Editor’s Note: “The Lost Women of Nxivm” premiered on Investigation Discovery on Sunday, December 8. For a limited time – I was told about a week – anyone can watch it free on Investigation Discovery’s website.
Viewers will have to endure commercials – as did TV viewers. https://www.investigationdiscovery.com/tv-shows/lost-women-of-nxivm/
Editor’s Note #2: Investigative reporter Patrick Howley has written about Nxivm a number of times for Big League Politics and elsewhere. Not long ago he interviewed Joe O’Hara for a story. Below are some of Joe’s remarks to Howley, which were first published on Howley’s National File.
Howley has previously reported for Breitbart, The Daily Caller, and was Editor-in-Chief for Big League Politics. In addition to National File, Patrick writes for The Epoch Times. Follow Howley on Twitter: twitter.com/HowleyReporter
By Joe O’Hara
I was hired as a consultant by NXIVM in October of 2003 and worked for them for 15 months. I quit in early January 2005, right after the first of the year. My basic role was to find people to help them address various problems they had not been able to resolve on their own.
That included lobbyists like Doug Rutnik, the father of US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. I identified Doug as a potential hire for them and they eventually hired him to help them resolve an outstanding problem involving Keith Raniere’s prior business, Consumer’s Buyline, Inc.
Raniere had entered into a Consent Decree with the New York State Attorney General that required him to pay $40,000 as part of the shutdown of that company.
Like everything Raniere did, he signed the agreement and never made the payments.
I knew Doug had very good contacts with the NY State Attorney General and I identified him as somebody who could facilitate the payment of the delinquent $40,000. I had been friends with Doug for years – and I knew his professional pedigree and his resume. I knew him as someone who had good Democratic contacts in New York State.
I reached out to Doug. He was hired by NXIVM, and I know that Raniere delivered a check for the amount that he owed and, from what I know, the matter was settled.
As usual, I acted as a facilitator.
Typically, Raniere or Nancy Salzman would identify a problem, I would identify someone who might be able to resolve the matter, and they would interview that person and decide whether to hire them.
For example, when they said they had a PR problem in terms of how NXIVM was being publicly perceived, I suggested they hired Ann Richards’ firm (She was the former Governor of Texas). They interviewed several people from the firm and decided not to hire them.
Before Doug would agree to be hired, we had lunch at the Fort Orange Club – Doug, myself, Raniere and Nancy Salzman. I think it was in the fall of 2003.
Raniere wore a sport coat and tie. He was engaging. Doug had a lot of questions. Raniere seemed to be fairly forthcoming but nothing was resolved at the lunch.
Raniere and Salzman had talked about offering Nxivm classes – which caused Doug and me to be concerned whether they were operating an unlicensed educational facility.
We were concerned about whether or not they needed to be licensed so we hired an attorney to take one of their 5-day classes. We got a report back from him that was, unfortunately, inconclusive.
Doug then suggested we hire his second cousin, Gwenn Belcourt, [Gwenn is now Gillibrand’s stepmother] – who is also an attorney – to also take a 5-day course. That was the way in which Gwenn got involved.
The first attorney was very clear that he didn’t want any further involvement with NXIVM: “I don’t want to ever see these people again, they’re weird.”
Gwenn, however, was very enthusiastic about the 5-day training she had gone through – and started taking more classes on her own. I don’t know if she got a colored scarf but she definitely became much more involved.
Nancy also befriended her and became close with her socially.
Not too long after she became involved with NXIVM, Gwenn broke off her engagement with her fiance.
During one of the meetings I had with Keith and Nancy, which was held at Nancy’s house, a young woman came in (I later found out it was Loretta Garza). I didn’t know who she was or where she was from. She was bringing back some dry cleaning for Nancy. I later found out she was one of the people who was having immigration problems.
They had another student who had some sort of immigration problem, and I identified a local law firm in Albany that dealt with immigration issues – and arranged for them to meet with a senior partner at the firm, to work on the various immigration issues that their staff were having. Once again, my role was to facilitate a meeting between NXIVM and another professional contact that I had.
They ended up hiring this firm to work on immigration problems – the Whiteman, Osterman, and Hanna law firm.
They had applied for some sort of visa for one staff member and it had been denied. So, they were going through an appeals process. This was another person from Mexico.
[Howley noted that Joe eventually resigned from the organization after some illegally-obtained garbage from one of the cult’s enemies was inadvertently sent to his office, making him aware of the extent to which Raniere and Bronfman were collecting dirt on their adversaries.]
I introduced Keith Raniere to one of Bill Clinton’s fixers, Richard Mays.
Raniere had been charged by the Attorney’s General office in Arkansas back in the Consumer’s Buyline days of running a pyramid operation.
He wanted to have his name cleared in Arkansas. When they identified this problem in Arkansas, I told them I thought Richard Mays could help resolve the matter. They met Richard and they hired him.
Mays became their conduit between them and the Clintons.
[Mays, a Little Rock attorney, who served on the Arkansas Supreme Court, has been a friend of the Clintons for decades, as evidenced by a 1997 New York Times article exposing how Mays set up a White House meeting for one of his clients, a convicted felon named Eric Wynn.]
When I resigned, they tried to hire me back. When I told them I wasn’t coming back, they used Mays to threaten me. He told me “If you don’t come back, if you insist on leaving, here’s what’s going to happen to you”.
Mays became more of a threat and an enemy even though I was the guy who brought him in.
He told me they were going to sue me – and they did. He told me they were going to bankrupt me – and they did. He told me they were going to get criminal charges brought against me – and they did. Basically, everything Mays threatened they were going to do me, they did.
Once they got control of the Bronfman sisters and their money, they became very powerful. One of the ironies is, before I became involved with them, they had no political contacts.
They had no clue how politics worked – and they had no contacts. They didn’t know any politicians – and had no idea how to do so. I helped to create for them the machine that they eventually used to destroy me.
Keith Raniere with Richard Mays
Raniere and Mays