My view on Joe O’Hara and the importance of his work in taking Nxivm down

By Frank Parlato

My publishing of Scott Johnson’s rebuttal in response to Joe O’Hara’s post should NOT be interpreted as a slight to what Joe O’Hara has done to unhinge Nxivm over the long years.

He was behind many news stories in the early days and I have seen scores of emails and hundreds of documents he sent to authorities trying to get them interested in investigation Nxivm.

Joe was the one who first exposed Rainbow Cultural Garden and brought attention to the mystery child being taught by Raniere. He was also the one who later exposed that that child was the son of Raniere.

He worked with John Tighe to expose Raniere. He was virtually the sole ally of Toni Natalie for years, helping her to fight back from the jealous monster.

He provided counsel and advice to Toni and Susan Dones and Kim Woolhouse and Barbara Bouchey – all of whom fought the monster.

Joe was the one who provided Rick Ross with critical information about Nxivm illegally spying on him.

He provided reporter Chet Hardin with important information for stories and was a named source on numerous stories in the Albany Times Union.

All the fighters – silent or vocal – of Nxivm knew Joe was in there fighting – using his tactical brilliance to fight the monsters.

That gave everyone confidence.

Scott Johnson likes to talk of women and beta males. But for years Joe was the only man helping the women fight Nxivm.

He provided strength and courage. And it took guts, real guts to put your name on things; to openly be named in stories when you knew Raniere would use Bronfman money to get you.

Still everyone relied on Joe’s strength and brilliance when the war with Nxivm had only a few fighters.

And in 2012 – you talk about making it all public – Joe O’Hara laid the complete or near-complete blueprint of 15 years of Nxivm crimes – in exquisite detail in his lawsuit.

if only the authorities had listened then – how many people’s lives would not have been ruined.

Is that Joe’s fault?

Could he have done it any better?

The amount of work that went into that lawsuit is stupendous to think about. He did it pro se too.

The lawsuit is as long as a novella and dives into excruciating detail. He lists hundreds of crimes and hundreds of possible defendants.

He lists all the abusive attorneys. He names all the shell companies Raniere created.

How can anyone say Joe O’Hara did not speak up?

How much more speaking up can anyone do?

I could list hundreds of other actions Joe took. Not all of them were published.

Remember – prior to Frank Report [Dec. 2015] and after Tighe’s home was raided and he shut down Saratoga in Decline [October 2013] and Jim Odato resigned from the Albany Times Union – there was a long, silent gap of media coverage on Nxivm.

No wonder Raniere thought he could get away with branding.

He had Joe in prison. He had Toni indicted. He had me indicted. He had the media silenced. He had state troopers seemingly in his pocket. He had prosecutors doing his bidding and indicting his enemies.

He had judges in Mexico waiting to imprison any one of his enemies he could lure there.

He had bankrupted and indicted Barbara Bouchey. He had bankrupted Susan Dones. He had all his enemies vanquished by 2015. The same year he started branding women.

He had Joe in prison.

No wonder he felt he could start blackmailing and branding women.

Joe O’Hara has fought Nxivm for 13 years. And except for the time he was unfairly and wrongfully imprisoned, he was fighting them constantly.

Other than Toni Natalie, no one can say they fought for so long.

Joe O’Hara deserves accolades and great honor for his work.

He went to work for Nxivm as a consultant – in Octgober 2003. Saw crimes. Tried to persuade his clients to desist from committing crimes. They refused.

He quit. They went after him, spending millions on him literally to destroy him. They almost succeeded.

By a singular quirk of fate – Joe was incarcerated for 2.5 years at the same prison Keith Raniere is now being held.

Keith has been at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for about 9 months – about a third of the time Joe spent there.

It will be likely another 10 months before Keith goes to trial – so he will likely be there for a year and a half – before trial.

On the day Joe got out of prison, he again took up the fight against Raniere.

He helped land him in jail. And unlike O’Hara, I doubt Raniere will ever be getting out.

Thanks, Joe.

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Fortunately there are people like Frank, Joe, and Toni. Otherwise it’s quite possible, Nxivm could have joined the ranks of Scientology, Amway, and Sun Myung Moon, becoming so powerful as to be untouchable by even the Federal Government. The groups I have just mentioned all have beat the FBI and IRS in Federal Court.

    Between Bronfman and the Mexico connection Keith would have had the finances to grow and expand Nxvim.
    Mr. Sun Moon and Amway were huge benefactors of the Republican Party and bought legitimacy. Scientology has donated large sums to Democrats.

    All of you involved in the fight against Nxivm may have inadvertently saved thousands of people from ruining and destroying their lives.

    It’s the truth….think about all the people whose lives were ruined by the 3 groups I mentioned above.

  • Thank you for this editorial. It serves to highlight the courage and dedication it took to keep shining a light on NXIVM and all the bad actors gathered within its upper echelon. People throwing out thoughtless comments show their ignorance. Everyone who never gave up needs to be commended.

  • I agree that Scott’s relentless attacks on Joe O’Hara are unwarranted and seem driven by a personal hatred of Joe for whatever reason.

    Whenever Joe shows up to write a good article to give us insight into something about NXIVM, Scott unloads both barrels into Joe’s chest and then quickly reloads to empty a second barrage into him as well.

    Scott kinda reminds me of Lyle Menendez, metaphorically speaking… After shooting his mom & dad and leaving them dying on the floor, he ‘reloaded’ his shotgun and emptied another barrage into his mom just for good measure.

