In the latest development in the NRA’s legal battle with its longtime ad firm, NRATV took itself hostage in a Wednesday court filing, with the media firm responsible for the project saying that it might close the broadcaster within days.
Oklahoma City-based ad firm Ackerman McQueen demanded in a court filing first reported by Bloomberg that an Alexandria judge issue an order requiring the National Rifle Association to post a $3 million letter of credit.
If not, Ackerman says it would shut down NRATV, as well as other promotions it runs for the NRA, including a magazine.
Ackerman, which has had a four-decade relationship with the NRA that saw it shape much of the gun groups’s belligerent public image, also contends that the non-profit owes it more than $1.6 million in unpaid fees.
Ackerman claimed that it would “suffer immediate irreparable harm” if the letter of credit is not posted. That could affect up to 40 percent of its workforce through furloughs or layoffs, the firm said.
The NRA sued Ackerman in April, accusing its longtime image-maker of refusing to hand over information about a contract that its then-President Oliver North signed separately with the Oklahoma City-based firm. That contract was reportedly related to an unfinished web series that North has hosted for NRATV.
The NRA has claimed that it did not know the details of North’s contract; an assertion that Ackerman contests.
It also claimed in the April lawsuit that Ackerman was withholding details of an earlier “services agreement” under which the NRA would allegedly be obligated to cover certain severance costs.
Since the April filing, the NRA has separately accused Ackerman of trying to use North to orchestrate a “coup” in the organization.
The legal wrangling in northern Virginia is playing out as New York Attorney General Tish James investigates the group, chartered in New York State since its 1871 founding.