The former executive director of controversial filmmaker James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas organization has filed suit against O’Keefe and Veritas claiming wrongful termination and defamation.
According to Dave Weigel, Daniel Francisco, who joined Project Veritas in 2012 and served as its executive director up until last month, has filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of New York claiming to have been “wrongly terminated” by Project Veritas. The suit alleges that “Project Veritas has breached its contract” by “failing to compensate him for the final week of his employment,” and that it has “tortuously interfered with Paintiff’s contract.” Additionally the suit states that James O’Keefe has “defamed” Francisco following his departure.
“Essentially, a dispute has arisen and we’re pursuing our legal options due to the unethical behavior and actions of Project Veritas and Mr. O’Keefe,” explained Francisco’s attorney, Kenneth J. Falcon. “There’s not many specifics I want to go into this point. I don’t know whether they have been served, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing from them soon.”
James O’Keefe and film-making associate Hanah Giles were previously sued and ordered to pay $100,000 to ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera of National City, California for secretly filming him without his permission. The heavily-edited ACORN videos have been cited as a major factor in the dissolution of ACORN, a collection of community-based organizations who advocated for low to moderate-income families.
In 2012 O’Keefe was the recipient of a criminal harassment complaint filed against him by Project Veritas associate Nadia Naffe. Naffe’s complaint included documents related to a sexual harassment settlement between O’Keefe and former Project Veritas executive director Izzy Santa. O’Keefe subsequently counter-sued Naffe requesting an injunction to stop publication of those documents as well as emails that O’Keefe claims Naffe stole from his computer.
In 2010, James O’Keefe and three Project Veritas employees pled guilty to charges of entering federal property under false pretenses after being arrested for dressing as telephone repairmen and attempting to access the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). The initial felony charge was later dropped to a misdemeanor and each member of the Veritas team was ordered to serve three years probation, pay a $1500 fine, and perform 100 hours of community service.
O’Keefe, contacted by Slate’s Weigle, for comment about the Francisco suit, referred him to a spokesperson who did not immediately respond.