Background of Vicente
During the trial of Keith Raniere, a witness came forward for the prosecution. His name is Mark Vicente. He was the second witness called.
Mark is a filmmaker. He made a popular film once. The name of the film is What the Bleep Do We Know. The release date was 2004. He made that film when he was a devotee of a woman named J. Z Knight.
J. Z Knight told Mark – as she tells all her followers – that a ghost comes into her body and speaks through her. Ramtha is not an ordinary ghost, but the spirit of a man who lived 35,000 years ago and led the earth in war and peace. His wisdom is superior to anyone living, and only Knight channels him. Mark followed this lady for a dozen years.
He made his hit movie under her inspiration.
When the film came out, Barbara Bouchey took an interest in this young man’s talent. She told Nancy Salzman and Sara Bronfman, and they courted him to work for NXIVM.
Mark decided to leave the lady and Ramtha. It was not long before Mark joined NXIVM and became a devotee of Keith Raniere.
Mark and SOP
SOP is an international men’s movement, whose members seek to be the voice of character and honor in the world. The world is in desperate need of a unifying principle; a group that is independent of religion and stands against hate. This organization helps men to become more powerful and influential members of society by giving them tools and a network of honorable men for support. SOP is not only curriculum, it involves practical tests to strengthen us with respect to readiness, responsiveness, character, honor, strategic thinking and leadership.
The Society of Protectors is a men’s group based on the philosophy of Keith Raniere. One day, Raniere said he would teach an SOP Weekend in Clifton Park if the SOP High Council could gather 100 men to pay. The High Council of SOP agreed and set a weekend in August 2014.
The fee to attend was $2,000. They called it SOP Weekend #7, “Our Word.”
The men of the High Council recruited other men. SOP High Council member Damon Brink sent a video to SOP members.
Hi guys, this is Damon Brink from Albany, New York, with a message about Weekend Number 7.
For those of you that don’t know, our founder, Keith Raniere, has built more than 1000 millionaires in his life. He has built multi-million dollar businesses in a short amount of time. And at one point was making more than $100,000 per hour coaching the highest level business executives in the world.
This is a man who knows how to help people make money. This is also a man who holds the vision of SOP, the vision to build character, honor and virtue in men.
Weekend Number 7 is an opportunity to do something extraordinary with your life. It’s an opportunity to invest in yourself with a man who knows how to make it work.
The only question to ask is, ‘Do you want this enough to make it work?’ Because if you do, you can. Our commitment is our power. Thank you, men. I hope to see you there.
They Came to Learn From Raniere
This is how Mark Vicente told me the story: When men learned Raniere would teach, they bought in. The High Council was Mark Vicente, Jim Del Negro, Damon Brink, and Mike Baker.
They sold 94 men. That plus the four of the High Council made 98. They came from Vancouver, Los Angeles, Mexico, Guatemala, and New York City. About 50 flew into Albany from Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, and elsewhere. Others drove in. They took hotel rooms or stayed with NXIVM members. Some of them lived in the Albany area. Yet, there was one unifying factor. They would spend a weekend with Raniere, who they hoped held the key to change in their lives.
When Weekend #7 began, Raniere announced he would not teach. They were short of the 100 participants they agreed must be there.
There was consternation, Vicente explained. Raniere left him holding the bag. What would he tell the 94 who paid for the weekend and spent good money to get there? Vicente said the High Council tried to convince Raniere. Ninety-eight is but two short of 100. The more significant harm is disappointing 98 who paid. It might hurt the business and its mission.
Raniere refused. The four men of the SOP High Council were stuck telling 94 men that their weekend with Raniere was not going to happen. They took the blame. Vicente said it was unfair. To say it was the High Council’s fault when it was not. That Raniere left them to face the angry crowd. All had come to see Raniere teach, and he vamoosed.
It did not go over well. Some of the 94 turned around and left. Flummoxed, the High Council executed a rerun of Weekend #6 for those who remained. Nobody was happy. Some people quit. The destructive effects lasted for years, Vicente said. Yes, Raniere could have stayed and taught, Vicente said. But he left Vicente to reap a harvest of anger and disappointment and heal it. This is how I understood what happened to Vicente when he told me in 2017.
