Philadelphia Asian community speaks

first_imgPhiladelphiaIn response to the brutal murders in Atlanta March 16, this statement was issued March 17 by members of the Philadelphia’s Asian community including Woori Center, VietLead, Asian Americans United, API PA, City Council Member Helen Gym, Modero & Co., Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, Pejuang, CAIR Philadelphia, APALA Philadelphia, Red Umbrella Alliance, Asian Arts Initiative and PCDC.Our hearts are heavy today after the murders of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, in Atlanta last night, making six more people and their loved ones victims of the anti-Asian violence that has terrorized our communities in the U.S. since its genesis.The recent surge in anti-Asian violence, while horrific, is only part of the longer and larger history of systemic violence in the U.S. Anti-Asian violence, and gender-based violence against Asian and Pacific Islander women in particular, isn’t new.It is the product of interlocking systems of power that oppress marginalized communities — that strip our communities of resources that we need to live, deport our loved ones, murder our Black community members, make women and elders scared to walk alone at night, force students and teachers to go to school in toxic buildings, gentrify our immigrant neighborhoods, perpetuate unsafe working conditions, and more.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Tribute to press freedom martyr on third anniversary of murder

first_img News News Lebanon : Violence against reporters becoming more frequent in Lebanon News December 12, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Tribute to press freedom martyr on third anniversary of murder RSF_en News LebanonMiddle East – North Africa Organisation February 4, 2021 Find out more November 11, 2020 Find out more Reporters Without Borders appeals to the United Nations to help bring Gebran Tueni’s murderers to justice. A parliamentarian and publisher of one of the Middle-East’s leading Arabic-language dailies, Tueni was killed in a targeted car-bombing in the Beirut suburb of Mkalles three years ago today. Follow the news on Lebanon Lebanese journalist found shot dead in car Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders appeals to the United Nations to help bring Gebran Tueni’s murderers to justice. A parliamentarian and publisher of one of the Middle East’s leading Arabic-language dailies, Tueni was killed in a targeted car-bombing in the Beirut suburb of Mkalles three years ago today.“We join the Tueni family and all of An-Nahar’s staff in voicing our deep grief and in paying tribute to this leading journalist’s memory,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Like his colleague Samir Kassir, who was murdered in May 2005, Tueni confronted the serious threats to which he was exposed in Lebanon and paid for his commitment with his life.”The press freedom organisation added: “Three years later, his killers are still at large and Reporters Without Borders appeals to the United Nations to take drastic measures to expose the identity of those who murdered him.”Lebanon was shaken by a series of high-profile political killings in 2005 beginning with former prime minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination on 14 February. An-Nahar editorialist and intellectual Samir Kassir was killed outside his home in the Beirut district of Ashrafieh on 2 June by plastic explosives placed underneath his car.Tueni, An-Nahar’s CEO and parliamentary representative for Beirut, was killed on 12 December while being driven in convoy to the newspaper’s offices in the city centre. A car-bomb left at the side of the Mkalles road was set off as Tueni’s convoy drove by. Three other people were killed and 10 were seriously wounded.An outspoken advocate of press freedom in the Arab world and well known to the international media, Tueni was one of the leading architects of Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution and it was clear that his life was in danger, especially in the wake of Hariri’s assassination.The international tribunal that was tasked with investigating the Hariri assassination decided to extend its mandate to cover all of the high-profile political murders from the start of October 2004 if they appeared to be linked to Hariri’s death.An An-Nahar representative told Reporters Without Borders that the international investigation is continuing. She added that it is being conducted with complete secrecy and those in charge have not said whether they have learned anything about Tueni’s death.In Tueni’s memory, the World Association of Newspapers awards a Gebran Tueni Prize each year to an Arab newspaper editor or publisher. Help by sharing this information January 14, 2021 Find out more to go further Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” LebanonMiddle East – North Africa last_img read more

