A reader asked a question about my role with Nxivm, the Bronfmans, and Keith Alan Raniere:
Dear Frank —
You said that you didn’t have a signed contract with Clare regarding the $1 million but you said you were paid $75,000 per month by NXIVM when you were working for them. Did you not have a signed contract that covered your work as Clare’s spokesman and attack dog and couldn’t you have continued getting paid $75k a month and avoided the whole civil/criminal stuff.
Why would she wire you $1 million dollars before you had finished the project?
Here is my answer:
The contract Keith and I negotiated in January 2008 was that Clare and Sara were to send me $1 million in advance and that I would receive one-third of the profits (minus the $1 million) in exchange for my developing a Los Angeles real estate project.
Before I arrived on the scene, Keith had gotten the Bronfmans into the project. They had invested $26 million and had nothing to show for it. The project was running amok.
I was to relocate to Los Angeles and rescue the now-errant project.
Raniere did the negotiations with me for our written agreement. There were adjustments he wanted and it went back and forth a few times. When he was satisfied, I signed it.
Here is a copy of the agreement:
I had no reason to doubt his sincerity. Within an hour of my signing the agreement, Clare and Sara Bronfman wired $1 million to my bank.
Based on their wiring $1 million, I assumed they ratified the contract and would later sign it.
I began immediately and rescued the project. I recovered properties, got them titled in their name and won possession in court, plus the bank financing to continue the development without further investment by the Bronfmans, who had just finished squandering $65 million in commodities, $26 million in the Los Angeles project and a good $10 -$12 million on lawyers advancing Raniere’s legal quests.
After I fulfilled substantial aspects of the Los Angeles agreement – which took about a month –Raniere said [through an agent], “Give the Bronfmans their money back, you’re fired.”
It was his outrageous suggestion that I get zero compensation, after doing much of the work, that prompted me to refuse. I tried to call him. He refused to take my calls even though in the past we spoke almost nightly – and for hours sometimes.
I refused to return any money.
After all, I had recovered, literally, $26 million for the Bronfmans and ended the bleeding on a project that they invested in, but was not in their name. It was in their name now. It was set for success and I brought it there.
Bronfman herself admitted that I had gotten her $26.43 million back in her testimony in a civil trial.
However, Raniere decreed I was not entitled to anything. Nothing for my work.
At one point, one of his minions told me that if I returned the money, Keith would certainly do the ethical thing and decide how much I was entitled to receive.
I said I’ll hold the money and Keith and I can do the same thing.
But Keith refused to negotiate unless he held the money. That showed ethics, he said, and he would only negotiate with ethical people.
I chose to hold the $1 million pending the results of a lawsuit I expected was coming. That lawsuit came in 2011 and is still ongoing.
Was there a contractual agreement?
That is a question to be determined by a jury in a civil trial.
The Bronfmans said at different times – in sworn testimony – that there was a written agreement and again that there wasn’t a written agreement – testifying to suit their interests without regard to the truth. [The same thing that Clare did that landed her in prison.]
In civil court in Los Angeles, Clare testified that she never signed a contract with me. She said she lent me a million dollars but denied it had anything to do with the contract I signed. She pointed out that she never signed any written agreement.
She also began a civil lawsuit against me in Niagara County, NY, and both she and Sara, in a sworn affidavit, said there was no written contract. They were suing for the return of the one million “loan” they made to me.
However, Clare and Sara also lodged a criminal complaint against me with the FBI.
Clare went before the grand jury in Buffalo and testified to a completely opposite story than what she said in civil lawsuits.
She told the grand jury that she did sign a written agreement with me.
The reason she did this was that she was advised by then-Assistant US Attorney Anthony Bruce that, based on the written agreement – if it was valid – he could indict me for fraud since I had not fulfilled all aspects of the contract.
Bruce was willing to overlook the fact that the reason I did not complete all aspects of the contract was because the Bronfmans breached the contract by firing me.
