Del Negro, LA #1 Eyewitness; Did Del Negro rape girl? Real estate deal Raniere-style

An eye witness account of what I saw in Los Angeles in 2008:

By Lou Avino:

I was brought to Los Angeles in January, 2008, by Frank Parlato to investigate the Precision Development project.  I have 35 years experience in the construction business.

While there, I spent every day with Jim Del Negro and lived in the same hotels and then later in the same house with him on Winnetka Dr. in Woodland Hills during January -February 2008.

When Frank, Ken Thomas, Paul Grenga, Jim and I first helped the Bronfman sisters gain control of their properties, there was a lot of equipment on various properties and we tried to secure these from theft.

We took possession of a red and a white, small Ford pickup trucks.

As I recall, these were registered in the name of Castle Asset Management – which was a company formerly controlled by Yuri Plyam but now, after Frank secured for the Bronfmans majority interest, was a company under the control of the Bronfmans.

Frank was appointed as President of that company.

We got the keys to these vehicles from a Castle employee named Norman Lewis.

I, along with Ken Thomas, used the white truck and Jim Del Negro used the red one – in order to drive to various sites and assess what work had to be done.

Yuri knew of course we were using the trucks. That was no secret. But there was plenty of conflict at that time and Yuri was scrambling around trying to hide what he had been doing on Roxbury[a h=mansion he was building in Beverly Hills]  and other properties he owned, but possibly purchased and constructed with Bronfman money.

As we prepared to fix the properties, Ken Thomas needed a larger vehicle than the two-seat white pick up truck and he went to a car dealership to have the truck appraised in contemplation of trading it for a larger vehicle.

At this time we thought we were going to stay in Los Angeles and complete the Precision project.

According to an email written by [Bronfman attorney] Robert Crockett, dated February 26, 2008, we were within our rights to use the vehicles.

Crockett wrote to Plyam’s then-attorney David Pillimer “there is the matter of the two ford trucks. Mr. Lewis told Yuri Plyam that the two Ford trucks registered to Castle Asset were given to Castle employees under Mr. Parlato’s direction. Knowing however that the Ford trucks registered to Castle Asset were in the possession of Castle, the Plyams reported the theft of those vehicles and obtained an insurance payoff. I have advised my client to report this fraud to the insurance company.”

In other words, Castle owned them, not Yuri, and Frank was the president of Castle so he had the right to allow Jim and I to use the trucks.

Yuri claimed they were stolen and collected the insurance money.

Del Negro was using one of the “stolen” trucks the whole time.

One day, Jim Del Negro suddenly left the house where Ken, his girlfriend, Jean, myself and he were staying — on Winnetka Dr.

Jim claimed he was moving in with a friend but later we suspected the real reason was he was afraid Ken would find out what he did with Ken’s girlfriend and mother of his child, a young woman from the Philippines named Jean.

Jim would tell Jean he would teach her “ethics” and other techniques of NXIVM and it impressed the simple, immigrant girl to hear him talk about his “rational inquiry” “ethics” and becoming wealthy.

I am pretty sure he got her alone one night and either seduced or raped her.

He used to get pretty drunk.

As I thought about it later, he may have used what he thought was Keith Raniere’s mind-control methods to manipulate this girl into trusting him.

Was it rape?

Was it intimidation?

Mutual, consensual sex?

Jim was supposedly Ken’s friend.

Jim would often send Ken on errands and Ken would leave Jean alone with the baby and Jim at home.

After what we went through with Plyam, we bonded. Jim was part of our team, part of the family. When Ken found out what Jim had done, he was hurt.

He went looking for Jim, but Jim ran off and hid.

That’s when Jim turned against Frank and tried to get him fired.

To cover his coward self, I suspect he lied to the NXIVM people who he worked for.

While he appears book smart, Jim, at other times, appears to have some attention deficit disorder that makes him forget everything or anything at any time.

He seemed to be broke, living paycheck to paycheck. And drank an awful lot of liquor.

I heard he claimed he put money into the Bronfman project. That cannot be true. Unless he stole from the project after we left.

