A leaked Project Veritas email shows the nonprofit requesting continued financial assistance from donors following founder James O’Keefe’s Monday ousting.
Earlier this month, O’Keefe was placed on paid leave by the nonprofit’s board.
Conflicting reports suggested O’Keefe was either removed or resigned from Project Veritas, though the founder confirmed in a video provided to Timcast News that he was removed by the board.
“Update: We hold everyone accountable, especially ourselves,” reads the subject line of the email sent by Project Veritas’ Bethany Rolando which was obtained by the Post Millennial.
Rolando is one of the 16 signers of a letter that accused the Project Veritas founder of “erratic behavior.”
“We hope that you might continue to give us a chance,” Rolando wrote. “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.”
“We understand and share your frustrations.”
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 23, 2023
“We all love and respect James and hope he returns. This is difficult for everyone,” the email continues, revealing an “independent two-dimensional audit is being arranged” to examine O’Keefe’s business practices to determine if he went against administrative procedure by using donations for “private benefit.”
According to the original letter, about one-third of Project Veritas staff members were involved in efforts to remove the founder, though only 16 signed claiming “some signatories have not been the subject of abuse nor witnessed any abuse but found the corroborated behavior troubling and were willing to sign.”
“We have all been on the receiving end of unnecessary, seemingly intentionally humiliating, and outright cruel behavior,” reads one of the original letter’s statements. “I believe James knows he’s in over his head, he’s scared, overworked, manic on stress and drunk on the success of the last two weeks. His flaws aside, his aims are genuine and he is a true leader. He just needs a push back in the right direction. I hope this potential board action is that push.”
The Project Veritas founder was accused of referring to a former employee as a “pussy” and a suggesting another employee was “traitorous,” while other statements accused O’Keefe of being a “diva” and an egomaniac.
“The board included this in its statement what it is aware of so far which clearly warrants this internal audit to ensure your hard-earned, and graciously donated, money is utilized appropriately,” the leaked email continues, noting board members “hope to know more details around this soon.”
The company reportedly saw turnover of 140 employees in the last seven years who quit or were fired with 20 former employees in question serving in managerial roles, the outlet reported.
The email further reiterated O’Keefe was placed on “temporary suspension until the audit was completed,” noting the founder “specifically said he did not resign, and the board did not fire him.”
O’Keefe’s Monday statement contradicts the leaked email as the founder claims he “asked the board to resign for their conduct.”
“They did not. So currently, I have no position at PV based on the board’s actions. So, I’m announcing to you all that today on President’s Day — I’m packing up my personal effects from headquarters, and I’m intending to start anew.”
“The board placed him on a temporary suspension until the audit was completed,” the email continues:
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. 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.
The email further appeals to donors by noting Project Veritas’ staff and board members “remain passionately dedicated to James’ mission,” and that they “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 email concludes.