The National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting was supposed to take place in Houston over Labor Day weekend, but the plug was pulled by the organization amid soaring COVID cases in Harris County. Under the group’s bylaws, however, a Meeting of Members still needs to happen, and so on Saturday morning an abbreviated version of that meeting will take place; not in Houston, but in Charlotte, North Carolina.
There won’t be massive displays from gun makers, arenas filled with NRA members listening to political speeches in Charlotte, or any of the other ancillary activities that have turned the NRA’s Annual Meeting into one of the biggest conventions in the country. It’ll likely be a relatively small crowd that will gather at the Symphony Ballroom at the Sheraton & Le Meridien Charlotte Hotel Complex for this year’s member’s meeting, but while the number of attendees might be small, the issues that are expected to emerge at the meeting are huge.
Ahead of the members meeting, NRA board member Rocky Marshall released what he’s calling an “insider view” of the Board of Directors, and for those wondering and worrying about the future of the organization, it’s worth a read.
In the last eight months as a member of the NRA Board of Directors (BOD), I have been asked often by NRA members, pro-gun groups and pro-second amendment reporters “Why does the NRA BOD refuse to terminate Wayne LaPierre’s employment in light of the accusations and evidence of mismanagement, malfeasance, and misuse of NRA funds for personal benefit?” I believe there are three primary reasons and a lengthy list of secondary reasons.
NRA Officers and key board members fully support maintaining Wayne LaPierre as the EVP regardless of the evidence that has been presented in the recent Bankruptcy trial.
Several Directors are not independent fiduciaries and will follow the leadership regardless of the admission of wrong doing by Wayne LaPierre and others.
A few Directors are independent but will not openly challenge the current leadership for fear of reprisals, loss of committee assignments, and ultimately removal from the BOD.
The BOD’s failure in the fiduciary role of over sight has created a risk of dissolution by the New York Attorney General and has enraged NRA members, pro second amendment organizations and second amendment reporters. The very groups that historically have been the back bone of the NRA are now the biggest critics. The NRA routinely describes these former support groups as adverse to the NRA and malcontents. These often repeated derogatory terms are used to described anyone or any organization with views that do not align with the NRA leadership.
In order to develop an understanding of where the NRA is heading, it is necessary to predict the outcome of the New York Attorney General’s Complaint against the NRA.
- The NRA prevails in the NYAG case and all charges are dropped and the NRA returns to normal operations with current management and BOD in place. This is not plausible due to the over whelming evidence compiled by the NYAG and through testimonies during the bankruptcy trial. If Martha Stewart can go to jail for insider trading on a transaction valued at $45,000; then I venture to speculate that mismanagement of millions of dollars can also have serious consequences.
- The NRA loses the NYAG case and immediately files an appeal or another bankruptcy filing. This is possible, however I think is unlikely because the NRA will lose all leverage with the NYAG and will be at the mercy of the court.
- The NRA avoids the trial through negotiations with the NYAG agrees to remove management, agrees to pay a massive fine, the NRA BOD is disbanded, and the NYAG has a huge political victory. I think this outcome is the most likely based on the other possible outcomes.
The appointment of an Independent Receiver by the New York Court could help stop the raiding of the NRA’s bank account. I am hoping that the recent filing of an intervention in the NYAG case (which I am the named Director) will finally end the continued wrong doing by a few and save the NRA for the members.
I hope to encourage all NRA members to become fully engaged in taking back control of the NRA for the benefit of the members. The annual member’s meeting has been scheduled for October 2, 2021 in Charlotte North Carolina. If you attend, now is the time for your voice to be heard. The BOD will not change course and have no intention of correcting the wrong doing of the past. If the NRA is important to you, please get involved….now!
The New York Post has more details on Marshall’s attempt to intervene in the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James that seeks to dissolve the NRA, as well as reaction from the group’s attorney.
In a Friday court filing, NRA board member Roscoe Marshall Jr. asked to intervene in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit seeking to break up the organization over allegations that top execs, including LaPierre, siphoned millions of dollars and otherwise flouted non-profit rules to fund lavish lifestyles.
While Marshall doesn’t agree that the NRA should be broken up for good, he does believe the only way to fix the group is to appoint a temporary receiver and to install completely new leadership, according to papers his lawyer Taylor Bartlett filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court.
Bartlett says Marshall would be a good candidate for the temporary receiver position.
“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,” the court documents claim.
… NRA lawyer William Brewer noted that Marshall’s attorneys recently lost a similar bid for two NRA members to intervene in the suit.
“Now, with literally only days left of his appointment as a board member, Mr. Marshall appears to object to the NRA’s current, winning strategy: defend the political attacks of the NYAG and maintain a commitment to good governance,” Brewer said.
I’m not sure what “winning” in this case, given that the NRA’s attempt to move to Texas and declare bankruptcy was rejected by a judge, but Brewer is right that Marshall’s term on the board expires this weekend, and that probably weakens Marshall’s attempt to intervene. If other active board members joined in Marshall’s motion, however, that would significantly increase the odds that the courts would view an intervention as board members acting in the interests of rank-and-file members.
I have no idea how Saturday’s Members Meeting will play out, but I suspect that it will go a long way towards determining the future of the National Rifle Association as it faces the most existential threat in its 150-year history.