Seagram Company heiress Clare W. Bronfman, 36, daughter of billionaire philanthropist and former Seagram chairman Edgar M. Bronfman Sr., allegedly implanted a virus on her late father’s computer, so NXIVM officials could monitor his emails—including his correspondence with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to Albany, NY court records.
NXIVM is a multi-level marketing company providing seminars to encourage clients to pursue a path of personal and professional development. It has been called both a successful executive coaching program and a cult organization.
Clare Bronfman, equestrian and philanthropist, was once described as “a bit withdrawn and certainly the type to stay in and read while everyone else goes out,” but after she had attended a few initial sessions at the NXIVM branch in Monterrey, Mexico in 2004, she changed and became more open. In addition to serving as a trainer for NXIVM, Clare Bronfman also serves as the event coordinator for Vanguard week, the annual festival celebrated on founder Keith Raniere’s birthday. “The purpose of VWeek,” she once said, “is to get the chance to experience a civilized world … [and] craft for ourselves a more fulfilling, purposeful life.”
Kristen M. Keeffe, 45, once member of the NXIVM inner circle, has made the accusation, in a transcript of a telephone conversation that took place last March between Keeffe and Barbara J. Bouchey, a former NXIVM executive board member. Bouchey is facing computer trespassing charges in Albany, for allegedly improperly accessing the corporation’s website.
According to the Albany Times Union, Bouchey’s lawyers filed the transcript with Albany County Court to prove that she is the victim of top NXIVM officials. Bouchey claims that NXIVM officials have dragged her into 13 lawsuits, as well as filed the criminal complaint against, to avenge her defection in 2009. She denies hacking the corporation’s website.
Clare Bronfman is NXIVM’s operations director. Keeffe, who was close to NXIVM founder Keith Raniere, contacted Bouchey through clandestine avenues and offered to help her defend herself in the criminal case, according to court records. Keeffe’s whereabouts are unknown at this point, according to the Times Union.
Keeffe’s allegations about hacking of Edgar Bronfman’s computer are part of a litany of accusations she has made against NXIVM officials since leaving in early 2014. Keeffe was part of the litigation team that worked under Clare Bronfman, according to court records. She said she had fled NXIVM with the help of a State Police investigator who delivered her to a domestic violence shelter, according to court records.
A spokesman for the World Jewish Congress told the Times Union the WJC would not comment since they’re not familiar with the allegations. The Times Union has been unable verify the computer-hacking allegations. But Keeffe claimed that the hacking of Edgar Bronfman’s computer was eventually discovered: “Clare told me that Edgar found out, and they blamed Elan Steinberg, who had been the former executive director of the World Jewish Congress, for doing it,” Keeffe said. “Elan Steinberg died in 2012, but people at the World Jewish Congress will attest that this computer was hacked.”