NEW YORK — A judge rejected the National Rifle Association’s bid Tuesday to file for bankruptcy in Texas, ruling that the audacious move was an attempt to avoid the oversight of New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
Northern District of Texas Bankruptcy Judge Harlin Hale ruled that the NRA could not consolidate its many legal troubles in his courtroom in an effort to avoid James’ objective: dissolution of the politically powerful gun group.
“The Court has great concern about this case because its purpose is to avoid dissolution that is being sought as a remedy in a state regulatory action,” Hale wrote.
The NRA has called James’s lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court “an existential threat.”
“The Court is saying that the Bankruptcy Code does not provide sanctuary from this kind of a threat,” Hale wrote.
James praised the ruling on Twitter.
“The @NRA does not get to dictate if and where it will answer for its actions, and our case will continue in New York court. No one is above the law,” James tweeted.
The 11-day trial featured shocking evidence of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s mismanagement and abuse of members’ money.
LaPierre took luxury trips on a rich friend’s yachts — dubbed Illusions and the Grand Illusion — despite the friend also having a lucrative contract with the NRA. LaPierre used the yachts as a refuge when public outrage surged over school shootings.
LaPierre emerged through evidence as a coddled executive living the high life, surrounded by security. He’s not, evidence showed, a resourceful, gun-toting man’s man well-versed in the art of self-defense. Videos showed LaPierre couldn’t deliver a kill shot to a suffering elephant after three tries during a luxury hunting trip in Botswana. He admitted he was outfitted with pricey upscale suits. His wife allegedly had a traveling “glam squad.”
“As counsel for the NRA acknowledged on the record, there were cringeworthy facts during this trial,” Hale wrote.
The judge was particularly troubled by the lack of communication among NRA leadership before LaPierre decided to file for bankruptcy.
“Excluding so many people from the process of deciding to file for bankruptcy, including the vast majority of the board of directors, the chief financial officer, and the general counsel, is nothing less than shocking,” Hale wrote.
The NRA, with 5 million members, says it remains financially healthy.