    Except with Scott, the battle isn’t over after that. lol.

    Even if Joe takes the high road and doesn’t return fire, Scott then lobs a hand grenade towards Joe just for good measure, with another grenade being lobbed at anybody defending Joe.

    If anybody is left standing or supporting Joe still, Scott’s depleted ammunition won’t stop him from charging with a bayonet to finish the job.

    Scott is akin to an Auschwitz guard holding an attack dog on a leash, while taking delight in menacing innocent families as he walks by them while his dog snipes.

    Scott’s so desperate to pounce on somebody that he’ll set his dogs loose (metaphorically) to tear apart an 8 year old kid trying to run away from the gas chambers, all the while claiming that his behavior is driven by a desire to attain truth.

    I don’t know exactly what happened with Joe’s indictment but frankly I don’t really care since I don’t see how it impacts NXIVM’s current situation. What difference does it make if Joe did something bad in El Paso years ago? How does that impact Keith or NXIVM today?

    Joe has never claimed to be Mother Teresa so I don’t think it’s fair to keep pouncing on him just for the sake of winning a ‘pissing contest’.

    You made your point, Scott. Joe did something years ago that he had to serve a bit of federal time for. Okay. We got it. But he’s now on the side of the good guys.

  • Great article! Joe and the others in the forefront (yourself included) really were up against a vicious monster. Clearly it didn’t come without a cost and there was battle damage for sure, but isn’t it good to know you have finally brought the beast to its knees? Well done!

  • So when Scott Johnson appears to suggest that Joe O’Hara didn’t speak out or take action, he’s just plain wrong.

    Joe’s conviction is irrelevant to the good he’s done exposing Raniere. I see no reason why Scott comments about it every time Joe contributes to the Frank Report.

    Other than the mlm connection, Amway and NXIVM are not comparable. Cults do far more damage to people than Amway or Herbalife or other such operations.

    It’s a shame that Scott loss so much with his involvement with Amway. As far as people being scammed or beings “victims” of Amway, I think that is debatable. The majority get involved, try it out, quickly realize they’re not going to be one of the chosen few and quit. Or they realize they’re becoming an annoyance to their friends and family with their recruitment efforts.

    Amway is well known for what they promise and what the reality actually is. It was known long before the internet and if anyone asked about it, started a pitch about it, they were quickly given an explanation of what they were/are involved with. Amway is not a major threat to millions of people.

    I’d wager friends or family tried to dissuade Scott when he first started out with Amway and I can imagine his response was much like his persona here in the comment section

    Scott is a nice and personable guy. Talking to him and many of his insights here, he is an intelligent guy. He got involved with Amway and stayed the course a very long time. Much like following a cult leader. I know I said the similarities end with mlm. And I do believe that. Staying with Amway that long and losing that much money, I believe to be an exception. I think Scott’s personality is a major factor as well and why he is still involved with Amway but from a different direction now. So in this one rare instance Scott/Amway, is the same as a cult victim. But comparing Amway to NXIVM, One Taste, Scientology etc. Not imo

    Unlike former cult members, he hasn’t “gotten out” and has set himself up to never will. Amway continues on, and over the years has become more legitimate in a certain sense, so he can chase that whale indefinitely. To get out, he would need to stop and he shows no sign of doing so. His mission goes on yet the only action on his part is forums like this one.

    • You know, I had never really thought about it in that way, but you are right, most people know it’s a scam, and don’t mess with it. I grew up knowing Amway was a scam. Some people are just susceptible to nonsense. I have one cousin who falls for MLM scam after MLM scam. Each one is “the one that’s gonna make me rich”. We all tell him he’s wasting his time, he never gets it. He needs to “be important” and be connected to a “big business that’s gonna make him rich”. So, he tries them all, never succeeds, never listens.There really is not much point to Scott’s big crusade, because the majority of us know it’s balderdash. It’s obvious to me that Scott just needs something to keep him occupied, and he needs attention. Sad, really.

  • I don’t like to talk about women (in the context of acting like little girls/snowflakes, not as strong women) and beta males (in the context of little boys/snowflakes), I’m just identifying there are far too many of them.

    People should have joined Joe, not put him out front as a single, “point man” target. See women/beta males comment above. Same with Frank.

    Lawsuits are not nearly as easy to read, nor are they nearly as public, as a website. How was Joe’s lawsuit publicly available prior to the FrankReport? I found it on, which is public, but you have to know what you’re looking for to find it. Why didn’t Joe know he wasn’t allowed to file the lawsuit in the first place? After all, he’s a lawyer should have at least asked for some input from one of his lawyer buddies. Even Joe’s bankruptcy estate said the lawsuit had no merit, and it was dismissed with prejudice. Joe could have saved a lot of time and money, and have had a much larger impact, by putting all of the information, plus the content of all of those 5″ 3-ring binders, online. Why didn’t he do that in late 2012, or even when he filed the lawsuit in early 2012? Or feed information to somebody while he was at MDC?

    Authorities listen when people get loud, just like the New York Times got the FBI involved a year or so ago. Everybody reading this website who lives in New York state should be writing, emailing, and calling their US Senator and Representative, as well as every media outlet, and demanding action be taken against the questionable actions taken (or not taken) by the various authorities involved in this mess. If you don’t, you will get exactly more of the same, and you deserve it.

    I can say Joe didn’t do enough because he could have started a website and become the FrankReport years before it existed. It’s up to others to follow, but he has to lead.

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