James O’Keefe resigned on Feb. 20 from Project Veritas, the journalism organization he founded, after being suspended by the group’s board of directors.
O’Keefe made the announcement in front of staff members in New York.
O’Keefe said he was removed from the Project Veritas board of directors and stripped of his authority as CEO, which ultimately forced him to leave the group.
“I need to make clear I have not resigned from the company, Project Veritas, I founded 13 years ago. I was stripped of my position as CEO and Chairman. I came to the PV office today to remove my personal belongings. If you’re wondering what’s next, stay tuned,” he said in a written statement.
Project Veritas Executive Director Daniel Strack said on Feb. 15 that O’Keefe had not been removed from Project Veritas and that he was “committed to working with James.”
The group’s board of directors said Monday that it uncovered “financial malfeasance,” alleging that O’Keefe “has spent an excessive amount of donor funds in the last three years on personal luxuries.”
The board said that a preliminary review showed O’Keefe spent $14,000 on a charter flight to meet someone to fix his boat while presenting the trip as a meeting with a donor. O’Keefe also allegedly spent over $150,000 over 18 months on “black cars.”
O’Keefe said he told a Project Veritas officer on Feb. 1, during a meeting, that the officer needed to follow the CEO’s lead or be terminated. The following day, the officer was fired, according to O’Keefe. The conflict was said to stem from disagreement over how to handle fundraising for the nonprofit.
Later on Feb. 2, O’Keefe recounted, he was informed by a different Project Veritas officer, over the phone, that the officer was going to the Project Veritas board to restructure the company. O’Keefe said he received an agenda for the board meeting as he was set to depart on a flight, and that the meeting was scheduled for the moment he was due to land.
“It became clear to me in that moment [that] I would be removed from my position at Project Veritas,” O’Keefe said.