By: John Tighe
In this part of the series, I’ll try to sum up the whole adventure I’ve been on since I started my Saratoga in Decline blog – and decided to do what I could to expose Keith Raniere and his evil NXIVM cult.
Warning: The views expressed are mine alone – and spending five years in federal prison has not improved my disposition.
I have no use for NXIVM or anyone of its leaders who were still in the cult after 2012 (That’s when Jim Odato and the Times Union fully exposed some of the criminal activities that Raniere and his minions were engaged in).
All you were – and are – despicable.
I find it hilarious that NXIVM was taken down not because of all its illegal activities and the destruction of so many people’s lives – but because its founder and leader decided to add a little D&S into his already kinky sex life.
So, because a few aging denizens of Knox Woods got their skinny little crotches toasted by a modern-day female Mengele, the Eastern District of New York had to step in and put an end to this outrage?
What about the young girls that were raped by Raniere?
What about the lost women of NXIVM? What happened to them?
What about the money-laundering – and all the illegal immigration schemes?
What about the planting of porn?
Hell, what about the possible making of porn by Vicente or one of his little apprentices?
Now, Vicente and other former leaders in NXIVM want to rewrite history.
“Who ME? I know nothing, nothing!!”
You looked the other way – and believed what you wanted. Then, when the shit hit the fan, you slinked off or hid.
I’m talking to Vicente, Sarah Edmondson, Nicki Clyne, Kristian Kreuk – and all the others just like them.
In Saratoga Springs, I hear “Oh, NXIVM – that was a very nasty business. Best just to forget all about it and move on.”
Well, not yet.
What do I want?
Answers and the truth.
Yes – and unlike Tom Cruise, I can handle the truth.
Why were local law enforcement agencies in the Albany area acting as a private security force for NXIVM? Money, blackmail, intimidation?
I think it’s the same reason that Jeffery Epstein’s Palm Beach compound was guarded 24/7 by off-duty Palm Beach cops. Corruption.
Usually by high-ranking officials while honest cops and officials cashed in or chose to look the other way. Money, pussy, and blackmail go a long way
Now, if we could get answers and truth, we might be able to get to justice.
But I’m a realist – which is why I chose to take a plea deal rather than go to trial and end up with a sentence that would ensure I died in prison. Justice ain’t going to happen.
Epstein paid the price and so will Keith.
I would be shocked if Keith dies a natural death in prison no matter what the BOP says.
Epstein was useful to the powers-that-be for a while, but when he became a liability, he was eliminated. The same will likely happen to Keith.
Then we have the New York State Police (NYSP) and Roger Kirsopp, NXIVM’s own private investigator and enforcer. I’ve been told that an unnamed Major in the NYSP was pulling Kirsopp’s strings. But I’ll never know for sure if that’s what was going on with him.
What if the Truth Came Out?
Imagine if the truth came out about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York (NDNY) and the local FBI. The FBI’s Albany Field Office has yet another leader – Janeen DiGuiseppi – the seventh in seven years. DiGuiseppi’s predecessor, James Hendrix, faced several sexual harassments claims both in Albany and in other FBI field offices. Some of those charges involved criminal activity.
Think he was going to do anything about NXIVM? Hell, he probably had Allison Mack on speed dial. But rather than doing anything about his unethical and illegal conduct, the FBI quietly allowed him to retire and collect his pension.
So, in her first press conference, DiGuiseppi didn’t even mention corruption. According to her, corruption in the most corrupt city in the country isn’t a pressing issue. Instead, she’s going after law enforcement’s greatest bogyman: DRUGS.
By the way, after 50 years, how’s that war on drugs going?
Or – take your pick –
- The war on poverty?
- The war on terrorism?
- The war in Iraq?
- The war in Afghanistan?
- The war in Viet Nam?
Funny isn’t it – in every one of those so-called wars, certain people profited. They always do.
Our Country is Falling Apart
I wish I could offer a kernel of hope, but I can’t.
Empires are born and they die. There is still an England, but the Empire is gone. What remains is a gasping shadow of its former self that hasn’t gotten the memo yet that it’s irrelevant today.
