Metroland sued for $65 million

Alabany Times-Union/March 30, 2009

Less than a month before the Dalai Lama's visit to Albany, a group linked to the Ethical Humanitarian Foundation, which is responsible for bringing the Dalai Lama to the region, is suing Albany's alternative newspaper Metroland for $65 million.

NXIVM (pronounced nex-ee-um) and EHF were both "conceptually founded" by local entrepreneur Keith Raniere.

NXIVM is suing over an article that ran in Metroland in March 2008 where news editor Chet Hardin attributes information to "cult expert" Rick Ross. The group alleges that Metroland conspired with Ross to push false information that ultimately resulted in a loss of profit totaling $5 million.

Hardin wrote, "Raniere, according to Ross, is not allowed, by law, to be involved in a discount buyer's club, due to the collapse of CBI."

Raniere started the multi-million dollar business Consumers Byline Inc. in 1998 before it was shut down after 25 state and federal investigations alleged it was a pyramid scheme.

Metroland editor and publisher, Stephen Leon, said NXIVM does not have a strong case and the magazine has not been served with the lawsuit yet.

NXIVM, AKA Executive Success Programs, is based out of Colonie. The group has stirred up controversy over the years, after some have alleged it is a cult that uses its courses to break down students and create a sense of devotion to its leaders. One former member allegedly killed herself after taking a 16-day NXIVM course in Alaska.

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