In 2009, Freedom Group/Remington purchased Advanced Armament Corp (AAC), a US silencer manufacturer, from its founder Kevin Brittingham. Freedom Group made a deal with Brittingham that let him maintain his role as President of AAC in a big money contract.
Soon after the acquisition, Remington shut down Advanced Armament for a month after it discovered that some of Advanced Armament’s suppliers did not have federal firearms licenses, in violation of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives requirements. This kicked off a tumultuous relationship between Brittingham and Freedom Group, which ended in his being fired and “escorted” out of AAC’s Atlanta factory in December, 2011.
In an interview just a few months before his termination Brittingham detailed some of his gripes about working for Freedom Group:
“Freedom Group I had concerns about because it is a big company, a big corporation and that’s got its downsides.”
“We’re actually under Remington Defense, we’re autonomous to a large degree with lots of things. But of course I always want more freedom and this is a struggle for them”
“I give my employees, and Robert Silver, I give him lots of latitude. He and I butt heads a lot, but I give him lots of latitude…It was kind of a struggle when they first acquired us, and then, we had to sort of classify him and they wanted to put him at a certain pay scale and him to report and to be here and all this, and me trying to explain to them that to me, I own this business and I appreciate the money and understand how money is made and it’s like… What is our goal? It seems like the goal is for you guys to micromanage people and my goal is for us to make money. We do that differently than most of their factories, we do it through innovation, and our margin is really great.
It seems like there were differences in business plans that caused a riff, but Freedom Group sites a different reason for letting him go. AAC says it discovered 43 firearms belonging to him on its premises, including “machine guns, a grenade launcher, silencers and a short barreled shotgun.”
Brittingham in turn sued AAC and Remington last year saying that there is no evidence that he brought weapons to work and that they are trying to avoid paying him millions of dollars under the agreement they reached when he sold in 2009.
In a May 30 court filing, Brittingham accused the companies of resorting to “shameless character assassinations” in an effort to distract U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, who is presiding over the case. A trial is to start on June 17.
“Now that we have cleared the decks we have a huge responsibility to defend and Grow AAC,” Robert Nardelli, then-Freedom Group CEO, wrote in a note to Remington officials just a month after Brittingham was fired.
It seems that Brittingham was possibly “cleared” out of the way so that Freedom Group could have their way with it and not keep their contract with him. He said himself that he felt they were micromanaging him saying he is the owner. Well apparently he isn’t the owner or he wouldn’t have been escorted out of his factory. As this case unfolds I’m sure we will have the chance to see a little more in depth look at the industry than we usually get to see.