Recently, a reader called me to task, in a polite way, for my criticism of Clare Webb Bronfman. Here is what this commenter had to say:
Frank, I think it’s time to stick with one opinion of Clare Bronfman.
You met the woman 15 years ago [actually 12 years ago] and said she was astoundingly naive and diffident. She sought your approval to avoid going to a social function and you “permissioned” her not to attend.
[Clare sought permission or approval from me that no harm would come if she did not attend the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative, a NYC event with the Clintons and many world leaders. She was to go with Nancy Salzman and her sister Sara Bronfman, who certainly were eager to go and wanted her to go with them.]
That tells me that you clearly recognized her vulnerability and malleability.
Any competent social engineer would spot that in an instant.
You constantly mention how strongly she was controlled by Keith Raniere during your Hollywood misadventures.
You detailed how she was isolated from her family, her very wise father, and his assistants by Raniere through published court transcripts.
You’ve shown the thrall Raniere cast over her when you published her email (or text?) to Raniere where she asks how she can be of service in his “noble quest” and he answers “swear total obedience to me”.
You’ve also presented testimony by Lauren that proved that Keith Raniere deliberately kept Clare Bronfman in the dark about the real activities of DOS, and even told Lauren he didn’t want Clare involved in the sorority.
Therefore, you’ve proved that she was being misled, misdirected and deceived by Raniere; that Raniere manipulated Clare into using her resources to work as his attack dog, all the while believing she was serving ethical principles.
You’ve even shown how, as a woman with half a billion dollars and an undeniable level of trust in Mr. Raniere, was tricked into criminal activity, by paying Raniere’s child’s monthly expenses with a credit card that Raniere did not have the legal right to use.
She can’t be super evil in one blog post and helpless, naively trusting in another.
Did she hurt people with her extensive litigation? Apparently, yes.
But I can’t believe Raniere wasn’t pulling the strings. I doubt she would ever have done those things on her own volition.
And last, ‘Cui bono?’ Did she benefit? No. So where’s her good?
Your profile doesn’t demonstrate a woman with the level of savage immaturely and unrelenting narcissistic hatred to persecute an ex-lover of Raniere for years on end; particularly when there was no “upside” in it for Clare.
I’m sorry she’s fighting you in court but it’s time to get off that horse Frank.
Here is my response to the anonymous commenter who wrote in defense of Clare Bronfman:
By Frank Parlato
When I first met Clare in 2007, she was naive and diffident. She did not seem evil. Clare did not know how to dress properly, or write or even spell; she was very shy and lacking in confidence.
I think it fair to mention that, while it was believed she was lesbian by most Nxians at the time, she was enjoying sexual ‘mentoring’ from Keith, and had been doing so for at least two years.
I recognized her vulnerability and malleability with Keith. But not so much with others. She had quite an ability to talk down to subordinates. I remember her desire to keep Sylvie in the US when the young woman desperately wanted to go home.
She also had a weird attachment to the mystical. She believed, and quite possibly still does, in the supernatural, in reincarnation, in Keith’s divinity.
She believed – awkward though she was, an ugly duckling – that she would become the beautiful swan for her predestined role in a movement that would change the world.
But she was not willing to sacrifice her comfort for this, not really, and Keith was wise enough to manage her so that she was always seduced into doing things she would find agreeable. That was the secret. Give her things that would make her feel important, make her feel she was wanted not for her money, when it was only her money that Keith sought. Her money and her destruction.
She believed Keith was the savior and she was at his right hand, the steward of the necessary money, her family-inherited money, gathered from illicit and destructive liquor and bootlegging sales, that would launch this great world-changing mission.
In that respect, she considered money, all her money, to be at his service.
When he told her that the loss of her and her sister’s $65 million in commodities was due to her father’s manipulation of the market, she believed it implicitly.
