Keith Raniere may not be a cult leader.
He may not or may not have swindled the gullible Clare and Sara Bronfman out of more than $100 million. He may not have led Clare Bronfman to commit perjury repeatedly in different lawsuits.
But, according to one US District Judge, Keith Raniere is most certainly a liar.
Chief Judge Barbara MG Lynn of the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, wrote in a decision last September that Raniere deceived the court.
Raniere himself admitted he lied but it was a harmless lie.
But was it?
In 2015, Raniere, represented by Bronfman’s longtime attorney, Robert Crockett, brought suit against Microsoft and AT&T claiming he invented teleconferencing in 1995 and that Microsoft and AT&T were using his invention without paying him.
Raniere said he was the owner of five patents owned by a long-defunct company called Global Technologies, Inc. (GTI) and submitted to the court a “contract” which Raniere himself created in 2014, wherein Raniere, claiming he owned GTI, and on behalf of GTI transferred the company-owned patents to himself personally.
Microsoft’s counsel argued the newly-created contract was not evidence that Raniere owned GTI and absent proof he owned GTI he had no standing to make the lawsuit in the first place.
Raniere indeed had no proof he owned GTI – like stock certificates or department of state filings.
But Raniere got the court’s permission to issue a subpoena on an attorney in the State of Washington in order to obtain his files that “show, or will show” Raniere owned GTI and therefore could legally transfer company patents to himself.
When the subpoenaed files arrived, they, unfortunately, failed to show Raniere owned GTI.
A motion to dismiss was made by ATT&T and Microsoft.
Raniere opposed it, claiming the files refreshed his memory and he ‘remembered’ that his ex-girlfriend, Toni Natalie owned GTI, and a “side letter” she signed in 1995 showed she held GTI ownership “in trust” for him.
Asked to provide the side letter, Raniere said the “side letter” was lost.
Raniere then remembered that Natalie signed another contract which transferred her GTI ownership to him in 2000. When asked to provide that contract, Raniere admitted that that contract also, lamentably, was lost.
By this time the judge concluded Raniere’s testimony was “untruthful” and it was obvious that the 2014 contract where GTI transferred the patents to himself was fraudulent, and created solely to deceive the court.
She dismissed the case.
AT&Ts legal fees and costs in defending the lawsuit was $935,300; Microsoft’s legal fees and costs were $202,000. Both companies brought a motion for sanctions against Raniere and a hearing was held on August 15, 2016.
Raniere admitted he lied to the court but argued his representations were “an immaterial lie on an immaterial matter” which “did not rise to the level or contempt or perjury” but was “zealous pursuit of his good faith claim of ownership” and asked the court to delay ruling on sanctions while he appealed the case.
Implying she might have had Raniere prosecuted for contempt or perjury, Judge Lynn added, ”An award of fees is the least severe sanction adequate to deter similar conduct by Plaintiff in the future and to preserve the integrity of the Court” and ordered Raniere to pay Microsoft and ATT&T more than $1 million in legal fees and costs.
Clare Bronfman, who possibly funded the litigation, and paid the $1 million in sanctions, wrote on her blog, “Keith is my teacher and my best friend” and “I hope to transform many injustices existing in the world, including bringing to light the truth regarding Keith Raniere.”
Let us ask Clare Bronfman in her efforts to bring to light the truth regarding Keith Raniere to publish far and wide Judge Lynn’s opinion of Raniere.
Many injustices will indeed be transformed when more light is shone upon Raniere as Judge Lynn has shown in her recent decision to sanction him for lying to the tune of $ 1 million.