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Disgruntled NRA Donors Push to Oust LaPierre 

Class-action plaintiff David Dell'Aquila says he will ask for a bankruptcy trustee to run the gun group

Wayne LaPierre, NRA vice president and CEO / Getty Images
• February 7, 2021 5:00 am

Disgruntled NRA donors will petition a bankruptcy court to purge the group's leadership. 

David Dell'Aquila, who is leading a class-action suit over accusations of financial impropriety, told the Washington Free Beacon he will request a court-appointed trustee to temporarily oversee operations. 

"We're going to definitely do a motion for a trustee," Dell'Aquila said. "I would not be surprised if the majority of the other creditors don't join or do a similar thing."

The NRA filed for bankruptcy in January in a bid to relocate from New York—which is trying to dissolve the group—to Texas. Officials say that the NRA is financially solvent and the court filings are meant to ease the move. The bankruptcy, however, is not without risks. The court could appoint a trustee with the power to displace the current board and leadership of the NRA, including longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre. The court-appointed official would enjoy broad power during bankruptcy proceedings. He would be required to act in the best interests of the group's creditors and could pursue claims that NRA leaders misused millions of dollars of the group's money on their own personal expenses. 

"It's in everybody's best interest to get a trustee in there, certainly from the creditors' point of view, and, I would argue, even for the five million members because every dime that they waste in frivolous litigation is a dime less that could go to the core mission," Dell'Aquila said.   

The group's top lawyer, William Brewer, dismissed the idea of a bankruptcy trustee in January. He said the NRA has responded to accusations of improper spending by filing suit against a top vendor. It has also required leaders such as LaPierre to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars stemming from reimbursements. 

Dell'Aquila, who has given six-figures to the group in the past, was placed on the unsecured creditors' committee on Thursday by the bankruptcy court. Brewer said the NRA would fully cooperate with the court and the committee despite being unhappy with Dell'Aquila's appointment.

"The NRA is disappointed that a disgruntled individual who has filed frivolous claims against the Association is appointed to the committee," Brewer told the Free Beacon.

Dell'Aquila sees the attempt to move from New York to Texas as a "fraudulent" scheme designed to dodge accountability for tens-of-millions spent on luxury suits, private flights, and lavish vacations for NRA executives and their family members.

"The NRA is saying we cleaned up our act. You haven't cleaned up your act," Dell'Aquila said. "You can't say, ‘Well, Wayne [LaPierre] paid back some money and that's been resolved and it ain't gonna be an issue.' They say the board has done their job and due diligencethe board hasn't." 

Dell'Aquila's suit, filed on behalf of any NRA members defrauded by the claimed impropriety, faced a setback in 2020 when a judge dismissed some of its claims. Elliott Schuchardt, Dell'Aquila's lawyer, said the remaining claim against the NRA is worth $64 million—potentially making them the largest of the group's creditors. That status could bolster the plaintiffs' demands for a trustee.

"We think there's enough evidence of fraud here that we can make a good faith argument to the bankruptcy court judge that somebody else should be running the NRA," Schuchardt said.