- Lobbyist group reportedly tried to buy a Vaquero mansion for President Wayne LaPierre’s use.
- Vaquero is a tony, gated community in Westlake.
- New York inquiry is part of an investigation into NRA nonprofit status.
North Texas real estate is a hot topic of conversation in the National Rifle Association’s growing legal woes, including the current inquiry into its tax-free status by the attorney general of New York.
The Washington Post reports that the NRA planned to purchase a $5.95 million Vaquero mansion (1112 Post Oak) for the use of its chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, last year. The 10,020-square-foot home’s purchase was never completed, and the property is still on the market with a new asking price of $5.25 million.
But the notion, discussions, and intent, are now under a microscope as investigators in the New York Attorney General’s office probes the gun lobby’s tax-exempt status, as the office has been doing since spring.
One property that was considered, according to a person familiar with the plans, was a 10,000-square-foot French country estate with lakefront and golf course views.
The four-bedroom, nine-bath home in a gated golf course community northwest of Dallas resembles a French chateau, with a stately boxwood-lined drive, a formal courtyard, vaulted ceilings and an antique marble fireplace, according to its online real estate listing.
The origins of the idea to buy the mansion, its proposed purpose and the reason the deal never went through are now being fiercely disputed by the NRA and its longtime ad firm, Ackerman McQueen, which are locked in a bitter legal fight.
The ad firm, Ackerman McQueen, is based in Oklahoma City, but has offices elsewhere, including Dallas. The firm was founded in 1939 and has handled the NRA’s advertising, production and public relations for almost 40 years. Other clients include Six Flags parks and the Chickasaw Nation. The parties split this May over a dispute. According to recent statements, the ad firm claims NRA leader LaPierre “had sought the ad firm’s assistance with the real estate transaction.”
Which, if true, is highly interesting — asking an ad firm for real estate advice and assistance. The proposal apparently alarmed ad firm officials, which “led to Ackerman McQueen’s loss of faith in Mr. LaPierre’s decision-making.” And hence the bad blood.
Not so, says the NRA’s attorney, Dallas-based William A. Brewer III: the ad firm was not doing its job, and dragging its feet on handing over requested financial docs.
“Given the scrutiny it is facing in multiple lawsuits, it is not surprising that Ackerman now attempts to escape the consequences of its own conduct,” read a quote from partner and counsel William A. Brewer III. “The NRA believes that when confronted with inquiries about its services and billing records, Ackerman not only failed to cooperate — it sponsored a failed coup attempt to unseat Wayne Lapierre. The NRA alleges that Ackerman not only attempted to derail an investigation into its conduct, but unleashed a smear campaign against any who dared to hold the agency accountable.”
Those are fighting words. As if being in a legal dispute with a 40-year partner isn’t bad enough, in April, New York attorney general Letitia James launched an investigation into the NRA’s finances, looking at its status as a nonprofit group, which entitles it to significant tax benefits.
The revelations that the NRA was involved in discussions about the Texas mansion come as the nonprofit is contending with the fallout from allegations of lavish spending by top executives. Leaked documents show that the NRA paid $542,000 for private jet trips for LaPierre, including a trip to the Bahamas with his wife after the Sandy Hook shooting and an array of Italian designer suits as well as the rent for a summer intern’s apartment.
The French country mansion at 1112 Post Oak is a stunning country French estate built in 2010 on 1.5 acres. The home has white oak floors, French Beaumanier limestone, plus antique marble and Italian tile. The custom handcrafted wood trim, beams, doors and staircases by Hull Historical Architectural Millwork out of Fort Worth. Hull Historical sets the standard for superior craftsmanship and exceptional details in historically accurate and architecturally correct millwork. The company’s owner, Brent Hull, is a master craftsman whose lifelong passion is classical architecture.
The kitchen sports a Lacanche range and oven, Sub-Zero, Miele, and Hoshizaki appliances. There is a built-in family dining banquette and fireplace morning room. Lots of fireplaces in the home — actually, six total, including one in the foyer. The formal powder room looks like a powder room at the country club. The master his-and-hers baths are knock-your-socks-off: heated floors and closets the size of Albany. The home is loaded with extras including a large exercise studio overlooking the lake, large private guest suite on the first floor, two ginormous bedrooms up (the house is 10,020 square feet with only four bedrooms), large craft room, large utility room, a dog run with astroturf, dual offices, an oversized garage and geothermal HVAC.