25 jobs lost as Eurospar shuts shop

first_imgWATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Vanishing Ireland podcast documenting interviews with people over 70’s, looking for volunteers to share their stories Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Facebook Previous articleLimerick Smarter Travel invites applications for National Bike Week event grantNext articleFunding appeal for earthquake victims John Keoghhttp://www.limerickpost.ie Linkedin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR NewsBreaking news25 jobs lost as Eurospar shuts shopBy John Keogh – April 28, 2015 681 A sign displayed outside Eurospar Watch House Cross this morningA sign displayed outside Eurospar Watch House Cross this morningSOME 25 people have lost their jobs following the shock closure of the Eurospar at Watch House Cross this morning.The Ballynantybeg Post Office, which operated from the Watch House Cross Shopping Centre, has also temporarily closed. Those in receipt of Department of Social Protection payments have been advised to go to Caherdavin Post Office for collection from 3pm this afternoon.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up A sign displayed on the window of the Eurospar supermarket this morning read: “Due to the very challenging trading environment, it is with regret that we announce that Eurospar Watch House Cross has ceased trading with immediate effect.“On behalf of the management and staff, we would like to thank you sincerely for all your support and loyalty over the years. Your custom has been very much valued and appreciated.”center_img Twitter Advertisement Print Email WhatsApp Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival TAGSan posteurosparfeaturedJobslimerickWatch House Cross Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” last_img read more

[Make in India? ] Allegation Of Govt Discriminating Against Indian Bidders: Delhi HC Directs PMO To Bring It To The Attention Of PM If Bidder Files Representation

first_imgNews Updates[Make in India? ] Allegation Of Govt Discriminating Against Indian Bidders: Delhi HC Directs PMO To Bring It To The Attention Of PM If Bidder Files Representation Akshita Saxena7 Feb 2021 9:00 PMShare This – x”Keeping in view the fact that the Government of India is laying emphasis on “Make in India” (Atma Nirbharta), the grievances of the petitioner appear to be correct and in our view require serious consideration at the highest level.”The Delhi High Court recently directed an Indian machine tool company to approach the office of the Prime Minister in connection to alleged discrimination against Indian bidders in an internationally competitive Tender process conducted by the Central Government, for supply of CNC machines and equipment. A Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli refused to stay the…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Delhi High Court recently directed an Indian machine tool company to approach the office of the Prime Minister in connection to alleged discrimination against Indian bidders in an internationally competitive Tender process conducted by the Central Government, for supply of CNC machines and equipment. A Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli refused to stay the Tender process on account of inordinate delay made by the Petitioner in approaching the Court. However, it noted that this tender was process was found to be irregular by the High Court in another case and thus, it would be appropriate to grant liberty to the Petitioner to approach the highest authorities. “We also permit the petitioner to make a representation addressed to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India highlighting the aspects with regard to wrongful evaluation of the bids and discrimination meted out to some of the bidders. In case such a representation is made, we request the PMO to ensure that the same receives the attention of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. We are inclined to grant this liberty to the petitioner in the light of the fact that the petitioner is an Indian manufacturer and we had earlier found merit in the claim of the petitioner in Macpower CNC Machines Limited v. Union of India (supra) that Indian bidders are being discriminated against, even though the tender conditions itself stipulated that Indian manufacturers would be given preference,” the order stated. Background The case of the Petitioner, Bharat Fritz Werner Limited, was that it was disqualified from the Tender process without assigning any reasons. It was also pointed out that the contract was awarded to Respondent No. 2, even though the Petitioner’s financial bid was substantially lower than that of Respondent No. 2. The Petitioner’s counsel further informed the Court that in Macpower CNC Machines Limited v. Union of India, WP 3942/2020, another Division Bench of the Delhi High Court (led by the same Judge, Justice Vipin Sanghi) had after examining the records relating to the same tender, found various infirmities in the matter of evaluation of the various bids and the discriminatory treatment meted out to some of the bidders. It was contended that the Petitioner is also a victim of the same illegal process. Findings The Court noted that there was merit in this contention, as already discussed in Macpower CNC Machines (supra) and thus, granted liberty to the Petitioner to institute appropriate civil proceedings. I]It also granted liberty to the Petitioner to approach the PMO, for appropriate action. The order stated, “Keeping in view the fact that the Government of India is laying emphasis on “Make in India” (AtmaNirbharta), the grievances of the petitioner appear to be correct and in our view require serious consideration at the highest level.” However, the Bench refused to interfere in the tender process or grant any relief to the Petitioner on account of doctrine of laches. It said, “As noticed hereinabove, the contract already stands awarded to respondent No. 2 in June 2020. Keeping in view the fact that substantial time has elapsed since the award of the tender in favour of respondent No. 2, we are not inclined to interfere in these proceedings at this stage. We have therefore, not gone into the merits of the petitioner’s claim or the respondent’s defence. In these circumstances, even though we are not inclined to interfere with the award of the tender in favour of respondent No. 2 at this stage, we make it clear that it shall be open for the petitioner to raise all its pleas and claim whatever relief is available to him at this stage in appropriate civil proceedings.”Senior Advocate Akhil Sibal and Advocate Gaurav Juneja appeared for Petitioner; Standing Counsel Harish Vaidyanathan Shankar for UoI; Advocate Moazzam Khan for Respondent No. 2. Case Title: Bharat Fritz Werner Ltd. v. Union of India & Anr. Click Here To Download Order Read OrderSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more

