Letitia James Celebrates Ex-NRA Official’s Ban

New York Attorney General Letitia James celebrated a legal victory over a former chief financial officer for the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Tuesday.

James, a Democrat, announced that her office reached a settlement with the organization’s ex-CFO, Wilson Phillips. that will see him banned from serving as a fiduciary of any not-for-profits in New York for 10 years and require training before he is allowed to return to such a role.

The agreement comes as part of a lawsuit against the NRA in which she accused its former executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, of improperly spending the organization’s money to fund his “lavish” lifestyle. She accused Phillips of allowing invoices for private flights to the Bahamas.

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference on August 3, 2021 in New York City. James on Tuesday touted a win over an ex-NRA CFO.

David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Her investigation also uncovered expense reports submitted by LaPierre for reimbursement of mosquito treatment and landscaping at his house as well as gifts for friends and family members, contracts given to his friends from whom he allegedly received gifts, and invoices worth more than $4 million from a vendor used for travel, hair and makeup expenses.

A jury found Phillips liable for violating his management duties in February, but James’s office’s statement on Tuesday made public details of the agreement.

James celebrated the victory in a statement.

“New Yorkers deserve to know that when they support a not-for-profit, those donations are being used to advance its mission, not squandered on lavish perks for staff or cronies,” James wrote. “For decades, Wilson Phillips oversaw and allowed financial mismanagement and corruption at the NRA, and that is why the jury found him, the NRA, and his co-defendants, senior executives Wayne LaPierre and John Frazer, liable for their misconduct.

“Today’s agreement should serve as an example that my office will hold anyone, and everyone, involved in abusing their power or misappropriating funds accountable.”

Newsweek reached out to James’s office, an attorney representing Phillips and the NRA for comment via email.

NRA attorney William A. Brewer III responded to the ruling in a statement provided to Newsweek, writing that James’s announcement “distorts the record and speaks to the motives of the New York attorney general: to promote her own interests over those of the NRA members she purports to be protecting.

“Importantly, the settlement does not secure the monetary relief against Mr. Phillips that the jury awarded to the NRA – for Mr. Phillips’ participation in schemes that damaged the Association. Unfortunately, the agreement does nothing to effect collection of the millions that Mr. Phillips owes.”

In February, a jury ordered LaPierre to repay $4.4 million to the NRA, and that Phillips must replay $2 million, according to the Associated Press. LaPierre announced his resignation from the organization ahead of the trial.

James sought to have the NRA dissolved over the allegations, but Manhattan Judge Joel M. Cohen rejected that effort in 2022, ruling that fines and restitution could address the alleged misconduct.