Buffalo News: Seagram’s heir goes from accuser in Niagara Falls case to accused in NYC case

Frank Parlato [From Vice/HBO]

Clare Bronfman perjured herself to get me indicted. She and Keith Raniere were the cause of my indictment.

It helped of course that Governor Andrew Cuomo – and some of his donors, who I exposed for their corrupt associations in my newspaper, the Niagara Falls Reporter – wanted me indicted.

It is a long story, but in short Cuomo’s lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, was married to then-US Attorney for the Western District – Bill Hochul.  I had exposed top Cuomo donors like James Glynn  [Maid of the Mist], his partner Jeremy Jacobs [Delaware North] and Mark Hamister [a hotelier who got massive federal and state subsidies].

This caused them considerable grief and embarrassed Cuomo. So much so that he both threatened and offered – through his minions – money to me. I declined and continued to write about them. Glynn lost his Canadian lease and had to pay double the rent on the US side for his Maid of the Mist boat tour – because of my investigative reports. I wrote 80 stories before the Toronto Globe and Mail – and then the New York Times picked up the story.  Glynn was cooked and 11 Niagara Parks Commissioners had to resign or were fired.

The result for the people of Ontario is that the new boat tour operator [Hornblower Cruises] paid $300 million more for the lease for the boat tours over 30 years and Glynn was forced to pay an extra $60 million on the New York side.

This did not make anyone in the elite circles of Buffalo happy. An asshole [me] with a weekly newspaper was busting up their longstanding crooked deals.   What could they do?

Then along comes Bronfman with her perjury and what a break!  US Attorney Hochul seized upon the Bronfman criminal complaint as a chance to do a favor to the power elites – including his wife’s boss – Gov. Cuomo.

[And if there are any so naive out there who think the US justice system is so pure that personal animus and political vendettas play no role in who gets indicted, I commend you for your faith in the sanctity of human nature.]

Hochul assigned Assistant US Attorney Anthony Bruce to follow up on the Bronfman complaint and more than four years later – it took four years – for there was no evidence – I was indicted.

After that, Bruce retired and took a job with a local law firm and a teaching gig alongside one of Bronfman’s attorneys.

Hochul also retired early – to take a job at quadruple pay for Jeremy Jacobs – Glynn’s partner – and one time partner of the Bronfman’s in Arizona.

It could be all coincidence. I am not a conspiracy nut – but I have found that people in power tend to know each other and tend to do each other favors. They do not need to hit themselves over the head to understand what they are doing for one another.

They usually don’t send emails.

Whether Cuomo/Kathy and Bill Hochul/Glynn/Jacobs/Hamister etc. had a hand in crooking up a bogus indictment against me remains for me to prove. What I have proven thus far is that Bronfman-Raniere crooked up phony charges against me -and those charges were dropped – after Hochul and Bruce retired.  It remains for me to prove the rest of the charges were equally corrupt  and bogus and of course I will.

What I really came to learn was that innocent people are routinely charged – like I was – and few have the resources or the ability to fight back. The innocent often have to take plea deals – and I do not for a minute blame them.

I blame the Department of Justice for having not the moral compass – the lack of awareness that this life is not eternal and that no one should want to risk going to their grave knowing they put innocent people in prison – just to preserve the honor of an institution or to rack up high conviction stats.

Innocent people go to prison all the time in America – and an indictment is as good as a conviction most times – for few can fight the federal system.

I suspect it has long been the culture of the Department of Justice that its name is fashioned in an Orwellian sense. Like the Ministry of Truth – in the book 1984 – tasked with lying to the public.  I think the Department of Justice has been tasked with delivering punishment and ruination to a lot of innocent people.

The tragedy of this is that in order to punish political targets, [and some genuinely guilty people] they must keep up their conviction rates. To do this they need a veneer of infallibility and invincibility and the pretense of being driven only by the highest standards and morals. Much like the Ministry of Truth did in the book 1984- the Department of Justice must always maintain it adheres to the highest ethical standards.  An infallible organization, filled with angelic creatures, such as US Attorneys and their assistants – who can never admit they charged the wrong man [or woman]. They have to save face at all costs for if they were to err once, how could juries ever believe they could not err twice, or many times – and then there would be trials instead of plea bargains 95 percent of the time.

And that is why 10 percent of exonerates in federal prison had taken plea bargains. They were innocent, but they had no faith in the system and/or had to succumb to injustice – for they had not the money to afford a top flight attorney – or the appetite to risk trial – and nothing they could say or do could persuade the Department of Justice to seek justice.

