Keith Raniere, 55, the founder of NXIVM, keeps a harem that averages about 20 women – a few of whom come and go, He has sexual relations with many others, too –as he evaluates them for inclusion in his harem.
Since 2003, Clare and Sara Bronfman, heirs of the Seagram’s liquor fortune, have subsidized Raniere, his harem and NXIVM, his life coaching seminar company that critics have called a cult.
Bronfman money pays for homes, offices, clubs, and condos in Albany, resorts in the Caribbean, Fiji, West Palm Beach, and Los Angeles. And it pays for dozens of workers, some of whom are illegal aliens, to serve Raniere and his business schemes and provide comfort for him and his harem.
Clare Bronfman in fact is one of the harem.
A NXIVM source told me Raniere “has servants and sex slaves who wait on him hand and foot 24/7 and 100’s of people who keep their whole lives on hold waiting to arrange their schedules and aspirations to support his every whim….
“Keith is the most comfort driven, indulger that ever lived. And any man who is so completely lost in satisfying his moment to moment desires, regardless of the consequences to his followers, and their millions which he has burned through, must have destroyed all his conscience by now. Unless of course, he never had one to begin with.”
The Bronfman’s reward for subsidizing Raniere was him losing [or swindling] more than $100 million of their money through failed commodities trading and a scam real estate deal. The Bronfmans also spent an estimated $10 million on lawyers pursuing lawsuits against people Raniere designated as enemies.
Former harem members say that much of the Bronfman millions that changes hands is unreported or misreported and that several NXIVM members pay no taxes, including Raniere – who uses the harem women and a series of shell companies to hold the assets he controls.
“Keith has always had women in front of him,” ex harem member Toni Natalie says. “That is what he does. He takes vulnerable women, and he very easily becomes everything they need or want… Keith’s ultimate goal has always been to have his own commerce, his own language, his own people where he is the king. . . . What he is doing is creating his own world in [Albany] . . . These people believe he is God. He believes he’s God.”
The mother of his son, who fled the group with their child, and other ex-harem members say Raniere has millions in cash secreted in the Albany area and outside the country and that money is smuggled in and out of Mexico where NXIVM has a strong student base.
Edgar Bronfman Sr.’s death in late 2013 gave Raniere a second cash infusion as the two Bronfman sisters inherited their share from the estate of their billionaire father [there are seven siblings and a wife].
Raniere lives in Albany in a modest home with two harem members. The rest of the harem live in homes nearby where the door is always open to him. They help run his company. While Raniere is the mastermind, most of the work is done by his harem. To be in his harem means to work for NXIVM.
As I see it, NXIVM has three goals: 1. get [untaxed] money from Mexican and American students. 2. systemically strip the Bronfmans of the rest of their fortune. 3. Find new students to serve Raniere through intense 18 hour per day seminars which critics have compared to classic brainwashing sessions.
There is a ranking system for students – using colored sashes to denote rank. To anyone who knows Raniere’s lust for money it was no surprise the Bronfman sisters rose high in the ranks quickly
Sara Bronfman attained a green sash in record time [after about $50 million]. Clare rose to orange then became vice president in charge of NXIVM operations [after about $100 million].
According to a 2003 Forbes Magazine story, “Sara Bronfman says, admiring the silky cloth around her chest, “…coming from a family where I’ve never had to earn anything before in my life, [it] was a very, very moving experience for me to be awarded this yellow sash. It was the first thing that I had earned on just my merits.”
Both sisters say they believe Raniere, who calls himself Vanguard, is a world savior and an enlightened being.
The Bronfmans also help fund an annual week long birthday celebration for Raniere called Vanguard week where the harem along with hundreds of students come to worship Raniere and take seminars at a resort in Lake George, New York. Students pay $2000 plus for the privilege. According to sources, none of this income has ever been reported.
In the 15 years the Bronfman sisters have followed Raniere they have blown through a sizeable portion of their inheritance. Clare Bronfman once showed me paperwork designed to fool the Bronfman trustees where the sisters listed the $65 million for commodities trading gifted to Raniere [without paying gift taxes] as a loan. They claimed they were getting interest on the money because they wanted their father Edgar Bronfman to believe the money was earning a profit. Instead of a profit the $65 million evaporated.
