Ahead of today’s NRA trial in the bankruptcy court (which began at 11:30 a.m. EDT today, and could well decide the future of the NRA, and LaPierre himself), former NRA vendor Ackerman McQueen attached partial transcripts of depositions taken in the NRA bankruptcy case to an April 2nd filing. This included the deposition of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, taken over two days.
The deposition contained shocking new findings, and specifically detailed LaPierre’s use of a 100-plus foot yacht for personal use, among other revelations.
Below are some lowlights of the first and second days of testimony (bolding is added for emphasis). Pages references are to the deposition page (not the PDF page number).
- CEO Wayne LaPierre acknowledged being gifted – by a NRA business partner – use of a 100+ foot yacht (named “The Illusion”), with a full staff, for personal vacations in the Bahamas. LaPierre never offered to pay for the use of the yacht, nor did he disclose it on his conflict of interest form. (p.283 – 288). LaPierre testified the yacht had “several staterooms” and “two or three or four staff people there, and there was – and there was a cook” onboard, and “two WaveRunners on the boat.”
- LaPierre’s attempt to peg his use of the yacht – in time – with two mass shootings in schools. He testified his first stay on the yacht the Illusion was “after the Sandy Hook shooting, the summer after the Sandy Hook shooting.” (p.289). [NB: The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School happened in December, seven months before the summer of 2013]. LaPierre claimed the use of the yacht was “offered as a security retreat where we could be safe and feel safe….” (p.285). LaPierre testified his last stay on the Illusion was “sometime in 2018 after the Parkland shooting in the summer.” (p.289). [NB: The mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School happened in February four months before the summer of 2018].
- LaPierre testified that he used the Illusion once a year. (p.289)
- LaPierre claims he faced “presidential [security] threat” and “was looking for a place to be safe.” (p.288). He also testified the Illusion was “the one place that I hope could feel safe, where I remember getting there going, Thank God I’m safe, nobody can get me here. And that’s how it happened. That’s why I used [the yacht].” (p.285)
- LaPierre also testified that he participated in three or four “celebrity retreats” on the yacht the Illusion. These trips on the yacht were “most of them were in – in Europe, and I think one of them was to Greece”, he testified. (p.291). Seeming to undercut his claim that use of the yacht was for security reasons, LaPierre testified that his Director of Security did not review safety or security on the yacht nor conducted any background checks on the other people who would be on the boat with him (whether staff; celebrities; or other passengers). (p.293)
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good friend with a yacht?”
Other revelations include:
- LaPierre testified that he didn’t know what the NRA did with two hunting trips it had received as gifts in 2019 and wasn’t “aware of what the NRA’s policy is on hunting trips.” LaPierre has allegedly been “treated to free hunting safaris to exotic locales by an NRA vendor” in years past. (p.99-101)
- LaPierre testified that he didn’t know why in 2019, the NRA paid former CFO and Treasurer Woody Phillips hundreds of thousands of dollars or whether Phillips performed any services for the NRA that year. (p.89-90)
- LaPierre testified that he expensed mosquito treatment outside his home to the NRA “because we have security guys at the house 24 hours a day, and they walk outside” and “the area around our house is swarmed with mosquitos. So we had it sprayed for mosquitoes so they wouldn’t get eaten.” (p.193-194)
- When asked who at the NRA authorized the payment of more than $986,000 to reimburse Ackerman McQueen for Oliver North’s contract, LaPierre said that it was “the treasurer’s office” who “ultimately negotiated the payment, but […] I authorized it, too, I guess.” (p.150-152)
For further, detailed information about the NRA and the consequences of this week’s trial, please email [email protected]. Everytown has also chronicled court filings and news articles about the various NRA scandals at www.nrawatch.org. A specific page dedicated to filings in the bankruptcy can be found at https://nrawatch.org/case/nra-bankruptcy-proceedings/.