Vicente Tells the Story to the Jury
On May 13, 2019, Vicente was on the stand in the trial of his former mentor Raniere. On direct examination, Vicente testified about SOP Weekend #7. Assistant US Attorney Mark Lesko asked the questions.
LESKO: Were there times when you were not paid for your work in SOP?
VICENTE: There were two weekends that we were not paid for. One was a weekend that was cancelled, and then because of this thing we had done that was a problem, we then did not get paid for the next weekends…
LESKO: Do you recall an instance where the defendant called off an SOP training?
VICENTE: Yes. I don’t recall the exact date, but we were holding a training in 455 New Karner. I don’t recall the exact name of the weekend, but, in essence, the requirement was there should be a hundred paying men in the room, and I believe we were slightly short. And I think it was the high 90s, and a few men were enrolled that were close by, and I think the number went up to, maybe – it was 102 or 103 perhaps.
We began the training. The first questions had occurred. Raniere came out, did the disposition. We went into the back room, which was the ESP Proctor room which we used. He [Raniere] said, ‘I have disturbing information. I heard that some men were put into this training in a way that wasn’t ethical. And so, you know, I have to make a decision, and I’m not going to continue running this training. So, I’m leaving, and you guys can do whatever you want.”
LESKO: So, what happened next?
VICENTE: The High Council had to go out, and basically, say, face a hundred-something men and explain that we had done this very bad thing, and that we were going to run a weekend anyway from the existing curriculum, and that we would repay all the men their money in some form.
LESKO: Did that happen?
VICENTE: That did happen, yes.
LESKO: Were there any other consequences that flowed from the defendant leaving this SOP training?
VICENTE: Well, there was a — the guys were very, very unhappy and a lot of anger came to us. See, part of what you did in this kind of structure is you protect the leader at all costs. So, we had to make sure that they understood that it wasn’t him. We agreed to protect him at all costs, and it was us, we were the problem. So, we took a lot of hits. A lot of people were extremely angry at us because they had flown there from distant places around the world to be there, to be with Raniere. So, that was one consequence. And then also there was kind of a penance. We wouldn’t be paid for the following weekend as well that would finally happen.
Mark is Cross Examined
Raniere’s defense attorney Marc Agnifilo cross-examined Vicente. He brought up the canceled weekend.
AGNIFILO: Now, do you recall that the problem was that — you had to have 100 men who signed up for this course by a certain point in time, and that you didn’t have the 100 men who signed up by a certain point in time, so other people were borrowed to get to 100? Do you remember that?
VICENTE: That’s my understanding. I wasn’t part of the borrowing, but there was — I don’t recall if the deadline was at when the training started or before. I don’t recall that.
AGNIFILO: And because the 100 men hadn’t all signed up [for the] course, he didn’t want to go forward with the course. The understanding was everybody who was in the course be signed up by a certain point and that wasn’t done,
VICENTE: Well, my recollection is that we did have a hundred men, over a hundred men in the training, but it was that he got information later that he felt it wasn’t done in a proper manner. And so, because of that, he felt that he needed to leave.
AGNIFILO: And this was videotaped, right?
VICENTE: I’m certain it was. Yeah, it was.
AGNIFILO: Do you remember Keith directly addressing all of the men himself and saying I’m going to refund your money because we didn’t do this the way we had promised to do it? Do you remember that?
VICENTE: It’s possible. I don’t recall that exactly. It is possible though.
AGNIFILO: Were you there?
VICENTE: In the training room? I was there in the training room but I don’t remember — there were many, many trainings.
AGNIFILO: Do you remember him standing up in front of the whole group of men and saying ‘I’m — I am going to refund your money. I am responsible for this’. Do you remember him saying that?
VICENTE: I mean, if you have material to show me, I can probably say yes, but I don’t recall exactly in this moment that that’s exactly what happened.
AGNIFILO: We can do that. We’ll come back to that, all right?
AGNIFILO: And now you said you weren’t filming it, but someone else was?
