Right after the disappearance of Kristin Snyder, Nina Cowell was gifted $50,000 to operate a cafe that consisted of a table and a sink.

Why Did Nancy Salzman Give Nina Cowell $50,000 for a Table and Sink – After Cowell Lied For Them About Kristin Snyder?

I have tried to reach Nina Cowell repeatedly over the last year. She has declined to return my calls.

I still have questions.

For instance, why did Nancy Salzman give her $50,000?

Nina was in the last intensive with Kristin Snyder, the one from which Kristin disappeared, on February 6, 2003.

Nina was one of her coaches, guiding Kristin on her so-called “issues” concerning her relationship with her spouse, Heidi Clifford – which, in reality, means that Nina was there to help her [mis]lead Kristin to understand why her relationship with Heidi was “toxic” and a “disintegration”.

Probably because Kristin would not stop claiming Keith Raniere had sex with her, and she thought she was pregnant,  Esther Chiappone Carlson – with Nina Cowell’s earnest help – removed Kristin from class.

Esther called Nxivm member Elaine Smiloff, who came in her car, picked up Kristin, and drove the distressed woman home. They left around 4 pm.  According to Elaine, she simply dropped Kristin dropped her off, thereby leaving her alone in the house with no transportation.

When the intensive ended, Heidi went to the parking lot of the Westmark Hotel to get the Toyota pickup she shared with Kristin. It was gone. [Where was Nina all this time?]

Heidi got a ride home. Kristin wasn’t there. The pickup wasn’t there either.

[Who took the pickup truck?  How did it get to Seward, Alaska?]

Heidi reported Kristin as a missing person and told authorities she was possibly suicidal.

Miller’s Landing resort in the summer.

The following evening, Friday, February 7, 2003, at 9:20 pm, Kristin’s vehicle was located by Alaska State Troopers in Seward, on Lowell Point, near Miller’s Landing. Two handwritten notes were on the passenger seat. The notes suggested Snyder was planning to commit suicide.

The next closest cabin was a few hundred feet north. The Millers provided the name of the owner [or tenant] – it was [surprise], Nina Cowell.

The woman who owned/rented the nearest cabin from where Kristin’s truck was found happened to be in the same intensive as Kristin and coaching her too.

Alaska State Trooper Jeff Evanoff called Nina from Seward at 11:31 pm. on February 7, one day after she disappeared.

According to the police report, Cowell told police “she knew Snyder and they have been friends since June 2O02. Cowell saw K. Snyder last night, 02/06/03, at about 1600 hours at the Westmark Hotel in Anchorage. Cowell said a bunch of them were there in a group and she believed Snyder left to attend a performance at the Performing Arts Center (PAC). Cowell said that Snyder did not seem quite right during the past few days. Cowell stated she needed to excuse herself and make some telephone calls to some friends and asked If she could call the Troopers back.”

She never called back.

The police report continues: “l telephoned APD [Anchorage Police Department] and provided them with the information about Snyder and Cowell. APD Lt Honeman called the Seward AST [Alaska State Trooper] office and I spoke with him regarding Cowell and her reluctance to speak with AST about Snyder. LI. Honeman stated he would have an officer contact Cowell.”

It is not known if the Alaskan State Troopers ever contacted Cowell before simply deciding that Snyder committed suicide.

Despite an intense search for Snyder in the area, her body was never found.

Let’s call a spade a spade: Nina Cowell lied to Alaska State Troopers about Kristin going to the Performing Arts Center. She knew damn well Kristin was in no condition to attend a concert.

She cut short her interview with the Alaska State Trooper who called her because she had to call friends. Who were those friends?

Kristin Snyder

Within weeks, Nina Cowell left Alaska where she had lived for years and moved to Albany, NY – headquarters of Nxivm.

She was offered – by Nancy Salzman – an opportunity to run the Nxivm Cafe.

That sounds OK — as long as it was a reasonable, arm’s length business deal.

But was it?

The Cafe was located inside Nxivm headquarters at 455 New Karner Road in Colonie, a suburb of Albany, where Nxivm classes were held.

Nancy “lent” Nina Cowell $50,000 to get started.  That could be reasonable if the Cafe was potentially profitable.

But Nancy Salzman never required Nina to pay back the “loan” of $50,000 – and Nina never did pay it back. It was put on the books as a loan, but let’s call it what it is – a gift – of $50,000.

Nancy also offered Nina a free residence to live in.  A nice home in Clifton Park, and no rent to pay – for years.

That amounted to perhaps another $50,000 in free rent over time.

