Another potential ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE Born again Cynic!

NRA’s Mystery Case Revealed


First, there was a post in The Trace referring to a sealed case involving the NRA and its longtime advertising firm Ackerman McQueen. It turns out all we knew is that the NRA has subpoenaed Tony Makris’ wife Elicia Warner Loughlin. She went to US District Court in South Carolina to quash the subpoena as being “burdensome”. It should be noted at this time that the NRA has settled with Ackerman McQueen for $12 million. Further, Makris’ Under Wild Skies won a judgement for $500,000 +/- in Virginia state courts against the NRA.

Next, the blog NRA In Danger reported on another move to squash a subpoena issued by the NRA. This time it was Makris who went to US District Court in Virginia to squash it. That subpoena had been issued to his CPA firm of Fitzwater and Dean. On August 18th, Magistrate Judge John Anderson ruled in favor of quashing the subpoena. He said it was overbroad, would impose an undue burden, not timely, and that the information could be obtained elsewhere. He also refused to transfer the case to the US District Court in Texas. Judge Anderson did allow the discovery order to remain sealed pending orders from the court in Texas.

Thanks to Judge A. Joe Fish of the US District Court for Northern Texas unsealing the majority of the case on August 25th, we finally have an answer.

The NRA sued Ackerman McQueen and the Mercury Group for breach of contract on September 1, 2022. The complaint which was filed under seal alleges Ack Mac and the Mercury Group violated the terms of the Confidential Settlement Agreement (CSA) because Makris and Under Wild Skies was suing the NRA in Virginia state court. They contend that UWS was an affiliate company and that suit violated the $12 million settlement which was “a broad, mutual general release of all claims (the “Release”) among the parties and their affiliates and/or related companies.”

The complaint goes on to argue that since Tony Makris was a senior executive of Ack Mac and President of Mercury Group, he and Under Wild Skies were precluded from suing the NRA in state court as they were “intertwined” and thus bound by the CSA. AckMac and the Mercury Group are included this suit because they failed to “cooperate in the dismissal of the UWS litigation.” The NRA does acknowledge later in the complaint that UWS is an entity that is solely owned by Tony Makris and is a Virginia corporation.

What is ironic here is the claim by the NRA (or should I say Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors) that they only sued AckMac, the Mercury Group, and Under Wild Skies initially so that they could do their due diligence and comply with concerns of New York regulators.

The NRA is asking for damages in excess of $75,000, attorneys’ fees in both this and the UWS cases, and reimbursement with interest of the damages awarded by the Virginia court.

In response to the NRA’s allegations, AckMac and the Mercury Group acknowledge the CSA, the litigation in Virginia by UWS, and that Tony Makris is an officer of both AckMac and Mercury. There is stops. They say that Under Wild Skies is not an affiliate or related entity of either company. They deny UWS was bound by the CSA. They also say the lawsuit is moot because the Virginia court found UWS was not bound by the CSA and that a jury awarded UWS $550,000 in damages. It is also contended that this lawsuit is “collaterally estopped” due to the rulings of the Virginia court which disposed of the NRA’s argument that the CSA included Under Wild Skies. Given that, this argument cannot be raised again.

Later filings added Tony Makris personally as a defendant in the case. His brief for summary judgement filed in May 2023 argues that he was never a named party to the CSA. Further, that he individually was not a party to the litigation in Virginia between Under Wild Skies and the NRA. It was the corporation that sued the NRA and not Makris personally. He also argues that he was a beneficiary of the CSA and cannot be sued as it granted release from any liability, damages, etc “from the beginning of the world until the date of this release.” Included in that release were all “Ackerman parties” which included any past, present, or future officer, director, shareholder, principal, etc. of Ackerman McQueen and Mercury Group. The NRA explicitly has said that Makris was an officer and executive and thus he personally would be covered by the CSA.

I don’t know how this case will be resolved. However, given there are 171 entries in the docket, attorneys have come and gone from Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, and there is a lot of back and forth on what can be introduced as evidence or what can be sealed, I think the real winners in this case will be the attorneys.

For the life of me, I cannot see what financial benefit will accrue to the NRA given the legal bills involved in trying to claw back the $550,000 paid to Under Wild Skies and perhaps some of the $12 million in the CSA with AckMac and Mercury Group. I don’t know if the Special Litigation Committee was involved in approving this lawsuit or if the Board was even informed. Regardless, this lawsuit seems more akin to the lawsuit that cost $8 million in legal fees so the NRA could avoid paying Chris Cox the $2 million in severance due him. They lost that case by the way. It just seems a frivolous waste of members’ dues that could have gone to more important things. You know like actually defending the Second Amendment against the predations of the Biden Administration.

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