Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, frequently retreated to a Hollywood producer’s $1.8 million yacht, Illusions, after receiving threats in the wake of the Sandy Hook and Parkland mass shootings, which took place in 2012 and 2018, respectively.
LaPierre’s use of the yacht owned by Stanton McKenzie as a refuge was revealed on Monday during a NRA bankruptcy proceeding in Texas, when a New York prosecutor challenged the filing.
During the court proceeding, Assistant Attorney General Monica Connell argued that LaPierre’s use of the yacht was a conflict of interest, seeing as the NRA paid McKenzie $1 million per month for projects unrelated to the CEO’s use of the yacht. Additionally, Connell stated that LaPierre’s actions violated the rules of the NRA’s nonprofit status.
“They simply let me use it as a security retreat because they knew the threat that I was under,” LaPierre said in a deposition. “And I was basically under presidential threat without presidential security in terms of the number of threats I was getting. And this was the one place that I hope could feel safe, where I remember getting there going, ‘Thank God I’m safe, nobody can get me here.’ And that’s how it happened. That’s why I used it.”
The NRA’s bankruptcy hearing is expected to last until next week, at which point the judge will decide a judge will decide if the case should proceed in Texas or in New York.
Though the NRA was founded in New York, it left the state and reorganized in Texas earlier this year in order to avoid a lawsuit from New York State Attorney General Letitia James.