The Bronfmans And the Cult

Forbes/July, 2006

We took a skeptical look at an executive training firm called NXIVM (pronounced nexium), run by a charismatic leader named Keith Raniere. Among Raniere's acolytes were Sara and Clare Bronfman, daughters of Seagram billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr. and half-sisters of Edgar Bronfman Jr., chief of Warner Music. Himself a former Raniere client, Bronfman Sr. had turned on Raniere, labeling the coaching program a "cult."

Since our story the Bronfman sisters' entanglement with NXIVM and its executives has deepened. According to two sources, the sisters recently took out a line of credit from Citigroup and used their trust as collateral. One of the sources says the money was used to help Raniere. In February Sara bought an apartment in the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Central Park West for $6.45 million. Nancy Salzman, Raniere's business partner and NXIVM's president, is using the apartment, says one source, and two sources report that Salzman is flying around in a private jet owned by the sisters. FORBES has also obtained documentation of a $2 million loan Clare made to NXIVM. According to a former consultant to NXIVM who was given a copy of the company's internal records concerning the arrangement with Clare, the $2 million loan will be entirely paid off through training sessions that are to be personally delivered by Nancy Salzman and via credits earned by Salzman in exchange for being available to take calls from Clare. Meanwhile, Sara was reportedly part of a NXIVM team sent to Dublin to recruit new adherents. Sara, Clare and three of the trustees to the sisters' estate did not respond to requests for comment. Nor did Raniere and Salzman.

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