Here are some excerpts from the testimony Mark Vicente gave on May 13th and May 15th – as it concerned Allison Mack.
Based on what Vicente said, Mack does appear to be more of a victim than some people generally believe.
Mark Lesko for the government is examining Vicente.
Q Was there anybody in particular who looked exceedingly skinny?
A My greatest concern back then was Allison Mack. I was very concerned…. I was spending a lot of time with her back then, and I just couldn’t understand why … her weight was dropping so much. And also accompanying the weight loss was sort of this tired, kind of out-of-it look…. she sometimes couldn’t focus very well. And to me, it looked like a kind of malnutrition. So I was deeply concerned about that, and so I went to talk [to] Raniere about it.
Q … you had a discussion with the defendant. What did he say?
A … I went to see him, and I said, ‘I’m concerned that all these people have this idea that skinniness is the ultimate objective. And I said to him, ‘It also worries me deeply given that in this society right now, the obsession, with the bodies and models, and everything, like I don’t think it’s healthy to tell a woman that her weight is tied to her enlightenment or her growth or whatever. It’s just unhealthy. It’s … bad. Women, and especially young women, have enough issues already with their appearance given the culture we live in. Why do that?’
And he said to me, ‘Well, you know, I work with different people in different ways, and there’s different reasons for different things’….
It wasn’t making any sense whatsoever. And I said, ‘But Allison — … what about Allison? … she looks terrible. … if this is her having some kind of breakthrough, I don’t [know] what’s going on. Then I don’t understand breakthroughs because she looks horrible… You know, she looks broken.’
And he said, ‘Well, I’m trying to break her.’
And I was like ‘uh-huh. Okay. Well, she’s not looking healthy.’
And he said, ‘Well, she’s still getting her period.’
And I was like, ‘Okay.’
I wasn’t sure where else to go… I was thinking to myself, ‘Well, you know, you can take a pill and still do a whole bunch of things,’ … in the end, I just backed away, because I couldn’t get any clear answers…
There seemed to be a kind of a club of young women gathering around Allison Mack and they just didn’t look healthy. I mean, you know, maybe they were healthy by Fashion Week’s standards… which is not healthy in my opinion, but they just did not at all look good.
They were just obsessed with eating as little as possible, and they would literally measure their calories on a scale. There was all this measuring going on. And there was also this obsessive penitence that they would do if they messed something up. You know, so if somebody was on a certain number of calories and they messed something up, then they would cut their calories. … I was hearing that people were cutting it down to 500 calories or 300 calories, something’s not… okay.
Q When the defendant told you that he was trying to break Allison Mack, what was your reaction to that comment?
A I was disturbed because a part of me thought ‘okay, well, so we’re trying to break pride…. I get that.’ But I couldn’t understand why somebody withering away was somehow going to fix that. That was the part I didn’t get. … I was at this point beginning to ask Raniere a lot of questions, but there was still the issue of my rank and his rank. So I had to be very careful that only in private would I ask him certain questions, not in public.
And then also even in private… it’s like questioning the king… Like at a certain point just slow down and be careful. So I would … just nod my head and think, ‘Okay. Well, he’s got some understanding that I don’t have and maybe there’s some wisdom I just can’t get because of something he knows.’
I don’t share that anymore, but that’s what I thought at the time.
Q … Do you recall when you first met Ms. Mack?
A Yes. I don’t recall the exact year, but it was at a volleyball game. She had just flown in from, I think it was Seattle on the Bronfman jet, and she had just come from the airport to come and meet — well, she told me to come and meet me and Raniere.
Q What was Allison Mack’s role in NXIVM?
A Well, in the beginning, she was… a student who became a coach, who eventually became a proctor. She was one of the heads of Jness …. she was one of the leaders. She was the head of Humanities in Albany.
Q Was that a committee?
A That’s a committee, yes. And then she also was the head of the company called The Source, which would be the acting program. And then she also for a time was involved in a company called The Knife. The Knife of Aristotle was a media analysis company.
Q Who promoted Allison Mack to proctor?
A I don’t recall exactly, but I do remember having a discussion with Lauren Salzman about it. Because I remember when she was going to be promoted, I remember saying … ‘are you serious, that’s insane. There’s something not stable about her. And… this gaggle of women that she’s mentoring… are not doing well.’
I was very concerned. I don’t recall who exactly gave the final sign-off on the promotion, though.
Q Who had ultimate authority to decide on who would progress on the path?
A The ultimate authority was Raniere. … he would be the final say.
Q Was Allison Mack a member of the defendant’s trusted group?
A She was.
Q When was The Source developed?
A The Source was developed sometime at 2014. It was one of the companies under the … Ultima umbrella, and it originally consisted of Allison and then I think there was 12 of us guys involved as well…
Q And did The Source have curriculum?
A The Source had curriculum. What would happen with that curriculum is Raniere would meet with us. Myself or somebody else would videotape the meeting. And that would be turned into the actual curriculum. And then once he had done… “the download of all of the material,” that was turned into …written things and videotapes and then we began running trainings.
Q And the focus was on actors?
A The focus was on actors. We were told later musician and… public speakers, but it was mostly performance…. being in front of people, how to best use the instrument of presentation or performance.
Q Did the curriculum developed for The Source, was that an adaptation of the defendant’s tech system as applied to actors?
A To some degree. There were certain things in there that were part of some of the other curriculum.
Q Did Allison Mack eventually move to Clifton Park?
