The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a member of the National Rifle Association Board of Directors, who also happens to be a judge in the State of Kansas, has asked the federal judge presiding over the association’s bankruptcy case in Texas to appoint an independent examiner to investigate allegations of financial mismanagement at the heart of a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is seeking to dissolve the organization.
Judge Phillip Journey, who served as an NRA director in the mid-1990s and was re-elected to the board last year, filed his motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. As explained in the court document, Journey “seeks the appointment of an examiner to bring to light the veracity of the alleged fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, and gross mismanagement that has plagued the NRA’s reputation, caused significant alienation of the Association’s members and supporters, and hampered its ability to fulfill its core organizational purpose.” Journey is a Division 1 judge for the 18th Judicial District of Kansas.
It’s just the latest chapter of a saga that began unfolding during the NRA’s 2019 convention in Indianapolis, where then-NRA President Lt. Col. Oliver North stepped down in what has been variously described as a “failed coup attempt” to oust longtime NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
The Trace, a gun control-related news organ supported by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg, is also reporting on the story.
According to the Wall Street Journal, NRA’s “main outside attorney” William A. Brewer III, released a statement asserting, “Judge Journey purportedly supports the mission of the NRA and claims not to oppose the Association seeking to reincorporate in Texas. Unfortunately, he seems to mistakenly believe the NRA reorganization plan did not follow board and internal protocol. This plan was undertaken in full compliance with NRA policy.”
Journey’s action comes as Washington Free Beacon reported a major NRA donor is seeking LaPierre’s dismissal. The donor, identified as David Dell’Aquila, is “leading” a class-action lawsuit related to allegations of financial mismanagement, wants the court to appoint a trustee “to temporarily oversee operations.”
James launched her lawsuit against the NRA last August. NRA counter-sued. Last month, NRA revealed it had launched an effort to pull out of New York State, where it was founded in 1871, and reincorporate in Texas.
Liberty Park Press reached out to Journey for comment. He referred us to the court document, which runs 16 pages.
According to Journey’s court filing, “At least one former board member has knowledge that the NRA routinely failed to follow its own bylaws by employing an internal auditor to monitor the expenditures of the organization.
“Other former and current board members,” the document adds, “have grave concerns about the overall propriety and oversight that the NRA’s board used to exercise over the Debtor gradually shrinking over the recent past few years to the point that prior to filing and continuing to this day, has reduced its role to merely that as a “figure head” while management steered the Debtors’ overall direction.
“In direct violation of its own bylaws,” Journey’s filing alleges, “the NRA did not disclose to the board of directors its intent to seek Chapter 11 relief. In further violation of the bylaws, no solicitation to the board for votes of approval of the filing was conducted. In fact, one or more board members only became aware of this case through media outlets.”
Journey’s court document also asserts “New York law, the NRA bylaws, and Robert’s Rules of Order were routinely violated by the NRA’s management.”
Journey alleges the “egregious violations” resulted in the resignations at least one and possibly more board members, and possibly the departure of NRA’s chief financial officer.
“Also, in direct violation of the NRA’s own bylaws, the board of directors did not approve the formation of Sea Girt, LLC, the new corporation created by the NRA to bootstrap this filing into this district and venue,” Journey’s court document states.
Journey’s motion was submitted by attorneys with Bonds, Ellis, Eppich, Schafer, Jones LLP in Dallas.