By Ron Carter
Judge Harlin Hale is expected to rule in the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing of the NRA on or around Monday, May 10th, 2021. The internal NRA drama has continued to vomit itself everywhere with the vast majority of the NRA directors pretending it (still) doesn’t exist. Perhaps they are worried about indictments or maybe it is because they are truly delusional; whatever the case may be, one of the following four things will happen this week:
“1. Bankruptcy Case Dismissed – If this occurs, the NYAG complaint will move forward and litigated in New York. Currently the NY Judge has ordered this case to continue in spite of the bankruptcy.
2. Court Appointment of Trustee – If this occurs, a Trustee assumes management of the NRA and can unilaterally choose many options one of which would be to change the filing to Chapter 7 liquidation.
3. Court Approval of NRA Reorganization Plan – If this occurs, the NRA is allowed to implement a reorganization plan. As of this date, we (NRA) have not filed a reorganization plan.
4. Court Approves Independent Examiner motion – If this occurs, the Court will appoint an Independent Examiner with special authority to audit the NRA and provide detailed evaluation and assessment to the court. In addition, the examiner may provide recommendations to the court regarding future actions and changes to the NRA management, structure, and internal controls.”
These four point came from one of the few NRA directors doing anything other than exalting LaPierre, Rocky Marshall. Marshall is one of the most surprising new directors to the NRA. He only recently became a director, replacing Duane Liptak (Magpul EVP) after Liptak resigned. Marshall was one of the runners-up in the 2020 board election and was ironically nominated by the nominating committee who “gets its marching orders from LaPierre.”
On March 15th, 2021, Marshall sent out an email introducing himself to his fellow directors. In it he mentioned the above possibilities. Apparently, the only other director to consider what would happen was Phillip Journey (another recent addition to the board) who immediately started work petitioning the court for an Examiner. Journey, to me, must have had a Road to Damascus experience since in February of 2020 he was chastising members for being “anti-Wayne.” Still, Judge Journey was true to his pledge to members and was the loudest director trying to undo the failures of NRA leadership. Besides Marshall and Journey, Owen “Buz” Mills joined the two in opposition to the LaPierre “Kingdom.”
So, what will happen?
First of all, there is no way in hell Judge Hale is going to side with the NRA and approve the reorganization plan and CRO. The NRA didn’t even have a finalized plan until May 3rd for crying out loud! It was almost like an afterthought! “Oh, well, I guess we need to finish up a restructuring plan since we’re almost finished with closing arguments!” The reorganization plan was so rushed that the signed name was “/s/ draft”.
Over the last two years the NRA leadership and board of directors have just appeared brain-dead. Heck, the best defense against the NYAG’s suit was to oust any and all perpetrators of corruption (not merely the one who pleaded the fifth and the sexual predator) and counter that the NYAG’s case was then irrelevant because the BoD took care of the problems. Instead, they have literally done the opposite time and again. Consider too that the lack of succession planning shows that the NRA functions similar to a pyramid scheme. There is no way Judge Hale will rule for that to continue.
Secondly, Judge Hale obviously wrestled with the fact that NYAG is suing for dissolution and there apparently is no relevant case precedent to determine if he can even allow the NRA to go forward with any chapter eleven protections before the NYAG’s suit is concluded. Based upon that it is very likely that the bankruptcy will be thrown out.
I suspect that Judge Hale will instead appoint a Trustee.
This is a situation where a state AG is pressing a very strong case but that doesn’t do anything for the other parties and after all, this is still a bankruptcy case. The NYAG’s suit is just warming up. Also let’s be frank, four directors tried to get an independent audit done in 2019. At this point it is crystal clear who is responsible for the lack of integrity, accountability, and the corruption that has lead our NRA to its death bed. An examiner, even with enhanced authority, isn’t exactly a viable option with this level of perpetual insanity. Still, a Trustee could send the NRA straight to bankruptcy liquidation.