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Inside the James O’Keefe Ouster at Project Veritas

The recent turmoil at organization Project Veritas, culminating in the resignation of founder and CEO James O’Keefe, has left many in the conservative media world wondering what happened.

Reports suggest that O’Keefe and the organization’s board were at odds over fundraising methods, leading to a series of disputes and allegations of financial malfeasance and abuse of staff.

The Spectator reproted:

The old adage goes that there are two sides to every story, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. There doesn’t seem to be a better way to describe the recent turmoil at Project Veritas, the conservative journalism organization known for its undercover sting operations.

Project Veritas’s founder and CEO James O’Keefe resigned from his post a little over a week ago after the non-profit’s board of directors placed him on paid leave pending an investigation for alleged financial malfeasance and abuse of staff.

News of O’Keefe’s departure shocked the conservative media world, and Project Veritas’s board was pummeled with allegations that they had executed a coup after being corrupted with money from Pfizer (PV’s last big sting exposed Pfizer for allegedly participating in directed evolution Covid-19 research). The board was also accused of being infiltrated by closeted liberals, or that they were taking out pro-Trump MAGA activists on behalf of Florida governor Ron DeSantis.

After hours of conversations with nearly a dozen Project Veritas-world insiders, the explanation for the ousting of O’Keefe seems far simpler than any of the conspiracies. O’Keefe and the Project Veritas board, at the most basic level, couldn’t coexist anymore.

On Tuesday January 31, O’Keefe and Project Veritas board members and officers clashed in a meeting about the organization’s fundraising methods. O’Keefe supposedly did not appreciate being asked to dial back his rather brash approach to asking donors for money — and lashed out at the rest of PV’s leadership. Sources say there was a series of other dust-ups between O’Keefe, leadership and staff over the next couple of days. The rout ultimately escalated to O’Keefe firing Project Veritas’s chief strategy officer Barry Hinckley and chief financial officer Tom O’Hara.

The board says O’Keefe did not have the authority to fire those officers. The Spectator reviewed a copy of Project Veritas’s bylaws. The bylaws say, “Unless otherwise specified by the Board of Directors, each officer shall be elected or appointed to hold office until the annual meeting of the Board of Directors next following his election or appointment… Any officer elected or appointed by the Board of Directors may be removed by the Board of Directors with or without cause.”

The board held an emergency meeting and reinstated the officers. O’Keefe was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, which the board says is standard procedure after the CEO is accused of violating organizational bylaws.

Sources close to Project Veritas tell The Spectator that the CFO’s firing raised concerns that O’Keefe may have been trying to cover up financial misdeeds. Meanwhile, the board was speaking to staff members about O’Keefe’s alleged mistreatment of employees. Reports say fourteen staff members were interviewed by the board as part of the investigation; it’s unclear how many of these employees went to the board of their own volition, and how many were approached by the board.

Rather than wait out the investigation, which was dismissed as a fishing expedition, O’Keefe demanded the full resignation of the board. When they declined, he resigned from Project Veritas. In a forty-five-minute farewell speech from the company’s headquarters that, in true PV style, was covertly filmed and leaked to the media, O’Keefe described the inception of the organization, thanked his supporters, questioned the motives of the board — and denied any wrongdoing.

The board responded by reiterating its fiduciary duty to shareholders to investigate and released a statement with specific allegations of misconduct: chartering private jets for personal travel under the guise of meeting with donors, being reimbursed for a deposit on a wedding venue, dropping $150,000 on black cars over a period of eighteen months and stealing a pregnant woman’s sandwich.

Complicating the he-said-she-said nature of many of the complaints is the fact that practically every Project Veritas employee over the past ten years was required to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to work for the company — hence why all of the individuals who spoke to The Spectator asked to remain anonymous.

Our reporting ultimately suggests that neither the board nor O’Keefe were entirely forthcoming about all of the allegations.

For example, O’Keefe said in his farewell address that the board’s claim that he was reimbursed for a down payment on his wedding venue was bogus. It appears he was correct, but not for the reason he gave.

“I’m not married. I’ve never been married,” he said. “The truth of the expense was that it was a payment for our annual PV Christmas party at the Highland Country Club in December of 2021.”

Multiple individuals familiar with the Highlands Country Club expense say it was originally supposed to be a down payment for O’Keefe’s wedding. O’Keefe was engaged at the time and he and his fiancée had sent out save-the-dates for the event. However, the wedding was called off. Concerned he would lose the $12,557.06 deposit on the venue, O’Keefe suggested instead using the country club for Project Veritas’s annual Christmas party. The organization agreed.

Read the full article. 

10 Comments
  • Igor says:

    This is the board’s third story, since the first two fell apart. We know the reporting of “paid leave” is BS as James read the letter from the board, basically eliminating him from the company without actually saying they were firing him. The writer’s theory of “two sides” shows he didn’t do any research on the leaks and whistleblower info before typing.

    Why am I receiving this bs newsletter again? Because I never signed up, it just appeared and is it continues to report unsubstantiated claims I can unsubscribe quite easily.

  • Rita says:

    Sorry PV and who ever wrote this BS article. Nobody is buying it.

  • Slim says:

    Author of this article has distorted the facts as reported by O’Keefe. Distorting facts is equal to lying.

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