Letting agent fined £72,000 for shocking offences at three HMOs

first_imgA rogue letting agent in Hertfordshire has been fined £72,000 after breaking almost every regulation in the book and continuing to operate an estate agency franchise despite the arrangement being cancelled two-and-a -half years ago.Watford-based Muhammad Siddique (left) was found guilty of 15 offences dating back to 2017 while operating three illegal HMOs on the same road without the knowledge of their owners, despite being directed to rent them to single families.Other offences included failing to upgrade the properties to meet fire safety and access laws including one house which did not have any smoke alarm. Inspectors found he had also breached several health and safety regulations and failed to provide gas and electrical safety certificates when asked.But St Alban’s Magistrates’ Court also heard that Siddique had been a franchisee of estate agency chain Open House until 2016 when his franchise was terminated after the company became aware of his failure to stick to customer service and compliance procedures. Until then Siddique had operated a fully-branded high street branch in Watford (main picture).But Siddique continued to trade in the area using the company’s branding.“A number of unlawful and unethical practices came to our attention which were then reported to Watford Council,” says Alex Morrison, a director at Open House.“We have been working closely with the council’s environmental health team to take action against Mr Siddique and we are extremely relieved that this rogue agent has now been convicted.”Watford council worked with the landlords of the properties and Open House to achieve a successful prosecution of Siddique for the offences. HMO Open House Estate AGents letting agent March 7, 2019Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » Letting agent fined £72,000 for shocking offences at three HMOs previous nextAgencies & PeopleLetting agent fined £72,000 for shocking offences at three HMOsMuhammad Siddique’s fine follows an investigation supported by estate agency Open House, which he continued to claim be a franchisee for despite being fired several years ago.Nigel Lewis7th March 201902,464 Viewslast_img read more

Victory (of sorts) for business insurance policyholders after High Court judgement

first_imgHome » News » COVID-19 news » Victory (of sorts) for business insurance policyholders after High Court judgement previous nextCOVID-19 newsVictory (of sorts) for business insurance policyholders after High Court judgementThe FCA, which brought the case, says estate agents and other businesses which have struggled to move forward Covid claims with their insurer now have greater clarity on whether they are likely to get a payout.Nigel Lewis15th September 202003,628 Views The High Court has just handed down its judgement on the Business Interruption insurance test case and to a significant extent it’s good news for some of the estate agents and other property industry businesses who had made claims for lost income following the Covid lockdown.A statement from the FCA says the victory has removed the need for policyholders to resolve many key issues of contractual uncertainty and causation individually with their insurers, and helped speed up the process of making a claim.“Today’s judgement is a significant step in resolving the uncertainty being faced by policyholders,” says Christopher Woolard, Interim Chief Executive of the FCA.Following complicated legal arguments over many weeks, the court found in favour of the arguments put forward by the FCA on the majority of key issues of contractual uncertainty, which had been made to seek clarity for as many policyholders and insurers as possible.The FCA did this by selecting a representative sample of policy wordings issued by eight policy holders including Hiscox, one of the best known and widely-used insurance firms within the property industry.JudgementThe 150-page judgement falls into three categories and should be read carefully before agents reach for the fizz. These are ‘disease wordings’, which the court said would provide cover but are not common in Hiscox policies. The other is ‘prevention of access’ or ‘public authority’ policy wordings which under much fewer circumstances will provide cover, the court said. The third type is ‘hybrid wordings’ which are also found in Hiscox policies.But the judgement says this will depend on the detailed wording of each clause and how the business was affected by the Government response to the pandemic.This will include, for example, whether the business was subject to a mandatory closure order and whether the business was ordered to close completely.“Each policy needs to be considered against the detailed judgement to work out what it means for that policy,” the FCA says. “Policyholders with affected claims can expect to hear from their insurer within the next seven days.”Read a full and detailed legal break-down of the judgement by specialist firm Herbert Smith Freehills.Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark says: “Today’s result is welcome news for those who have been financially disadvantaged through no fault of their own and brings much needed clarity to policyholders and businesses suffering from financial strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that each policy is now considered rapidly as a number of livelihoods depend on this.”Business interruption insurance business insurance Christopher Woolard FCA September 15, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021last_img read more