Those who know Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman know they do not often make gifts or loans. The money flows from students to them, not vice versa.

So let’s look at the Cafe.

The Cafe consists of a single, long table where food items were placed and a couple of smaller tables for customers to sit down at. Literally two tables.


The customer base was restricted to attendees of Nxivm intensives – which were small classes of usually nine to 20-people.  The intensives were conducted perhaps on average once a month.

Nxivm classroom.

One extenuating circumstance – to oppose the circumstantial evidence that Nina was bribed to shut up about what she knew about Kristin Snyder – would be that the Cafe was a legitimate business and Nancy invested $50,000 with the expectation that Nina would successfully run the Nxivm cafe and earn enough profit to pay her back.

Here is what Nxivm author and former student, Omar Rosales, says about the Cafe.

“There was no Cafe. That’s a misnomer. It was a sink and a table. No ovens, stoves, vents, no hood, fire extinguishers, fire suppression system, industrial Hobart refrigerators, no health department approved sinks, no dishwasher, no hot water. None of the stuff you would see with a restaurant or real cafe.

“The NXIVM Cafe was a table with a prep room. A normal fridge, sink, and microwave. No glass display cases. No coffee or espresso machines. Nada.

“No cashier, cash register, credit card machine, no phone. Nothing, because there was no cafe

“Nothing was cooked. There was no kitchen. The meals were at best hummus and cold vegetables.

“She provided the water; you made your own tea. They did not have sodas. Water or tea only. No coffee.

“There was no volume. Nobody there to buy anything. Fifteen to 20 people might be at an intensive once or twice a month. No cafe can survive on that, let alone pay back $50,000.

“I was there. I did buy some tea and put money in the jar. There was no cash register. It was self-serve and you put the money in the coffee can. It was the honor system.

“Intensives were not going on the whole time. Most days there were no customers. It was not open to the public.”

So why did Nancy give Nina Cowell $50,000, plus free housing?

Even after Nina Cowell left Nxivm with the Nxivm 9, in 2009, she wasn’t sued.  Keith or Nancy did not come after her for repayment – which is atypical of them.

Maybe Nina – by her silence – had already earned the money before the first tea bag was sold.


I repeat my call to Nina Cowell – please feel free to contact me 716-990-5740 or email frankparlato@gmail.com. If you know something about the disappearance of Kristin Snyder, the time has arrived for you to reveal what you know.

If you are innocent, be transparent. If you are guilty of conspiring to lead this poor woman to her doom, or worse, keep in mind, the first passengers on the plea deal bus get the best seats.

It may not be a big bus – but it promises to be a comparatively happy bus. Or said another way, those who fail to get on it, if they could have, may spend many years regretting that decision.


About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Report’s founder and lead writer Frank Parlato is one of the internet’s most acclaimed investigative journalists. His writing and investigations have helped expose major criminal organizations and scandals.

Frank’s work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Rolling Stone, and more.

He is also the publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.


Click here to post a comment

Leave a Reply

  • Good point: Nina isn’t 1) thin, 2) young, or 3) attractive. So why on Earth would Keith and the flying monkeys pay Nina Cowell $50,000 CASH plus free housing for a few years so Nina can go to Albany?

    If anything, Nina Cowell looks like a lady wrestler with plenty of muscle to overpower and kill Kristin Snyder.

    The plot thickens and more pieces are coming together!

    Beep beep, Nina. The Plea Bus is here… Unless you want Fed charges of murder for hire.

    • NXIVM blew more than half a million dollars on trying to find evidence for their half-baked conspiracy theory that Snyder faked her death and was still alive. Spending a fairly small amount, for them, to wrap up a loose end, even if it was just someone who knew too much about a damning case of negligence at a point when bad publicity in the media was hurting their recruiting prospects and they were even having to change their name, would not be all that unusual in perspective.

  • Good for you calling her out, Frank. People like Cowell need to be held to account, and taken to task to finally be forthcoming with what they know. Hopefully this sort of publicity will shake forth one or more people who have key knowledge.

    NXIVM had apparently been having serious issues with students encountering mental health problems – the 2004 Times Union article reports several other cases – and so widespread publicity about a suicide might have virtually sunk them, on the heels of the 2003 Forbes article that effective curtailed their ability to recruit actual executives. The spent a lot of effort, like the work of Kristin Keefe, and over half a million dollars on PIs in pursuit of their self-serving conspiracy theory that Snyder had staged her death to escape drug dealers, so it’s hardly surprising that they would have been willing to pay $50k for Cowell’s silence even if it was just to cover up their negligent handling of an intensive participant who had gone psychotic, and a subsequent suicide. NXIVM also would have been in a lot of jeopardy if Snyder’s survivors had sued; besides the disastrous exposure of their negligence and their processes’ dangers, it would have cost a lot of money just to defend, much less settle.