A She did eventually. She moved from Casual Gardens, I think, to Clifton Park.
Q Do you recall approximately when this happened?
A I know for sure it was pre-2013, but I don’t remember the exact year.
Q And where did Allison Mack reside in Clifton Park?
A …she moved into 7 Generals Way, … along with my wife and I.
Q Did you stop living with Allison Mack at 7 Generals Way?
Q What happened?
A She had said at one point she needed to do some more private work and she needed to be alone. So she moved a few blocks away to Grenadier Court,…. She said she needed privacy to do some of the different projects she was working on.
Q Did Allison Mack get along with your wife?
A: At the beginning, I think, yes. Later, not so much.
Q Was your wife involved in The Source?
Q Was there conflict between your wife and Allison Mack regarding The Source?
A There was. The concerns my wife had related to the divisions that were occurring in the company… there were like 12, maybe 13 people that all felt like that was part of their company, and then suddenly there were their divisions… And it … was messy…. And she also had concerns about Allison’s… psychology, about her… erratic behavior and whether she … would be able to lead well.
Q At some point do you recall a meeting involving yourself, Allison Mack, your wife and the defendant?
A Yes. He offered to do an arbitration between Allison and my wife, and I was there as well…. I had said to him things were not … working. There’s a lot of unresolved issues with this company [The Source] and a lot of people feel very slighted. So he said, ‘well, maybe I should jump on board,’ which is pretty unusual. Most of the time he would say ‘it’s not good if I would do an arbitration because I’m final point. After me is the point of no return,’ so … other people do that. For some reason he felt that he would do the arbitration.
Q What was an arbitration at NXIVM?
A An arbitration at NXIVM is basically figuring out what is the issue that each person is having, and then trying to help them understand how the issue they’re having is related to their particular… issues…. their inner deficiencies, their life issues … and to get each party to take responsibility for what’s theirs and then see if there’s any action that needs to be taken… So it wasn’t just, ‘well, okay, each of you talk.’ It’s ‘each of you talk and now let’s look at other unresolved things with respect to each of you that you need to look at that may be affecting the way you’re seeing things.’…
Q So what did the defendant say at the arbitration meeting involving yourself, Allison Mack and your wife?
A Well, he started the meeting by saying, ‘well, let’s just start with ground rules. Does everybody at the table believe that everybody at this table have good intent?’
And, of course, everybody said ‘yes.’
If you said ‘no,’ it would be a huge problem. Saying ‘no’ was a huge problem because it looks like… you project. If you think somebody has bad intent, oh, well, clearly you’re the one with bad intent.
So of course you said ‘yes.’
And then he began to elicit from each person two different things. He basically had Allison admit that she… hated my wife, was trying to destroy her. Was very jealous of her.
And then… he said to my wife… basically… ‘there’s things you’ve been through like loss of innocence, I’ve seen this kind of thing.’
And then he tasked … Allison with finishing it, that what she done was a real problem and that she needed to really look into herself and fix this — this impulse that she has to destroy another woman. You know that has to be fixed. So … the way I remembered ending was basically [Allison] she has to go fix this.
Q: Did India have a relationship with Allison Mack?
A She would come to have a relationship when she spent more time at Albany. She… ended up being tutored by Allison Mack, or Allison Mack took a particular interest in her and took her under her wing…. I had a lot of concerns about that.
Q I think you mentioned that you had some important concerns about India’s relationship with Allison Mack?
A Well, I was very concerned with what happened … I saw with India was that she became enamored with Allison Mack. The kind of enamor where you don’t just admire someone because they were skilled, [but] like ‘fall in love’ with Allison Mack, ‘you are my everything’.
And I said to myself, ‘something’s unhealthy about that. I don’t know that it’s healthy for her to look at Allison Mack as some kind of… deity who knows all.’ Knowing Allison… I didn’t think that Allison should necessarily be mentoring young women, so yeah, I had concerns.
Q You discuss those concerns with the defendant?
A I did.
Q What did you say?
A I remember saying something like, ‘I don’t think that she [India] should be mentored by Allison. I don’t think it’s healthy. I think Allison has a series of issues that I’m concerned with and I don’t think she should be teaching India or some of the other people.’
Q What was the defendant’s response?
A I don’t recall specifically. I do remember him saying something like, ‘you know, well it’s not really my concern.’…
Q … did you discuss this secret society [DOS] with the defendant?
A I did. … I had been talking about something going on and my concerns. … at one point he asked, and it had to do with Allison Mack… he said, ‘is this something to do with the Source?’… I recall saying in March , saying to him, ‘I don’t know what is going on with you and all these women, but I have deep concerns about this all blowing up in some way that is bad.’
He said to me, ‘well, I don’t think this will blow up; maybe other things will, but not this.’
I thought, ‘I don’t know where to go from here. He’s not engaging me on what I’m concerned about.’.
Q: So could you describe this conversation with Kayla?
A She told me that at a certain point she had seen a vow on Allison Mack’s computer. The vow was to Raniere, vowing in essence that she would never leave. And that if she ever did, she would give up … any children she had to him and all her possessions. So it was some kind of a life-long vow.
When I heard that from her [Kayla], I was extremely disturbed…. this seemed extreme. Of course I was very concerned.
Q Did this type of vow that you described, did it appear to be different from the other vows that you were familiar with in NXIVM?
A It was much more extreme. In essence giving up your children, giving up all your worldly possessions. It disturbed me.