If we are to believe Clare Bronfman, the Dalai Lama came to Albany to speak to a largely NXIVM audience without getting anything for it whatsoever.
Onstage, on May 6, 2009, Clare Bronfman reportedly told the audience that revenues for the Dalai Lama event was $140,821 and that the cost to put on the event was $283,570 — which meant that the event lost $142,749.
The result was, Clare said, there was nothing to give the Dalai Lama from the event.
Here is the relevant portion of a May 9, 2009 Albany Times Union article, “Dalai Lama organizers pay off debt” by Carol DeMare and Brian Ettkin:
The Dalai Lama, the spiritual and secular leader of Tibet, appeared Wednesday at the Palace Theatre, a smaller venue of about 3,000 seats. Clare and Sara Bronfman, Seagram’s liquor heiresses, worked to re-schedule the spiritual leader’s visit to Albany after the failed Times Union event.
In response to a question submitted by a member of the audience Wednesday, the Dalai Lama said his people investigated the allegations made against the World Ethical Foundations Consortium and its link to NXIVM, a locally based organization that conducts person-growth training courses, and found it to be an ethical group. And, he said, he supports organizations that promote ethics.
At the end of his talk, Clare Bronfman announced to the audience that revenues for the event totaled $140,821 and costs were $283,570, so the consortium was out $142,749.
More than once, Bronfman apologized to the Dalai Lama, saying it wasn’t good news, “in that I don’t have any money to send home,” referring to donations to the Dalai Lama’s causes. “I apologize we have no gifts in that way,” she said.
Palace marketing manager Sean Allen said Friday several of those in attendance asked on their way out about the public financial accounting.
Tenzin Dickyi, a special assistant to the representative of the Dalai Lama in the New York-based Office of Tibet, said a financial accounting of event revenues and costs customarily is announced at the conclusion of the Dalai Lama’s speaking appearances. The Dalai Lama requests this, she said, for transparency.
“Events are not held to make money or profit, and usually the accounts balance,” she said. “Sometimes, the outgoing expenses are greater than the money that comes in.”
Clare Bronfman told the audience she and her sister would make up the deficit. The Dalai Lama downplayed the talk of finances, saying he didn’t want money for public talks.
Allen said 2,391 tickets were sold at the Palace. Ticket prices were $55 and $85. Between 550 and 600 were $55 seats, Allen said. If the figure for $55 seats is put at 575, revenues would have been about $186,000, including the $85 tickets.
On Clare’s and her sister, Sara Bronfman’s foundation 2009 Ethical Humanitarian Foundation IRS 990 filing, Dalai Lama ticket sales were $156,942 and t-shirt sales were $1,510
Ten days after the Dalai Lama spoke in Albany, The Dalai Lama Trust was founded [May 16, 2009].