How to be a rahver

first_imgTo be a true rahver you must know this group, know every track name (“Put Slam on! Put Slam on!”), and talk about Pendulum every time raving comes up in conversation. The true raver, however, is not fooled – Pendulum are but one group, and one that may even be (whisper it) a bit…mainstream. Of course, this being Oxford and us students a canny lot, some more dedicated rahvers are aware of this, and despise Pendulum, whilst pretending to know of ever more obscure music. Each preciously aims to go to more and more events, so that he can appear more and more hardcore. Each jealously accumulates a knowledge of increasingly esoteric sub-genres – ‘psy-trance’, ‘liquid jungle’, ’scouse house’ ‘happy hardcore’, ‘raga drum dub’, ‘euphoric trance’, ‘hardcore gabba’ and, of course, ‘drum dub raga scouse’. After all, if you can’t be a bit edgy and feel yourself superior to others, then what is the point of adopting a subculture in the first place? One-upmanship is the essence of true rahving.   So why ‘Rah’ver? And how can we become them, aside from adopting a Pendulum obsession? A Rahver is ‘rah’ because he or she is essentially not a part of the grimy drum and bass scene. Often private schooled, a rahver feels equally at home at a cocktail party, or assaulting a pile of books in preparation for an essay. The true drum and bass fanatic, gurning his way through life in a constant cycle of pill induced ups and downs, most certainly is not.  Rahving allows us clean kids to get a delightful frisson of underground cool – and of, course, display our creative side. The rahver, instead of the grimy T-shirt favoured by the other inhabitants of raves, will dress up in fabulously bright clothing. Strange headgear, funky trousers and leggings, brightly patterned shirts, and an improbable amount of glowsticks are key to the rahve uniform. For it is a uniform. Finding conformity in their non-conformity (exactly like the indie kids they sneer at) rahvers daub themselves in fluorescent paint, just so that under the UV lights they stand out as all the more crazy and unique – though compared to the poor drug-addled wrecks who can occasionally be glimpsed at dnb events (at whom the rahvers cast disapproving glares, shocked by the obvious naughtyness), the rahvers, despite all their attempts, are neither. So, if you too wish to be a rahver, remain sure of two things – your own vibrant superiority, and that it’s only for the weekend. It is a sad fact that Oxford is not known for its raving. Books, yes. Archaic traditions, yes. Grimy drug-fuelled hedonism, no. We simply don’t have the time, even if we had the inclination in the first place. Several hours frenzied dancing, and an exhaustion that can last for days are not conducive to essay deadlines. Thus raving has been something of a minority pursuit, with only a hard core of committed individuals bravely setting forth into their sweJames Kingstonaty basements on a regular basis. No longer. Experts have observed the rise and rise of a new breed of raver across the land, a breed particularly suited to Oxford; the Rahver. You may have seen them; you may even be one of them already. One thing is for certain: they are inescapable. Glow-sticked and glow-painted, the hordes are here to stay.Luckily, they are easy to spot, even when not wearing their standard uniforms of retro Adidas track jackets, aviators, coloured leggings or, for the more daring, a mild gurn. The average rahver is convinced he is a bit of raver, and this is how we can catch him out. Central to this self-identification is a professed love of drum and bass. (though even this is not always essential – last night at the Coven ‘Halloween Rave’, all the glammed-up rahvers, perhaps confused, danced to 50 Cent and YMCA. Fools.) For those of us unversed in the ways of the rave, drum and bass is, as defined by Wikipedia, a type of music “characterised by fast tempo broken beat drums (generally between 160–180 beats per minute) with heavy, often intricate basslines”. It being a well established genre, there are many different DJs (“disk jockeys” to those OUCA members out there), mixes, mixers, labels, etc, to be listened to. The Rahver, rather sadly given their occasional attempts at authenticity, knows only one group, a group taken as representative of all dnb – Pendulum, the knowledge of whom is used thus in conversation, perhaps as one meets another cool looking kid. “So what sort of music are you into mate?”“I’m big into my Drum and Bass, actually – I really like Pendulum”“Oh cool. What else are you into then?”“Well I really like seeing Pendulum live”last_img read more