VICENTE: I don’t think I was, because, generally, when I was helping running trainings, there were other people that were shooting.
AGNIFILO: All right. We’re going to come back to this.
Agnifilo did not return to the topic. He did not show the video. Perhaps he thought it insignificant. There was no charge of criminality related to Weekend #7.
We promised to return to Eduardo’s perspective. It can best be told in his own words. This is his testimonial which is included in his video.
Eduardo: There was a weekend that we were supposed to get 100 men. And it was really exciting to try to get 100 men of a community to do this weekend. And the compromise. You know, like, in order to earn the weekend, [with Raniere], we needed to enroll 100 men, and this is everything in SOP…
You need to earn things, and you learn discipline and commitment. And we had like 99 or 98. And somebody went and took two men that were taking another training in the same building, part of the community who didn’t want to take the [SOP] training.
I mean, they preferred the other training [they had signed up to take]. They didn’t want to take the SOP weekend. But we were like, you know, I guess some guy went and did what guys do, which is like, “Come on, you know, we need two men to run this.” And they got them.
And we were ready to start. And then. So, Keith found out how the two last men were involved. He heard it in passing. And he said, “You know, we can’t do it. It’s not right.” And he canceled the weekend. And he spent, I think, a day and a half doing questions of, you know, how he came out. And he said, “I’m gonna reimburse anyone, everyone, whatever they think I need to reimburse, I will reimburse it.” And he did.
You know, we went through a bunch of questions that they were like, you know, “How much did you invest in this?” “Why do you think you deserve all of it back?” “Do you think part of it?” We went through a whole exploration of how this was good; how this was growthful; what was bad about it and how did it come about?
Marc Elliot is a staunch support of Raniere. So is his brother Justin Elliot.
Justin’s testimonial of SOP Weekend #7:
Justin Elliot: And there is an event in which there was a certain parameter in which we would only have it if we could get 100 people. And it ends up that Keith found out that the way we got the 100 people wasn’t kosher, for lack of a better word.
But I think some of the people were kind of obligated or were torn out of other commitments that it was voluntary, but it wasn’t like, wasn’t like a clean, “We got 100 people who are really happy to be here.”
Keith found out about those circumstances, and he thought that they weren’t good. And he thought that it was not worth doing the event. And that he was going to compensate. He was going to refund everyone personally, and could compensate them for whatever their travel or you know, he would personally compensate them. There was actually a really positive experience even though the weekend was canceled.
Keith had created Question Sets. We all were kind of looking, about how do we want to handle personally? Do we want [the money] refunded? Do we not? Other curriculum Keith has created, he let us use [for that Weekend], and we ended up, most people had a really positive experience even though the weekend was canceled.
So I think actually most people found it really valuable. Like they really learned and saw an example of a very strong leader. And in the [Raniere] trial Mark [Vicente} spoke of this event because the prosecution had heard about it.
And they thought it was a bad thing. I think Mark was now trying to rewrite the history as that this was a scam, that Keith is a scam artist and that’s why this went forward, which is the exact opposite of how this has happened. You know, you can see the video of Mark talking about the event itself [below] and how it wasn’t really an incredible thing, but it happened that way.
But I don’t think people realize when a friend betrays you, how bad they can make things look, and Mark was one of his most trusted friends.
You know, [Mark] he was a leader in our community that held our video archives. He was let in on some of his [Keith’s] most intimate conversations. And I don’t think Mark saw anything bad. But when you know how someone works intimately, it’s very easy to make someone look bad. It’s just like any divorce. It’s like when you leave your spouse, you know, all their antics, and you can start saying how those antics are really bad, you know, no one else sees those.
What Did Raniere Do?
Keith Raniere decided to cancel Weekend #7.
The late Jim Del Negro told me that the SOP leaders poached two students from a class Lauren Salzman taught. This is how they got the 100 men. Lauren told Keith, and he decided to cancel the SOP weekend.
Keith came out from the backroom and addressed the men eager for his teachings. Some 100 men had paid $2000 each – $200,000 – to listen to Keith for a weekend.
