The founder of Project Veritas, a conservative nonprofit identified for its hidden digicam stings, is under investigation by a suburban New York prosecutor’s workplace in the newest fallout after his ouster from the group over allegations that he mistreated staff and misspent group funds.
The Westchester County district lawyer’s workplace confirmed Friday it is “trying into” issues regarding James O’Keefe, who was suspended in February and later fired as chairman and CEO. The Project Veritas board mentioned he spent “an extreme quantity of donor funds” on private luxuries.
Jin Whang, a spokesperson for District Lawyer Mimi Rocah, declined to debate the topic or particulars of the investigation, or what potential costs, if any, O’Keefe may face. Whang cautioned that investigations can have a range of outcomes, not essentially ensuing in prison costs.
Information of the probe was first reported by The Nation.
O’Keefe’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, blamed the investigation on “disgruntled former staff of Project Veritas who had an issue with their CEO utilizing too many automotive companies to pay for fundraising efforts which paid their salaries.”
“We had been informed by the brand new Project Veritas CEO that the investigation had ended,” Lichtman mentioned. “If it’s not, we are going to crush it in court docket.”
Messages searching for remark had been left with Project Veritas.
In 2010, O’Keefe based Project Veritas, which identifies itself as a information group. Its most up-to-date IRS filings present it introduced in greater than $20 million in income in 2021. Through the years its hidden-cameras have embarrassed information shops, labor organizations and Democratic politicians.
The group sued O’Keefe in Might, accusing him of breaching his contract with “extremely troubling office and monetary misconduct,” together with screaming at colleagues, exposing staff to obscene messages and having staffers run errands for him, resembling choosing up laundry and cleansing his boat.
Amongst O’Keefe’s lavish spending, the group alleges, had been: $10,000 for a helicopter flight from New York to Maine; greater than $150,000 on personal automotive companies over an 18-month span; and costly stays in luxurious lodge suites whereas different staff had been pressured to remain in funds lodging.
Based on the lawsuit, Project Veritas’ board had supposed to reinstate O’Keefe from his suspension “with applicable safeguards,” however finally terminated his employment in Might after he claimed in media interviews that the group had fired him to appease a pharmaceutical firm over its reporting on COVID-19.
Final 12 months, two Florida residents pleaded responsible to promoting a diary and different objects from President Joe Biden’s daughter to Project Veritas for $40,000. As half of its investigation, the FBI searched the group’s Mamaroneck, New York, workplaces, and the houses of some staff in 2021.
Neither Project Veritas nor any staffers have been charged with against the law, and the group has mentioned its actions had been protected by the First Modification.