MAMARONECK, NY — James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, said in a speech posted online Monday that he has been removed as leader of the right-wing group.
In remarks made at Project Veritas’ office, O’Keefe said the board stripped him of all decision-making power. The board reportedly placed him on leave from his role as chairman amid complaints about his behavior with staff at the organization, which included using hidden cameras and trying to coax reporters into embarrassing conversations, and alleged Liberals are known for hiding identities in order to reveal them. Partiality.
“So currently, I don’t have a job at Project Veritas,” O’Keefe said in the video. “I have no position here based on what the board has done. So I’m announcing to all of you that today, on President’s Day, I am packing up my personal belongings.”
In a statement released later on Monday, the group’s board of directors said it had uncovered “financial improprieties” and accused O’Keefe of “spending excessive amounts of donor money over the past three years on personal luxuries”. .
According to the group, they included “$14,000 on a charter flight to meet someone to fix their boat under the guise of meeting with a donor”; $60,000 lost from dance shows; over $150,000 “in black cars over the last 18 months”; and others.
The statement said O’Keefe had been suspended in recent weeks. It said he had been invited to meet with the board to discuss financial issues and employee retention and morale, but he ignored those requests and “today … decided to remove his belongings from Project Veritas headquarters”. Did.”
O’Keefe, who choked back tears during her remarks in the video, said several times that the nearly 45-minute speech was meant internally for staff, but was posted on the Vimeo platform.
The announcement comes after the group’s executive director and several board members made a statement last week saying that “several of our staff members have made some comments describing genuine management concerns about the treatment of people and our internal processes.” Provided leadership with verbal feedback.”
Project Veritas, which identifies itself as a news organization, is best known for its hidden camera stings that have embarrassed news outlets, labor organizations and Democratic politicians. O’Keefe founded the nonprofit group 13 years ago, and its most recent IRS filings provided to charity regulators in Florida show it brought in more than $20 million in revenue in 2021.
Last year, two Florida residents pleaded guilty to selling a diary and other items from President Joe Biden’s daughter to Project Veritas for $40,000, prosecutors said. As part of its investigation, the FBI searched the group’s New York offices in 2021 and the homes of some employees.
Neither Project Veritas nor any employees have been charged with a crime, and the group has said that its activities were protected by the First Amendment.
Messages seeking comment were left with O’Keefe, the group’s executive director, and lawyers for Project Veritas and O’Keefe, as well as other officials of the organization, which is based in Mamaroneck, New York.