Project Veritas CEO quits over ‘strong evidence of past illegality’

Project Veritas CEO quits over ‘strong evidence of past illegality’

Hannah Giles took over at the helm of Project Veritas from its founder James O’Keefe in June

Project Veritas CEO Hannah Giles has quit over alleged “strong evidence of past illegality and past financial improprieties.”

Ms Giles said she was stepping down because the company had become “an unsalvageable mess,” and claimed she had reported “evidence” of illegality and financial improprieties to law enforcement.

“I am stepping down from all roles with Project Veritas and Project Veritas Action — effective immediately,” Hannah Giles wrote on Monday on X . “Though I had high hopes when I joined the organizations, I stepped into an unsalvageable mess — one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and past financial improprieties. Once such evidence was discovered, I brought the information to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Thank you.”

The Independent has contacted Project Veritas for comment.

Ms Giles took over at the helm of Project Veritas, a self-identified “investigative journalism” organisation known for its use of hidden cameras to discredit mainstream media organisations and progressive groups, from its founder James O’Keefe in June.

Mr O’Keefe was forced out by the Project Veritas board in February over allegations that he mistreated workers and misspent organisation funds.

James O’Keefe was forced out by the Project Veritas board in February

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The former chairman and CEO was also accused of spending “an excessive amount of donor funds” on personal luxuries including $10,000 for a helicopter flight from New York to Maine; more than $150,000 on private car services over an 18-month span; and expensive stays in luxury hotel suites while other employees were forced to stay in budget accommodations.

Project Veritas later sued Mr O’Keefe in May, accusing him of breaching his contract with “incredibly troubling workplace and financial misconduct,” including screaming at colleagues, exposing employees to obscene messages and having staffers run errands for him, such as picking up laundry and cleaning his boat.

Amid its financial struggles, Project Veritas laid off all its employees in September and suspended all of its operations.

The company’s suspension of operations came one month after New York prosecutors announced that Mr O’Keefe was under investigation over his use of funds and treatment of staff.

Mr O’Keefe’s lawyer responded by blaming the investigation on “disgruntled former employees of Project Veritas who had a problem with their CEO using too many car services to pay for fundraising efforts which paid their salaries”.

Project Veritas was founded by Mr O’Keefe in 2010. It was known for its sting operations involving hidden cameras. Prominent targets included Acorn, a community activism group Mr O’Keefe helped bring down by posing as a pimp seeking to set up a brothel.

His video resulted in Congress removing some funding for Acorn after workers from the group were secretly taped offering him and a partner financial advice while they posed as a pimp and prostitute.

Meanwhile, in 2010, Mr O’Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges stemming from his involvement in a break-in at the office of Mary Landrieu, a Democratic senator from Louisiana, who he claimed was ignoring constituent calls during a healthcare debate.