Rome died because of corruption, decadence, sloth and a general malaise. Sound familiar?
Our country is falling apart. Not from external enemies but by corrupt self-serving elected lawmakers and judges – and rank-and-file corrupt government officials.
From cops to building inspectors. From grand juries to school boards and planning boards. Everything is rotten right to the core. Our democracy is slowly crumbling – and we have seen the enemy and the enemy is us.
In retrospect, what I want is a country where everyone is openly corrupt – and the only crime is stupidity.
I plead guilty as charged.
My Fond Farewells
So, what are my goodbyes of the shitbags in this mini-drama?
To Keith Raniere: You are right where you belong. You built your cage block by block. Enjoy your stay and watch your back. I only wish I could be there when you realize, once and for all, that all your appeals are bullshit. You are home. Make the best of it. There is one small window for you. Tell the truth, Keith. All of it. You owe these people you bribed and corrupted nothing. Throw them under the bus just like they abandoned you when the EDNY showed up. Sure, it’s dangerous and you could end up like Epstein but think how much joy you could have watching them sweat.
To Clare Bronfman: You are such a stupid bitch. Just because Daddy didn’t pay enough attention to his little ugly duckling, you couldn’t become a stripper like the other high school dropouts do.
Noooooooo…. you had to blow up the family name and fortune. Destroying people’s lives while degrading yourself just to prove to Daddy how smart you are. Well, if he were alive, I’m sure he’d be proud. Clare, you were born into a privileged family; you lived a privileged life; and, for some unknown reason, you felt the world owed you respect and admiration. Well maybe your sister-inmates will respect and admire you – but I doubt it.
Tell me, Clare, has anyone come to visit you in prison who wasn’t paid to do so? You have no social skills, and no sense of how normal humans socially interact with one another. Do you know that your staff and assistants hated you so much they used to feed me information about you? They laughed at you, Clare – just like a lot of your so-called “friends” in NXIVM did behind your back. I’m sure you see yourself as a victim. You’re not. Instead, you’re just a mediocre person with a mean streak. Enjoy your stay in prison.
By the way, I think you may be autistic. You certainly show all the classic signs of Asperger Syndrome. Get yourself tested when you get out of prison.
To Sara Bronfman: You little trollop. I remember how proud you were to have been the fille de joie of NXIVM. Tell me, do you plan to come back to the U.S. to visit your sister? Remember what happened to Epstein.
To Nancy Salzman: So, do you regret giving your daughters – you know, your own flesh and blood – to the beast? You’re a fucking monster. I mean that. A true monster. I’ve been in prison while I was very sick – and my advice to you is to make peace with your God because you may never get out. Just look at Shelly Silver. With all his money and power, he died alone in Devens. And you don’t have one percent of the connections and power he had. Try not to cry too much while you’re in prison, Nancy. That would be a little unbecoming for a woman who preached “There are no victims”
To Mark Vicente: I love the way you’ve tried to reinvent yourself as some kind of fucking hero. Bullshit, your head was stuck so far up Raniere’s ass, you can probably still smell him. Tell me did you feel “JOY” when you and Clare were filming Edger Bronfman on his deathbed? Trying to make him embrace NXIVM and all its twisted beliefs when all he wanted to do was spend some time with Clare before he died? You’re a cold-blooded son of a bitch.
Edgar Bronfman was probably the only person in the world who truly loved Clare for who she was – and not for her money. And you helped her destroy some of Edgar’s final moments on earth. Are you proud of yourself, you piece of shit? And are you going to mention filming Edgar in your book or on Season 2 of The Vow?
I think you suffer from Afrikaans Syndrome, Vicente. A holdover from your apartheid roots that give you a sense of entitlement and privilege. You have no understanding of the tyranny of the wealthy. Did you really think that the wealthy under Keith’s belief of Objectivism wouldn’t write laws to prefer the wealthy? Did you really think you were working for a more ethical and noble society? You were to Raniere what Leni Riefenstahl was to Hitler producing Nazi propaganda. You were promoting evil. You see yourself on the noble quest to find “Truth and Meaning” or some other bullshit. What crap!
