Barbara Bouchey, along with eight other women, were threatened with extortion by Bronfman-Raniere - but no one was charged.

Bouchey Was Not the Only One of the Nxivm 9 Threatened With Extortion

Barbara Bouchey made an on-the-record statement to Dianne Lipson, who has been providing excellent coverage of the U.S. v. Raniere trial for the Frank Report and The Underground Bunker, [operated by the world-famous Tony Ortega] that she was the only one of the NXIVM 9 who had been threatened with extortion charges when the group left NXIVM in April 2009.

As she explained, “A lot of people get confused on this point”.

As it turns out, – and Barbara may not know this – she was not the only one threatened with extortion by Nxivm. All the women in the Nxivm 9 were, in fact, threatened with extortion charges.

After communicating with other members of the group that collectively quit NXIVM in April 2009 following several days of face-to-face meetings with Keith Raniere, it appears the relevant facts are as follows:

– It was Barbara’s idea that the nine women should include a demand for any funds that were owed to them in their joint letter of resignation (That suggestion actually originated with Barbara’s psychic who was at the meeting with the other women).

– Barbara wanted to get back the funds that Keith purportedly owed her for his failed commodities trades and the unpaid commissions she was purportedly owed by NXIVM – and she wanted the Bronfman sisters to pay those amounts, plus the funds that were owed to several of the other women, as opposed to having the news of the nine women’s resignations become public just before the Dalai Lama came to town.

– The group sent two letters of resignation: one to Just Keith and Nancy – and one to the Executive Board of NXIVM.

Another superb sketch by MK10ART – of Vanguard and Prefect

– The letter to Keith and Nancy contained a demand for various funds that were owed to several members of the group – but the letter to the Board did not include that demand.

– The day after sending the two letters, the group got together again at Barbara’s house. While they were meeting, they were all served with a letter that claimed their demand for the funds owed amounted to extortion – and that NXIVM was going to seek to have them prosecuted for that crime.

– Barbara decided that she needed to immediately hire an attorney to protect her from what would turn into protracted litigation with NXIVM and her soon-to-be former clients, Clare and Sara Bronfman.

– Susan Dones, who had organized and filmed the face-to-face meetings with Raniere, offered to hire an attorney to represent herself and the other seven women.

Susan Dones

– Susan subsequently hired Terence J. Devine from the Devine, Markovits & Snyder LLP law firm to represent the NXIVM 8.

– Thereafter, Susan and other women met with Devine – and were assured by him that what they had done did not constitute extortion. He then called Steve Coffey to confirm that no criminal complaint was going to be filed against them.

– And – surprise, surprise – Coffey responded by telling him that he thought the women’s demand to be paid for funds they were owed did constitute extortion and that his clients, NXIVM and the Bronfman sisters, would be seeking to have criminal complaints issued against all of them.

– Thereafter, Devine contacted Coffey on several occasions to try to work out some sort of settlement with the NXIVM 8 (See letters from Devine to Coffey and to the NXIVM 8 below).


Steve Coffey – Nxivm attorney

– Coffey, however, refused to even give the courtesy of a reply to Devine’s letters (Such a class act!).

– Susan, as she had done before – and as she would go on to do many more times – finally called “bullshit” and advised the other women that there was little, if any, chance of them ever being charged with extortion.

– When asked by the other women what they should say if they were questioned by anyone about the matter, Susan responded with her usual straightforward approach to such things:

“I’m going to tell anyone who asks that even though all I did is make a demand for funds that I’m owed by NXIVM, I’m not surprised that Keith Raniere is trying to get us charged with a crime. He’s done that before – and he’ll probably do it again – because NXIVM is, in fact, a criminal enterprise that operates under the guise that’s it’s a self-help training program”.

– None of the women were ever charged with the crime of extortion.

– NXIVM, however, did attempt to assert a civil extortion claim against Susan and Kim Woolhouse in their subsequent bankruptcy case. That charge – like all the other charges that NXIVM attempted to assert in that case – was dismissed when NXIVM refused to turn over any of its financial records to the court.