    I’m not saying that there’s no possible that it wasn’t murder, but it doesn’t have to have been for NXIVM to want to spend some money keeping Cowell quiet and busy. It’s also possible that there’s just something banal and even stupid at work, such as that NXIVM though that they were going to grow by leaps and bounds and need a full-blown cafeteria service at their training headquarters, and of course that never worked out – just like Raniere’s plan to have millions of DOS slaves was an absurd pipe dream.

    However, I’m concerned that people with information might be dissuaded from coming forth, by the current tone of things here. If someone, say, had insider information that didn’t fit with the murder theory, they could be hesitant to share it in an environment where even information and facts along that line would not be entirely welcome, and they would risk being accused of being a NXIVM stooge just for telling the truth.

    It also occurs to me, have any of the Anchorage area-media expressed any interest in doing a piece about ongoing questions regarding Snynder’s disappearance, even a short and soft-peddled one?

    • Anyone with information can call or email Frank, they do not have to post here.
      It is better all around for all that way. then Frank can post what he thinks is proper.

      • That’s certainly what we might hope. And I truly wish Frank the best of luck with that – he has had a couple of good sources come forward recently.

        The tone of the site still might put some potential sources off. And some people might prefer the anonymity of commenting, rather than e-mailing, but then they’d risk being savaged if the truths they know weren’t what people wanted to hear.

  • Have the other members of the Nxivm 9 anything interesting to say about this woman? Is she the only one they didn’t try sue?

  • “Even after Nina Cowell left Nxivm with the Nxivm 9, in 2009, she wasn’t sued. Keith or Nancy did not come after her for repayment- which is atypical of them.” Frank Parlato

    This whole story stinks of conspiracy, concealment and cover up.

    I would not be surprised if from time to time NXIVM money continued to find its way into Nina Cowell’s pockets to insure her continued silence.
    Since concealment of a murder is part of a murder conspiracy, the Federal RICO law might be applicable.

    The Federal government will use the RICO law to prosecute a conspiracy to commit murder.
    In suburban Chicago a lawyer named Alan Masters who conspired to murder his estranged wife with help from two corrupt police officers was prosecuted for his crimes.
    All three, the lawyer and the corrupt cops were convicted of RICO and sent to Federal prison.

    Heather Vogell, Tribune Staff Writer

    “in June 1988, the Palos Township defense attorney was indicted on racketeering, bribery and mail-fraud charges that accused him of conspiring to murder his wife.
    Dianne Masters, 35, a member of the Moraine Valley College Board, disappeared March 19, 1982. Her body was found nine months later in the trunk of her yellow Cadillac, which had been sunk in the Sanitary and Ship Canal in Willow Springs.”

    “In 1989, a federal jury convicted Mr. Masters and two others, Cook County sheriff’s Lt. James Keating and Willow Springs Police Chief Michael Corbitt, of conspiring to kill Dianne Masters and covering it up by allowing the investigation into her disappearance to languish. They were also accused of participating in a variety of bribery and kickback schemes.
    A federal appeals court described the three as a “miniature suburban Mafia.”

    And of course the State of Alaska has no Statute of Limitations on the murder itself.

    Nina, You had better start singing.
    “Honk! Honk!” The bus is waiting.

  • This is it right here. The only genuine connective link between the last ESP intensive attended by Kristin Snyder in Anchorage at the Westmark Hotel, and the location of Kristin’s truck, found parked in the dark, 2 and a half hours (!) south, is NINA COWELL. I’ve kept saying this to myself and have said it here, perhaps repetitively. Why? Because it’s the truth, as I see the circumstances, examined and re-examined.

    Please think it over. Please. Again. Nina Cowell is the only genuine connection between the intensive location, where Kristin was ejected by the ESP staff, and the distant location where Kristin’s truck was found. It was an easy walk next door, from where Kristin and Heidi’s truck was left and Nina’s residence. Remember too, that Heidi Clifford was blocked from leaving the Westmark with her wife, Kristin, by the ESP staff.

    The ESP staff was not acting in Kristin’s best interests during the Anchorage intensive. It’s obvious, from attendees’ accounts, that Kristin was being mistreated by the ESP staff over and over again. Then she was isolated and removed from the group and from Heidi, her wife. Heidi was trying to leave with Kristin and to get her professional medical care.

