This is the next in our series on Mark Vicente’s testimony in the trial of Keith Alan Raniere. He is being examined by AUSA Mark Lesko.
In this selection, Vicente talks about Allison Mack and what he perceived as her generally unstable mental condition, as well as the prominence she had in the leadership of various Nxivm groups. He also testifies about India’s infatuation with Mack and about a woman named Debra who Raniere evidently had hoped to lure into his sex cult.
Debra is an actress and Frank Report is not naming her since she clearly did not join DOS and, in fact, found Raniere repulsive.
Q Did you witness the defendant being physically intimate with Allison Mack?
A I did….
Q Do you recall when you first met Ms. Mack?
A Yes. I don’t recall the exact year, but it was at a volleyball game. She had just flown in from… Seattle on the Bronfman jet, and she had just come from the airport to … meet… me and Raniere.
Q What was Allison Mack’s role in NXIVM?
A Well, in the beginning she was… a student who became a coach, who eventually became a proctor. She was one of the heads of Jness…. she was one of the leaders. She was the head of humanities in Albany.
Q Was that a committee?
A …yes. And then she also was the head of the company called The Source… the acting program. And then she also … involved in a company called The Knife. The Knife of Aristotle was a media analysis company.
Q Who promoted Allison Mack to proctor?
A I don’t recall …. but I do remember having a discussion with Lauren Salzman about it. … I remember when she was going to be promoted, I remember saying … ‘are you serious, that’s insane. There’s something not stable about her. And … she’s got this gaggle of women that she’s mentoring that are not doing well.’ I was very concerned. I don’t recall who exactly gave the final sign-off on the promotion, though.
Q Who had ultimate authority to decide on who would progress on the path?
A … Raniere…..
Q Was Allison Mack a member of the defendant’s trusted group?
A She was.
Q When was The Source developed?
A The Source was developed sometime at 2014.…
Q And did The Source have curriculum?
A The Source had curriculum. What would happen with that curriculum is Raniere would meet with us. Myself or somebody else would videotape the meeting. And that would be turned into the actual curriculum. And then once he had done…. “the download of all of the material,” that was turned into like written things and videotapes and then we began running trainings.
Q And the focus was on actors?
A The focus was on actors. We were told later musicians and… public speakers, but it was mostly performance. You know, being in front of people, how to best use the instrument of presentation or performance.
Q Did the curriculum developed for The Source, was that an adaptation of the defendant’s tech system as applied to actors?
A To some degree. There were certain things in there that were part of some of the other curriculum. There was a section that was from Ultima reverence …. emotional flexibility, how to deal with… feelings that you struggled with. And then there was this….focus on … looking like you’re having the feeling but you don’t have to show it, just look like you’re having it. So again, like you don’t have to be feeling any grief just… look — what do people look like when they’re grief stricken. Then do that. What do their heads do, arms do, do they look down? And basically, you know, teach actors … to model. I was used to the more inside out, which was with field of thing body, find a moment in your life. This was more, well, a shortcut. Just look like you’re having the emotion and the audience will believe you.
Q Did Allison Mack eventually move to Clifton Park?
A She did eventually….
Q Do you recall approximately when this happened?
A …it was pre-2013 but I don’t remember the exact year.
Q And where did Allison Mack reside in Clifton Park?
A So she moved into 7 Generals Way, actually, along with my wife and I.
Q Did you stop living with Allison Mack at 7 Generals Way?
Q What happened?
A She had said at one point she needed to do some more private work and she needed to be alone. So she moved a few blocks away to Grenadier Court…. She said she needed privacy to do some of the different projects she was working on.
Q Did Allison Mack get along with your wife?
A At the beginning, I think, yes. Later, not so much.
Q Was your wife involved in The Source?
Q Was there conflict between your wife and Allison Mack regarding The Source?
A There was. The concerns my wife had related to the divisions that were occurring in the company…. there were like 12, maybe 13 people that all felt like that was part of their company, and then suddenly there were their divisions, of like, no, you people are not in charge, these people are in charge. And it got … messy. She had concerns about the way it was handled, the way… some people had been … pushed to the side as unimportant… just having no value in this company at all. And she brought that up a few times, and she was challenged a great deal about that. And she also had concerns about Allison’s… psychology about her… erratic behavior and whether she … would be able to lead well.
Q At some point do you recall a meeting involving yourself, Allison Mack, your wife and the defendant?
A Yes. He offered to do an arbitration between Allison and my wife, and I was there…. I had said to him things were not… working. There’s a lot of unresolved issues with this company and a lot of people feel very slighted. So he said, ‘well, maybe I should jump on board,’ which is pretty unusual. Most of the time he would say ‘it’s not good if I would do an arbitration because I’m final point. After me is the point of no return’…. For some reason he felt that he would do the arbitration.
