Project Veritas said on Feb. 23 that founder James O’Keefe could return as it asked supporters to “give us a chance” following O’Keefe’s ouster.
O’Keefe spoke to staff members at the organization’s headquarters in New York on Feb. 20, announcing that he was leaving after being stripped of his position as CEO and chairman of the board of directors.
“I’m intending to start anew,” he said.
The board has stated that it didn’t fire him and that it didn’t want him to resign.
In the statement, sent to supporters of the journalism organization, Project Veritas said it understands that people are frustrated.
“We all love and respect James and hope he returns. This is difficult for everyone,” the nonprofit stated in the unsigned email.
The board had stated that it uncovered “financial malfeasance” and that O’Keefe “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.”
“We did not fire him, nor do we want him to resign,” the board stated.
Project Veritas stated that an internal audit looking at “using donations for private benefit” would hopefully provide more details soon and that there were also concerns surrounding the treatment of employees. Some staffers “were ready to leave immediately” if O’Keefe’s conduct “remained unaddressed.”
“James’ ‘removal’ was not a removal. He specifically said he did not resign, and the board did not fire him. The board placed him on a temporary suspension until the audit was completed. The board wanted him to delegate management of staff to the department heads so he can focus his true talent, efforts, and best use of his time on the journalism/stories and less on the day-to-day personnel management,” Project Veritas stated.
“He has been invited, but has chosen not to, engage in conversations with the board and management following steps taken so far with the goal of returning to Project Veritas. Instead, he requested no change in authority and that most of the officers and all of the board of directors immediately resign.”
O’Keefe didn’t respond to a request for comment on Feb. 23. Previously, he has pointed The Epoch Times to his farewell remarks delivered in New York on Feb. 20.
‘Cannot in Good Faith Return’
O’Keefe told staffers that he was suspended indefinitely and wasn’t being paid. He noted that on Feb. 15, Executive Director Daniel Strack said O’Keefe hadn’t been removed and described O’Keefe as “the hardest working person I’ve ever met.” Strack didn’t mention the suspension. O’Keefe also said he was accused of misusing funds for his wedding but that he’s never been married. The money was actually used for the nonprofit’s Christmas party, he said.
O’Keefe asked the board to resign given the uproar that his suspension had caused. If the board resigned, “I will return to work on Monday … and work with the remaining team to go forward with our mission,” he wrote.
“Short of this action, I cannot in good faith return to the employment of an organization with leaders who are attacking me personally, making false and unsupported claims of improper management of resources about weddings and black cars, and improperly airing employment issues related to me and others at Project Veritas,” O’Keefe told the board.
He told the staffers, “I was stripped of all my decision making. I was removed from CEO. I was asked to be gone until the 20th. It is now the 20th. I asked the board to resign for their conduct, and they did not. So currently, I have no job at Project Veritas. I have no position here based upon what the board has done. So I’m announcing to you all that today on Presidents Day, I’m packing up my personal belongings.”
O’Keefe has said that he didn’t resign. In a written statement, he said, “If you’re wondering what’s next, stay tuned.” Posting on Twitter on Feb. 23, he revealed a new email, OKeefeTips@protonmail.com, as he celebrated his confronting a Pfizer employee who was captured on tape discussing mutating COVID-19.
‘Give Us a Chance’
Project Veritas stated that 60-plus workers remain at Project Veritas (PV), and they’re “passionately dedicated to James’ mission.”
“While we cannot control online narratives, and unfortunately cannot chime in to individually defend ourselves in the public sphere at present, we can assure you we remain steadfast and determined to expose corruption,” the nonprofit stated.
It pointed to a new video that features previously released footage of Project Veritas employees trying to get a comment from Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, with a new clip of a Project Veritas lawyer saying that he sent a letter to Pfizer decrying how a security guard slapped one of the journalist’s hands away.
The missive to Pfizer was to bring attention to the guard’s “aggressive behavior,” attorney Edward Greim said.
“We hope that you might continue to give us a chance,” Project Veritas said. “We can’t stress how separate the board’s role is from daily operations here at PV. We are still grinding and pursuing stories of great public importance. In either case, thank you so much for your support in the past and we hope we might regain your trust if you’ll give us a chance.”
From The Epoch Times