A reader who goes by the handle “ionwhitepoetry” raised those questions in a comment about the recent post concerning the legal defense trust fund that was set up by Clare Bronfman to pay for all the defense attorneys who are representing her and her current co-defendants: Keith Alan Raniere AKA “The Vanguard”; Nancy Salzman AKA “Prefect”; Lauren Salzman AKA “The Toucan”; Allison Mack AKA “The Pimp”; and Kathy Russell AKA “The Ageless Ballerina”.
And since Frank Report likes to answer readers’ questions, let’s take a shot at answering these.
But before we do that, let’s start by trying to figure out just how much money NXIVM/Executive Success Programs (ESP) might have taken in over the years (For purposes of this exercise, we’ll just ignore all the other NXIVM/ESP-related schemes that Raniere hatched over the years: J’ness, Rainbow Cultural Gardens, etc., etc., etc.).
NXIVM/ESP has claimed that it had more than 17,000 people take at least one of its training courses. Whether that figure is accurate is debatable but since we don’t have a better estimate, we’ll use that one.
Based on feedback from several upper echelon members who left NXIVM/ESP long before the shit hit the fan, we know that most of the people who took a NXIVM/ESP training course didn’t come back for more.
So let’s assume that 80% of the 17,000 NXIVM/ESP “students” quit after their introductory courses (Maybe some other former members can let us know if that’s a reasonable figure).
To begin with, if all 17,000 “students” spent, on average, $1,000 for their introductory courses, that’s a tidy $17,000,000 of revenue for NXIVM/ESP.
And if 850 of those 17,000 “students” spent an additional $5,000 before they left or NXIVM/ESP ceased operations, that would be another $4,250,000.
And if another 850 of those 17,000 “students” spent an additional $10,000 before they left or NXIVM/ESP ceased operations, that would be another $8,500,000.
And if another 850 of those 17,000 “students” spent an additional $15,000 before they left or NXIVM/ESP ceased operations, that would be another $12,750,000.
And if another 850 of those 17,000 “students” spent an additional $20,000 before they left or NXIVM/ESP ceased operations, that would be another $17,000,000.
Wow! If those estimates are accurate, that would mean that NXIVM/ESP took in a cool $59,500,000 during its 20-years or so of operations. Not bad – about $3 million per year (Once again, it would be helpful if some former NXIVM/ESP members can let us know if those are reasonable figures).
So, what the hell happened to all that money?
Well, before the Bronfman brats came along with their hundreds of millions of inherited funds, some of those revenues had to be used to pay for operational expenses.
And the upper echelon members had some pretty expensive tastes. At one point, Prefect reportedly had a $50,000/year “clothing allowance” (Because the IRS would consider that to be taxable income, she just never reported any of it).
So, let’s say that, on average, NXIVM/ESP’s expenses ran 80% of its gross revenues – which, if anything, might be a little on the high side. That would still leave a nice little pile of about $12,000,000 for Raniere to squirrel away.
If they haven’t already done so, the Feds obviously need to bring in a forensic accounting team to track down what the real figures are.
But, even if all the above assumptions and estimates are off by half, there’s $6,000,000 sitting around somewhere – minus, of course, the $500,000 or so that they found when they raided Prefect’s house (Maybe that piddling amount was left behind on purpose).
So, back to ionwhitepoetry’s questions: “What happens to the money NXIVM made? Can it be used toward the defense? Or can it/is it claimed by the government?”
Well, the Feds have already laid claim to the cash they found in Nancy’s house plus the house itself – and Raniere’s sex lair, which was generally referred to by members of his inner circle as “The Library”.
Why they haven’t done the same with respect to all the other properties that are/were owned by NXIVM/ESP-related entities is an interesting question. Given that they added an asset forfeiture specialist on their team fairly early on, it’s quite likely that the prosecutors are just getting started on this aspect of the case.
The “bottom line” is that if the Feds find any more assets, they’ll probably attempt to make NXIVM/ESP forfeit them. At least I hope so…
The problem with going through this type of exercise is that there are no “hard figures” available with respect to NXIVM/ESP’s actual revenues over the past 20 years.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s why they indicted The Ageless Ballerina. She was, after all, the one who started keeping the double and triple sets of books for all of the companies in Raniere’s evil empire.
That’s why I encourage readers to do their own calculations – and see what they come up with. We’re all in this together. So, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts…
One other thing: You can pretty much assume that there are going to be numerous civil lawsuits filed against at least some of the defendants (Clarebear will, of course, be named in every one of them!).
And I don’t mean ones like the very shaky class action lawsuit that has already been filed by an overanxious attorney trying to get to the front of the line.
I mean very serious lawsuits that will put all of Carebear’s assets – and maybe those of her sister – in real jeopardy.
And when they find all the money that Raniere has squirreled away over the years – which they very likely will – he can also kiss those funds goodbye.
Yep, payback is a real bitch…