Clare Bronfman

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Clare Bronfman
US v Raniere GovtExihibit ClareBronfmanMug.jpg
Born (1979-04-08) April 8, 1979 (age 40)
ResidenceClifton Park, New York, U.S.[1]
NationalityAmerican
Known forRole in the leadership of NXIVM
Parent(s)Edgar Bronfman Sr
Georgiana Bronfman Havers (née Rita Webb)
RelativesSara Bronfman (sister)
Websitevia Internet Archive

Clare Bronfman (born 1979) is an American heiress and former equestrian. She is the youngest daughter of billionaire philanthropist and former Seagram liquor chairman Edgar Bronfman Sr. Bronfman is notable for her involvement in NXIVM, a controversial personal development company that has been described as a cult.

On April 19, 2019, Bronfman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification. She faces less than 28 months in prison.[2]

Background[edit]

Bronfman is the daughter of Canadian billionaire Edgar Bronfman, Sr. and Rita Webb, the daughter of an English pub owner from Essex, England. Bronfman's parents met in Marbella, Spain.[3][4] The two married in 1975, two years after Edgar Bronfman's divorce from his first wife. Webb gave birth to Sara the following year, and had Clare two-and-a-half years later.[3] Shortly after Clare's birth, Webb--who had renamed herself Georgiana--asked Edgar for a divorce. They remarried in 1983, but again divorced. After their parents' second divorce, the girls visited their father at his estates outside Charlottesville, Virginia, and in Westchester County; his home in Sun Valley; and his apartment on Fifth Avenue. However, they resided in England and in Kenya with their mother.[3][5] Bronfman is of Jewish ancestry on her father's side.[6]

Equestrian career[edit]

Bronfman started her equestrian career at the age of 17; three years later, she began to qualify and compete at the elite level.

In December 1999, Bronfman competed in the Millstreet Indoor International Horse Show, riding her horse Enchante against 56 other entrants, competing with accomplished equestrians, such as Katie Monaghan-Prudent, Tim Stockdale, Billy Twomey, and the winner, Robert Splaine.[7]

In May 2001, Bronfman achieved her first victory in international competition, aboard Charlton (Cavalier). She won the Grand Prix at CSI-A Eindhoven (NED), claiming the £10,000 winner's purse after a narrow victory over Dermott Lennon, who finished with the fastest time, but faulted on a jump.[8]

Bronfman also participated in the World Final of the Samsung Nations Cup Series (Jumping) in Madrid on September 23, 2001, again aboard Charlton. As part of a team including Alice Debany Clero and Richard Spooner, she scored five faults in round one and none in round two, helping the team place seventh in the competition.[9]

On May 26, 2002, Bronfman won the Grand Prix in Rome (ITA), once again riding Charlton, when brought in as a last-minute replacement, owing to an injury sustained by a competing horse. Her teammate Laura Kraut finished second behind her; in a competition dominated by men, they were the only riders to participate in the jump-off after double clear rounds. Their team ended up placing sixth in the competition.[10]

At the CSI-A competition in Bremen, Germany, in October 2002, Bronfman performed the best out of the five riders representing the U.S., aboard Lord William (Lord Caletto - Rocky, by Rousseau) a Westphalian gelding. She placed second in the Der Joker competition, and in another class aboard Enchante, a Selle Francais gelding.[11] In October, aboard Lord William, she won the speed and handiness competition. Bronfman placed 13th in the main competition, aboard Enchante, making her the highest-placing American in the competition, after Kaye Levy, who had placed 32nd overall.[11]

NXIVM involvement and criminal prosecution[edit]

Nxivm Indictment

Through NXIVM founder Keith Raniere and her sister, Sara, Bronfman became involved in NXIVM's personal advancement program and "Executive Success Program" ("ESP") workshops.[5] The sisters became committed followers and financial backers of NXIVM and Raniere, relocating to upstate New York to work as NXIVM trainers.[12][13] Clare Bronfman also served as event coordinator for "Vanguard Week," an annual festival celebrating Raniere's birthday, stating that "the purpose of 'V Week' is to get the chance to experience a civilized world... [and] craft for ourselves a more fulfilling, purposeful life."[12]

In 2003, a Forbes magazine article reported that Edgar Bronfman, Sr. "once took a course" from NXIVM "and endorsed the program," but had not then "talked to his daughters in months and has grown troubled over the long hours and emotional and financial investment they have been devoting to Raniere's group. One daughter, Clare, 24, has lent the program $2 million, at 2.5% interest, the senior Bronfman says (she denies this)". The Forbes pieces quoted Edgar Bronfman, Sr. as stating that he thought NXIVM was "a cult".[14] Clare Bronfman eventually became "NXIVM's operations director and one of its largest financial contributors".[2]