This is what Raniere said.
Raniere facing the men seated on a chair on stage: So, I have good news, and bad news, and indifferent news. I created a bit of a mess. So, it’s important so that you understand. As you know, in filling this training, I had an agreement that there was a certain number of people we will put together and all of that.
And yesterday it appeared we made that number. And it seems like that number was actually derived in part in an abuse of power, and abuse of my power. So, the short of it is, a bunch of you, most of you, paid different amounts of money to come here to have a weekend with me.
That money will be refunded to you.
Also, I will pay you personally for your time, the same amount of money you paid me. So, in other words, if you paid to come here, you paid $2,000, to see me, I’m defaulting on that. I will not be able to execute the weekend. So, you get your money back. But I’m also paying you for your time, because you were willing to pay that for mine.
Does that make sense?
The reason why this is and I thought about, ‘Should I pay travel expenses and things along those lines?’ There are a number of reasons ethically why you don’t consider travel expenses. But we need to put in a few other policies for future trainings. One of them will be a training will be either held or canceled, and you will know 15 days in advance.
So, you will be able to book appropriate travel and those sorts of things. The leaders can explain some of what went on, but I apologize. I’m sorry that this happened, I’m sorry that I abused the situation in this way.
And all of you came here for this weekend that I cannot provide. So, I wanted you to know that I value your time, as much as you value mine. So, if you have any thoughts or questions. And then I will turn it over to the leadership. Anyone? Yes.
Man in the audience facing Raniere: I want to just make sure that I’m understanding correctly. The reason why you’re electing to not facilitate the weekend or to participate or make the weekend happen is because there was an abuse of your power. Is that the specific?
Raniere: Yeah, there was specific criteria that I set up where the weekend had to meet that criteria to happen. When the criteria was not met, I made certain allowances that even at the time, I didn’t think we’re necessarily wrongful, but they are wrongful.
So, I can’t find a way – and I’ve been thinking about – to do the weekend without causing more damage and violating the principles.
And I also feel personally, I need to make it right. I need to take on a penance. And the question is what is the appropriate penance? The appropriate penance is, as much as you respect me to pay money to come here to see me, so I respect you. I respect you for doing that. And that’s why that equation exists.
I am sorry. I, you know, I make mistakes. And sometimes I make mistakes unknowingly. But I, I want to make it so it’s as right as possible.
Man in audience 1: Is this specifically with respect to the deadline that was published about having 100 men enrolled, and then extended or?
Raniere: Even that deadline was not as accurate. That’s a translation of what happened. And the fact that it’s a translation of what happened is my doing. Understand it. It’s a mistranslation to some degree. But originally, part of the thing is, alright, here’s a mistranslation.
I will allow for that mistranslation because of my inadequacies, and then in allowing for the mistranslation that propagates an additional thing and an additional thing and an additional thing, and it’s sort of going down a slippery slope. The other leaders can talk in more detail if they want, but ultimately the fact that either things get translated differently, or they’re things I don’t know about, or things I’m not involved with.
Because I head up the movement, I am involved. I take it that way. So, there may be some things I don’t even know about. One of the things that led to this decision was something I found out this morning, as I was finishing the curriculum for actually not today, but tomorrow. The curriculum exists, all set to go this morning, and I found out a piece of information that unraveled a whole series of things. So-
Man in audience 1: I appreciate that. And thank you for your offer of respecting our time. And I feel that, you know, I wouldn’t want to take any more than the cost of my travel. So, if there’s any difference, you know what I mean?
Raniere: I appreciate that. I would prefer, my belief is because there’s some people who might feel that way. And I recognize this and some people who might not. I don’t want there to be public pressure that people need to feel as you do. So, what people want to take or don’t take, I think should be a private matter. So that no one says, ah, this person took the money, or, that person didn’t. You know, so we also have to act like that. It’s very important to act like that ethically.
Man in audience 1: I also feel very good about your decision. There was something that was bothering me about in the week leading up to this so perhaps that’s what we’re dealing with.
