Bronfman Troubles

I’m away this week but saw this lead story in Wine & Spirits Daily today. I’m sharing it with you with permission from Meghan. My comments will be posted soon.

Wine & Spirits Daily

October 13, 2010

How a Cult Allegedly Swallowed $150m of the Seagram Fortune

Dear Client:

Vanity Fair has published a detailed, fascinating account of the Bronfman sisters’ alleged involvement with a so-called cult, resulting in a loss of roughly $150 million over the past 6 years.  The article sums up how the heiresses to the Seagram fortune, Sara and Clara Bronfman, became involved with nxivm (pronounced Nexxium) and its founder Keith Raniere.  It also speculates about their relationship with their father and how Raniere “seems also to have tapped into a complex emotional rift between the sisters and their father, billionaire philanthropist Edgar Bronfman Sr.”  Note that Raniere, Edgar Bronfman Sr., Sara and Clare did not comment for this story.

“What seems clear, from court documents and interviews with ex-nxivm members–and those who have come into conflict with the group and its mysterious guru–is that Sara and Clare Bronfman could be in serious trouble,” says the article.

The author, Suzanna Andrews, says that as much as $150 million was taken out of the Bronfmans’ trusts and bank accounts over the past 6 years, according to legal filings and public documents.  $66 million was allegedly used to cover Raniere’s losses in the commodities market, $30 million to buy real estate in Los Angeles and around Albany, $11 million for a private jet, and millions more to fund “a barrage of lawsuits across the country against nxivm’s enemies.”

A number of people have reportedly come forward in recent months with stories about nxivm regarding “private detectives allegedly obtaining bank and phone records of nxivm opponents; stories of its critics being followed and threatened and, in one case, reportedly run off the road by a black limousine; accounts of a motherless three-year-old boy, brought into the group as a newborn under mysterious circumstances, and about the circumstances behind the Dalai Lama’s visit to Albany.”  In all, there are “multiple lawsuits” today involving the Bronfman sisters, with allegations of possible blackmail, perjury, theft and “a conspiracy to forge documents.”

Here’s a link to the full article: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/11/bronfman-201011?currentPage=1

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