O’Hara Requests Investigation of Bronfman-Raniere Attorneys, O’Connell & Aronowitz

Joe O'Hara was spied on by NXIVM, but the spies they hired were so incompetent that they provided phony bank statements.

By Joseph O’Hara

It’s funny how sometimes two totally unrelated events can appear to be related or even intentionally sequenced.

Such is the case with the attention that is now being focused on the O’Connell & Aronowitz law firm – which, up until fairly recently, was heavily involved in defending members of the NXIVM cult and helping to promote the NXIVM criminal enterprise.

On Saturday, July 6th, I wrote to the Third Judicial Department Attorney Grievance Committee to request that they undertake a comprehensive investigation of three prominent members of that law firm: Stephen R. Coffey; Michael P. McDermott; and Pamela A. Nichols.

Stephen R. Coffey


Michael P. McDermott


Pamela A. Nichols

And today, the Times Union ran a story in which it revealed that the lawyers who were representing NXIVM back in 2014-2015 were aware that their client was trying to obtain the bank records and other personal information of several of the cult’s enemies.

Quoting from the testimony of FBI Special Agent Michael Weniger, the Times Union story made it clear that NXIVM’s lawyers knew that their clients were attempting to obtain such records and information through Canaprobe, a firm based in Canada.

The Times Union article also indicated that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York (NDNY) actually looked into this matter in 2015 – and concluded that “no crimes had been committed in the United States”.

This is, of course, the same NDNY Office that turned its back on almost two decades of illegal activities by the NXIVM crime syndicate.


Local Officials Decline to Comment
If we ever needed hard-core evidence that an outside investigator is needed, just read these two paragraphs from today’s Times Union story:

“The testimony [0f FBI Special Agent Weniger] did not explicitly explain whether the conduct of the Albany lawyers, who were not identified, was ethical or even legal when it came to their alleged knowledge of NXIVM’s efforts to obtain the U.S. banking records.

“Answering that question remains difficult two weeks after the Raniere verdict. The State Police, FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, state Attorney General’s office, State Bar Association, Federal Trade Commission, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation declined to provide an opinion on the matter. Emails to the district attorney offices in Albany and Saratoga counties were not answered”.

Not one public official in the Capital District was willing to state on the record that what Pam Nichols and her O&A colleagues did on behalf of NXIVM is wrong? Would they be willing to speak up if it was their banking records and personal information that was being gathered up by NXIVM and its lackeys?


Even The Times Union Is Reluctant To Name Names
Knowing how litigious NXIVM has always been – and recognizing that the O’Connell & Aronowitz law firm still wields a great deal of power and influence in the Capital District – even the Times Union was wary about naming names in today’s story.

What it did do, however, is include a quote from a past filing in another legal matter in which Kristin Keeffe informed Barbara Bouchey that “Pam Nichols and Clare flew to Canada on more than one occasion to try to, you know, vet the information…”.

That “information” includes the bank records and other personal data that NXIVM was trying to obtain through Canaprobe – and clearly indicates that Pamela A. Nichols was fully involved in NXIVM’s attempts to get those records and data.


We Need A Special Counsel Appointed

No law enforcement agency in the Capital District can be entrusted with the task of investigating NXIVM’s untoward influence in the area – and what it did to gain that influence.

That’s because too many of them are part of the problem.

Last month I requested that the U.S. Attorney General, William P. Barr, appoint a Special Counsel to investigate NXIVM’s criminal activities in the NDNY.

In that same letter, I asked that the Special Counsel also investigate all the non-members of NXIVM – i.e., the lawyers, law enforcement officials, and public officials – who have aided and abetted NXIVM’s criminal operations.

I have not yet received any response from the Attorney General.

I remain convinced, however, that if we’re ever going to find out how NXIVM managed to operate with impunity in the Capital District for almost 20 years, it’s going to take someone from outside the area to head up the investigation.


Write To The U.S. Attorney General
Anyone who wishes to support my request for the appointment of a Special Counsel can write to the U.S. Attorney General at the following address:

Hon. William P. Barr
U.S. Attorney General
950 Pennsylvania Avenue – Suite 7141
Washington, DC 20530



About the author

J.J. O'Hara


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  • Well, since it is so easy to just grab an attorney’s client files these days… Thank the Dems for that.

  • I doubt NXIVM rises to the level required to appoint a special counsel. Epstein already has more press in a couple of days than NXIVM got for the past 20 years.

  • Joe –

    I hate to say this, but I think everyone in DC is too busy trying to thwart, malign or impeach President Trump.

    • Appointing a Special Counsel would actually give the Trump administration an incredible opportunity to expose – and perhaps take down – one of the most powerful Democratic machines in the country. Virtually everyone in the Capital District who has been involved in aiding and abetting the NXIVM criminal enterprise for the past two decades is a Democrat, the only exceptions being the two Saratoga County District Attorneys who refused to investigate what was going on in their county.

      • I completely agree with you. However the media will characterize it as a political witch hunt against Democrats. I will write, though.

      • What about that Republican state senator that they had in their pocket? (sorry, I forget his name and am away from my notes – there were private jet rides and rumors of “massages” from NXians, and then he was indicted for other corruption) And were the Bronfmans’ big donations to the NY State Senate Republican Campaign Fund just tied to him, or were there others, too?

        • I think you’re referring to Joe Bruno, the former President of the NYS Senate who oversaw the New York Senate Republican Campaign Fund. He did, in fact, become enmeshed with NXIVM, the Bronfman sisters and Nancy Salzman shortly after his wife died. And according to several reports, he received private massages from a member of NXIVM – and had use of the Bronfman sisters’ private jet – during that time. He was convicted in his first trial but that conviction was overturned after the U.S. Supreme Court redefined the requirements for a conviction under the “honest services” statute. He was acquitted in his second trial – and eventually collected millions of dollars from New York State to cover his legal fees.

    • close to everyone in DC is about to go KA BOOM and are desparately seeking trump’s anihilation to cover themselves <==this hasnt worked{theyve had 2 years plus plus} it isnt going to work and NYS is about to tank …….;0 <===they NEVER shoulda fucked with STUY TOWN {it wasnt theirs it was ours}…..nyucfrnysnyc…..never shoulda

      you want to know how i know trump has this …. the shitty PEDO signs in all elevators at stuy town have FINALLY been removed

      triangles in triangles as a stuy motif KEEP YOUR CHILDREN AWAY FROM THE DOORS have been replaced without the motif …. i guess the conciege who can get you ANYTHING you need have removed some items offa the menu


  • DONE! It’s the least I, and everyone else here who is an avid follower of this case, can do.

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.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was 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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

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