The FBI raid the home of Nancy Salzman at 3 Oregon Trail on March 27, 2018, one day after Raniere is haled into court in Texas on sex trafficking charges. [Photo courtesy Albany Times Union].
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Klaviger: Unanswered Questions…Part I – Why did the FBI only raid two of NXIVM’s properties?

By K.R. Klaviger

Although there is almost universal agreement among the many victims of NXIVM that the EDNY investigators and prosecutors deserve praise and commendations for the work they’ve done to try to put an end to the sex slaver cult, there are still some aspects of the case that have raised questions that may never be answered.

This is the first in a series of posts that will look at some of the “unanswered questions” concerning the ongoing criminal case against NXIVM and its leaders.

Why did the FBI only raid two of NXIVM properties?

Shortly after Raniere’s arrest on March 26th, the FBI showed up with search warrants at two of the many properties associated with NXIVM and two of its leaders, Nancy “Prefect” Salzman and Keith “Vanguard” Raniere. Those properties were the house that Salzman was living in at 3 Oregon Trail – and the townhouse that served as Raniere’s sex lair on 8 Hale Drive.

Based on numerous reports and court records, we now know that both of those locations produced a great deal of evidence that will likely be used by the prosecution in the upcoming trial of Salzman and Raniere – and their current co-defendants, Clare Bronfman, Allison Mack, Kathy Russell, and Lauren Salzman.

Among the items that were confiscated at Salzman’s house were the following:
– $515,577 in cash – plus another $971.00 worth of Russian and Mexican currency
– Dozens of data-storage devices
– Cameras
– Mobile phones
– Blackberry devices

And among the items that were seized at Raniere’s sex lair were the following:
– Audio-Visual recording equipment
– A box of unidentified white pills
– Data-storage devices
– Binders
– VHS tapes
– A book entitled “History of Torture”

So, given how fruitful those two searches proved to be, why were similar raids not conducted at other NXIVM-related locations?

Some of the locations that it would have seemed logical and prudent to search include the following:
– NXIVM’s headquarters at 455 New Karner Road in Colonie, NY
– Clare Bronfman’s homes
– Lauren Salzman’s home
– Allison Mack’s apartment
– Kathy Russell’s home

By comparison, the New York State Police, under the command of Senior Investigator Rodger Kirsopp, simultaneously conducted a well-coordinated, pre-dawn raid on the residences of three people that were allegedly involved in illegally accessing NXIVM’s website: Toni Natalie, Joe O’Hara, and John Tighe. In conjunction with that effort, every computer in each of the three locations – and numerous boxes of what were believed to be NXIVM-related files and records – were confiscated by Kirsopp and his troopers.

No one is claiming the FBI is not competent in the EDNY. But it is curious that the FBI only raided two houses in the massive investigation into NXIVM. The New York State Police, however, raided three houses in the minuscule and ultimately dismissed computer trespassing case against Joe O’Hara, John Tighe, and Toni Natalie.

 

Even though Kirsopp was well aware that there was no jurisdictional basis for bringing any charges in Albany County against Natalie, O’Hara, and Tighe, he nevertheless put a lot of time and effort into planning and conducting the simultaneous raids on their houses. And he used the occasion to seize just about anything that might contain any incriminating information against NXIVM and its leaders.

So, why didn’t the FBI conduct more searches on NXIVM-related properties – especially after all the valuable evidence they found at Salzman’s home and Raniere’s sex lair?

At a minimum, one would have expected a search to be conducted at NXIVM’s corporate offices. That, of course, is where the cult stored all the paper records concerning its operations – and where all its accounting records were created and maintained.

And didn’t the Feds think there was at least a possibility of finding more cash, more electronic storage devices, and more incriminating documents and records in the residence of the head of the DOS operation, Allison Mack?

And how about one or more of the homes owned by Clare Bronfman, the chief financier for – and the Director of Operations for – NXIVM? Didn’t the Feds think they might find some interesting records in those places?

And what about Lauren Salzman? Wouldn’t it make sense for her Mom to have entrusted her with some of the other cash that NXIVM had hidden away and/or some of the numerous data storage devices that were used to keep track of the cult’s various operations?

And, of course, why not search the house of NXIVM’s original bookkeeper, Kathy Russell? Wouldn’t you think that she might have been entrusted to hold onto some of NXIVM’s multiple sets of financial records?

***

Although the victims of NXIVM are grateful to the EDNY investigators and prosecutors for their efforts to put an end to this vicious cult, the victims are also cognizant that until they are convicted, Raniere and his flying monkeys are “innocent until proven guilty.”

I would not wish to change that important due process right. And I am not a supporter of wholesale raids on the homes of private citizens.

However, with Bronfman money, high-priced lawyers and a vicious psychopath calling the shots, if some of the defendants get off with light sentences or are acquitted, they will be back and likely seeking vengeance.

Why didn’t the FBI raid the other NXIVM homes and offices? Hopefully, we’ll learn more about this as the case proceeds to trial.


About the author

Artvoice

Artvoice

News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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  • krclaviger why didn’t the FBI raid your home? Since you have that kiddie porn collection in your parents basement.

  • My personal guess is that Karen Unterreiner already gave the FBI many files in hard copies and digital form.
    I also believe NXIVM had stored a lot of information in the cloud, like Mack’s blackmail stored in Dropbox
    Just subpoena the cloud storage services.

  • I have inside sources who tell me that Kathy Rusell’s home was searched.

    The contents of this search are listed below:

    1) Book: Ballet for Dummies
    “Go From Bookkeeper to Bolshoi in 30 Days”

    2) Book: Learn to Cook the Books like a Chef
    “A Classical Guide to Keeping Double Books”

    3) Book: Taxes Schmaxes
    “The Bookkeeper’s Guide to Cheating the IRS”

  • Why they did not raid the corporate office is an interesting question. I speculate once KAR left for Mexico in 2017, everyone was on alert about potential arrests and raids, so they may have removed a great deal of material from the office.

  • As they all started moving shortly after I’m sure anything of value to the case made it’s way to Mexico. It certainly peculiar, as paranoid as they were I doubt there was much of value in the center, but certainly every other defendant at least would have been eligible for a search warrant.
    Every time Rodger Kirsopps name comes up I get a chill.

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