Raniere: Yeah, in some ways, I don’t know all the whys and wherefores yet. But I do. I know do know there my whys and wherefores, so I will. And some things I can’t speak to because I don’t know them yet. Yeah. So, thank you.
Man in audience 1: Thank you.
Raniere: Anyone else?
Man in audience 2: Just to be clear. You’re running the weekend or you’re not running the weekend?
Raniere: Not running the weekend. And you can have your money back, and I’m paying you for your time as you would pay me. Yes.
Man in audience 3: Will we have the privilege of having you, coach this weekend, at some other time?
Raniere: Oh, yes, this weekend is what I consider the most important weekend of all. And it’s funny, what leads to this weekend is about this weekend, and even what I’m doing now is about this weekend. Because to me without giving away curriculum, a word is something more than just language. Word it is something that is I don’t want to quote curriculum, but it is so essential. And for me, it is the nature of even why I live. So it’s most important. This is the most important education for me too.
Audience Question 3: Great thanks.
Raniere: You’re welcome. No other questions for now? Or yes?
Man in audience 4: For me, it was a big struggle on these days. However, I have a big lesson about my myself on how I uphold my word or not. Even though we maybe don’t earn the privilege to be here with you, I learn about or what happened because I was of one of the last that signed up. And made a lot of changes to be here on time because I feel the pain if not be here for all of these these guys with I have been interacting with them the past six weekends. So thank you for your words. And thank you for this lesson.
Raniere: You’re welcome. You know, I consider it just as much a lesson for me. So, thank you and having everyone show up. All of you that came from all different places and did all different things.
I deeply honor that. For me, if it’s a choice, and I’ve had the fortune, misfortune in some ways in life, but I consider it very fortunate to give up all my, my material possessions and business and things like that on one side, and not have a good word, or not have. And no one would think in the outside, it was about my word, but it was about my word to me, or give up everything and have my word. It’s, it’s not even a hard decision. There’s no decision. I joyfully do that. When I feel I’ve made this right. I will be very happy with whatever, whatever I put in, because it makes the word stronger. I know. I know.
So thank you. And again, I honor that all of you came here and did this. And I want you to know, thank you so much. And thank you, so anyone else? No? So I’ll turn it over to you guys. And I don’t know if I will see you any more this weekend. I think it depends on what everyone does and decides, and I’ll work it out. Thank you.
Del Negro Speaks to the Men
As soon as Raniere excused himself and left, Jim Del Negro of the High Council spoke to the men. Here is what he said.
Jim Del Negro: Okay, please be seated. Okay, so I’m going to explain to the, to the best of my ability, and you guys can ask questions.
We first scheduled Weekend 7 probably three months ago, and a bunch of us – we didn’t hit our number – but a bunch of us got together. And we committed.
I don’t know how many there were. There might have been 30, 40 guys, and we committed to make this happen, to have 100 people minimum. And we actually committed. We thought we could get 150. And so, my first failure, our failure as, where’s Damon? Do you want to come up Damon?
So, as a High Council, our first failure was not actually driving that in a way that would have gotten the number. So, we allowed that to happen by our non-leadership and are not pushing. So that actually caused the start of everything. After that, we had a number of guys that stepped up and really I think showed a commitment in trying to make it happen this last couple of weeks. And some guys up to the last couple of days were working around the clock calling.
And there was a certain level of enthusiasm to pull together to make this happen. When we thought we had a number right. Then all of a sudden, we realized we didn’t communicate well. Many people here, which I apologize, the most of the people that just came because someone asked and didn’t have any idea [that 100 men was the requirement].
Maybe they didn’t even know about the five o’clock deadline, right? That there needed to be 100 men standing at that point. When we thought that we had people that were going to be short, we could have said that we were going to just cancel the weekend. And we looked at the enthusiasm that guys put in. All the effort that they put in to make it happen. The guys that were coming that didn’t know anything about this and [we] said, ‘This would be a travesty if we didn’t have the weekend.’
So we asked a couple people that were in town doing something else. Actually three people. And they came. Now I abused my power in the sense of asking them without evaluating what’s the effects of that on them personally, and on the people that they were with.