Q What was an arbitration at NXIVM?
A An arbitration at NXIVM is basically figuring out what is the issue that each person is having, and then trying to help them understand how the issue they’re having is related to their … issues… their inner deficiencies, their life issues… and to get each party to take responsibility for what’s theirs and then see if there’s any action that needs to be taken….
So it wasn’t just, ‘well, okay, each of you talk.’ It’s ‘each of you talk and now let’s look at other unresolved things with respect to each of you that you need to look at that may be affecting the way you’re seeing things.’….
Q So what did the defendant say at the arbitration meeting involving yourself, Allison Mack and your wife?
A Well, he started the meeting by saying, ‘well, let’s just start with ground rules. Does everybody at the table believe that everybody at this table have good intent?’ And, of course, everybody said yes. If you said no, it would be a huge problem. Saying no was a huge problem because it looks like, oh, you project, if you think somebody has bad intent, oh, well, clearly you’re the one with bad intent, so of course you said yes.
And then he began to elicit from each person …different things. He basically had Allison admit that she… hated my wife, was trying to destroy her. Was very jealous of her. And then… he said to my wife… basically … ‘there’s things you’ve been through like loss of innocence, I’ve seen this kind of thing.’ And then he tasked … Allison with finishing it, that what she done was a real problem and that she needed to really look into herself and fix this — this impulse that she has to destroy another woman. You know that has to be fixed. So that was the way I remembered ending was basically she has to go fix this.
Q You referred to a person named India. Do you know India?
A I did know India for quite some time.
Q Is India the daughter of the well-known actress?
A Yes, she is.
Q How did you meet India?
A I met India in Los Angeles …. Maybe… 2011, 2012… We would do introductory presentations. And we were doing one in Santa Monica and India and her mother came … to the presentation along with a lot of other people. And myself and Sarah were doing the actual presentation, and at the end of the presentation, India decided that she wanted to join and do an intensive. So that was … the first time that I met her.
Q Did India have a relationship with Allison Mack?
A She would come to have a relationship when she spent more time at Albany. She — she ended up being tutored by Allison Mack or Allison Mack took a particular interest in her and took her under her wing….. I had a lot of concerns about that.
Q So India traveled to Albany to take NXIVM programs?
A She did. She did the first five days in Los Angeles and she may have done the remaining 11 days in Albany, I don’t recall, but then she began doing some Level 2s. She joined Jness as well. And she ended up doing a lot of curriculum.
Q While she was in Albany, are you aware that India had gone on a walk with the defendant?
A Yes….. India was part of the Los Angeles center and she had all these different dreams and things she wanted to do, and my wife and I were trying to help her. I was shooting material of her. She wanted to create [a] talk show … talking to amazing people in the world and…. she wanted to create this cooking line. So she had a lot of dreams and … I was thinking … that’s what we want to do…. we want to help people make their dreams come true. So I found that India was struggling with leadership so we put her in charge of certain things in the center and see if she could step up as a leader. Then she went to Albany and suddenly just gave everything up…. I remember going, ‘What about your dreams?’ ‘I’m sort of changing my focus’ …she said. She [said she] took a walk with Keith and [said], ‘I’m much clearer now.’
… I spoke to [Raniere] …. I said, ‘I’m very concerned. We’re just beginning to get to this place where she might begin to take leadership, which would help her in her life and suddenly … she gives everything up and now she’s going to Albany. What happened on that walk?’ He said, ‘well, I don’t remember very much’… he was very, very vague about it, and I say ‘I’m very concerned. She’s kind of giving up everything she cares about to go live in this little place and I don’t know if that’s going to be that good for her.’ And, you know, in usual fashion, he said a bunch of things like, ‘well, maybe I don’t know what’s going on.’
Q I think you mentioned that you had some important concerns about India’s relationship with Allison Mack?
A Well, I was very concerned… I saw with India was that she became enamored with Allison Mack. The kind of enamor where you don’t just admire someone because they were skilled, like fall in love with Allison Mack, you are my everything. And I said to myself, something’s unhealthy about that. I don’t know that it’s healthy for her to look at Allison Mack as some kind of… deity who knows all. Knowing Allison…. I didn’t think that Allison should necessarily be mentoring young women, so yeah, I had concerns.
Q You discuss those concerns with the defendant?
A I did.
Q What did you say?
A I remember saying something like, ‘I don’t think that she should be mentored by Allison. I don’t think it’s healthy. I think Allison has a series of issues that I’m concerned with and I don’t think she should be teaching India or some of the other people.’
