10:50 pm, 03/07/2012
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Sometimes, I really hate it when a news report says, “So-and-so’s allegations are raising eyebrows.” In my book, it’s just as bad as when a journalist begins an interview question with “Now, you know, some people are saying …”
HOWEVER, the Albany Times Union series on NXIVM—Keith Raniere’s self-empowerment “technology” company—will totally move your eyebrows. Your effing eyebrows will never be the same again. It’s got everything: money, power, Joe Bruno, multilevel-marketing scams, gross kid touching, the heirs to the Seagrams family fortune, Ayn Rand novels, dumb language borrowed from Scientology, lawsuits, the 1980′s arcade game Vanguard, everything.
The big political fallout from the story is going to rest squarely on Albany DA David Soares, who is up for reelection soon and whose opponent in the race, Lee Kindlon, is already using the Times Union series as a cudgel against him. The gist is that Soares allowed one of Raniere’s top NXIVM lieutenants, Kristin Keeffe, to use the resources of the district attorney’s office to build a case against a NXIVM whistleblower, Joseph O’Hara. Keeffe (whose name I am spelling correctly, believe it or not) then spent several weeks allegedly abusing the grand jury process, drafting subpoenas, preparing exhibits and then secreting some of this juicy material to NXVIM’s lawyers.
There’s a lot to wade through here, but thankfully the Times Union has also made a nice series of short video clips. Here’s the introductory one to get you started: