The National Rifle Association's attempt to use bankruptcy to leave New York and reorganize in Texas was shot down by a federal judge in Dallas Tuesday. US Bankruptcy Judge Harlin Hale, ruling after a 12-day trial that concluded May 3, said the gun rights group's bankruptcy wasn't filed in good faith, but was an attempt to dodge a lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who accuses the NRA of spending abuses, reports Reuters. The filing is less like a traditional bankruptcy case involving financial difficulties and "more like cases in which courts have found bankruptcy was filed to gain an unfair advantage in litigation or to avoid a regulatory scheme," Hale wrote, per the AP.
Hale described the NRA as a "solvent and growing organization" and slammed chief executive Wayne LaPierre for the "surreptitious manner" in which he filed for bankruptcy without notifying board members or other top executives, the Wall Street Journal reports. "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," the judge said. The New York state lawsuit accuses LaPierre and other execs of illegally diverting millions of dollars for expenses including lavish trips. 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," James tweeted Tuesday. "No one is above the law." (More NRA stories.)