While Barbara Bouchey was threatened with extortion, she was not the only one threatened. We’re certain Barbara will appreciate this clarification.

By the way, none of the Nxivm 9 were actually charged with extortion. Devine was right in advising the other eight women that their conduct did not constitute the crime of extortion and they were not going to be charged.

It is also fair to point out that none of the women got any of the money they demanded from Raniere and Salzman or the Bronfmans.


Here is the text of the actual demand letter (It was typed by Susan Dones who then forwarded to Barbara Bouchey, who then sent it on to Keith and Nancy).  You can decide for yourself if you think it constitutes any form of extortion.

The Demand Letter

Forwarded message ———-

From: Barbara Bouchey <>

Date: Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 10:43 PM

Subject: A Request…

To:, Nancy <>
Cc:, angelaucci, Kathleen <>,,,,,

Dear Keith & Nancy,

What predicated our meetings with Keith on April 21, 22 and 23, 2009 was the growing number of NXIVM community members expressing their concerns about the inconsistencies we are and have been experiencing in how the company operated. Upon sharing data, the damages are more far-reaching than originally thought.

As we compared our data of why the system wasn’t working we identified evidence of secrecy, nondisclosure, and lack of transparency.

Our intent for meeting with Keith was to rectify the inconsistencies in the leadership of the company and the conflict of interest within the system.

Keith’s willingness to meet with us was based in part on his opinion of the organization’s ethical breach against its members because its system of protocol and feedback failed. We concluded at the end of these meetings that resolution was not probable.

Based on the above, we believe we can no longer continue a business relationship with ESP/NXIVM.

Therefore, we are requesting the closure of outstanding value exchanges not met as well as the buyout for the Tacoma Center for the people mentioned below.

We are requesting a response to this letter by 11:59 PM, Saturday, April 25, 2009. We are requesting a written, signed, notarized contract agreeing to the below amounts by 11:59 PM, Sunday, April 26. 2009.

We are requesting a Cashier’s Check for the total amount due of $2,088,000 by Thursday, April 30, 2009.

If these requests are not met, we will move forward by contacting the Press.

The below financials are only being provided to you, but the above letter has been sent to the Executive Board.


Barbara Bouchey, Susan Dones, Kim Woolhouse, Angela Ucci,
Ellen Gibson, Nina Cowell, Jan Heim, Sheila Cote, Kathy Ethier,

Barbara Bouchey:

Loan to Keith Raniere for Commodity Trading Losses: $1,650,000

Legal Retainer Losey Case Retrieved: 25,000
FT Commissions on Barters never Received: 100,000
‘ProctorIFT/Organizational Renewals: 25,000
April Commission Check Approx. ?? 5,000
TOTAL: $1,805,000

Plus Assignment of Michael Sutton Loan with interest $1,350,000 (this is the original principal amount
plus add in interest)

Susan Dones:

April FT & Center Bonus Sue/Kim Commission approx.? 9,000

Tacoma Center: 250,000

90 Ethos Annual Renewals, 30 Coaches,
6 Proctors, Avg 80 Intensives, Avg 20 Level II’s,
Developed Vancouver Center, Goodwill

TOTAL: $259,000

Nina Cowell:

Cafe Wages 2008 $21,000

(includes petty cash, rent, kiosk, phone, cash advance)

Angela Ucci :

Final April Commission Check approx. $3,000

Grand total: $2,088,000



Emails from the Nxivm 8’s attorney.

May 15, 2009

Stephen R. Coffey, Esq.
O’Connell & Aronowitz
54 State Street
Albany, NY 12207
Re: Matters involving NXIVM
Dear Mr. Coffey:

This office has been retained by Sheila Cote, Nina Cowell, Kathy Ethier, Ellen Gibson,
Jan Heim, Susan Dones, Kim Woolhouse and Angela Ucci in connection with the termination of
their relationship with NXIVM and related matters. I know that you have contacted them, but,
now I must respectfully request that all communications come through this office. You are no
longer to communicate with them or harass them in any way.