He used to show the monthly records of income and expenses for the project. He was the bookkeeper and handled the money wired from the Bronfmans.

He earned, as I recall, $7,500 per month.

There is no way he had $750,000 as I heard, to invest.

Frank and his team, including myself, were the real reason the Bronfmans discovered the fraud and recovered their assets.

Jim wanted to stay out in Los Angeles and not go back to Albany and was afraid Frank might send him home.

I personally think there is something the matter with Jim and I am inclined to think that maybe those courses he took made him feeble-minded or something, or maybe he was always that way.

It was my impression that the Bronfman sisters had no say in anything.

I was often with Jim in the car when he talked to Kristin Keefe.

Kristin used to berate Jim a lot and he was afraid of her.

I was at a restaurant with Frank when he broke the news to Keith on the phone that Yuri was, unlike what he pretended, not a true NXIVM devotee or even a friend of Keith.

When Frank was talking to Keith on the phone, Ken and I were with Jim at the same restaurant and Jim finally began to grasp that Frank was really right about Yuri.

I personally found it strange that all the houses Yuri was building in the partnership had been undergoing construction for many months, even years.

None were finished. But Yuri’s own properties were making fast progress.

I was there when Plyam signed the ownership interests over to the Bronfmans.

I witnessed Yuri’s signature on some of the documents.

I believe it is possible that Jim Del Negro may not have reported all expenses.

Jim may have sold off equipment and building materials and pocketed the cash.

I was there every day.

We took all the equipment to a storage area- Jim and I, and Jim was the only one who had the keys to the storage shed. Jim may have also diverted money from Precision into his own bank account.

Jim was the one who got Precision money wired to his account- not Frank.

Frank, after recovering the properties from Yuri, had no interest in investigating Yuri.

He wanted to get the construction done.

Letters to Bob Crocket show Frank tried to settle. Actually believed a settlement could be made with Yuri with amnesty to Yuri and where Yuri could turn over certain properties he acquired allegedly with Bronfman money and everyone could come out whole.

For some reason, NXIVM seemed more interested in trying to destroy Yuri, rather than allow the Bronfmans to fix the homes and get their money back.

Del Negro “reluctantly admitted that he knew about an independent auditor named Phelps who was hired, with the approval of the Bronfman’s and the Plyam’s, to examine Precision’s records. … And he … recommended in emails to Keefe, the Bronfman’s and Becky Freeman that Phelps not be paid because he could not ‘guarantee what’s going to be in his report to the court.’”

I was there when Frank hired Ted Phelps.

So was Jim.

Frank told Phelps he wanted the truth.

If Yuri was innocent then exonerate him. No smears, no innuendos.

I heard NXIVM later fired Phelps and threatened to sue him then stiffed him on his bill.

Keith and Kristin knew Frank was going out to LA to help out Clare and Sara who were said to be out of money.

I was with Frank when he broke the news on the phone to Clare that Yuri was stealing from them.

Curiously she wept more from the thought that Yuri had betrayed Keith than about the potential loss of her real estate investment.

Frank wanted to fix the properties and get the Bronfmans money back.

NXIVM had another agenda.

We went out to Los Angeles, got the properties back for the Bronfmans, uncovered a fraud- and took control of the sites – in spite of Yuri’s efforts to thwart us.

NXIVM, the Bronfmans, and Del Negro, instead of being grateful, dismissed us.

Ironically Del Negro took over Frank’s position and the project has been mainly a failure ever since.

The last thing I would like to add is that when Frank and I confronted Jim with the question of whether he seduced or raped Ken’s girlfriend, he said no.

Frank pressed him and Jim partially confessed and said, “It wasn’t my fault. She raped me. I was in bed and she came into my room and pinned me down and made me have sex.

“Another time I was in the bathroom and she barged in and forced me to have sex with her.”

Jim Del Negro is perhaps 6’ 3’’ inches tall and 200 pounds and Jean is at best 4’ 11’’ and 100 pounds.

Jean is undergoing therapy right now for what she feels Jim did to her.

I do not know what is true or not.

I was not a witness.

In any event, I do not believe Del Negro’s story that this 100 pound woman forced him to have sex.

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