I’ll teach you something I learned a long time ago: The more Noble, the less Wise.
I’ll put this simply for you and all the other Raniere acolytes. I know you’re too cool to believe in God or Christianity or Islam. But you will follow some reptile woman who tells you that you’re “Chosen” or “Special”. Newsflash: You’re not, you dumb shit.
Our society values those who have money, those with power, those who spew bullshit to blow up their egos. But God values all people equally. He isn’t more impressed with an asshole billionaire than a penniless beggar. They are both precious in his sight. No matter where you are in the pecking order, God values you. No more or no less. In the real world, everyone is special, and no one is special.
And that bit of free wisdom goes to all you hapless morons seeking meaning in your life.
To the Nxivm-5: Nicki Clyne, Michele Hatchette, Suneel Chakravorty, Marc Elliott, and Eduardo Asunsolo: Get a life. Prison Reform is a legitimate goal, but you all give Prison Reform a bad name. Your ass-clown antics and laughable shit-shows outside prisons are just a narcissistic self-serving strip show. You are living examples of the theory of human devolution. That a once fairly intelligent species could become a tribe of babbling idiots scratching each other’s fleas on a Brooklyn sidewalk.
To the Rest of Raniere’s Followers: You want meaning? Get fucking dirty. Work in a Cold Blue Shelter or a Soup Kitchen. See what real despair is – and try to elevate those who are despairing. Even if just for a moment in one wretched soul’s life. Look closely in their eyes and open your heart and you might find that meaning you’ve been paying for and fucking for. You might even feel good about yourself for once.
Get all that Ayn Rand shit out of your head.
The brutal truth about Ayn Rand is that she was a vile, obnoxious little fuck, who invented an absolutely bizarre vision of how a civilized society should function and who appealed to the worst in people by extolling qualities that have been considered vices across history. That our highest moral purpose is the achievement of our own happiness. Her ideas are based on the vilest, basest and most depraved human instincts just like Raniere
I could go on, but it would be repetitious.
To the Survivors:
- Frank Parlato: Thank you for everything you’ve done to take down Raniere and his evil empire. And thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts again with your readers.
- Toni Natalie: You came out alive and you won. Congratulations. I wish you luck and happiness.
- Barb Bouchey: I know you think some of my writing was hard on you. In retrospect, I agree. I’m sorry – and I wish you much success
- Susan Dones: You are the real hero here – and you should be the one writing a book
- Heidi Hutchinson: I hope you’re OK and have found some peace.
- Joe O’Hara: Very few know how much you’ve done – and continue to do – behind the scenes (I’m proud to be one of them). You’re the best.
- Kristin Keeffe: Congratulations on seeing the light – and getting away from Raniere. I trust you will raise your son to make up for some of the evil deeds of his father.
- To all my sources who fed me invaluable information: You can sleep well at night knowing you did the right thing
- To all the journalists who tried to alert the world about the evils of NXIVM: You upheld the highest standards of journalistic courage – and some of you paid a heavy price for doing so
- To those of you who honestly believe I’m guilty of the crimes to which I pled guilty: I understand.
- To those of you who know I’m innocent but can’t have your sterling reputations tarnished by being associated with a person like me: Fuck you! Your reputations were never that good anyway.
- Lastly, to all those who wrote or visited me in prison: You are the salt of the earth – and I’ll never forget what you did for me.
As for me, I’m around. I still go to Beth Israel once a month for treatment (It’s so nice to see the people who saved my life without having any chains on). Hopefully, I’ll hang on for a couple more trips around the sun.
Justice? Not in this fucking lifetime. But I’m happy where I am. I still have my wife and my family who love me and believe in me.
I have loved and been loved.
I have no money and no power.
Even now, some people believe I’m an evil person. But knowing the truth allows me to be OK with that.
My wife and I now live in a small two-bedroom house outside of my hometown, Saratoga Springs.
We live modestly but we’re very comfortable.
I still have my NXIVM chasing convertible – and I still get meat from Fred the Bucher but I’m afraid old Fred died a few years ago.
