Former Longtime Vendor Ackerman McQueen’s Claims Against NRA For Breach of Contract, Fraud, Defamation, and Civil Conspiracy Will Continue
Trial Scheduled For Fall 2021
NEW YORK – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statement after a federal judge issued a ruling allowing the majority of Ackerman McQueen’s legal claims against the NRA to proceed.
The NRA and its former advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen, are embroiled in litigation about the implosion of their business relationship, including this federal litigation in Texas. The parties in the case have traded accusations of deceit, wrongdoing, and extortion, among other allegations. This litigation is now of significant economic consequence – with both parties seeking over $50 million in damages.
“It seems that the more the NRA spends on lawyers, the less they win — and that trend continues with today’s decision.” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The NRA has more legal dirty laundry than Wayne LaPierre has expensive Italian suits, and now even more of it will be aired out for the public to see.”
“The NRA’s legal troubles are due solely to the actions of its leaders, and thankfully judges are seeing through their lies and obfuscation and allowing these court cases to proceed,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “NRA leaders chose to use the organization as a personal piggy bank, they chose to pursue a failed bankruptcy, and they chose to blow up their relationship with a former vendor. These are all crises of their own making.”
The court allowed a fraud case to proceed against the NRA based on Ackerman’s allegations that the NRA created “fake audits” to support a pre-planned litigation the NRA wished to bring against Ackerman. Ackerman has put forth evidence that the NRA suggested an auditor who they believed was independent but actually had ties to NRA lawyer Bill Brewer. The court will permit Ackerman’s claim that it was defrauded by the NRA into thinking the audit would be truly independent to proceed to trial.
The court also allowed Ackerman McQueen’s defamation claims against the NRA to move forward. Ackerman contends that Wayne’s LaPierre’s April 25, 2019 letter to the NRA Board constitutes a defamatory statement because it accuses Ackerman of “extortion” and contains a variety of false statements. This letter was sent to the Board during the power struggle surrounding the NRA’s 2019 Annual Meeting, where NRA board president Oliver North challenged Wayne LaPierre and others in NRA management about their spending. Among other accusations, LaPierre told the board that he had been told that he must step down, otherwise damaging information about him would be released.
Today’s court judgement follows an updated complaint from the New York Attorney General yesterday against the NRA, which builds on revelations from the NRA’s failed bankruptcy attempt. Everytown has chronicled the NRA’s various legal woes at NRAWatch.org. For further information about the state of play for the NRA, please email [email protected].