The Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman was sentenced to prison for her role in the NXIVM sex cult scandal. Clare is the youngest daughter of the late chairman of the Seagram liquor empire, billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr. Despite her legal difficulties, the heiress is far from bankrupt.
Clare Bronfman’s net worth is estimated to be $200.0 million, which is still a sizable chunk of the $500.0 million she had when the scandal broke. According to court documents, Bronfman’s substantial wealth was used to fund the lifestyle of NXIVM ringleader Keith Raniere, which we detail here.
Inheritance of Clare Bronfman
Clare Bronfman was born in 1979 to Edgar Bronfman Sr. and Rita Webb, aka Georgiana, his third (and fourth) wife. Clare’s older sister, Sara, was also a member of NXIVM. The sisters were the youngest of Edgar Seven .’s children and were reportedly estranged from their father.
Clare and Sara joined NXIVM in late 2002 or early 2003. Back then, it appeared to be a multi-level marketing company run by Keith Raniere. The sisters attended the group’s workshops and worked their way up to Raniere’s inner circle.
The sisters also introduced their father to NXIVM when he seemed eager to be near them. The workshops are said to cost at least $10,000 each. When Edgar learned about his daughters’ extravagant spending on Raniere, he decided to leave the group.
The Seagram patriarch was reportedly irritated that Clare had granted Raniere a $2.0 million loan with a 2.5% interest rate. In a Forbes profile of Raniere, Edgar described NXIVM as a “cult.” Raniere would also hold Clare responsible for the group’s bad press as a result of her telling her father about the loan.
Clare’s inheritance had increased her net worth to $500.0 million. Not surprising given that Edgar and his brother, Charles Bronfman, were each worth well over $2.0 billion.
Friends and family of Clare and Sara Bronfman, on the other hand, claim that the heiresses depleted their inheritance and trust funds when they allegedly spent $150.0 million on NXIVM operations. According to reports, the sisters also took steps to conceal their spending from the family trustees.
Clare further strained her relationship with her father by granting NXIVM members access to his email accounts and hiring private investigators to gather information on NXIVM’s perceived enemies.
Edgar Bronfman Sr. died in 2013. But before that, his youngest daughters had spent so much of their money on Raniere that they were forced to borrow money from their trusts, which they would inherit only after Edgar died.
Edgar had made provisions in his trusts for his children to obtain a loan against the assets of their father’s master trust. The sisters were able to take advantage of this condition to obtain $60.0 million, which they were unable to repay.
Clare was arrested and charged for her involvement in the alleged sex trafficking ring after the NXIVM scandal reached a climax with the arrests of Raniere and actress Allison Mack in 2018. According to the most recent estimates, Clare’s net worth is $200.0 million due to large bail and legal expenses, among other things.
For More Gossip: Due to Ben Shapiro’s Conservative Stance his Sister is Trolled
Clare Bronfman’s NXIVM Expenses
NXIVM has been under scrutiny since 2003 when Edgar Bronfman Sr. labeled it a cult. Before his arrest in 2018, Raniere was still claiming to be the CEO of an executive coaching firm, with Clare and Sara Bronfman as major contributors.
Raniere allegedly persuaded Clare that the only way to purify her family’s “evil” money was to spend it on NXIVM’s good works. Those concerned about the sisters pointed to the massive sums of money they funneled into Raniere’s control and NXIVM. According to court documents, Clare invested $150.0 million in Raniere.
They allegedly used $66.0 million of Raniere’s inheritance to cover his losses in the commodities market. Other alleged shocking contributions to Raniere include $30.0 million for real estate in Los Angeles and around Albany, $11.0 million for a 22-seat private jet, and millions more for lawsuit settlements with NXIVM’s enemies.
Raniere referred the sisters to an asset management firm run by one of his ex-girlfriends. Clare and Sara’s books and accounts were managed by the firm, which made significant payments to NXIVM cohorts from the Bronfmans’ accounts.
Those costs were not borne solely by Raniere. They’d also go to Nancy Salzman, his right hand and NXIVM president.
According to one report, the Bronfman family contributed $1.0 million to the purchase and renovation of Salzman’s Halfmoon home. Clare would pay $2.3 million for a 234-acre horse farm outside Albany that the group would use, and Sara would pay $6.5 million for a $6.5 million apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower that Salzman would use. They would also “lend” approximately $1.7 million to purchase NXIVM’s headquarters.
Clare, a former winning equestrian, would sell her $7.0 million equestrian facility in Pennsylvania and the majority of her horses to devote herself entirely to NXIVM.
Clare Bronfman’s Legal Fight
When prosecutors discovered the organization’s trafficking activities, Clare Bronfman and her sister accused former NXIVM members of extortion in court. Clare and Sara’s problems worsened as the allegations against NXIVM grew.
In 2018, its leadership was arrested following an FBI investigation. Raniere, Salzman, Mack, and Clare Bronfman were among those present.
In connection with NXIVM activities, Clare Bronfman was charged with money laundering and identity theft. Clare pleaded not guilty and was released on a $100.0 million bond, which she easily met thanks to her vast fortune.
The bond was backed up by $25.0 million in cash from one of Clare’s trust funds and $25.0 million in real estate, which included her private island, Wakaya. Clare reportedly paid $47.0 million for the island of Wakaya off the coast of Fiji in 2016 and planned to build a resort there for NXIVM members.
The island allegedly served as a haven for the NXIVM leadership to avoid prosecution. However, authorities deemed Clare a flight risk who could flee to her private island after posting bail, so she was placed under house arrest in the United States.
Clare also established a defense fund to fight for Raniere and other arrested NXIVM members. According to reports, the trust is worth $14.0 million.
Clare pled guilty in 2019 to conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain, as well as fraudulent use of identification. Clare Bronfman was sentenced to 81 months in prison in September 2020 for her role in NXIVM.
Her plea deal calls for a $500,000 fine and a $6.0 million forfeiture. She was also ordered to pay nearly $100,000 to one victim. She, on the other hand, refuses to condemn Raniere.