I’ll be at the re-opening of Apropos opening on March 3rd (The new restaurant will be called Emma Jayne’s – and it’s described as “simple elegance redefined“).
I’m happy that the Darryl Mount case is getting the attention it long deserved. The new Saratoga Springs City Council has called for a grand jury to investigate his death. The handling of his case is also becoming the defining issue in the Saratoga County DA race. Who knows – maybe even I’ll get some justice down the road…?
I only write about local politics now when a former leading member of NXIVM tries to get into politics.
I’m in Uncommon Grounds usually after lunch but I may be there anytime. Feel free to stop and talk to me if you wish (In person, I can be quite nice).
I still go to St Peter’s church and still sit in the same spot where NXIVM goons used to harass me.
I still see some NXIVM diehards in town. Most still won’t work a real job and have found a new scam selling MLM insurance. I hope to write a full post on that in the future.
Speaking of which, if Frank allows – and there’s still interest – I hope to throw in my two cents here on the Frank Report in the future.
Until next time, be your own Guru.
I Am the People, the Mob
I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to remember. Then—I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then.
Dear John: Thank you for your work all these years. I hope you’ll be around many more years.
I’ve enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences and thoughts on the NXIVM experience. You’ve definitely been thru hell and back.
I wish you well. Take care!
Please write regularly for the Frank Report. Your story is so important and the way you tell it, John, is masterful. You came through a furnace — tough and glowing, so much harder and so much more dangerous than any of those criminal dementors could ever have imagined — a true victory.
Also thank you for the powerful Sandburg poem, one of my favourites. All the very best to you and yours.
The old nxivm Building
John, I hope you continue to drop in if it provides you with comfort. It sure as hell is entertaining for us. I don’t blame you for the scorched earth sign off, I’d be pissed off too.
Good luck and hope we hear from you often.
It’s ironic that those who fought on the battlefield the longest to free the mindless and paid the biggest price are the ones left in the dust of the media
The sleepy leaders of NXIVM who caused great damage but who didn’t get arrested are the ones who got or will get the book deals, TV shows, movies and they are said to be the heroes who brought down NXIVM.
Mark Vicente, Sarah Edmondson, Nippy, Bonnie (Marks wife), Catherine Oxenberg and her daughter, India. All have gotten the biggest part of the media’s attention.
All enjoyed their Master Raniere until the final hour and raked in the fame of NXIVM leadership.
It wasn’t until it was clear the world could see Emperor had no clothes that these leaders of NXIVM woke up and finally did what others had been doing for years.
Those others got the shit beat out of them.
Some got sued into bankruptcy, sued in bankruptcy, followed daily, police called on them, their computers hacked, more lawsuits threatened, false charges brought against them in other countries, some like John went to prison and we saw how easy it was to set us all up. Some had criminal charges brought against them more than once. The list goes on and on.
Life was a living hell. All the while, NXIVM members were enjoying their time with their Prefect and Vanguard. Pretending like life was good, they were good, and they were above everyone else.
None stopped to say, “What the fuck, I knew that person, they were nice.” Nope they continued to want attention from their Master more than pay attention to their screaming guts.
Showing up to people’s court hearings to film them and not stopping for a moment to ask, “is this person really a bad person”
You were not the only one, John, others were filmed.
It was for the sure joy of Keith Raniere himself to see on video. His enemies being arrested, at court hearings and at their trials.
All the while the leadership basking in their enjoying of others’ pain.
This is the battlefield that the new ExNxers will never know. They never had to step onto it.
There Vanguard ran – like the pussy he is – to Mexico. He was too scared to think of revenge. He was shortly after arrested.
These new ExNxers got all the glory of the fall of NXIVM without years on the battlefield and the war that had been waged for a decade. It’s like they did it all themselves.
We’re the ones with our battlefield scars, the real legal fights with Raniere, Clare Bronfman and Salzman.
What do we have to show for it?
We get to move on with our lives, that’s about it.
