James O'Keefe, the conservative activist behind Project Veritas, is being sued by a former employee for wrongful termination and defamation.
Slate's Dave Weigel reported Thursday that Daniel Francisco, who served as Project Vertias' executive director, has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of New York against O'Keefe, his former employer. In the court filing, Francisco claims he was "wrongfully terminated" by O'Keefe, and that he has not been paid for his last week of work with the undercover video operation. Furthermore, Francisco says O'Keefe "defamed" him after his departure from the organization.
"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," Kenneth Falcon, the attorney representing the plaintiff in the lawsuit, told Weigel.
Click here to read the full summons.
Project Veritas spokesperson Jennifer Ridgley told Talking Points Memo that neither O'Keefe nor the organization had been served with a summons.
O'Keefe and his team have gained notoriety for their undercover stings, most notably a 2009 investigation in which O'Keefe and targeted the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. That video, in which O'Keefe and his accomplice dressed up as a pimp and a prostitute and alleged that the activist group supported tax evasion and prostitution, led to an ACORN employee's dismissal. The employee sued O'Keefe, claiming a privacy breach. O'Keefe later agreed to a $100,000 settlement.
In January, O'Keefe claimed that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is attempting to push him out of the state of New York, where he has operated Project Veritas since 2011.
“Governor Cuomo and the New York Department of Labor is on a witch-hunt, demanding all documents and financials since our founding,” reads a post on the Project Veritas website. "This is nothing more than meritless, politically-driven targeting. Governor Cuomo said it himself–we don’t belong in New York."
The New York Department of Labor denied the claim in a statement to Fox News.
"Every business that files in the State of New York that uses independent contractors is required by law to submit additional information to ensure that all workers are classified appropriately as either employees or independent contractors," the statement read. "After 6 months of not receiving a response, as a matter of protocol, DOL issued subpoenas to obtain the requested information."
CORRECTION: Falcon was originally misidentified as O'Keefe's attorney. He is the attorney to the plaintiff.
Clarification: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect O'Keefe's role in the 2009 sting targeting ACORN. While O'Keefe did not dress up as a prostitute during the undercover investigation, he did appear in that costume in the ensuing video.