NRA Members Lose Bid to Intervene in N.Y. AG’s Lawsuit
(Bloomberg) -- Two members of the National Rifle Association won’t be able to intervene in a case seeking to dissolve the organization even though they claim their interests aren’t being represented either by the nonprofit’s management or New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the lawsuit.
NRA members Francis Tait and Mario Aguirre had sought the court’s permission to represent rank-and-file gun owners in the lawsuit filed in August 2020. James has accused the NRA and its senior executives of engaging in lavish spending and other serious fiduciary lapses.
Francois Blaudeau, an attorney for the would-be intervenors, argued during a hearing Thursday that it was important to give members a voice because it wasn’t in their interest to dissolve the group or to keep senior executives fully in control, given the allegations of serious wrongdoing pending against them.
“You can’t leave the fox in the henhouse when the fox is killing the chickens,” Blaudeau said.
Justice Joel M. Cohen rejected the NRA members’ request, stating that under state law they would require the participation of at least 5% of the group’s 5 million members to qualify for standing.
But the judge said he appreciates the perspective of NRA members and would consider other ways to include them as the case proceeds.
An attorney for the members said that they were supported by an NRA board member, among others, and he expects to file further motions seeking standing in the case.
James said she looks forward to the case moving forward without further delay.
“No matter who argues on its behalf, the fact remains that the National Rifle Association is fraught with fraud and abuse,” James said in a statement released after Cohen’s ruling.
The case is People of the State of New York v. The National Rifle Association of America, 451625/2020, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.
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