And when he told her that he found the silver lining in the loss: He learned how world markets work and how cheaters can control them to hurt the good people – [which would help when they started their own country] – she was happy that her millions had gone to teach Keith such a worthy lesson and that’s why she stood ready for her “Hollywood misadventure,” the investment of another $26 million in a Los Angeles real estate scheme.
It’s funny too. She was on the high road to losing a lot more than $26 million in that venture, when I came along, uncovered fraud, and put an end to it.
They were thankful at the time. Clare and Sara actually wept on the phone, when talking to me, when I recovered their assets and stopped them from losing more money.
What I can’t forgive is her turning on me – for Keith. She did not have to appreciate what I did for her. She could even breach the contract we had – break up our partnership that would have made millions – and recovered much of her previous losses. She could have even sued me civilly [which she did] and the matter would have been settled civilly.
What I could not abide was her ruthless going to the FBI and filing a criminal complaint against me based 100 percent on her perjury.
That’s when the naivete of the little girl disappeared in my mind and I saw her as a ruthless, evil person.
For no one, no one, no matter how naive, goes to the FBI and deliberately perjures herself to try to put an innocent person in prison unless they are evil at their core.
She knew I had recovered assets for her. I know she knew for she sued the managing partner of the LA real estate project and in that civil case in Los Angeles, she testified to all the good I had done by recovering $26 million in assets on the project.
Then, within three months of winning that lawsuit against the managing partner, [who Keith Raniere selected], she was in the grand jury in Buffalo telling them the exact opposite – that I had cheated her – in order to put me in prison.
This is why she is a criminal. She may have been under her Hitler-esque leader’s thrall, but she, like a good Nazi, had no moral compass. She was willing to destroy me for no other reason than Keith ordered her to do so.
Over time, it is true, Clare isolated herself from her family, her “very wise” father, and his assistants, like the loyal Steve Herbits. But that did not stop her from putting spyware on her father’s computer while acting like she loved her papa dearly, so she could spy on him for Raniere.
I think she would have helped Keith put her father in prison if they could have found evidence against him on his emails or computer.
Yes, Clare Bear supported what she believed was Keith’s “noble quest” in “total obedience to him”. And that’s why she is a criminal.
In total obedience, she would lie for him, steal for him, hurt her friends and family, put people in prison, for a true and total psychopath. I believe she would have killed for him.
No, you don’t get a pass because you are enthralled with a psychopath and are willing to obey his commands to be a criminal.
Sure, her crimes were insane for a woman of her wealth. She cheated Sylvie out of $100,000. That was her immigration crime. She lied about how much she was going to pay Sylvie.
Sure she could have paid Sylvie her full salary. What would that have cost her in proportion to her total net worth?
And her other conviction – enabling Keith to spend a few hundred thousand dollars on Pam Cafrtiz’s credit card after she died.
The total of her two financial crime felonies was $300,000. Have you ever heard of anyone worth $300 million who commits felonies to steal $300,000?
That would be akin to someone with a net worth of $500,000 committing two felonies in order to steal $500.
She did not commit these two financial felonies for profit. She committed felonies because Keith told her to do so. Keith told her not to pay Sylvie the salary Clare swore to pay her on immigration documents. He told her to help him use Pam’s American Express card so he could stay under the radar.
She could have just given him the money, but she did not. He lured her, it is true, into her felonies, but it was not for financial gain that she committed these crimes. She did not need the money.
She did this to be blindly obedient.
Because she thought that he could do no wrong and if perchance she enjoyed shorting Sylvie, making her sweat and live in poverty dependent on Clare, trapped in her life under Clare, that was a fringe benefit, like the electrocutioner who knows he must pull the switch to execute vile criminals for the sake of society but happens to secretly enjoy it.
She was one who slavishly adhered to “the end justifies the means” –- that perjury and ruthless litigation against people you know are innocent – is justified for the great mission you serve.
She enjoyed it. She not only enjoyed the master’s praise and her incredibly naive belief that he loved her, and not for her money, but she enjoyed hurting people.
