This is the complete letter that Nicki Clyne wrote to Hon. Nicholas G. Garaufis, United States District Judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, in support of her patron and leader, Clare Webb Bronfman.
My comments will follow her letter.
August 28, 2020
Dear Judge Garaufis,
My name is Nicole Clyne and I am writing as someone who has known the woman you are about to sentence, Clare Bronfman, for over fifteen years, in many different contexts.
First, let me tell you a bit about myself. I was raised by a single mother in Vancouver, BC. I played sports, musical instruments and excelled at academics. After graduation, I pursued a career in acting in parallel to my studies, and considered myself a student of life. I still do.
I came to know Clare Bronfman when I first attended Executive Success Programs in Albany, NY. She was a coach in the program and worked on the video team at the time under a successful filmmaker. I had heard from others that her family had a lot of money, but she was one of the most shy, unassuming people I had ever met. I learned that she had a background in show jumping and that learning to film was completely new territory for her. I remember admiring her for starting something new later in life and having the humility to be a beginner again.
I didn’t speak to Clare much at first, although I saw her around as I took more trainings and eventually moved to Albany myself. Shortly after moving, Clare was assigned to be my coach. It was then that I learned just how different we really were. Clare grew up around horses and later used to joke that she preferred socializing with animals more than with people. It wasn’t entirely a joke at the time. During the time that she first coached me, we had a very difficult time and I will explain why. Clare is one of the most hard-working and disciplined people I have ever met. As a showjumper, she worked tirelessly at her sport and put all of her mind, body and soul into being excellent. That meant doing everything from training to mucking stalls, and no type or amount of work was beneath her. I, on the other hand, despite coming from humble beginnings, had had success as an actor at an early age and really didn’t know what it meant to work hard for something. I had largely relied on my intelligence and talent to get where I had, and I didn’t have a lot of work experience outside of acting at the time. Needless to say, I think I was a bit of a conundrum to Clare.
Despite our differences, we tried in earnest to build a coaching relationship, but after several months decided it wasn’t the best fit. There were no hard feelings, and I continued to consider Clare a friend. I think more than anything it was my own insecurities that got in the way. Being someone who is very sensitive to others’ emotions and wants everyone to be happy, I perceived Clare to be in a perpetual state of disapproval. This would lead me to feel rejected and unable to be honest in my struggles. What I came to learn, however, is that Clare was not judging me in the way I thought at all. Clare simply didn’t make the facial expressions I was seeking to feel validated and approved of.
As I came to know her better through her thoughts and actions, I realized that her expression was not reflective of the person underneath: she is one of the sweetest, most kind-hearted and generous people I have ever met in my life.
In 2015, shortly after Clare’s father passed away, which was a tremendous loss for her, my own father had to have a life-threatening surgery. My father, who lived in Vancouver, Canada, had COPD and required 24/7 oxygen, but he was only able to get heavy cylinder tanks for home use and small portable tanks that might run out if he was out in the community. Knowing this, Clare offered to give my dad her father’s Oxygen Concentrator machine, which plugged into the wall and produced oxygen non-stop. It wasn’t even something I thought was possible, since it was a good-sized machine and would need to be shipped from NYC to Vancouver, go through customs, etc. But Clare made it happen. I couldn’t believe it. Neither could my dad, nor did he ever forget it. Up until his dying day, he asked about Clare and vice versa. They had a special bond even though they had never met in person.
I would like to share an excerpt of the letter my dad wrote to thank her, that he asked me to print and personally deliver:
“I was very sorry to hear about your father and I offer my sincere condolences.
Early on in my business career I was in a senior operations position with a National Winery and became interested in your father’s business dealings with Seagram’s. I read many newspaper and magazine articles about him and was always impressed with his business acumen.
So, when Nicki mentioned you as someone she was very close to and someone who was also working on herself using ESP’s tools, it provided me with a tremendous level of assurance that she was safe, was in very good company and was doing something I consider essential to leading a fulfilling life. I say that because I spent 7 years working very hard on becoming the person I always wanted to be. It proved to be the best time investment I’ve ever made and has given me a great level of internal peace over the past 17 years. So, good on you guys for recognizing the opportunity at a much younger age than I did.
…Your gift of the Respironics Oxygen Concentrator is an unexpected, but much appreciated, part of the overall solution and is already proving its worth. I have colour in my face I haven’t seen in a couple of years. For that I am eternally grateful. You can ask Nicki about the problems I’ve had getting one.
Again, thank you.
With kind personal regards,
I wholeheartedly believe my father lived a longer life due to Clare’s generosity, thoughtfulness and warm heart. But this is just one example of many. Thankfully, Clare and I were destined to become close friends despite our disparate backgrounds and worldviews, perhaps even because of them. As we both grew in our own individual ways, we began to see our strengths as complementary and our weaknesses as ways we could help each other. Over the years, Clare has been that friend who would give me honest feedback that no one else would, but that would be necessary for me to truly become who I want to be.
I like to think that I have contributed to Clare coming out of her shell and to nurturing her sense of humor. She has inspired me to be more disciplined and hard-working, and I think I have inspired her to laugh and relax a little more. And we have both helped each other be more accepting and loving with ourselves, because it is always easier to see when someone else is hard on themselves.
