Heiress sued over sex cult
TWO former students of accused sex cult leader Keith Raniere are suing an alleged Seagram's-heiress disciple - and she's not Clare Bronfman.
Bronfman's sister, Sara Bronfman-Igtet, is instead the target of the Brooklyn Supreme Court class-action suit, which claims that she "ensnared'' Isabella Martinez, Gabrielle Leal and others in "a fraudulent scheme nationwide" as part of Raniere's cult, Nxivm, reports the New York Post.
Clare Bronfman has already been charged with federal conspiracy raps involving Nxivm. Police allege that Clare provided hefty financial backing for Raniere's alleged sex network while conspiring to commit identify fraud, among other things.
The sisters are the daughters of late billionaire Seagrams CEO Edgar Bronfman.
The new suit claims Bronfman-Igtet "uniformly misled Plaintiffs and the Class that they would participate in classes that were equivalent to a 'practical MBA' to achieve success in business and in life.
"Part of the fraud committed to induce the purchase from ESP, was the claim that the program was developed by the 'one of the World's Smartest Men' - Keith Raniere," the papers say.
ESP stands for "Executive Success Program," the name of the series of workshops offered by Raniere as part of Nxivm's teachings.
Bronfman-Igtet lured in program people by touting Raniere's own repeated proclamations that he, "1) was one of the World's Smartest Men; 2) began talking in complete sentences by age one; 3) was an East Coast Judo Champion at age twelve; 4) tied the New York State record for the 100-metre dash in High School; and 5) had a very rare problem-solving ability that allowed him to create a curriculum to assist others with their business projects,'' the suit says.
Bronfman-Igtet failed to mention that Raniere has been sued by the New York State Attorney-General's Office for a prior business venture, which was deemed an illegal multi-level marketing business and for which he was fined, the suit says.
"He is not one of the world's smartest men, he is not a judo champion," said the plaintiffs' lawyer, Omar Rosales.
"It's all a lie, it's all a scam."
Mr Rosales said he even took an ESP course himself in 2009 "and met Allison Mack, and it was very benign. Talk about the banality of evil."
The lawsuit says the Nxivm courses were simply a scheme meant to "defraud students out of millions of dollars with classes that had no end, no graduation, no certification, and no credential.
"Moreover, the student-victims' tuition was used to fund a criminal enterprise run by Defendant and her indicted co-conspirators," the suit says.
Ms Martinez and Ms Leal say they separately shelled out $US2400 ($A3300) for a five-day intensive set of Nxivm classes in San Francisco in 2016 - but never would have done so had Bronfman-Igtet not lied to them.
Bronfman-Igtet has not been charged in the criminal case involving her sister, Raniere and a host of others, including Smallville TV actress Mack, who face charges from money laundering to sex trafficking and kidnapping.
Bronfman-Igtet helped secure her sister's release pending trial on a whopping $US100 million ($A140 million) bond.
Bronfman-Igtet, who lives in France, could not immediately be reached for comments, according to the New York Post.