In 2007, Bronfman and her sister, Sara Bronfman, formed a non-profit organization called the Ethical Humanitarian Foundation after it was "conceptualized" by Keith Raniere. Clare was listed as a being a trustee of the organization[15][16] The group claims that its goal is to move humanity "towards a more noble civilization" by adopting a "humanity first foundation".[17] She, Sara, and Keith Raniere also established a non-profit organization called the World Ethical Foundations Consortium. As part of their involvement in WEFC, Sara and Clare were credited with being able to bring the Dalai Lama to Albany to participate in the WEFC's inaugural event on May 6, 2009.[5][18]

In 2018, Raniere and associate Allison Mack were arrested and indicted on several federal charges involving a cult alleged to operate within NXIVM; the charges included sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor.[19][20][21][22][23] Bronfman was arrested by federal agents on July 24, 2018 in New York City and charged with money laundering and identity theft in connection with NXIVM activities. She pleaded not guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. She was released on $100 million bond and placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring. Also charged were Bronfman's long-time mentor and NXIVM president Nancy Salzman; Salzman's daughter, NXIVM executive board member Lauren Salzman; and former NXIVM bookkeeper Kathy Russell.[24] On April 19, 2019, Bronfman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification. She faces 21 to 27 months in prison and has agreed to forfeit $6 million.[2]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Founder Of "Nxivm," a Purported Self-Help Organization, and Five Others Charged in Superseding Indictment with Racketeering Conspiracy". Department of Justice. July 24, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Lyons, Brendan J. (April 20, 2019). "Bronfman, Russell plead guilty in NXIVM case". Times Union.
  3. ^ a b c Andrews, Suzanna (November 2010). "The Heiresses and the Cult". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
  4. ^ Kandell, Jonathan (December 22, 2013). "Edgar M. Bronfman, Who Built a Bigger, More Elegant Seagram, Dies at 84". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c Tkacik, Maureen (April 23, 2011). "Poor Little Rich Girls: The Ballad of Sara and Clare Bronfman". The New York Observer. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
  6. ^ "Jewish heiress Clare Bronfman arrested for involvement in alleged sex cult". Cleveland Jewish News. July 18, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  7. ^ Mulvihill, Frank (December 1999). "Millstreet Indoor International Horse Show". Ireland's Horse Review. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
  8. ^ Parkes, Louise (May 28, 2001). "Snowjumping - Lennon on Song". The Independent. London. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  9. ^ "Warm Reception For U.S. Riders in Nations Cup Final". USA Equestrian. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "Clare Bronfman Wins The Grand Prix At CSIO Rome". Equiworld Magazine. May 2002. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  11. ^ a b "US Show Jumping Riders Off to a Good Start in the European Indoor Circuit". Equiworld Magazine. October 2002. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  12. ^ a b Köhler, Nicholas (September 9, 2011). "How to lose $100 million". Maclean's. pp. 58–63. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
  13. ^ Berman, Phyllis; Gillies, Andrew T.; Novack, Janet; Egan, Mary Ellen; Blakeley, Kiri (June 24, 2006). "The Bronfmans And the Cult". Forbes. Retrieved July 24, 2006.
  14. ^ Freedman, Michael (October 13, 2003). "Cult of Personality". Forbes. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  15. ^ Odato, James (January 31, 2011). "Papers reveal NXIVM secrets". Times Union. Albany. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  16. ^ "Keith Raniere, Founder". Ethical Humanitarian Foundation. Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  17. ^ "Mission". Ethical Humanitarian Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 November 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  18. ^ DeMare, Carol (February 16, 2009). "Dalai Lama coming to Albany". Times Union. Retrieved June 8, 2011 – via Canada Tibet Committee.
  19. ^ Siemaszko, Corky (May 4, 2018). "Self-help guru denies enslaving, branding women in Nxivm sex cult". NBC News. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  20. ^ Swenson, Kyle (March 3, 2018). "Feds say self-help guru coerced followers into sex, had them branded with a cauterizing pen". The Washington Post.
  21. ^ "NXIVM female sex "slaves" allegedly branded with secretive group leader's initials". CBS News. Associated Press. March 27, 2018.
  22. ^ "Smallville Actress Arrested for Role in Alleged Sex Cult that Branded and Enslaved Women". Time. 20 April 2018. Archived from the original on 22 April 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  23. ^ Helmore, Edward (April 22, 2018). "Smallville's Allison Mack was allegedly a 'top member' of cult that abused women". The Guardian. London. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  24. ^ "Seagram heiress Bronfman pleads not guilty in NXIVM 'sex slave' case". NBC News. July 24, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2019.