According to court documents, their own testimony, and numerous witnesses, including former financial advisor, ex-harem member and whistleblower, Barbara Bouchey, the Bronfmans have gifted/invested/lost $200 million to Raniere on various plans and schemes and living expenses. It is unknown how much he secreted for himself.
So why do the Bronfmans – especially Clare stay with Raniere?
As ex-harem member Kristin Keefe said, “Keith completely emotionally, sexually, and financially enslaved Clare by convincing her early on in her relationship with him, that all the bad press that befell him was a result of her actions in not upholding him properly and thus turning her father against him. That all these horrible things are because of her ‘ethical breach’ and only her nobility, relentless work on his behalf, and her resources can heal this breach and save her soul and humanity…. Clare [is] like the secretary for Bernie Maddoff who was recently sentenced to prison. … [Clare] has suspended all personal discrimination and judgement and defers to Keith on all things without question. No matter how completely obvious her criminal and civil liability is, and irregardless of her past professional experience.”
All of the ex-harem members I interviewed are afraid of Raniere as he is known to spend any amount of Bronfman money to punish a woman who has left him. Almost all of them have asked to remain anonymous.
As one former NXIVM student wrote, “He is tireless for destruction when he doesn’t get his way. He is coo-coo and will hunt you down with the funds of one of his Seagram’s fortune concubines.”
Ex-harem members told me that once they have sex with him – and he ejaculates inside them – they must forever forego sex with any other man.
Sometimes women wait months or years between encounters. During that time, they must maintain celibacy. They are told that once they take his semen, they are “energetically connected” to him and this gift will have a tremendous spiritual impact unless they have sex with another man.
Infidelity on their part, they are told, would break their spiritual connection and might kill him because of his super sensitivity.
Raniere requires most of the women to take birth control pills.
An ex harem member told me “if you accept his semen, then you are connected and he wants to ‘cum’ in every women. It’s a way to dominate and have power over her.”
All the women are required to keep their hair as Raniere commands. One harem member, Ivy Nevares, was told she must never cut her hair until she cured some ‘ethical breach’ she allegedly committed against Raniere; it grew past her feet.
Another woman, Daniela Fernandez was imprisoned in a room for 18 months for being defiant to Raniere.
Another ex-harem member told me, ‘what happened to Daniela Fernandez and Ivy Nevares is an atrocity. Everyone that has circled through Albany in recent years knows about Ivy and her long hair, and her shunning by Keith etc. Many knew about Daniela’s shunning and imprisonment too. These were acts of abuse explicitly executed by Keith’s harem. Methodically, and deliberately over many years. It is wrong.”
When harem member Barbara Jeske cut her hair without his permission, she was ostracized by Raniere and shunned by the women of his inner circle.
“You should want your hair the way I want it,” Raniere reportedly said to her.
A source told me “Jeske wanted to get out and I saw the inner circle women attack her.”
The women must also remain thin. A weight gain of 3–5 pounds can result in censure, punishment and banishment since fat disturbs Raniere’s vital energies, he says.
“All of the women look grey,’ an ex Raniere harem member told me. “Most of them are on the pill.
“You can tell when a student starts sleeping with Raniere. She starts losing weight. She has certain pallor and dullness. She rarely smiles. She looks pensive.
“I would never recommend that anyone get involved with him sexually. It is abusive. I don’t mean in a violent way. You are made to feel sex is gifted upon you instead of sex being two consenting adults coming together to create something. These women are so desperate for love and affection and he can go years with them without having sex. And they go out of their way to get a smidgeon of love from him while they are watching him have sex with dozens of others.”
A source described some of the women who get little of Raniere’s sexual attention:
Dawn Morrison – alone, on post for Keith, loveless, boyfriendless since 1999. Probably given up on having one of Keith’s “golden children” as she is approaching 50. So, no baby ever.
Kathy L. Russell – head NXIVM bookkeeper handler of all KR’s nefarious bank transactions. Alone on post for Keith, loveless, boyfriendless since 2003.
Monica Duran – assistant to Clare Bronfman. Beautiful, intelligent, and educated, on post for Keith to throw her a few crumbs since early 2000’s. Living loveless and boyfriendless since then.
