Susan Dones spoke at the sentencing hearing of Clare Bronfman yesterday. She was one of Clare’s many victims and one of nine who spoke either in person or by video. Susan flew from Washington to attend the hearing in person.
She was one of nine women who left Nxivm in April 2009, known as the Nxivm 9 and, consequently, suffered the wrath of Keith Alan Raniere and his financier, Clare Bronfman. They went after her legally, using Bronfman’s tremendous wealth, and, according to inside Nxivm sources, Raniere tried to have her and several other women deemed enemies of Raniere lured to Mexico, where they were to be arrested on false extortion charges.
She had been running a center in Seattle Washington. When she left Nxivm, Raniere refused to pay her the commissions which were due. He also wanted to absorb her business without compensating her. Having lost all her money, she filed for bankruptcy. Her case is very inspirational. While she was up against a battery of Bronfman-paid attorneys, Dones represented herself and won an impressive victory, often embarrassing the attorneys and the Nxivm witnesses, including Clare Bronfman.
It was a David and Goliath story. Dones was successful at showing the judge that Nxivm did not have a substantive reason to interpose in her bankruptcy but were simply harassing her with vexatious litigation meant to destroy her.
As for the Mexican plot, Raniere, in combination with several others, hatched a plot to lure Toni Natalie, Barbara Bouchey, Susan Dones and her partner, Kim, to Mexico. A Mexican journalist who was close to Emiliano Salinas invited them to an anti-cult symposium. Once they went there, the plan was to utilize Salinas’ corrupt connections and have them arrested. Once in prison, they were supposed to be abused, according to Kristin Keeffe, who informed Bouchey about the plan when she left Nxivm.
Fortunately, the plan never came off since all three women smelled something fishy and declined to go to Mexico.
In any event, here is Susan’s message, the message of not only of a victim but also of a survivor.
Susan Dones Statement to Clare Bronfman at Her Sentencing Hearing
Ms. Bronfman, I read your recent letter to the Judge where you explain how you were ashamed of your wealth and wanted to be accepted by others. How NXIVM gave you a sense of belonging and overcoming your pattern of self-loathing, insecurities, and fears. A place you felt the most passionate about, fulfilled by, and deeply care about.
Did you ever consider they were just after your money? What would happen if you just stopped giving them money? Where would you stand in your importance to them?
You talk about
- the last two years have been immensely painful
- how many people’s lives have been upended
- a community where many of you thrived, felt purposeful
- enjoyed your lives
- then it fell apart
- how it caused tremendous pain for many people and their families.
You state in these last two years [under home confinement] you spent your time reflecting on how all of this happened
- where you participated, and why.
- how you tried to understand your bad choices
- overcome the struggles driving you to choose them.
Then you mention you read each of the victim statements relating to you.
You became aware of many of your blind spots but don’t mention what they are. That’s interesting. We are still blind to your insight as you don’t mention any of them.
Reading these letters, some from people you say you still care deeply about – other you must not care about.
Is one of them me? You say it has been immensely painful and helpful to understand how your actions are perceived and how people experienced you and felt affected by you.
In my opinion, these are just empty words and mean nothing to your victims.
Why should any of us care how our letters impacted your awareness? How selfish of you to think only of yourself.
If you cared about your impact, you find a way to heal the wounds you have created with every one of your victims.
You wouldn’t leave it up just to the court to decide who gets what.
Ms. Brofman this is your soul, your karma, or if you want a NXIVM term, an “ethical breach” you have with each victim.
If you don’t deal with it now, you will when you met your maker.
You say you believe you stand here a better person, a person with a deeper understanding of humanity, of the differences between people, and the gravity of how you affect others.
Well, Bravo for Ms. Bronfman. Good for you that you stand here a better person with a deeper understanding of yourself. Once again this all about you.
Again what a selfish thing to say. You’re a perpetrator. This wasn’t some life skills class you went through the last two years. You broke the law and that has legal ramifications.
If that was true, that you did a TRUE deep dive into your behavior, You should be feeling shame, self-loathing, insecure, and fearful of what your actions did to others [and] what that behavior will bring you at the end of this sentencing hearing today. Not trying to sell us on “I’m now a better person.”
Have you ever considered the pain you caused those you went after legally for your Master Keith Raniere? Upended their lives? How their lives fell apart when you went after them? The pain you caused them and their families?
Or did you leave that out in your self-reflection and just consider yourself and your [Nxivm] community?
What you should have explored and understood are the lives you destroyed with your wealth.
Anyone who told the truth about NXIVM, Keith Raniere, and Nancy Salzman and what might unravel NXIVM – you willingly opened your checkbook and spent millions to destroy them.
All without giving a thought of “what if it’s true?” To this day I don’t think you consider “What if they know the truth and I’m helping my Master hide it?”
If you understood how evil he is you could not stand by Keith Raniere or what was Nxivm unless you are just as evil.
Not me. I was one of those people who stood up, told the truth about the criminal organization.
How do I know it was the truth? Nancy Salzman spilled the beans to me.
It was you, Clare Bronfman, who came after me at the orders of a man to this day you refuse to denounce: Keith Raniere. And an organization you refuse to denounce that covers up destructions like lipstick on the pig you call humanity.
I remember, after myself and eight others left [Nxivm], you and the other leaders made it impossible for us to have a relationship with our friends.
Remember that Ms. Bronfman – it was called shunning.
When I resigned I asked for my commissions owed and the value of my [Nxivm] business that would continue in the Pacific Northwest. I was called an extortionist and got a letter delivered to me while I was still in Albany NY.
I had to hire an attorney and call my sister to let her know I might need bail money. I asked her to not let our sick mother know because she didn’t need the worry.
After meeting with the attorney I found out that asking for money I believed was owed was not extortion and no charges were ever filed.
Upon closing my center [in Washington State], I was warned by others that NXIVM was going to sue me. It was bad enough I had to file for bankruptcy due to the cost of opening a NXIVM center, but for NXIVM to enter into my bankruptcy with another 230 claims against me, knowing I couldn’t afford a lawyer was worse.
You paid for seven lawyers and over $500,000 to sue me. NXIVM knew full well a center was going to open in Vancouver BC that I had been working for almost a decade to help build and they would profit off the efforts of my labor for years to come.
You also testified at my [bankruptcy] trial telling one lie after another and had no evidence against me other than I had shown a portion of a video I owned. I lost two years of my life over that case.
Learning how to be the best lawyer I could be to defend myself and my partner. I couldn’t even look for full-time employment from the time I left NXIVM until I was sure you, as the head of legal, were not going to appeal the judge’s 29-page decision against you and NXIVM ruling in our favor in your terrorism by ligation.
It didn’t end there. I also had charges brought against me in Mexico that you were responsible for.
These so-called friends of yours, the top tier have all pleaded guilty to criminal charges. I’m not sure how you were raised, but I was always taught you can tell a person by the company they keep.
I hope the judge considers this when he decides your sentencings. Maybe some good, tough prison time will do you some good –time to reflect on why you would never want to go back to prison and you can make a better decision on who can be good friends to hang out with. In my opinion.
To this day I suffer from PTSD, anxiety and I will never recover from the loss of my investment into NXIVM or the time loss of the years I spent building a center. It hurt my credit score and I was unable to look for gainful employment for two years. We also lost the building we bought to house the center in.
Through my 11 years of therapy, I have learned that anger is poison. I’m not angry with you Ms. Bronfman. I pray every day for you. I pray that you will find the real Clare Bronfman. I pray that you will de-claw yourself from Keith Raniere.
He is killing you and only interested in your money and social status. If you stop paying his way, you will see how important you are to him