And I proposed this and told them that this was going to be. The Weekend wasn’t going to happen without them. So that’s the abuse of power. Mr. Raniere says he abused his power. He did by proxy. He gave me and us the proxy of his power.
So, when he says he abused his power, he’s being honorable in that we abused our power in that to make this happen. So I’m not sure to me how I’m gonna heal this. But that’s what happened. From my perspective. I don’t know if you guys have anything to add.
Vicente Speaks at Weekend #7
After Jim Del Negro spoke to the men, his co-founder of SOP, Mark Vicente spoke.
Mark Vicente: Yeah, I just want to make it clear again that when he [Raniere] says it’s all his responsibility, that’s what a good leader does.
But there’s a series of things that as you heard that that led up to this moment. One of them is that, as I mentioned yesterday, we hadn’t been, we have not been pushing consistently for the month that led up to this. So, we had a certain emergency mode yesterday.
Now one of the things I recognized for myself, and I abused power as well when I went [to] somebody and said, ‘You know, it would really be good if you would come.’ Now I’ve abused my authority as a leader, as a friend, as a series of things because I personally agreed to do it.
Because we recognized we may be short. So, I apologize for that as well. We’re trying to figure out how to, how to make this right. One of the things I recognize for myself is there’s the principle that’s important to uphold.
If we say 100 men standing, it’s 100 men standing, no matter what. What I tend to do is get all caught up emotionally in making sure shit happens, in worrying about what people will think, and what they will say, and whether they’ll be upset, etc., etc.
And in essence, that principle goes out the window. So yesterday, for myself, and I think for a number of us, probably had that experience where I’m busy focusing on this thing with a certain level of emotionality. Ignoring the most important thing, which is our word.
Worrying about the effects, rather than recognizing if I step back that what we need more than anything is strength. And yesterday, we demonstrated a lack a lack of strength.
In fact, for us, we’ve demonstrated a lack of strength, you know, leading up to this. Everything we’ve been doing or not doing has caused this problem. So, again, we’re not sure exactly where to go from here. I would like to figure out how to fix this. I think that what Mr. Raniere has suggested is, is extremely generous and a very good, very good leader. And I understand this is very unexpected, but this is what he lives by.
He lives by his word. He lives by these things. And he, as he said, he recognized he made certain concessions. Understand, it’s not that he’s involved in every single decision. He is involved. But what he does often is he lets us go screw things up, work on fixing things.
But really this is this is a failure on our part. I think what we want to do is figuring out what to do to fix this. And what to do to fix this in the future inside ourselves. There may be some other people here that want to do the same thing. I’m not sure.
But I know that for the three of us [Del Negro, Brink and Vicente] certainly, yes. Certainly, we want to do that. So we’re not sure exactly what, what we’re going to do next. We might open it up to the floor, unless you have anything else you wanted to share.
Damon Brink ‘It Will Haunt Me the Rest of My Days’
After Vicente had spoken, Damon Brink of the high council spoke.
Damon Brink: I just, on what Mr. Vicente said, Mr. Raniere continues to be resolute in the face of my, our line bending. And it’s painful. But it provides an opportunity that wouldn’t otherwise exist. We continue to bend the line and put the result in front of who we are and how we are. And I think that’s part of the failure for me. So, I’m, I would like to stay and figure out why, and how, and how to take this and never forget and have this haunt me for the rest of my days.
Del Negro Speaks Again
Del Negro spoke again.
Jim Del Negro: I just have one more thing. That I don’t think I’ll fully understand what he [Raniere] just did. But one thing that occurred to me is that he just handcuffed himself for the rest of his life. He cannot do a training without being willing to pay people every head. So, he has to make sure going forward he has enough money in the bank for whatever number he does.
If he does a thousand person training, and he knows there’s a possibility that something can happen, he has to be willing to put up the money to pay people for that 1000 person training. So, this is something that he has an anchor that he’s going to carry because of me, the rest of his life, for what he just did today. So and I’m sure there are other things that I haven’t seen yet.