Ford recalling hundreds of thousands of vehicles for rear camera issue

first_img Pinterest Ford recalling hundreds of thousands of vehicles for rear camera issue Previous articleIndiana University fighting the spread of disinformationNext articleTrick or Treat at Four Winds Field returns with the South Bend Cubs and South Bend Police Tommie Lee By Tommie Lee – September 30, 2020 0 372 Facebook IndianaLocalMichiganNationalNewsSouth Bend Market One of America’s top automakers has had to issue a pair of big recalls.Wednesday morning Ford issued a recall for more than 700,000 vehicles throughout North America, including 2020 Ford F-Series Pickups, Mustangs, Explorers, Transits, Expeditions, Rangers, Escapes, and Edges, due to problems with the vehicles’ backup cameras, which can either show distorted images or suddenly go dark.This comes a few days after Ford also issued recalls for more than 38,000 2020 Mustangs with automatic transmissions due to reports of the cars’ brake pedals fracturing after “sudden stop” incidents. Google+ Facebook WhatsApp Twitter Pinterest Google+ WhatsApp Twitterlast_img read more

Bad Girl Bakery secures business growth accolade

first_imgA Scottish bakery and café that began life as a home-based cake business has won a food and drink business growth award.Bad Girl Bakery, based in Muir of Ord, was among 14 winners to collect an accolade in the 2018 Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards – an event which recognises ‘innovative’ businesses that help put the region on the map.Judges at the event, held at the Kingsmill Hotel in Inverness and hosted by STV present Jennifer Reoch, praised the growth of the company, which has won contracts to supply organisations including National Trust for Scotland. Last year it secured a five-fold increase in turnover.“Since its opening in 2014, Bad Girl Bakery’s growth in turnover, employees and high-profile, national customers has been spectacular,” they declared. “With 22-full time equivalent employees, it has become a significant employer in Muir of Ord, and has significant ambitions for further growth.”The business, which started trading online and at exclusive Highland events in 2014, moved to Muir of Ord in February last year to scale up after securing a contract to supply bakery items for first-class customers on the Caledonian Sleeper.It then opened a bakery – which supplies wholesale fresh, handmade, short shelf-life, unpackaged cake, alongside a café – and changed its name to Bad Girl Bakery.Elaine Jamieson, head of food and drink at the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a supporter of the awards, said: “Entries to the awards were significantly higher in 2018 than in previous years, and categories were very competitive.“It is very encouraging to see the diversity and quality of products coming from the Highlands and Islands. It is the overwhelming passion that the people from our region have for producing and providing great food and drink that is putting the Highlands and Islands at the top of the country’s food and drink industry. The winners should be very proud to have outshined their competition and I hope these well-deserved and independently judged awards will be a distinguishing asset to their businesses.”last_img read more

