Poor Wayne LaPierre, People Won't Stop Dropping French Country Chateaus On His Head!
In today's episode of Real Housewives of the NRA, we find out that Susan LaPierre and her husband, Wayne, may have been less than entirely candid about their attempt to purchase a hideous fake French country chateau on a golf course outside Dallas. When the Wall Street Journal reported last week that the NRA had wired $70,000 toward the purchase to an account controlled by its longtime media company Ackerman McQueen, both parties were quick to point the finger at the other.
The NRA claimed that Ackerman wanted to purchase the 10,000-square-foot property as an investment for its executives and then rent it to the CEO, but saintly and humble Wayne LaPierre refused to go along with the boondoggle. They failed to explain why Wayne and Susan visited the property twice and sent along a punch list of repairs and items, like the golf cart, they'd like the current owners to convey with the house.
In Ackerman's version, the media company pulled the plug after sussing out that Wayne wasn't really looking for a safehouse to protect him from Shannon Watts and her crew of wine mommy assassins in the wake of the Parkland school shooting last year.
Why these assholes lie constantly when it's all clearly going to come out -- FFS, the New York attorney general already subpoenaed the documents! -- is a mystery. But now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the NRA's CFO had actually signed paperwork agreeing to front $6.5 million dollars for a 99 percent stake in the Delaware LLC that would own the Dallas mansion. The other 1 percent would be owned by Ackerman, in exchange for a contribution of $10. Which is some interesting math, and is also not entirely congruous with either side's bullshit explanation.
The NRA has continued to stand by its extremely carefully worded statements. NRA lawyer William Brewer said last week that "Not a cent of NRA money was ultimately spent." Which is literally correct, since the NRA got its $70,000 back when the deal fell through in June of 2018. And if you squint hard enough, it's just possible that the NRA spokesman is telling the truth when he says, "Neither Mr. LaPierre nor the Board ever formally considered, much less approved, an investment in the house in question or the other properties shown by Ackerman McQueen's real estate agent." Because they clearly didn't run it by the Board for formal consideration or approval. And maybe Ol' Wayne didn't think of it as an "investment" exactly, since it was really more like a perk.
Let's make an educated guess here that this transaction fell through because in July of 2018 the NRA's own audit committee pulled the leadership together for a Come to Jesus meeting to discuss their relationship with Ackerman McQueen. And for weeks before that meeting, Emily Cummins, then-managing director of tax and risk management, had been sending senior executives preparatory memos with titles like "List of Top Concerns for Audit Committee." And, as the New Yorker reports, the NRA's relationship with Ackerman was big on that list.
The memo, written by hand, lists seven areas of primary concern. "N.R.A. pays overbilled, deceptive, vague invoices to 'preferred' vendors and contractors," one entry says. Another notes that "decisions are made in the best interests of vendors," especially, the memos make clear, those of Ackerman McQueen. A nonprofit's board is charged with scrutinizing business arrangements and providing fiscal oversight. Yet, according to the memos, the "board hasn't been told of what's embarrassing."
Yes, it might be "embarrassing" if the Board found out after the fact that the NRA had bought Wayne LaPierre a $6.5 million house and sold a stake worth $65,000 to Ackerman for just $10. It might be more than "embarrassing" if then-candidate Letitia James got elected New York Attorney General and followed through on her July 12, 2018, promise to "use the constitutional power as an attorney general to regulate charities, that includes the NRA, to investigate their legitimacy." It might have been enough to torpedo the deal to buy that tackyass mansion.
It's just a guess. But it's all coming out now, so we'll find out soon.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.