Eduardo Asunsolo’s video provides five testimonials out of some 100 men. First, there is Eduardo himself and Justin Elliot, from whom we have heard. Now we will listen to three more testimonials. First is Deigo Asunsolo, Eduardo’s brother, and Luis Sandoval.
Besides, we will hear from Jim Del Negro. We heard from Vicente at trial.
Six witnesses speak post facto about the weekend in retrospect. If more than 100 attended, this represents six percent of the attendees.
But their perspectives are essential. They show us a deep inside view of SOP, NXIVM, Raniere, and, to an extent, themselves.
Diego Asunsolo: He is the brother of Eduardo, and he attended Weekend 7.
Diego said: A huge lesson in my life from Mr. Raniere. The way, yes, he did cancel the training. But because we didn’t earn it in an honorable way. And he was explaining that that SOP is all about honor and character and commitment, and that we cannot abuse our power to make things happen.
That’s not the way that we wanted to do things in this organization. He stayed there and answered questions of all of us before he left. And he told us, ‘I’m leaving. But I want you to know that I’m going to give you back your money that you paid for this training. But I’m also going to pay you for your time.’
I don’t know if there’s a more responsible way of canceling something than that. And I was there. I was one of those 100 men, and I was not angry.
Another witness is Luis Sandoval.
Luis Sandoval: We were supposed to have 100 men in the room ready so that weekend can be held. What I remember is that there was another of the men lead that we were needed that we needed for the meeting to be held. And this person was doing another training. And he was told to, instead of enrolling in the other training, to come to the SOP weekend, so that we can have the 100 men.
I remember that Keith arrived. And he said the meeting was going to be canceled, and that he was going to make sure that all of the people that paid money to be there was going to be reimbursed. I remember that Keith said that we were not going to do the meeting because that was not okay. And that he didn’t want to be part of that kind of abuse of power, because this guy didn’t want really to be there.
And he was kind of abused into coming to the training.
Del Negro in Retrospect
Jim Del Negro passed away last year in Mexico.
He also explained what happened.
You know, one of the things that he did, which I heard testimony from Mark Vicente, in the trial, that we had a Weekend that we were running, where we had 100 men coming from all over the world and us, the founders, were supposed to gather them. And we were supposed to get to 100 or we weren’t going to run the training.
That’s what we said. Because it was an important training. It was about keeping our word. Right. And one of the things we’re going to keep is that we’re gonna get 100. While we were at like 98, a couple days before the training.
And we talked to a couple guys and convinced them to drop out of another training and come take this training because we needed them to make the 100. We start the training, and he [Raniere] gets word that these two guys, that this happened. And he called the four of us in [Del Negro, Vicente, Brink and Baker] and said ‘we can’t run this training.’ And we said, ‘what?’ He says, ‘we can’t run this training. This was not a good thing that we did, you know,’ and he said, ‘we’. Included himself even though he wasn’t involved.
‘You know, we can’t do this.’ And he basically went out in front of 100 men that flew in from around North and South America and said, ‘I’m sorry, you came here. This is the deal. We did something that wasn’t true. And we can’t have this training because of this.’
And he basically said it was his fault. He said, ‘I’m sorry that this happened. This is totally my fault. It was on my watch. I didn’t put the proper checks in place.’
I can’t remember exactly what he said. But he said, ‘I’m willing to give you a refund. I’m willing to take care of any way that you thought you were damaged by this. You know, if you had to miss things.’ He said ‘I will help you throughout this weekend and figure out things but we’re not going to do the training we said we were going to do, which was on keeping your word.’
And so he basically took it on the chin for us who screwed up, just to uphold the principle. So he took it on the chin financially. He took it on the chin as far as how he looked as a leader. And he just stood up there and did it.
And I heard the transcript from Mark testifying that said that he hid behind us and blamed us, which was totally not true. And a total lie.
And that’s the type of person Keith is, is that he took all of that and constantly did that time and time again, and he’s doing it again.
Final note: This is a NXIVM story for a few insiders. Few care about a weekend eight years ago. Even less may care about what I think about this. But for the few that might, I will share my observations in a subsequent post.