They were charged and once they were charged, the Department of Justice does not often drop a case – for that would make them look fallible and the Department of Justice cannot afford to look fallible. So they abrogate Blackstone’s rule and created one of their own – “It is better for the Department of Justice that 10 innocent men go to prison than one innocent man embarrass us -by our dropping a case. If the jury acquits an innocent man, we blame it on the jury – saying they let the guilty go free.”

For my own part, I had to show that the ones who fomented my indictment, Clare and Keith, were the guilty ones.

I brought the original evidence of their guilt to the Department of Justice Western District of New York in 2015. Assistant US Attorney Anthony Bruce ignored it. As a result, Keith Raniere was free for three more years to brand women. Had Bruce taken my evidence, he would have gone after someone truly guilty – but this seemed to be irrelevant to him.

He had spent time investigating me. He claimed he had to indict me under orders of his boss, William Hocuhul. It wasn’t about justice. He was very wroth when I refused to take a plea deal.

When I started publishing stories about Bronfman-Raniere and my own case, Bruce went before the judge – on the day of my arraignment – and tried to get a gag order. The judge refused saying I still had a First Amendment right.

I kept publishing stories and finally the New York Times published the story of Raniere branding women – which I broke four months earlier – and then [the Eastern District of New York] Department of Justice started to investigate and soon after arrested Raniere, then later Clare Bronfman – the one who first filed her perjurious charges against me – that I had stolen from her $1 million.

In the Western District DOJ – they dropped the Bronfman charges in May, but have held on to some impossible-to-prove and really rather silly charges of what amounts to “attempted tax evasion.” [Klein Conspiracy] and that I somehow defrauded a dead partner who never once complained about me – but rather praised me – on the record – in a civil case – just days before he died. A partner that made millions of dollars from my efforts.

I understand – “the honor of the Department” and all that. They can’t just walk away. So next I will have to show how corrupt the Assistant US Attorney Bruce [now retired- right after indicting me] was and his too cozy relationship with the Bronfman’s attorney, William Savino. And show how the corruption of Cuomo and his cronies played a hand in their ignoring evidence that proved I was innocent.

This has consumed years of my life. It all started with a madman named Raniere and his ghoulish assistant Clare Bronfman.

All told, I wrote 1800 stories about the Bronfman-Raniere crime syndicate before they were arrested. I suppose I will have to write as many about Bruce – and how a corrupt Assistant US Attorney can survive and actually thrive inside the Department of Justice – where the prevailing culture is not justice but convictions.

Over time, I have learned a lot about sociopaths and psychopaths – from Keith and Clare. And I suspect Bruce is one also. I think he got a secret thrill – whenever he indicted an innocent man – more so than when he indicted a guilty one.

All of this will come out in time. In the meantime, the Buffalo News published this story last week following Clare’s arrest and indictment.  It adds to the narrative and puts on the record an accomplishment of mine – taking my initial accuser and helping her become the accused. It doesn’t happen every day. Not at the Department of Justice.

Seagram’s heir goes from accuser in Niagara Falls case to accused in NYC case 

By  | Published  | Updated 

A few months ago, Clare Bronfman was the accuser, the victim.

Today, the Seagram’s liquor heir is in federal custody facing criminal charges.

Bronfman, a key witness in the original prosecution of Niagara Falls developer Frank Parlato Jr., was arrested Tuesday and charged with taking part in a criminal conspiracy that involved sex trafficking, identity theft and money laundering.

Parlato, who is also a weekly newspaper publisher, was among the first to write about Sara and Clare Bronfman, and their ties to Keith Raniere and NXIVM, an Albany-based self-help group that some critics consider a cult.

“Now, at last, all the victims if this so-called cult can breathe easy,” Parlato said Tuesday.

In the federal government’s initial prosecution of Parlato, he was accused of stealing $1 million from the Bronfmans.

The charges were later dropped, and Parlato attributed the decision to his newspaper stories about the sisters and their link to NXIVM….

The dropped charges against Parlato followed extensive news coverage of NXIVM and Raniere and the allegations that he operated a secret society that forced women to have sex with him.

The allegations, which include claims that women were branded with a cauterizing device, have been aired by the The New York Times, New York Post and others, and many have credited Parlato with first uncovering them….

Read the full story


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Frank Parlato


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  • I would presume Frank is breathing slightly easier with fewer charges in his situation.

    I think everybody, including Frank, will breathe a lot easier when this motley crew is actually convicted.

    At least, Clare won’t be able to pull off constantly suing people anymore. Anybody she ever sues again has a built-in defence.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com