If there is a movement concerning spending money foolishly on frivolous lawsuits Keith Raniere of Albany, New York may well be its “vanguard.”

Forbes said Raniere 'strangest'Raniere who runs a seminar-selling company called NXIVM (pronounced nexium, like the “purple pill” for acid reflux), insists that his students call him “Vanguard.”

Mr. Raniere is the former head of “Consumer Buyline,” a multi-level marketing scheme that went bust in the 1990s.

But this business failure doesn’t seem to have taught him much.

Consumer Buyline went broke over litigation.

It almost seems that Keith Raniere believes he can sue his way to success.

Maybe that’s what students (called “Espians”) learn through his “Executive Success Programs” (ESP)

Keith Raniere 1990sRaniere has sued Dr. John Hochman twice, a prominent California cult expert, over his report “A Forensic Psychiatrist Evaluates ESP (Executive Success Programs).”

That report was published by the Ross Institute of New Jersey (RI), the sponsor of CultNews.

First, Raniere through NXIVM sued Hochman in New York, but when that lawsuit was dismissed due to venue (location), the ever vigilant and litigious “Vanguard” waited awhile and then filed again in California.

The preposterous litigation claimed among other things, that the psychiatrist had somehow violated Raniere’s “trade secrets” by quoting his writings in a critique of ESP programs.

The doctor’s conclusions contained in the report were not very flattering.

Hochman wrote, “The ESP Intensive appears to be a gateway that encourages participants to attend further training sessions or seminars, and get friends and family to do the same. In a general sense, the goal is integration of individuals into a subculture – however, a particular kind of subculture. It is a kingdom of sorts, ruled by a Vanguard, who writes his own dictionary of the English language, has his own moral code, and the ability to generate taxes on subjects by having them participate in his seminars. It is a kingdom with no physical borders, but with psychological borders – influencing how his subjects spend their time, socialize, and think. Increasing involvement serves to increasingly distance participants from their relationships in a manner that is slow and subtle, and thus not at all obvious to them.”

It didn’t take long for the hammer to fall yet again in court regarding Raniere’s latest litigation.

CultNews has learned that late last month California federal Judge Manuel L. Real dismissed the lawsuit filed against Dr. Hochman with prejudice, which means it cannot be filed again.

In short order the judge signed an order pulling the plug on Raniere’s legal effort.

Cash from his 'subculture'?So has the self-proclaimed “Vanguard” finally “seen the light” through this recent ruling in sunny California?


Per his persistent pattern of behavior, Mr. Raniere has filed an appeal.

Readers of CultNews may recall that this is exactly what “Vanguard” did when he lost in his effort to purge Dr. Hochman’s and other critical articles from the RI database through a requested injunction.

When Raniere was denied his injunction request, he appealed unsuccessfully all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Losing apparently means nothing to Keith Raniere.

When it comes to wasting money foolishly on frivolous litigation, “Vanguard” may indeed be a leader.

Raniere’s motto seems to be, “if first you don’t succeed, lose, lose again.”

Some might wonder, how a former failed businessman like Keith Raniere can afford all the legal fees associated with such lengthy litigation?

The answer appears to be by using other people’s money.

That is, cash coughed up by the wealthy members of that “subculture” known as NXIVM.

Scientology, an organization that is well known for its harassment lawsuits, historically set the precedent for such litigation. The strategy seemed to be that it didn’t matter if the controversial church won, just as long as legal expenses bled its perceived enemies.

However, things are not working that way for NXIVM and “Vanguard.”

The University of California is paying John Hochman’s legal bills. And the Ross Institute has received generous pro bono legal help from noted attorneys Douglas Brooks and Thomas Gleason.

And in a recent development one of the most prestigious law firms in New Jersey, Lowenstein Sandler has joined in, also providing help pro bono.

Lowenstein Sandler is the distinguished law firm that defended RI in a harassment lawsuit filed by another seminar-selling company called Landmark Education.

Lowenstein Sandler attorneys Peter Skolnik and Michael Norwick lawyered Landmark into a corner, which led to its General Counsel Art Schreiber ordering a “strategic retreat,” deciding it was better to dismiss the lawsuit than go on.

It is doubtful that the self-proclaimed “Vanguard” will do the same.

Keith Raniere, who says he’s a “genius,” apparently hasn’t quite figured out the futility of his legal spending spree.

Nurse NancyBy the way, CultNews has also learned that Raniere’s “top dog” at NXIVM Nancy Salzman, a registered nurse who prefers to be called “Prefect,” has opened yet another seminar-selling business called “Jness.”

The company’s Web site says that Jness is based upon “the principle that is not male” and that “if we, the human race, are to come into a new age, it will be necessary for the old balance of principles to change.”

Is nurse Nancy serious, or is this just pretentious rhetoric from “Prefect”?


2 comments untill now

  1. None of these people are “real”. This is all about milking the gullible public and the idiot H.R. directors into giving them money. I missed my calling…I should have made up a “self help group” or a “religion” and made a lot of money. The trouble is, I, like most people, have a conscience. It is interesting to see these scoundrels apparently have no problem with that as long as the money rolls in.

  2. Mark the spark @ 2006-10-15 03:33

    This guy seems to be a classic crook all right. But what REALLY strikes me is how that Dr Hochman can pass for a serious investigator. Funny Raniere even bothered to sue him. I mean, he takes as proof of “mind control” the fact that Raniere’s manual claims (and I mean CLAIMS) that even though the seminars last ten hours a day, the participants are unwilling to leave. I mean helloooo… Doc, I have a nice 1000-ft metal tower a couple miles from home, in a little village called Paris, that I’d be willing to sell you for a frindly price… It’s an advertisement, for christ’s sake ! A decent scientist wouldn’t even think of using that type of material to “prove” anything. Real funny.