    Why? That was what Kristin needed the most. She needed to go and get medical attention, and her wife, Heidi, was ready to help her find that medical intervention and assistance. ESP was NOT QUALIFIED to treat Kristin’s circumstances at all. Yet this group made sure that Kristin received no help and isolated her instead, and Kristin was never seen again.

    And now, Frank Parlato has published photos of this barebones, bullshit business Cowell moved across country to operate. It was an ugly, thrown-together mess, not a cafe. That “business” was less equipped than a child’s roadside lemonade stand. Tea water and no tea bags and a few plastic hummus containers and maybe, just maybe, some crackers or pieces of bread. Ridiculous.

    Yet that cafe came with an incentive to move from Alaska, where Cowell had lived for a long time, to Salzman’s and Raniere’s New York neck of the woods. The real incentive was more than $50,000 and possibly as much as $100,000. Supposedly Cowell got a new job, a new place to live and a sizable wad of money, but what in the world had Cowell done to merit such rewards? Was this “chance of a lifetime” bestowed upon Cowell to make sure that her mouth stayed shut about Krisitn Snyder’s disappearance?

    Now we see a photo of Nina Cowell and can be sure that she was not moved cross-country near Raniere because he would’ve wanted to get into Nina Cowell’s pants. Um, no.

    We see a burly, heavyset and rather masculinely unattractive female, who is Nina Cowell. Not Raniere’s type at all, by gum. Cowell was setup with a nothing “job” and was moved into close proximity with Nancy Salzman, who had conspicuously delegated what happened to Kristin with the Anchorage ESP staff, and Cowell profited by the set-up financially and was removed far away from the “scene of the crime.” Gone, baby, gone.

    Gone was any more scandal for Raniere, about raping and/or drugging Kristin Snyder, who was talking about these things during her final days and hours, with Salzman’s and Raniere’s sycophants, who were controlling Snyder’s second ESP intensive. Kristin was publicly busting Raniere’s celibacy scam. Kristin, a gay woman with a wife, was deeply concerned and legitimately very upset, thinking that she might have been impregnated by Raniere.

    And now, for the first time (for me, at least) here is a photo of Nina Cowell, who, pardon me, looks very much like a heavy, like a human bulldog. I dunno when that photo was taken, but Cowell will not talk about anything. So, still no conscience? Just an ugly American?

    People who might be seen as not very appealingly attractive very often have a beauty of mind and heart coming out of the eyes. If you care for someone, not matter the “packaging” one sees that lovingness, that beauty, the light from the eyes.

    But this is not available from the eyes of Cowell. No loving kindness is showing, and to this day, Cowell will offer no help, nor information, nothing about her involvement with Kristin Snyder. What I see is human, barely human bulldog with hard eyes and a fake, predatory “grin.”

    It would be great to call this interpretation surreal. Go right ahead. What I see is bone chilling. Cowell’s face.

    You can run, you can clam up for the rest of your godforsaken lifespan. But you cannot hide.

    • To Dr. Gastown Porter, aka Nicki Vancouver Clyne:

      I should have realized where you got the name of Gastone earlier.
      As a Vancouverite you would know that the original name of Vancouver was Gastown.
      And there is still a district in downtown Vancouver named “Gastown.”
      Just a small switch of letters turns Gastown into Gastone.

      “Gastown is the original settlement that became the core of the creation of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
      It is adjacent to Downtown Vancouver.”

      So tell us Gastown Nicki Clyne since you are so wired into NXIVM history and lore who was involved in the murder of Kristin Snyder?

      • Shadow, for all we know,, you could be the one writing the Gastone posts, and you could have deliberately invented a name similar to Gastown….
        Though, I think the real writer is the same person who writes as Bangkok, and probably under several other different names. This person could be trying to “gas” light you with the name “Gas” Tone..lol.

    • Bahahahahahaha

      Really, where and how did Toni find out? Toni wasn’t even in NXIVM when any of this happened.

      Si shut the fuck up Mr made up Dr Poter

      • After she prevented a Mob war, was a beauty school dropout, gave her dog PTSD by grabbing the family jewels, and numerous people said she was Beyooteeful

About Frank Parlato

About Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in major publications all over the world, including The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CNN, Fox News, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and more.

Frank Parlato was the lead investigator and coordinating producer of Investigation Discovery's 2 hour blockbuster special 'The Lost Women of NXIVM.'

Frank Report is dedicated to Frank's investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth.

Read more about Frank Report's mission.

If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?

Got A Tip?

If you have a tip for Frank Report, send it here.
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com
Phone / Text: (716) 990-5740


Loading cart ...
%d bloggers like this: