Project Veritas’ Board of Directors released a statement Monday evening explaining their reasons for removing Project Veritas’ founder and CEO James O’Keefe from the company.
The statement came after O’Keefe released a 45-minute video Monday afternoon saying that he was not sure why he was being removed from the company and that the only thing that had changed in recent weeks was the release of the company’s undercover sting videos showing an alleged Pfizer employee making claims about things that were reportedly happening inside the pharmaceutical company.
The board of directors said in a statement that the company “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.”
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
The company said that its leadership has not finished its investigation into O’Keefe’s alleged spending of donors’ money over the last several years but that an initial review revealed that “James has spent an excessive amount of donor funds in the last three years on personal luxuries.”
The statement said that O’Keefe 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.”
The statement highlighted the following “small representative sample” of O’Keefe’s alleged spending of donor’s money:
- $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 statement said that the board of directors wants to work out the situation with O’Keefe but that he “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 statement continued. “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,” the statement added. “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.”