation of his duties in the management and disposition of corporate assets committed to his charge.” A director can also seek relief against a defendant for the loss or waste of corporate assets due to the defendant’s negligence, failure to perform, or other violations of his duties. New York CPLR § 1012 states that Mr. Marshall has an absolute right to intervene based upon NPCL § 720 b (1)
Remember that not only is the NRA a defendant in this case but so are Wayne LaPierre, Woody Phillips, Josh Powell, and John Frazer.
One of the grounds for seeking the Motion to Intervene is:
The Proposed Intervenor seeks to assure that the NRA as an entity has independent, conflict-free counsel. The law firm presently representing the NRA is irreconcilably conflicted and the NRA is alleged by the Attorney General to be controlled by one or more of the individual defendants. Thus no present party or law firm can adequately protect the NRA’s rights as an entity separate from the individual defendants.
The Memorandum of Law that accompanies the Motion to Intervene is quite interesting. It starts out by saying that Letitia James is wrong when she asserts that the NRA cannot be rehabilitated and dissolution is the only answer. It continues to say that the NRA and its leadership are wrong when they say it is nothing more than a political attack and everything is fine. It goes on to say that James cannot prove that dissolution of the NRA would be “beneficial to the NRA’s members”. It continues:
On the other hand, to rule for the Defendants merely requires that the Court hold its nose and swallow their claims that the NRA Board has investigated the Attorney General’s allegations and found nothing wrong, disregarding abundant evidence of the Individual Defendants’ serious breaches of duty and conflicts of interest, some of which is already before the Court.
Mr. Marshall goes on to say that the Board has failed in its fiduciary duties to the NRA and to its members. Problems have been presented to the Board and they have ignored them while also taking no action against the named individuals (LaPierre, Powell, Phillips, and Frazer).
Thus, the Memorandum states the Board should be dissolved because they are not independent of LaPierre and that a receiver be appointed. Mr. Marshall suggests he would be willing to serve as a temporary receiver to get a proper accounting and to elect a new independent board.
As to the old Board and leadership, it must go:
As his proposed Answer says, Mr. Marshall recognizes and appreciates that without this action no meaningful change in the NRA’s governance will likely occur due to Defendant LaPierre’s total control of the executive leadership and his dominance of the Board. To the extent possible Mr. Marshall will work with the Attorney General to reform the NRA’s
leadership for the benefit of all rank-and-file NRA members. Mr. Marshall will pursue recovery of all NRA funds wrongfully paid to the third parties implicated but not sued by the AG, while vigorously opposing the AG’s dissolution claim.
Accompanying the Motion and the Memorandum are 12 exhibits which consist of a proposed answer, numerous emails, NRA Board minutes, Marshall’s bio and resume (which is very impressive), and a compilation of Form 990 data. Rather than go through each of these, I am just going to put the links to them below.
I would be remiss to not mention that Attorney General Letitia James released a statement today on Mr. Marshall’s Motion to Intervene. The only really relevant part was this:“While we continue to review this motion, we are glad to hear that Mr. Marshall agrees that Wayne LaPierre and his top lieutenants must be removed from the NRA. Our fight for transparency and accountability from the NRA and its leadership will continue because no organization is above the law.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that Willes Lee issued the official response from the NRA.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Marshall aligns himself with those who continually attempt to intervene in the handling of NRA’s matters by its elected leadership. The NRA is a well-managed, actively engaged membership organization. We will continue on our current course of action—in the interests of our five million members and their Second Amendment freedoms.”
Any one who has read my blog for the last couple of years knows my opinion of Willes Lee. My biggest regret is that I endorsed him for the Board not once but twice. I was taken in by him like so many others. That someone of his ilk is in a leadership position at the NRA says everything you need to know about why Mr. Marshall’s Motion to Intervene must be granted.