(CN) – Long before he stepped down as president of the National Rifle Association, Oliver North cemented his reputation for overthrowing governments and financial improprieties in the Iran-Contra scandal. The NRA has taken the retired U.S. marine to court now over another “failed coup attempt,” saying North conspired with Ackerman McQueen, a public relations firms that has been representing the NRA since the 1980s, to topple the gun group’s leadership.
Filed Wednesday by the Manhattan law firm Brewer, the NRA’s lawsuit has no shortage of historical irony. In the Reagan administration, North had been the central figure in the U.S. government’s secret sale of weapons to Iran with the aim of illicitly financing Nicaraguan rebels involved in an overthrow.
The NRA says the wheels for North’s latest uprising began to turn last year when it began digging into concerns about Ackerman’s business and accounting practices.
Ackerman’s withholding of records spurred the NRA to sue for specific performance, and the NRA says it quickly became clear that North had a secret fiduciary relationship with Ackerman and had been conspiring with the agency on an extortion scheme.
North resigned as president of the NRA in April after the gun group’s chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, accused North of threatening to release “damaging” information on him.
Last month, the NRA sued Ackerman again, this time for punitive damages, and also subpoenaed North.
Both of the Ackerman cases were filed in Virginia, and the NRA says it is suing in New York now because North has demanded that it indemnify him in connection to the subpoena and a new investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance.
“Simply put, the NRA exists to fight for the Second Amendment — not pay other people’s bills,” the complaint against North states.
As reported Wednesday by Bloomberg, Ackerman meanwhile has demanded that the NRA post a $3 million letter of credit.
A spokesman for Ackerman said the firm’s legal filings speak for themselves.