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NRA Board to Hold Emergency Hearing Amid Bankruptcy Turmoil

Board member says lawyers mislead the board, LaPierre mislead the court 

NRA headquarters / Getty Images
• March 9, 2021 5:00 am

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The National Rifle Association will hold a special meeting on the group's bankruptcy in Dallas on Sunday amid private grumblings from board members who claim the group's lawyers intentionally left them in the dark, according to a notice obtained by the Washington Free Beacon 

NRA leaders will brief the board about its bankruptcy strategy, which was sold to board members as a way to avoid dissolution at the hands of the New York attorney general, according to an official notice sent to board members on March 2. NRA president Carolyn Meadows sent the short-notice invitation to the group's 76 board members, as she and the nation's top gun-rights group attempt to present a unified front to a federal bankruptcy court.

"The sole purpose of the meeting is to provide a briefing to the Board regarding the NRA’s reorganization plan and the legal matters overseen by the Special Litigation Committee, and to take any necessary action directly related to those matters," the letter said. 

The meeting comes after board member Phillip Journey accused NRA lawyers of misleading the board about the creation of the Special Litigation Committee and the bankruptcy in a court filing. Journey, a Kansas family court judge, told the Free Beacon the board was not made aware of the bankruptcy plan when it voted to empower the committee in a Jan. 7, 2021 meeting. He said he found out about it when his daughter texted him a news story. 

"You could have seen the top of my car blow off with my head," Journey said. "Because I knew what that meant. It meant that those three lawyers committed a lie of omission of material facts to the board of directors…. Nobody said bankruptcy." 

William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA, said Journey is mistaken. 

"Judge Journey purportedly supports the mission of the NRA and claims not to oppose the Association seeking to reincorporate in Texas," he said in a statement. "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. The plan has been widely endorsed by NRA board members, NRA members, elected officials, and other key stakeholders." 

Journey said he had voted to support the committee, but had no idea the group's leadership and legal advisers had planned to go into bankruptcy. He disputed NRA filings that claimed board members were properly informed. Those filings were signed by embattled executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, who was not present at the meeting when the committee was discussed, according to Journey. The Kansas jurist believes the law has been violated and he has a duty to report it to the court.

"It certainly was a fraud perpetrated on the court," Journey said. "I told them all when I got on the board, ‘Look, I'm a judge. I'm a mandatory reporter. Whatever we do, we got to be on the up and up.'" 

Journey was named to the board for the second time in 2020. He said he only wants what is best for the NRA membership, but added those goals can only be realized if board members are properly informed of the organization's dealings. He has also asked the bankruptcy court to appoint an independent examiner to go through the group's finances.

"Once they did that in the January 7 board meeting, everything else is pretty much set in stone. You know, I mean, my decisions are made for me," Journey said. "It kills me. It really does. I'm losing friends I've had for decades because I've got to do the right thing. I never wanted anything like this to happen." 

The board meeting will be held at the Omni Dallas Hotel on March 14 beginning at 10 a.m.