It was great being on the battlefield with you, John. I can’t think of someone else I’d rather share a fox hole with you, Joe, Jim O, Toni, and other men & women who fought the good fight.
This should be a pinned tweet on Frank Report for awhile. Great post. This puts words to what many of us have been feeling.
What do Mark Vicente, Sarah Edmondson, Nippy, Bonnie, Catherine Oxenberg and India all have in common? They all have some Hollywood in them and have self promotion ingrained in themselves.
I completely agree that we do not hear enough from Susan and many of the others who fought the battle the longest. The market to hear from more people is there. The guests for any podcast sorts of things are there. The same sort of Hollywood connections may not be there, but whatever. Let’s make it happen.
I found out about Susan Dones on the “A Little Bit Culty” Podcast:
John – what a classy dude you are. You were force-fed and lived through the worst sh*t sandwich most of us could ever imagine. The greatest “revenge” will be you living your life to its fullest and not ever ever have to waste one more minute thinking/saying/doing/writing about nxivm unless it’s thoroughly healing. They don’t matter anymore. All that matters is that you are free, surrounded by your loved ones and are at peace.
If I was in NY I’d definitely swing by your table at Uncommon Grounds to give you a high five.
You did it. Your survived nxivm.
“Why were local law enforcement agencies in the Albany area acting as a private security force for NXIVM? Money, blackmail, intimidation? Usually by high-ranking officials while honest cops and officials cashed in or chose to look the other way. Money, pussy, and blackmail go a long way.”
Raniere had a shitload of Bronfman money to corrupt Albany officials, of course, so that probably was part of it. But what are your thoughts/knowledge of the common rumor here that Raniere sent Nxivm pussy to seduce officials, or blackmail them if needed?
Money bribery is boring, but “honey pot” blackmail is a more interesting story. What do your sources say, John?
I’ve learned a lot from your series here, John.
There are an incredible number of parallels between Scientology & NXIVM, anti-Scientology and Anti-NXIVM which you have exposed. The experiences you write about here are like a bright prism that lights up so many areas for me.
Hope to see you around.
John, you are a living example of how you can be both noble and wise and that these ‘qualities’ are not necessarily exclusive. “Trust in Allah and tie up your camels” comes to mind. Unfortunately we live in a world that values neither: it takes huge strength of character to have been through what you have been through and still be able to hold on to your values. I very much enjoy your writings so yes please, Frank and John, for future articles. My hat off to you both, gentlemen, you’re much appreciated.
John, God bless you, your wife, your family. You paid the ultimate price and came out better than ever!
You are reaping the rewards for your morals and ethics. Walk tall and proud.
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
“A man is judged by the company he keeps”. Those who John thanks and praises speak volumes. I will re-read your other posts. Thank you for sharing your story, John. I believe you.
Good guys never win, but you are an exception to the rule, John. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the players in this story. It’s amusing to read but not funny at the same time, when you realize how it affected people’s lives.
I don’t share your views on widespread total corruption within the government. While there are corrupt officials, there are also lots of honest civil servants doing their job. Keith’s prosecution by the EDNY is an example of that.
Also, I don’t share your (or Frank’s) conspiracy theory on Epstein’s death. He never had his Palm Beach mansion secured 24/7 by PB police. He did have a PB police officer escorting him from “jail” (he wasn’t in a real jail, he was in a wing of the police building) to his office and back again daily during his “work release”, a sham in its own right.
Looking forward to more of your writing in the FR.
I agree with you on those two points. It might just be wishful thinking tho since I really don’t have any insight to share on that front.
I hope someday I get to shake your hand and thank you for telling your story.
I had so many random ties to NXIVM and several recruit efforts. I am so thankful I didn’t have the $1500 needed for that first class I was asked to join when I was 22.
So few know what went on this town and how crazy the whole thing was. And how many lives it destroyed.
I am so sorry your journey was so hard (I still remember the news report the day your house was raided), but appreciate you telling your story.
I hope life brings you peace and happiness.
To you, paraphrasing Pogo,”You have met your audience, and it is us.”
And to you and your wife, paraphrasing Spock,”Live and love long and prosper.”