James O’Keefe, the founder and longtime leader of the investigative journalism organization, “Project Veritas,” has now left the organization.
There is tremendous tension between O’Keefe and the Board that has now spilled over in a very public way on social media and in the form a new press release put out by the board.
The Board is accusing O’Keefe of spending an “excessive amount of donor funds in the last three years on personal luxuries.”
O’Keefe released a 45 minute video statement defending himself that was then followed up by a press release from the board which is listed below:
Today, James O’Keefe decided to remove his belongings from Project Veritas headquarters. The Board and Management made numerous attempts in the last 14 days to have a conversation with James, but he ignored our outreach and decided to instead leak private information to others, either by doing so himself or by proxy.
As today is President’s Day, our office was closed. We had a Board meeting scheduled for tomorrow where James was invited, and there was also a Board meeting on Friday, February 10, where James was invited (but did not attend) to discuss the financial malfeasance that was discovered, which requires us to act in order to remain in compliance with the law.
There were two subjects that the Board wished to come to terms with James on: the company’s long-term sustainability based on staff retention and morale, and the company’s financial health — which has been a serious concern for several months now.
Although PV Leadership has not concluded looking into the full scale of financial issues over the years, a preliminary review at this time indicates that James has spent an excessive amount of donor funds in the last three years on personal luxuries. More is still being uncovered during the ongoing review at this time. Contrary to many reports from today, James was suspended indefinitely pending the resolution of a fulsome investigation and clarity which will need to be provided by a third party investigative audit report.
Here are a few examples of what has been uncovered so far by PV Leadership (this is far from an exhaustive list, it is merely a small representative sample):
-$14,000 on a charter flight to meet someone to fix his boat under the guise of meeting with a donor
-$60,000 in losses by putting together dance events such as Project Veritas Experience
-Over $150,000 in Black Cars in the last 18 months
-Thousands of dollars spent on DJ and other equipment for personal use
-Hundreds of other acts of personal inurement
The Board wants to work things out with James, and has tried every route possible to remedy the issues at hand and begin to take the legally required corrective actions.
James also left us no choice but to suspend him in the last few weeks when he unilaterally fired the CFO, who can only be fired with Board approval. That is a violation of our non-profit’s bylaws. James went as far as to say that a Board member had approved this firing to others, but it was later discovered that it was not the case. That member did not approve the firing. The Board approved James’ suspension so it would have time to properly investigate these internal infractions.
The Board has a legal obligation to comply with state and federal law, and these matters are serious ones that cannot be ignored.
James claims that the Board did not allow him to send an apology letter to the staff, which is not true. The Board never told James he was not to speak with staff members, nor that he could not apologize to them.
But, more than anything, the Board cares about the donors of this organization, who decide to donate their hard-earned money to us because they believe in the mission. We could not allow for our donors to send us money and have it be misappropriated in such a way. We love our supporters, and we would never sit idly by as money is being used for matters that are not mission related.
Even with all of this public fallout, the Board still wants to speak with James. We did not fire him, nor do we want him to resign. We would like to continue conversations with James to resolve internal matters rather than litigate them publicly.
Project Veritas will continue to be transparent with the public as more information can be released over time. The fight for truth will never stop.
Stay tuned to Breaking News Politics for all the latest updates on this developing story.