NY AG Sues To Dissolve NRA

first_imgStock Image.NEW YORK – The New York Attorney General is suing to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest and most influential pro-gun organization in the nation. Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she is charging the organization with illegal conduct because of their diversion of millions of dollars away from the charitable mission of the organization for personal use by senior leadership, awarding contracts to the financial gain of close associates and family, and appearing to dole out lucrative no-show contracts to former employees in order to buy their silence and continued loyalty.The suit specifically charges the NRA as a whole, as well as Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wilson “Woody” Phillips, former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer with failing to manage the NRA’s funds and failing to follow numerous state and federal laws, contributing to the loss of more than $64 million in just three years for the NRA.In the complaint, Attorney General James lays out dozens of examples where the four individual defendants failed to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the NRA and used millions upon millions from NRA reserves for personal use, including trips for them and their families to the Bahamas, private jets, expensive meals, and other private travel. In addition to shuttering the NRA’s doors, Attorney General James seeks to recoup millions in lost assets and to stop the four individual defendants from serving on the board of any not-for-profit charitable organization in the state of New York again. “The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,” said Attorney General James. “The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.”Since 1871, the NRA has operated as a New York-registered 501(c)(4) not-for-profit, charitable corporation. Under state law not-for-profit, charitable corporations are required to register and file annual financial reports with the Charities Bureau in the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). The assets are required to be used in a way that serves the interests of NRA membership and that advance the organization’s charitable mission. However, as today’s complaint lays out, the NRA is alleged to have fostered a culture of noncompliance and disregard for internal controls that led to the waste and loss of millions in assets and contributed to the NRA reaching its current deteriorated financial state. The NRA’s internal policies were repeatedly not followed and were even blatantly ignored by senior leaders. Furthermore, the NRA board’s audit committee was negligent in its duty to ensure appropriate, competent, and judicious stewardship of assets by NRA leadership. Specifically, the committee failed to assure standard fiscal controls, failed to respond adequately to whistleblowers, affirmatively took steps to conceal the nature and scope of whistleblower concerns from external auditors, and failed to review potential conflicts of interest for employees.NRA’s Culture of Self-Dealing, Mismanagement, and NegligenceThe lawsuit alleges that the four men instituted a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight at the NRA that was illegal, oppressive, and fraudulent. They overrode and evaded internal controls to allow themselves, their families, favored board members, employees, and vendors to benefit through reimbursed expenses, related party transactions, excess compensation, side deals, and waste of charitable assets without regard to the NRA’s best interests.When board members challenged LaPierre and others over their financial governance and leadership of the NRA, LaPierre retaliated and turned the board against those who attempted to challenge the illegal behavior.The complaint lays out numerous other instances in which LaPierre, Phillips, Powell, Frazer, and other executives and board members at the NRA abused their power and illegally diverted or facilitated the diversion of tens of millions of dollars from the NRA. These funds were in addition to millions of dollars the four individual defendants were already receiving in grossly excessive salaries and bonuses that were not in line with the best practices and prudent standards for evaluating and determining compensation.Wayne LaPierre – Executive Vice-PresidentIn his nearly three decades as executive vice-president, Wayne LaPierre ran the day-to-day operations of the NRA and exploited the organization for his and his family’s financial benefit, and the benefit of a close circle of NRA staff, board members, and vendors. Of note, LaPierre:Spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of the NRA’s charitable assets for private plane trips for himself and his family, including extended family when he was not present.Visited the Bahamas by private air charter at least eight times in an approximate three-year period with his family, at a cost of more than $500,000 to the NRA. On many of those trips, LaPierre and his family were gifted the use of a 107-foot yacht owned by an NRA vendor.Traveled to Africa with his wife for all-expense paid safaris, gifted by an NRA vendor.Spent millions on unwarranted travel consultants for decades, including for the booking of luxury black car services — spending more than $3.6 million in the last two years alone.Secured a post-employment contract for himself with the NRA, without board approval, currently valued at more than $17 million.Allotted several millions of dollars annually in NRA funds for private security costs for himself and his family without sufficient oversight on their use.Received more than $1.2 million in expense reimbursements in just