James O’Keefe, founder of the right-wing organization Project Veritas, has been removed as CEO.
On Monday, O’Keefe spoke for 45 minutes, describing a 7-hour board meeting prior to his exit.
He accused the board of ruining the org’s reputation, “fabricating stories,” and lying to donors.
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe, who was just stripped of his role as CEO, says the far right-wing nonprofit’s board of directors accused him of misappropriating funds and other egregious acts, including stealing “a pregnant woman’s sandwich.”
Speaking to a group gathered on Monday at the Project Veritas office in Mamaroneck, New York, O’Keefe described a nearly 7-hour-long board meeting in which directors aired “truly bizarre grievances,” according to a video recording of the speech posted online .
O’Keefe was placed on leave from the conservative group earlier this month amid concerns over his management style and accusations that he’d mismanaged the group’s funds.
Project Veritas is a far-right group that publishes selectively edited video clips of public and corporate officials, liberal groups and the press. Its employees work as undercover operations. In September, a jury found Project Veritas liable for fraudulently misrepresenting itself and violating federal wiretap laws. In August, two men pleaded guilty to transporting stolen property across state lines after attempting to sell a diary belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley Biden to Project Veritas.
In a statement posted on the Project Veritas board Monday night, the group’s board of directors said that O’Keefe had not been fired from his job as CEO, but that he was conducting an investigation into financial “malfeasance.” O’Keefe, the board claimed, “has spent an excessive amount of donor funds in the last three years on personal luxuries,” including $150,000 on black cars and $14,000 on a charter flight to “meet someone to fix his boat under the guise of meeting with a donor.”
The Project Veritas board also said that O’Keefe had fired the CFO earlier this month without the board’s approval, after which it decided to suspend him as CEO while it was conducting an internal investigation into his “infractions.”
“The Board has a legal obligation to comply with state and federal law, and these matters are serious ones that cannot be ignored,” the statement reads.
According to O’Keefe’s telling of events, an emergency Project Veritas board meeting took place on February 6, in which he offered an apology for his “tone of voice in the office at the leadership meeting the week before.” But the board “refused to accept” his apology or “believed that it was sincere.”
O’Keefe then said he was “subjected to a six-and-a-half hour listening of grievances, which included taking black cars to meetings,” and “taking a few charter jets over the years.”
“I don’t know the significance of the color of the vehicle,” O’Keefe said, regarding the board’s alleged grievances with his use of black cars.
He also claimed the board made a “truly bizarre allegation that I stole a pregnant woman’s sandwich in federal court,” though he did not go into further detail.
O’Keefe did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Later, O’Keefe said the board accused him of using company funds to pay for a $12,000 down payment on his wedding venue. O’Keefe says he has never been married or had a wedding, but that he did book a wedding venue for a Project Veritas holiday party.
“I’ve never been married. I do hope to be married one day,” he added.
Throughout his 45-minute speech, O’Keefe sipped from a bottle of Essentia water, sniffled, and referenced at several points the early days of Project Veritas, which he founded thirteen years ago while working out of his father’s “carriage house” in a New Jersey suburbs.
O’Keefe said he was at the Project Veritas office Monday to pack up his personal belongings, noting that he didn’t keep much at the office, just a “paint and a diploma.”
He ended his remarks with an insistence that he plans to continue the work he was doing at Project Veritas under a new name. “I’ll make sure you know where to find me,” he told staffers.
Read the original article on Business Insider