FIRST ON FOX: Executives at the Stacey Abrams-founded New Georgia Project (NGP) weighed digging up racism charges to justify potentially firing a White employee, according to internal conversations.
Fox News Digital obtained screenshots of Signal messages between NGP C-suite leaders, including CEO Kendra Cotton, chief field and organizing officer Keron Blair, and CTO Gabe Posey. The conversation sheds light on how its leaders discussed cutting ties with their executive administrator in a manner that does not fall apart under scrutiny because "young, white, seemingly progressive, lesbian women/men do not go quietly into the night."
A source familiar with the C-suite inner workings who shared the conversation with Fox News Digital said the "T-Shirt Debacle" chat stemmed from the employee in question placing an order for shirts in which the organization already had a surplus.
"So… She put in for a quote. She could've possibly put in for an actual approval prior to it being fulfilled," Cotton wrote. "Which means she WILL file for wrongful termination over this."
"If we are going to fire her or [terminate] her, then let's make a strategic plan to do so and as [human resources director Earvin Hopkins] often says, ‘make sure we get it right,’" Blair said in the May 12 text conversation.
"It can't be based on something that falls apart with scrutiny. It has been my experience that young, white, seemingly progressive, lesbian women/men do not go quietly into the night," the CFO continued. "I think we would do well to take a moment, have a conversation, make a plan and work to move people out/maybe even help find places for them to land."
"And she will add on the bullsh-- about [former CEO Nsé Ufot] infantilizing and bullying her for being white," Cotton wrote. "It's the only reason she is still here. I needed to calm that sh-- down."
And have a conversation they did, with Cotton noting that if the executives "pull this trigger" the employee in question is "gonna make the case for retaliation."
Former NGP chief financial officer Randall Frazier suggested cutting the position and moving on, to which Cotton said the "'position' is NEEDED" as she's their executive administrator, therefore having access to their internal documents and communications.
"Now on the position. We shouldn't ignore that the position has been a huge help to carry a lot of work," Blair said. "The person… sure… the position.. that's a convo."
"I don't want her near my sh--," Cotton retorted. "She has loose lips and will NOT be in my emails."
Frazier suggested the team's "narrative" be pulling in "admin help" and that they "are re-orging the structure of admin," with Cotton responding that the employee "is wealthy and holds vendettas."
"The sh-- she wrote up on Nsé was scathing and had receipts," Cotton wrote, shortly after writing she "ain't scared of her ass but she WILL be a problem."
Frazier told Cotton not to fear a lawsuit from the employee, but Cotton said the "stakes" were "high" and that the organization "cannot absorb that PR hit."
Cotton remarked that the employee in question is one "who may bring a discrimination lawsuit" and said NGP, which is amid a Georgia ethics commission investigation, saying the group "CANNOT take that heat."
"And people in the department she is supposed to be helping think she is a racist," now-former COO Missy Koefod wrote. "They also think that they are required to go to the white organizer for her to place a request to get anything done. That's a problem."
"Randall, this is not business … this is very VERY visible POLITICS," Cotton responded to Frazier's suggestion of having two other employees pick up the slack left over after the potential firing.
"This girl has had insight into our inner workings. She goes to the [secretary of state] pissing out of her eyes about some sh-- and we're cooked," Cotton added.
Blair suggested building "the case" and "document" reasons to fire the executive administrator while helping "her find another place" and holding "her hand out."
"This sh-- will be FRONT PAGE [Atlanta Constitution-Journal]," Cotton responded. "And this is not hyperbole."
Frazier said the group "isn't a charity" and that people "have to be held accountable," with which Cotton agreed before suggesting digging up racism charges to justify the firing.
"Let's go the hostile work environment route and pull on the racism thread," Cotton suggested.
"How do we prove the racism that she is perpetrating?" now-former COO Missy Koefod wrote. "That's my big problem is that organizers feel that she is discriminating against them and that it is impacting their work negatively?"
"Missy, you would never get far before realizing that black NGP feel the whites are racist," Blair responded. "[They're welcome to] build that case at your own risk, but be careful."
The conversation went on with the executives discussing compensation, with Cotton saying the organization "ain't paying her SH-- in a lump sum."
An NGP spokesperson told Fox News Digital the "New Georgia Project does not believe in drumming up false racism charges to justify firing an employee."
"That’s why, when a white employee named Melissa Koefod brought forth alleged charges of racism against a white employee, leadership insisted that receipts be brought or else it shouldn’t go forward," the spokesperson said.
However, the individual who suggested pulling on the "racism thread" within the messages was NGP's CEO, Kendra Cotton.
"Receipts were not brought forward by Melissa, leadership moved on, and the employee in question remains gainfully employed as a trusted advisor to Senior Leadership today," they continued.
"We can't do to this girl to what white folks have been doing to us for generations," a message by one of the executives — which the spokesperson did not identify when asked by Fox News Digital — said.
"Due process is all I'm saying," the executive wrote. "We need a RECORD."
Koefod pushed back on NGP's accusation in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying it "is true that organizers at NGP came to me with concerns, and I brought them to leadership, as I was less than a week into my tenure at this time."
"This was brought forward at the same time that I brought up concerns about an employee's performance," Koefod said. "The response I got was that leadership was afraid to discipline this employee due to fears of retaliation because the employee 'had receipts' about the CEO 'infantalizing and bullying her for being white.'"
"The current CEO stated that ‘this girl had insights into our inner workings. She goes to the SOS pissing her eyes out about some shit and we are cooked,’" Koefod continued.
Koefod also said she "was surprised at first at how fearful they were of former employees thinking, why be so scared if you aren’t doing anything wrong."
"Then the CFO was let go after bringing up financial discrepancies and the elections commission hearings occurred and I started to get a sense of why the organization was so fearful," she said.
Frazier was fired from NGP in June.
Abrams founded NGP during her time as a state representative to register minority voters, and Democratic Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, elected to the Senate in 2021, chaired the group between 2017 and early 2020. The NGP and its related action fund have received large donations passed through the New Venture Fund and Sixteen Thirty Fund, which are managed by the Arabella Advisors consulting firm and are a part of the largest liberal dark money network in America.
Abrams is not implicated in the suggested plans in the internal conversation, but the messages are not a good look for NGP as Democrats in the state face down heavily-predicted GOP gains.
The messages also give an insight into the priorities of the higher-ups at NGP when making important decisions, such as staffing, and highlight discord in an organization that has seen quick executive turnover over the past couple of years.
A source familiar with the C-suite inner workings who shared the messages with Fox News Digital noted that NGP has seen four CFOs go through the organization in two years.
The New Georgia Project's operations have also come under a microscope by Republicans in the Peach State.
In early August, the state ethics commission ruled that the nonprofit and its affiliated action fund likely sidestepped financial disclosure laws by not reporting millions in election-related spending, including advocating for Abrams during her failed 2018 gubernatorial run, according to the Georgia Recorder.
The case will move to the Office of State Administrative, where a judge will release a final decision.