It was different in the civil lawsuit. In the civil lawsuit, she needed to have no written contract. The reason Clare denied having a written contract with me in the civil lawsuit is that, if she had a written contract, based on the terms of it, and standard contract law, she would have owed me the full million dollars based simply on the breach of that contract.
She couldn’t just terminate the contract AND demand the money returned.
When it helped Bronfman to say there was a written contract [in the criminal case], she swore there was a contract. When it helped her to swear there was no contract [in the civil cases], she swore there was no contract.
Her attorney in both the civil lawsuit and the man who squired her into the US Attorneys Office for the Western District of New York [WDNY] was Buffalo lawyer William Savino.
He knew Clare was giving opposite testimony in regards to that contract, but suborning perjury did not seem to matter much to him. That may be because AUSA Bruce, an old hand at suborning perjury, was eager for Clare to do so.
No doubt Savino was being well paid for going after me criminally and civilly.
My experience with Bronfman-Raniere is that the $1 million was not important at all to them. If they had to choose between getting the million back from me or getting me indicted, they would forgo the million and take the indictment.
Of course, Clare’s chickens came home to roost recently as did the chickens for the mastermind of the plot, Keith Alan Raniere. One is in custody and one is headed there most likely on April 23 immediately after she is sentenced.
I believe that Keith loved to destroy people. That was his greatest pleasure. And with Bronfman money behind him, he had the power to hurt others, and, because of their money, I think he thought he was untouchable. Which, in fact, he was, for nearly two decades.
As for my role in his takedown, I would not have gone after him or Clare had they not attacked me in the WDNY.
If they had left it at a civil lawsuit, to fight over the million, I would have responded and likely won the case.
Even if I had lost, I would have returned the million. I never spent it. If I had lost the civil lawsuit fair and square, I would not have gone after them.
But when they went to corrupt AUSA Anthony Bruce in an effort to take more than money from me by stealing my freedom, through perjury, I chose to attack. I had no choice. One doesn’t let someone go after them, no matter how powerful, and take it lying down.
Thanks to the help of some friends, I was successful in getting Raniere and Brofman exposed.
By the way, as part of my attack on Raniere, I tried to bring the crimes of Bronfman-Raniere to the WDNY and Anthony Bruce.
Bruce would hear none of it. I outlined the Bronfman-Raniere crime enterprise, back in 2015, much like I did for the EDNY in 2017, and offered it to the WDNY. Bruce declined to sit down and listen.
The only major difference in my package in 2015 was that Raniere had not started branding women. Everything else was nearly the same. Bruce wasn’t interested in indicting the Bronfmans; they were the “victims” in his pursuit of getting me indicted.
And this insane behavior on his part allowed Raniere to start his own insanity called DOS.
It is funny how psychopaths enable each other and wreak havoc in the world.
When it comes right down to it, had Bruce started the investigation into Raniere in 2015, [instead of the EDNY doing so in 2017] when I offered him the blueprint to their racketeering enterprises, Keith would not likely have started branding women.
He would have vamoosed to Mexico.
Instead, Keith was emboldened. He got me indicted. At around the same time, he got Joe O’Hara, Barbara Bouchey, Toni Natalie, and John Tighe indicted for computer trespassing. His actions prompted Jim Odato, his most powerful enemy in the media, to resign from the Albany Times Union. He vanquished his enemies No one was writing about Nxivm.
At the moment I was indicted, Keith was king of his world. He had reached his pinnacle. And he began branding women.
Remember, that in his madness, when he came upon his crazy scheme of branding, Anthony Bruce in Buffalo, and Rodger Kirsopp and his Albany cohorts in law enforcement, were indicting enemies of Raniere.
It was almost like the Godfather scene where Michael Corleone is in church baptizing his son, while his goons are murdering all his longstanding enemies.
The difference is that instead of church, Raniere was leading women into a diabolical branding ceremony where, unbeknownst to them, they were being scarred with his initials.
This was happening just when his enemies were being indicted.
He was power-mad because he knew he had corrupt law enforcement officials and lawyers on his side.