Q What was the defendant’s response?
A … I remember him saying something like… it’s not really my concern. It was the strange thing … he knew about everything, but then when I questioned about him about some things, then he didn’t know about it. So it was a mystery.
Q Did India become involved in a NXIVM-related company in Clifton Park?
A Yes. So one of the companies that she was involved …was … a company call Delegates…. Delegates was like a task rabbit, you know. You call somebody, I need my laundry picked up, or I need to be picked up from the airport, kind of thing. So India was basically put in charge of Delegates. That was her company. People would call her or text her and tell her what we needed and she would look at the workforce that was available and then assign them. So that was her company.
Q And who worked for Delegates?
A The people that worked for Delegates were mostly the younger people in the community. A lot of the LeBaron girls were working for Delegates, and then some of the other younger members. They were … younger people that didn’t really have a career choice yet that were working for her.
Q And the LeBaron girls were from the community in Mexico?
A The community of LeBaron, Chihuahua, yeah.
Q Do you know a person named Debra?
Q Who is Debra?
A Debra is somebody who was a student initially in the Los Angeles center. And then also came to Albany to take some trainings as well….
Q Did you ever have a discussion with the defendant about Debra?
A I did. I’d had a conversation with her about the concern she had and I remember — I called … Raniere. And I said I have some concerns…
Q …. can [you] tell us what Debra told you?
A I had a phone conversation with Debra and she told me that there’s a function on Facebook where you can poke somebody. She told me that Raniere had poked her… several times. That he had asked if he could Skype with her. And that also when she was in Albany and she attended volleyball, he walked off the game mid-game and sort of fawning all over her and she was very creeped out.
She also told me that she had a concern, because somebody called Amanda had tried to enroll her into a secret society, and Amanda wanted for her to give some form of collateral…. blackmailing material to keep her silence about the society. And she was deeply concerned about these things. So that’s what she shared with me.
Q Did you subsequently have a conversation with the defendant about what Debra had told you?
A I did. So in the conversation with him, I said to him something to the effect, you know, ‘what are you doing with her? You’re scaring her. You poked her on repeatedly on Facebook.’ He said, ‘Well, it was just once.’ And I said, ‘And what about Skype? I tried to Skype you for years and you said you don’t have Skype.’
And then also I began talking to him about this secret society and somebody trying to enroll her in something that required, you know, blackmailing material. And I was very concerned about it. And he said to me, …. it was a fairly long conversation about a number of things; you know, including my understanding at that point that he might be the head of this society, and … he said to me: ‘Well, could you tell me who it is?’ And I said: ‘I can’t. Because if you are indeed the head of this society and this is true, if I tell who it is, you might release their collateral to the world in some way, and that’s a huge problem.’
So that was a grave concern to me. And he said: ‘Well, he would investigate it.’ We had a private conversation about things going on with the women that he said he would investigate and, again, he was saying: ‘I’ll investigate it.’
And I remember further saying to him: ‘I’m really worried about these women. They look like zombies.’ I remember him saying: ‘You have to define what a zombie is.’ And I realize I gave him a general practice of deflection. So I said: ‘Okay, call me crazy then.’ He says: ‘Well I’m not calling you crazy, we have to figure these things out.’ And I had the sense that he was just evading me.
Q …. when was that discussion…?
A … April 2017, I think.
This selection gives us another insight into Nxivm and Raniere – in the years leading up to his destruction. He was operating in secret his DOS scheme and manipulating women to get them to come to Albany – like Allison, India and Debra.
Allison got completely engulfed. India, in large part due to her mother’s efforts, escaped.
She would have been very likely charged had it not been for her mother’s intervention – charged like Allison was – for attempted sex trafficking. She had been described in the original criminal complaint, identified only as co-conspirator #2. Allison was co-conspirator #1.
Vicente right along had doubts. He had doubts about Mack’s stability and ability to lead and mentor other women. He spoke to Raniere and was rebuffed.
He had doubts that India should uproot and abandon her big dreams to go to tiny Albany to live in the shadow of Mack. He expressed it to Raniere and was rebuffed.
Debra smelled a rat from the onset and spoke to Vicente about it. He encouraged her to not get dragged in and spoke to Raniere about it and again was rebuffed. Happily, Debra did not get sucked in and gave no collateral.
Through it all, Vicente is beginning to see that Raniere may not be the superior being he had thought he was. And that Raniere may have been, after all, nothing more than a liar.
As we shall see in a future post, the breaking point came and Vicente went from being a loyal follower to a potent adversary who had a large hand in the takedown of this monstrous cult that pretended to be only out to enable and empower its membership but was, in reality, seeking to enslave and ruin them all.