a four-year period for expenditures that included gifts for favored friends and vendors; travel expenses for himself and his family; and membership fees at golf clubs, hotels, and other member clubs.Secured lucrative consulting contracts for ex-employees and board members worth millions.The complaint alleges that as executive vice-president, LaPierre handpicked individuals in senior staff positions at the NRA that have shown themselves to be loyal to LaPierre as an individual, rather than to the organization. Time and time again, LaPierre has shown that loyalty, more than competence and responsibility, is integral to his staffing picks, which led him to personally hire Phillips, Powell, and Frazer — some chosen despite failing to meet the necessary skills or experience for their respective roles and responsibilities.Wilson “Woody” Phillips – Former Treasurer and Chief Financial OfficerWoody Phillips — the former treasurer and CFO, who was responsible for managing the books and financial operations of the NRA — engaged in practices that violated NRA policy, lied on financial disclosure forms, and set up a deal worth more than $1 million that benefitted his girlfriend. Just before his retirement in 2018, Phillips obtained a contract for himself worth $1.8 million, purportedly for monthly consulting services to the incoming treasurer, even though the current treasurer knew nothing about this contract and has confirmed that “Woody [Phillips] never consulted for me.” Phillips, having served in the capacity as the chief steward of the organization’s finances, also oversaw the financial practices that allowed millions of dollars in entertainment and travel expenses incurred by NRA executives to be fraudulently billed to the NRA as disbursements by the NRA’s largest vendor: Ackerman McQueen, an Oklahoma-based advertising and public relations firm. Furthermore, the complaint asserts that Phillips consistently eschewed his fiduciary duties time and time again, as evidenced by his failure to seriously respond to whistleblower complaints about alleged fiscal improprieties and his readiness to unilaterally authorize payments and contracts outside of the NRA adopted purchasing and contracting policies and procedures.Joshua Powell – Former Chief of Staff and Executive Director of General OperationsJoshua Powell, the chief of staff to LaPierre, was terminated after just 3.5 years for, among other things, misappropriating NRA funds during his tenure. Powell, who is known as a LaPierre loyalist, received sudden and substantial salary increases almost immediately after starting his position. Within a month, his salary was doubled retroactively to the beginning of his tenure with the NRA to $500,000. After less than a year, Powell’s salary increased to $650,000. A little over two years into the job, Powell’s salary more than tripled from the original $250,000 to $800,000, despite numerous complaints of abusive behavior and evidence of illegal conduct and inappropriate spending. Further, Powell abused the NRA’s policy on housing and relocation reimbursements, pocketing in excess of $100,000 more than NRA rules allowed.Powell’s tenure was marked by nepotism. LaPierre, Phillips, and Powell also signed off on the hiring of fundraising consultant McKenna & Associates outside of the NRA’s contract process and without going through any approval process. The NRA paid the company more than $5 million over the course of five years. For all of 2018, Powell’s wife was hired as a consultant by McKenna & Associates, and her entire $30,000 monthly consulting fee was passed through the NRA. The hiring of Powell’s wife was hidden from the NRA’s general counsel, in an effort to not draw attention to and affirmatively hide the conflict of interest, and her role was not pre-approved by the NRA board, as the organization’s policy requires. Additionally, Powell requested an NRA vendor to add his father to a rotation of paid photographers, resulting in more than $90,000 in compensation for his father, an expense which was completely passed through to the NRA.John Frazer – Corporate Secretary and General CounselJohn Frazer was chosen by LaPierre to serve as general counsel and also served as corporate secretary at the NRA. Between 2014 and 2018, Frazer repeatedly failed to comply with board governance procedures, make necessary changes, or advise others that governance changes needed to be made; failed to ensure that financial transactions were being addressed by NRA officers and directors in accordance with law; failed to enforce compliance with the NRA’s conflict of interest policy; and failed to ensure that the NRA was in compliance with laws and policies governing whistleblowers. Additionally, Frazer repeatedly certified false or misleading annual statements.Ackerman McQueen – NRA’s Public Relations and Advertising FirmA practice decades-old between LaPierre and Ackerman McQueen’s co-founder — that would continue until the two companies severed ties in 2019 — ensured that Ackerman McQueen would pay for a variety of non-contractual, out-of-pocket expenses for LaPierre and other NRA executives and pass those expenses through to the NRA. The NRA leadership regularly used this pass-through arrangement — where expenses would be paid for by the NRA without written approvals, receipts, or supporting business purpose documentation — to conceal private travel and other costs that were largely personal in nature. Ackerman McQueen would aggregate the expenses into a lump sum amount and provide no details on the nature or purpose of the expenses when billing the NRA for them. The invoices only typically included a one-line description that read “out-of-pocket expenses” and included