The WDNY had a signal opportunity to have been part of real crime-stopping effort, but corrupt AUSA Anthony Bruce did not give a fig about justice.
This is how it went.
This is the real history of Nxivm and a story that will be told in all its gripping intensity in a planned upcoming documentary.
As for my being retained as “Nxivm’s attack dog,” this is not quite true. I was retained to help with public relations. I was to make Keith Raniere famous on a worldwide level.
It was only after I began working for Nxivm, that they asked me to attack certain people.
I am proud of one thing. I never attacked anyone for Nxivm.
I was to get a bonus if I caused Joe O’Hara, Toni Natalie, and Rick Ross to suffer. This was the fall of 2007.
I never went after them.
After meeting with Joe in Albany, I realized he was innocent of what they claimed, and that Nxivm, I thought, simply did not understand the contracts they had with Joe.
I brokered an intelligent deal with him to end the dispute. I advised Clare to settle. She had spent $4 million in legal fees trying to collect $2 million. She was ready to spend another $4 million. When I told her to settle, she said, “I have to check with Keith.”
I went to Los Angeles shortly after and never had any further involvement with the case against O’Hara.
As for Rick Ross. I was asked to attack. Keith wanted him indicted. I began to investigate Ross’ alleged misdeeds but did not find anything. He was overzealous, I think, in calling various and sundry groups “cults”, groups that were arguably eccentric but not necessarily dangerous.
But I did not find any illegal activities.
In spite of being offered a bonus to hurt him, I passed. I believe Keith went on to use Richard Mays for the task.
I also told Keith that his efforts to squelch free speech in the Ross case would backfire and that he should drop the Ross lawsuit. He didn’t.
He wound up spending about $14 million of Bronfman money to pursue the case – which was ultimately dismissed. He won nothing.
As for Toni Natalie, while she may have been a minor villain, I refused to go after her. She supposedly stole $50,000 from Nancy Salzman in 1998. It was now 2007. Keith had all the Bronfman money he needed to build his company. He had Mexican millionaires.
I argued that pursuing a $50,000 theft that happened almost a decade ago was nonsensical. In order to get her indicted, it would cost far more than the money she allegedly stole. Let her go, I counseled. Go teach human potential.
But Kristin Keeffe had a dossier on Toni that alleged she had engaged in serial bank fraud whereby she got cash from banks by fraudulently claiming she was going to buy brand-new restaurant equipment. She evidently did not buy the new equipment and, instead, bought cheap used equipment or no equipment at all – and pocketed the difference.
It came to about $300,000.
Toni later told me she was indicted for this but claimed it was all Keith’s doing, which I now believe is not true. It was her own plot and scheme.
At the time, however, I turned down the chance to make large bonuses by attacking Natalie. I turned it down because I did not think it was warranted. She was not worth it. I had better things to do, including rescuing the Bronfman’s $26 million Los Angeles real estate investment.
The reality is, I did not attack anyone for Nxivm, though I later attacked Nxivm. My time with them helped me formulate my attack against them for I knew them pretty well.
Still, I’m proud of what I did for Nxivm. I was honest and loyal when I worked for them.
At the time, I thought they were decent people, eccentric, under siege, but deserving of the right to survive and even, if they deserved it, to thrive.
I realized Keith had a certain desire to punish his enemies. But I understood the impulse. I have done that myself when I have been attacked by enemies.
What I did not know at the time was that Keith was a true psychopath and that all the world was his enemy, even myself, who tried to help and befriend him.
In the end, Keith and the Bronfmans retained me to make Keith famous, to get him publicity and get him known worldwide. They paid me for it and fired me before I could get the job done.
I am proud of the fact that I got a chance to fulfill my original agreement with them. And while the final results of my efforts came a little late, I think I had a modicum of success in bringing Keith Raniere and Clare Bronfman the fame they so richly deserve.
The third villain, who went after me, Sara Bronfman, is up for a little more fame right now.
And I will be there to help ensure it is delivered.