I was talking to Joe O’Hara the other day about some of the many lies Clare Bronfman told in various litigation. Both of us concluded that she lied as good as Vanguard.
I recalled for Joe a few random episodes during my days as a consultant to the cult that would later brand women – and I would have the privilege of being the first to publicly expose.
Clare was different then than what she later became. She was not then a cruel monster, or if she was, it was neatly suppressed inside a shy, little girl facade.
I recall, one day in 2007, when Clare told me she declared on her trust fund ‘phantom’ income – interest on $65.6 million she had gifted/lent to First Principles – and was lost by Keith Raniere in commodities trading. She showed me her income and expense statement and admitted that the $230,000 she reported as interest income was actually a fiction. She said she declared it – and paid taxes on the income – in order to fool her trustees [and her father] into thinking the $65.6 million that was lost in commodities was not lost but was a smart investment, an interest-earning loan.
At the time, I thought there was nothing wrong with her over-reporting income and paying taxes on it. It was all that much more money the government would collect and spend. Years later, I suspected that when she reported phantom income and paid taxes on it, that she, or someone else, might have evaded paying much more in taxes. If the $65 million was actually a gift – or income to Raniere, Nancy Salzman or First Principles, she, or they, might have owed millions in taxes. Instead, by declaring $230,000 in ‘phantom’ interest income – ‘earned’ from a $65.6 million “loan” – she and her sister, Sara, probably paid around $50,000 in taxes.
Into the Mystic
One day, Clare told Keith she thought I had come to her in a dream and offered to show her how to fly via astral projection. Naturally, she asked Keith for advice on whether she should learn this. I don’t recall what Keith told her, or whether he merely dismissed her notion as unreal. For my own part, I don’t recall ever coming to her in a dream or wanting to. I wrote it off as her imagination. It never came up again.
I recall taking Clare on walks in the woods near her horse farm – where I stayed – to discuss the work. I recall trying to teach her how to write and allowing her to do some research for me. She was a willing worker and eager to learn and I liked her at the time and felt sorry for her also. She was lonely and needed approval and something to do. She did not strike me as mean, but only frightened and lost. Keith did not seem to have much time to spend with her in those days.
I came to realize that Clare was having a relationship with a foreign woman she had sponsored in the USA. Her visa was expiring. Clare asked me to find a way to keep her in the USA. The woman came to me privately and said, “Please, don’t find a way to keep me here. I want to go home.”
There was no legal way I knew of to keep the woman here and I did sympathize with her. She was afraid to tell Clare that she did not want to stay, and was hoping that, since her visa was expiring, Clare would pay her way back home. I did not see this as coercive – no more so than any time when one lover wants to leave the other and is afraid to say so because the other one wants her desperately to stay. I told Clare quite truthfully that I knew no way for the woman to remain and that she should go back to her native country for otherwise if she stayed beyond the time her visa permitted, she might not be able to return again. Clare, a little teary-eyed, paid for the lady to go back home.
Not Meeting a Clinton
I recall the night when Clare asked for my approval for her not to attend the Clinton Global Initiative dinner in New York City. Her sister, Sara Bronfman, and Nancy Salzman were going to attend – and they fully expected Clare to go with them. Clare and Sara, at Keith’s command, had given quite a bit of money to the Clintons. They were entitled to go. There they would meet Bill Clinton and other world leaders. Others [though probably not Keith himself, who was likely indifferent] told her she must go – that it would be important for the mission and Keith.
I asked Clare why she did not want to go.
She complained that she would have to get a new gown and wear makeup; she did not want to dress up and she wouldn’t look good anyway.
I said she could easily dress up nice if she wanted to, and that she would look fine, even pretty.
She said she did not want to dress up nice. She preferred wearing jeans and knew she could not go in jeans.
I quoted Thoreau, “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”
“Then I don’t have to go?”
“No, you don’t have to go, if you don’t want to.”
“If you think I don’t have to go, then I’ll tell Nancy and Sara that you said I don’t have to go and then they won’t push me. You’re quite sure I don’t have to go?”
“No one will even notice if you’re there or not. Your sister will be there and representing the Bronfmans. All you need is one Bronfman; you don’t need two.”
She was almost in tears, when she thanked me, relieved she did not have to worry about wearing a dress, or makeup, or meeting people she was not at all interested in meeting and probably frightened about meeting as well.
My Past Life Revealed?
A certain High-Rank NXIVM member – pleased by how much Keith was pleased with my work – told me she had learned [I suspect from Keith] that I was, in my past life, an ancient Cambodian king who ruled, I believe, in Angkor.
I forgot the name of the king and, as I recall, I was told – somewhat breathlessly by this NXIVM High-Rank lady – that in my former life – my former fate as a Cambodian king – was nothing less than to die nobly and successfully defending Keith who was also a king in a previous life. I fail to recall what king Keith was and where he ruled – perhaps it was India.
I did not think much of the notion at the time. I told the lady that this was very interesting, but I knew nothing about being a Cambodian king and did not recollect ever having been one. Then I forgot all about it. Within a few days, I was off to Los Angeles to look into a real estate development Keith was guiding for the Bronfmans and I don’t recall my Cambodian kingship ever came up again.
Despite the apparent weirdness of these and other events, I did not think these were bad people. I thought they were kooky but nice. And so long as they did not hurt others, they had every right to live their lives without being tarred and feathered by a hostile media and labeled as a cult.
At the time, I did not see any “nefarious” activities. At the time, while I did not want to be like them – I liked them and was willing to be paid, albeit handsomely, to defend their right to be different.
And so I did.