Steve Pigeon, the strategist-in-chief for Tom Golisano’s Responsible New York committee took a slew of locals up to Albany two weeks ago to hear the Dalai Lama speak, as guests of Clare and Sara Bronfman, heirs to the Seagrams liquor fortune. Among the guests were Niagara Falls developer Roger Trevino, Pigeon protege Gary Parenti, policial financier Hormoz Mansouri, Niagara Falls Reporter editor Mike Hudson, and online political gossip-monger Joe Illuzzi.
The Bronfmans sponsored the Dalai Lama’s appearance. The sisters are clients (if that’s the right word) of a group called NXIVM, founded by a truly strange agent named Keith Raniere, which ostensibly trades in personal fulfillment training but has all the hallmarks of a cult, according to reports in Forbes magazine, the Albany Times-Union, and Metroland, Albany’s alternative newsweekly. At one point the Dalai Lama canceled his appearance in Albany due to the bad publicity attached to NXIVM and its affiliates, only to reschedule after meeting with the Bronfmans in person.
Metroland published a series of articles about NXIVM’s cult-like practices, and NXIVM has threatened to sue the newspaper in retaliation. The lawyer who filed NXIVM’s notice of claim? High-powered Niagara Falls attorney and Pigeon ally John Bartolomei.
Pigeon himself has done "legal and political work" for to the Bronfmans, according to an April 2008 Buffalo News article about a Los Angeles housing development deal gone wrong that tied together Pigeon, the Bronfmans (or at least their money), the president of NXIVM, and local developer Frank Parlato.
So what’s the point of all this? Perhaps only that one need not worry about Pigeon some day losing the financial sponsorship of Golisano, who is fleeing New York State taxes for a full-time residence in Florida.