Franca Dicrencenzo – flunked out of harem in mid-2000’s. Now living in guilt and insecurity for “failing Keith and failing to work her issues” despite being a gorgeous, educated, successful, real estate entrepreneur. Dating with guilt.
Tracy Christopher – flunked out of harem for her failure to “heal her ethical breach” early on but stayed loyal to organization. Career destroyed as a result of NXIVM and Keith’s pummeling of her self-esteem. Totally brainwashed, refuses to see reality.
Daniela Padilla – joined harem after divorcing Sean Bergeron. Does EM therapy sessions with other harem members about their “jealousy issues” with Keith. Main clients – Marianna Fernandez and Clare Bronfman. Approaching 40. Likely to follow path of rest of older harem and have a loveless, childless middle age.
Why do they stay?
“He is trying to save the world, they think, I thought so too for a while. And you can’t do anything to hurt him,” another of the ex-harem said.
Another ex -harem offered another reason: “Many of Keith’s harem make a lot of money off [NXIVM] ESP and its various offshoot-subcult endeavors. They are in these money making positions because they are in the harem.
“Keith [is] a sexual predator….. Any woman [still] in Keith’s harem … making money off Keith’s enterprises is a predator too. What they are doing is immoral, unethical, dishonest, and a type of fraud. Keith has a certain powerful way of dissuading his member base not to pay attention to the press. Yet everyone in the group knows…. Everyone has seen Keith around his women. There is no denying he has a harem, and there is no denying he has taught that underage sex is just a manmade rule. It’s twisted and we all know it and should have stood up to him about it much much sooner. … If Keith’s women are denying this, it’s because they want to deny it because they like the money they make more than they care about abusing other women. In Clare Bronfman’s case, she likes the power.”
While it is generally hid from the rank and file students, those who stick around soon learn that NXIVM is run by his harem.
As one 6-year student of NXIVM observed: “What Keith proposes and the organization espouses is that ‘this is all for a better world and a better ethical humanity’… Who doesn’t want to believe that? [But] when I began to see how many of the women, especially those close to the Kingpin behaved I knew in every ounce of my being that he was screwing them all. The cover up was so obvious. I … asked insiders … it was confirmed. To me, it was gross.”
In any event with a harem of women, all on the pill and Raniere sleeping with dozens of women without protection it is possible that STD’s are passed around. Two sources said that this appears to be a problem at times. Former sex partners also say that Raniere is largely impotent, making his one sided sexual freedom even less of a pleasure for the women.
Ex-harem members say that the sessions are very brief with little concern for the woman’s physical pleasure; he deposits his semen and leaves.
“He would come with the smell of another woman on his lips,” one ex told me. “Most men are lousy lovers and he was one of the worst I ever had.”
His harem changes from day to day:
Known and suspected harem members include:
Nancy Salzman, her daughter Lauren, Clare Bronfman, Pam Cafritz, Mariana Fernandez, her sister Camila Fernandez, Karen Unterreiner, Ivy Nevares, Dawn Morrison, Esther Chiappone, Kathy Russell, Loretta Garza, Monica Duran, Daniela Padilla, Kristen Kreuk, Allison Mack, Nicki Clyne and others;
Known and suspected past members: Gina Hutchinson, Barbara Bouchey, Kristin Keeffe, Toni Natalie, Daniela Fernandez, Barbara Jeske, Analea De La Fuente Holland, Franca Dicrencenzo, Tracy Christopher, Sara Bronfman, Karen Abney, and many others.
As Keeffe, who escaped with Raniere’ son in 2014, said, “I left because Keith abused me horribly in every way, orchestrated crimes at every level of NXIVM operations, and horribly lied to and/or abused all of my friends….
“In the 24 years I have known Keith, 11 of which I lived with him…. I have not seen Keith develop a single close working relationship with a woman (professional or not) that he wasn’t immediately having sex with. Not one. Ever.
“In the years while I played along, I had to endure the most vile physical abuse by Keith, and attempted psychological abuse and disparagement by his closest sycophants, all directed by Keith. I took the abuse I had to take, and I acted the way I had to act, to keep them all in the dark about what I knew was happening. I had to for the protection of my son. It worked, and now my son and I are free and Keith can’t touch us.”
Multiple attempts to reach Raniere have failed in eliciting a response from him.