Our goal is simply to make these women whole with respect to monies due them, recover
their personal files, clarify any ongoing obligations between and among the parties, and allow the
parties to move forward with their lives. With even marginal cooperation, we should be able to
satisfy our goal and move on.

You continually allude to threats being made by my clients and defamatory statements
being made by them. In this matter, you will have to keep separate issues you may have with
other individuals previously associated with NXIVM from my clients. My clients are not
threatening NXIVM in any way and are not engaging in any defamatory conduct. Based on
reports I have heard, I am not sure that the same can be said for your clients, and I must
respectfully demand that any such conduct engaged in by your clients against mine cease
immediately. Again, my goal is to disentangle the parties, not engage in time-consuming, costly

A few monetary issues must be addressed. At the conclusion of this relationship, any
remaining open accounts (monetary or exchange) shall be null and void. At least 3 of my clients,
Susan Dones, Kim Woolhouse and Angela Ucci, are entitled to commissions for work while they
were still with NXIVM. Moreover, Nina Cowell is owed substantial compensation for the work
she has done for NXIVM. I’m sure it is not your intention to withhold their wages, or to attempt
to offset unrelated claims, whether manufactured or otherwise, against wages. Such an offset
would clearly be inappropriate. Payment should be arranged as soon as possible.

You have also demanded the return of certain intellectual property allegedly belonging to
NXIVM. My clients have no intention of appropriating anything from NXIVM. You can
arrange to have material picked up, at the expense (including all copying expense) of you or your
client. You can coordinate your efforts through me.

Finally, you have suggested my clients may be bound by non-disclosure agreements or
non-competition agreements. Please provide copies of all such agreements in existence to me so
that discussions can be made regarding permissible conduct. Also, your client is holding the
student files for each of my clients. These contain personal information relating to my clients
unrelated to the NXIVM business of properties. These should be forwarded to me immediately.

Your letters continually threaten judicial intervention. While that is clearly your
prerogative, this matter can quickly be dealt with between counsel on an amicable basis to save
all parties unnecessary aggravation and expense. If you have any questions regarding any of the
above, please contact me.

Very truly yours,


s/Terence J. Devine
Terence J. Devine



May 28, 2009

VIA E-mail:
Stephen R. Coffey, Esq.
O’Connell &amp; Aronowitz
54 State Street
Albany, NY 12207

Dear Steve:
Nearly two weeks have passed since I wrote to you in connection with the NXIVM
matter. To date, I have not had a response. Please respond to my letter so that we can determine
what actions, if any, will be necessary. Thank you for your attention to this.

Very truly yours,


s/Terence J. Devine
Terence J. Devine




52 Corporate Circle
Suite 207
Albany, NY 12203

June 12, 2009

Sheila Cote
Nina Cowell
Kathy Ethier
Ellen Gibson
Jan Heim
Susan Dones
Kim Woolhouse
Angela Ucci


As you are all aware, I contacted Steve Coffey on your behalf with respect to the NXIVM
matter. When he failed to respond, I wrote to him again asking that he get back to me at his
earliest convenience. Once again, I have not heard from him. Please let me know how you
would like me to proceed. It may well be that your individual matters are not significant enough
to merit his attention. In that case, I will await your direction on how you would like me to
proceed with any collection matters.

Very truly yours,


S/Terence J. Devine
Terence J. Devine




52 Corporate Circle
Suite 207
Albany, NY 12203

July 14, 2009

Sheila Cote
Nina Cowell
Kathy Ethier
Ellen Gibson
Jan Heim
Susan Dones
Kim Woolhouse
Angela Ucci

I recently wrote to see how you would like to proceed with respect to NXIVM and Mr. Coffey.
He has been completely unresponsive to my correspondence. As I’ve indicated previously, he
may simply have too much on his plate to be seriously concerned about you. While that’s good
from a potential liability standpoint, for those of you with potential claims, you may not want to
sit quietly by. Please give me your thoughts on how you would like me to proceed. I’m out of
the office this week but will be returning next Monday.

Very truly yours,


S/Terence J. Devine
Terence J. Devine


About the author


News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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