In the months since the coup d’etat that ousted James O’Keefe from Project Veritas earlier this year, the conservative group has spiraled out of control as it weathers mass layoffs and board member resignations under the leadership of Hannah Giles, who took the helm in June, Mediaite reported.
“Her actual journalism experience is murky.”
Mediaite (no doubt chortling about it) obtained audio from an August 22 meeting between Giles, Project Veritas board president Joe Barton, and several staffers. At the meeting, held just days after 23 staffers were fired and two resigned, Giles can be heard explaining that the organization is in financial ruin.
“It’s devastating,” Giles said. “I’ve got to get back into the bank accounts to see what’s real and what’s not real because I have been getting presented with things that were not making sense and then when I’m presented with okay there’s only a thousand dollars left in the 501(c) (3) and I thought we had until October. We did a half a million dollar transfer and that was this period. But, like, we’re bankrupt.”
Giles continued to paint a bleak financial portrait of the well-known conservative nonprofit that raked in $22 million of donor cash in one recent year.
“The bills that are owed and everything, and there’s lawyers threatening to like, to force us into bankruptcy, and come take all this stuff,” Giles said. “So, I do not want us, I do not want to declare bankruptcy or go into bankruptcy, but we have to imagine that’s where we’re at so how do we get to the point where we’re clawing our way out of that situation?”
“So, we’re under water?” one staffer asked. Giles responded: “Yeah.”
A recently departed Project Veritas staffer told Mediaite they believed Giles had mismanaged the organization since taking over in June. They said former CFO Tom O’Hara made clear that Project Veritas faced a grim outlook – which was ignored by Giles. The former staffer said O’Hara was “upfront about the dire state” the company is in, and cautioned Giles of the strong possibility that they were on the brink of bankruptcy.
“Since July, he was trying to convince the board to start considering a wind-down period in order to give employees enough notice — this was ignored,” the source said.
Another ex-staffer told Mediaite that Giles “lacked leadership skills” and suggested the board “did not do their due diligence” when they appointed her. “Her actual journalism experience is murky,” they said.
After O’Keefe’s exit in February of this year, Project Veritas launched an investigation into his use of funds. The Washington Post reported this week on an audit conducted by a law firm hired by the group which accused O’Keefe of using company cash for personal expenses – including $12,000 to charter a helicopter for a trip to Maine for a sailing trip, hundreds of thousands of dollars on high-end car service, and thousands on DJ equipment among other luxury items.
O’Keefe’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, told Mediaite that when O’Keefe was “forced out of Project Veritas in February of this year, they had between $6-8 million in their bank accounts. James had access to none of it. Six months later it’s apparently all gone. Instead of nameless sources blaming James for spending that money and bankrupting Project Veritas, perhaps their CEO and board of directors can let us all know how they blew through it all.”
Note: Mediaite is still trying to tar O’Keefe as a thief in their original article. He has since created a successful new investigative outlet: https://okeefemediagroup.com/ — TPR