Clare is a person who is always self-reflecting and evaluating her conduct in an effort to become a better person. I witnessed her on many occasions seek advice and counsel from third parties to make sure she was being ethical and fair in her business dealings, and to mitigate any blind spots she may have because of her unique financial situation. I think there was a time when Clare was generous to a fault and many people took advantage of that, and as a result she worked very hard to evaluate and honor ethical value exchanges.
Clare held an important role within NXIVM. She was in charge of operations and took her responsibility very seriously. Not only was she in charge of overseeing that different departments within NXIVM operated effectively, but she also put much of her energy into putting on events that brought joy and entertainment to the community. I was always amazed at how much she cared about the quality of experience people had at our community events, especially since she herself didn’t live a particularly entertainment-focused or materialistic lifestyle.
The values of humanity and community are very important to her, which is why the last couple of years being isolated from her closest friends and support system have been especially devastating. It pains me daily that I can’t share my struggles and my successes with her the way I did for so many years. It pains me even more that I can’t be there now for her in some of the hardest moments of her life.
From the bottom of my heart, Clare is one of the sweetest, most earnest and compassionate souls you will ever meet and I sincerely hope you consider how much she has already endured as an effect of her charges and the hate campaign against her and other people who were part of NXIVM. Clare is the type of person who would bring a lemon back to a store if she realized she had been charged for one less than she got. I have not known her to take advantage of anyone and if she has made mistakes, as we all do, she is the type of person who seeks to right her wrongs. I know that Clare will take this experience and use it to build compassion and wisdom, and I hope that she will be able to contribute to the world in positive, meaningful ways sooner rather than later, because I know that is what she will do.
It may be poor strategy to have Nxivm members sending letters to Judge Garaufis. He has indicated he believes Nxivm is a criminal enterprise.
Combined with Clare’s letter to the judge, saying she would never disavow her Vanguard, and following up with letters from crazed followers of Raniere, the judge is likely to think not only is Clare unrepentant, and sticking to the criminal enterprise/cult but presents a danger to society if she is let out of prison too soon.
With her enormous wealth and followers like Clyne, Clare will be able to rebuild Nxivm. It is the judge’s responsibility to protect society from that.
Clare is likely still financially supporting Nicki, who was working at a vegan bar in Brooklyn but has been unable to work in recent months because of the pandemic.
Before the arrest of Bronfman and Raniere, when Nicki was a Nxivm coach and first-line DOS master, Clare paid the former actress $15 per hour, possibly most of it under the table, and may be yet another example of Clare’s participation in immigration fraud.
In her letter, Nicki does not mention she threw away a successful TV role – even breaking a contract – to be in Nxivm full time.
Raniere seduced her into leaving her co-starring role on Battlestar Gallactica with the promise that she would be his harem queen. Once she moved to the Albany area, he demoted her.
Nicki came under Clare’s dominion because she needed money. Clare employed her as a gofer and, for a time, as a so-called editor of the Knife of Aristotle, a Raniere-led company targeting young, slender, female, aspiring writers for Nxivm and for Raniere’s bed.
Insofar as Clare is probably still funding Nicki, this letter, like most of Clare’s support letters, is tinged with the pandering that comes with financial dependence.
Nicki’s best Clare story is that Clare once gave Nicki’s ailing father a secondhand oxygen concentrator that Clare’s father had used before he died.
Nicki lavishes praise on this as if it was something unprecedented in human history.
She writes, “It wasn’t even something I thought was possible, since it was a good-sized machine and would need to be shipped from NYC to Vancouver, go through customs, etc. But Clare made it happen. I couldn’t believe it.”
The cost of a new oxygen concentrator machine runs around $2,500. If Nicki had not quit her lucrative acting job, she would have been able to afford to buy one for her dad herself.
Nicki seems to think Clare helped her out and vice versa.
Nicki wrote, “We began to see our strengths as complementary and our weaknesses as ways we could help each other… [Clare was] that friend who would give me honest feedback that no one else would, but that would be necessary for me to truly become who I want to be.”
What Nicki truly became was a nut, a broke actress who threw away a million-dollar career to be Clare’s gofer and Raniere’s sex toy.
Nicki thinks she helped Clare too: “I like to think that I have contributed to Clare coming out of her shell and to nurturing her sense of humor.”
Sense of humor? Clare Bronfman has one thing on her mind – to serve her Vanguard and that means attacking anyone who poses a threat.
In her letter, Nicki also makes sure the judge knows how big a role Clare had in Nxivm, which was proven in his court to be a racketeering enterprise. She writes, Clare “held an important role within NXIVM. She was in charge of operations and took her responsibility very seriously.”
That should really help her get a lenient sentence with this judge.
As Nicki writes to the judge, “Clare is one of the sweetest, most earnest and compassionate souls you will ever meet” and “one of the sweetest, most kind-hearted and generous people I have ever met in my life.”
This sweet, kind-hearted woman generously spent more than $50 million in legal fees suing enemies of Nxivm and filed false criminal complaints against former friends seeking to put them in prison, in more than 40 lawsuits and criminal cases.
I don’t think Nicki is lying about Clare Bronfman however.
I think she is dependent on her and also, unfortunately, probably seriously mentally ill and in need of help.