At some point – maybe it was that day in Buffalo, New York, in June 2011, when she came from Albany to commit perjury – telling 24 strangers that she had a contract in writing with me – a necessary perjury in order to get an indictment – a contract she had just sworn in civil court in Los Angeles that she had never signed – at that point when she lied to try to put me in prison – she was no longer a naive victim. At least not to me
She was no longer in his thrall. She was an active agent of evil, without the human decency not to betray people who helped you, or the basic decency to not perjure yourself to put an innocent person in a cage, in prison.
And that is where she is headed now.
No, no matter how naive you are – there is, in every good person, the line of demarcation that you never cross. And that line may not be shortchanging Sylvie because Keith says it is unethical to overpay someone, or using a dead person’s credit card where no one is really harmed – the credit card bill was paid. But when you lie to put someone in a cage, you are no longer a mere victim.
Anonymous [above] defends Clare based on her being a victim of Keith.
Even if it were 100 percent true, still I would argue, the greatest and best thing for her is prison. Enough prison time to break her of her thralldom.
And Judge Nicholas Garaufis, in his wisdom – maybe it is God or karma that leads him – is supplying the remedy for her thralldom. A longer prison sentence than expected. Longer than she thought – with her paying $6 million – which was supposed to buy down her sentence.
Two years in some light security federal camp – that was what her money was supposed to buy – a camp where she could buy privilege and get out soon.
That would not have cured her. She was a naive young woman, once. But by the time she reached her 30s, she had been fashioned into a willing psychopath, willing to destroy lives and with ample money to do so. [If she had been broke, she might have been a less intelligent version of Kristin Keeffe.]
Now, today, 100 victims of her wickedness have stepped forward – come out to cry to the world that Clare was a holy terror, That she did true harm and seized upon the chance to do it and seemed to love it.
And you think she’s a victim?
If she was in the beginning, she adapted wonderfully well to being a perpetrator.
I won’t say that she went from victim to perpetrator at the exact moment when she went into the grand jury and lied about me, the man who helped her – calling me a criminal – when she was the criminal – and I won’t decry how that single action started a chain of events that led to eight years of suffering for me and how it sparked my attack on her and Keith Raniere that led inevitably to her incarceration.
There are other victims who suffered too. It seems 100 of them, maybe more.
But that moment in the grand jury when this once naive, now horrible woman, lied to 24 jurors and said, ” Yes I have a signed contract with Frank Parlato” when she didn’t – that was the moment the worm turned.
From there she became my enemy. She wanted me in a cage. And to avoid going to a cage, a fight I am still engaged in avoiding, I had to prove she was worthy of a cage herself. And she is worthy. She belongs in a cage. I say this not out vengeance but because she is dangerous.
With her money, she is especially dangerous.
And don’t think for one minute, she is not longing for the day she can get out of prison and start being dangerous again. Don’t think she, now humble, with her “yes your honor”, “no your honor”, “thank you, your honor” was not thinking that, in two years [her supposed prison sentence], she would get and out and punish everyone, using her vast resources to harm and destroy those who spoke against her.
All of us, everyone who spoke out against her, is on her list to destroy, as soon as the opportunity arises.
With that mind, two years in prison is not enough. She needs 4 or 7 years to cool her heels and let her know that she cannot continue in the path she has chosen.
The cage is for her sake. Sure it protects society. Victims get a respite from her potential evil and it may help make her humbled. If she goes to a more severe prison setting, she may not be the arrogant haughty heiress who thinks she can buy her way out of anything.
If she is in prison for four, 5 or 7 years, it might give her a chance to change. Maybe she could become a decent woman, who would not be willing to destroy others for the sake of being the right-hand woman of a monster.
I know if she were let out today, and if Keith were to somehow be freed, she would go right back to what she had been doing, destroying others and loving it, blindly obedient to a psychopath because she is a psychopath herself.