an invoice total amount. The expenses billed to the NRA for out-of-pocket expenses did not comply with IRS requirements, and, as a result, all such expenses should have been included by the NRA in taxable personal income for LaPierre and other recipients.Ackerman McQueen was paid more than $70 million in just 2017 and 2018 for “public relations and advertising” services and for “out-of-pocket expenditures” that really went to entertainment and travel incurred by NRA executives and associates without scrutiny from within the organization, including millions for private planes, luxury hotels, memberships to private clubs, special events, fancy meals, and even personal hair and makeup services for LaPierre’s wife.NRA Audit Committee’s Failure to AuditUnder New York law, the NRA’s audit committee is responsible for overseeing the accounting and financial reporting processes of the organization and the audit of its financial statements, but the culture of noncompliance and disregard for the internal controls is evident within the audit committee. The committee failed to serve as an independent check on LaPierre, his senior staff, and the NRA as a whole, and basically served as a rubber stamp for the organization’s illicit behavior, when it did review finances.For example, the audit committee is charged with reviewing any contract that has the appearance of a conflict of interest, such as a contracts with insiders referred to as related-party transactions, and must not only perform certain considerations, but also document its deliberations. The committee routinely approved related-party transactions after LaPierre or senior staff entered into such agreements. In fact, in 2018, the audit committee approved seven related-party transactions after the fact, including a contract between the NRA’s then incoming president and Ackerman McQueen. At the time this contract was executed, the terms were known to LaPierre and Phillips, but the audit committee had no knowledge of it. Then, again in 2019 and 2020, the audit committee purportedly approved, retroactively, many other existing NRA contracts, some of which dated back 15 years.The audit committee’s chair testified during a deposition with the OAG that he had no knowledge of New York law governing audit committees, whistleblowers, or conflicts of interest, and that he could not recall the last time he had seen the audit committee charter that specifically states the audit committee “overs[ees] the integrity of financial information” at the NRA. In fact, the committee chair testified that, in his view and contrary to the charter, the audit committee had no role in oversight of internal controls and that “there is no internal auditing” within the NRA and there hadn’t been one in the whole 19 years he served on the NRA board.Unsurprisingly, during numerous occasions, the audit committee failed to respond adequately to whistleblowers, failed to appropriately review and approve related-party transactions and conflicts of interest, and failed to adequately oversee external auditors.Extensive Violations of Fundamental Not-for-Profit LawAttorney General James alleges in her complaint that the NRA violated multiple laws, including the laws governing the NRA’s charitable status, false reporting on annual filings with the IRS and with the OAG’s Charities Bureau, improper expense documentation, improper wage reporting, improper income tax withholding, failure to make required excise tax reporting and payments, payments in excess of reasonable compensation to disqualified persons, and waste of NRA assets; in direct violation of New York’s Estates, Powers & Trusts Laws; New York’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law; the New York Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act; and New York’s Executive Law. The illegal nature of the four individual defendants’ action also violated multiple rules of the NRA’s bylaws, the NRA’s employee handbook, and the NRA’s policy manual.The failure of the NRA to comply with multiple fiduciary responsibilities and state and federal laws resulted in the NRA seeing substantial losses on its balance sheet: going from a surplus of $27,802,714 in 2015 to a net deficit of $36,276,779 in 2018 — contributing to a total loss of more than $64 million in just three years.Proposed ResolutionAs a result of all the allegations mentioned above, Attorney General James seeks to dissolve the NRA; asks the court to order LaPierre, Phillips, Powell, and Frazer to make full restitution for funds they unlawfully profited and salaries earned while employees; pay penalties; recover illegal and unauthorized payments to the four individuals; remove LaPierre and Frazer from the NRA’s leadership (Phillips and Powell are no longer employed by the NRA); and ensure none of the four individual defendants can ever again serve on the board of a charity in New York.Attorney General James began her inquiry into the NRA in February 2019.The matter was led by Bureau Chief James Sheehan and Bureau Co-Chief of the Enforcement Section Emily Stern, with a team of attorneys, legal assistants, and accountants, including Assistant Attorney General and Special Counsel of the Litigation Bureau Monica Connell; Assistant Attorneys General William Wang, Sharon Sash, Jonathan Conley, Stephen Thompson, and Erica James — all of the Charities Bureau; with additional assistance from Chief Accountant Judith Welsh-Liebross, Associate Accountant Darren Beauchamp, and Associate Accountant Charles Aganu; in addition to numerous other individuals at the OAG. The Charities Bureau is part of the Division for Social Justice, which is supervised by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more