🔴 James O'Keefe was dismissed by Project Veritas, the group he founded in 2013

🔴 The Westwood native has been involved in several New Jersey videos

🔴 O'Keefe promises to return with another investigative team

Westwood native James O’Keefe is out as head of the investigative group Project Veritas after complaints from employees about his management style.

In a video that appeared to have been made at a Project Veritas office, O'Keefe in a video said the board had stripped him of all decision-making. The move comes after the board reportedly put him on leave from his role as chairman amid complaints about his treatment of staff.

The conservative Project Veritas, founded by O'Keefe in 2013, is known for using hidden cameras and undercover correspondents to ensnare journalists, political operatives and other subjects in embarrassing conversations.

O'Keefe said the comments were intended for former co-workers but acknowledged it would likely be seen by the general public.

“So currently, I have no job at Project Veritas," O'Keefe said in the video. “I have no position here based upon what the board has done. So I’m announcing to you all that today on President's Day, I’m packing up my personal belongings.”

He reminisced in a video about a “high-speed chase” on Route 80 with a “New Jersey education union official.”

In a statement released later Monday, the group's board of directors said it had uncovered “financial malfeasance” and accused O'Keefe of spending “an excessive amount of donor funds in the last three years on personal luxuries.”

O'Keefe in his video farewell promised he would return with a new mission with a new name but many of his former Project Veritas colleagues.

David Perry (L) speaks with Project Veritas' James O'Keefe
David Perry (L) speaks with Project Veritas' James O'Keefe (Profect Veritas via YouTube)

Project Veritas in New Jersey

O'Keefe and Project Veritas have set up situations in New Jersey on occasions in the past seven years. Some resulted in public employees facing reprimands while others didn't live up to the hype.

During the Christie administration, when the governor was outspoken against the NJEA, the group targeted the union three times.

📹 Project Veritas in 2016 released video with Howell Middle School North teacher Robert Klein in an Atlantic City hotel room during the New Jersey Educators Association conference after being offered drugs while in the Borgata's bar. The same video also claims to show an undercover encounter with a teachers' union representative talking to the activists about a teacher's admitted drug use. Project Veritas characterizes union rep Ronald Villano's comments as "giving advice on how the teacher could avoid being caught with drugs on campus."

📹 The group was back in 2018 with videos of union reps in Union City and Hamilton talking about ways to protect members accused of abuse that led to resignations and suspensions of union officials. In one video Hamilton Teachers Education Association president David Perry describes his job as defending "even the worst people" from allegations of physical abuse and verbal threats against students.

📹 In the second 2018 video Union City Education Association President Kathleen Valencia appears to suggest that a teacher cover up and not admit injuring a student. A Project Veritas staffer posed as the sister of a teacher in the district who the staffer said pushed and injured a student.

“I’m going to get your brother a lawyer. Your brother’s not going to admit anything happened. The only witness is the scumbag kid… he’s got a record," Valencia said. She advised her “[The teacher’s] not going to admit anything happened… Keep his f**king mouth shut."

Screenshot from Project Veritas video
Screenshot from Project Veritas video (Project Veritas via YouTube)

Two other videos released in 2021 before the gubernatorial election didn't deliver the promised punch.

📹 The group released an undercover video claiming that Gov. Phil Murphy would provide financial aid to immigrants in the country illegally after his election as if that were a secret. In reality, Murphy had publicly supported giving pandemic relief aid to unauthorized immigrants and his administration announced an application process for the aid on the day of that video's release.

📹 Project Veritas on Election Day in November 2021 sent an operative speaking in an Irish accent to an unnamed Essex County polling place. He tells the poll worker that he was in the United States on a work visa and had voted in the 2020 presidential election despite not being a registered voter or a citizen. A poll worker said she remembered the man and handed him a ballot. Project Veritas makes it seem as if the non-citizen is being allowed to vote. But what The Project Veritas video does not point out is that the poll worker was preparing a provisional ballot, which is meant for cases in which a voter claims to be eligible even though their name is not listed in a polling place's records.


Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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