Frank Parlato, the Buffalo real estate developer and publisher, found himself in court recently trying to explain why he claimed to be in Albany when he wasn't there.
Parlato left frustrated after the federal judge overseeing his criminal prosecution rejected the government's efforts to revoke his bail and send him to jail. Even though the outcome favored Parlato, he wanted to tell his story to the judge.
He was anxious to explain his alleged bail violation, and the Artvoice publisher promised a reporter that a full account would appear soon in the New York Times.
The following day, the Times did indeed run a story mentioning Parlato and his long-standing and very public criticism of an Albany-based self-improvement group called Nxivm and its leader, Keith Raniere.
On one of his websites, Parlato recently published a story with the headline, "Branded Slaves and Master Raniere." It claimed Raniere was behind a secret society that branded women with a symbol that contained his initials.
"I wasn't making this up," Parlato said after the Times story appeared. "I'm being flooded with media calls, and I feel that's vindication."
Parlato's dispute with Raniere and Nxivm dates back years and includes a lengthy legal battle with Sara and Clare Bronfman, the daughters of the late Seagrams chairman, Edgar Bronfman. Parlato says the Bronfmans are members of Nxivm, and Edgar Bronfman once described the group as a cult.
The Bronfmans are also at the center of Parlato's criminal case. In 2015, a federal grand jury indicted him on fraud charges, stemming in part from his financial dealings with the two sisters.
Released on bail, Parlato was back in front of U.S.Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy last week after prosecutors accused him of traveling to Clifton Park, a suburb of Albany, without the court's permission.
The government, in its motion, pointed to Parlato's website and a posting that called on Raniere to meet him in Clifton Park and added, "I am here."
Paul J. Cambria Jr., Parlato's defense attorney, said his client wasn't really in Clifton Park and was simply attempting to make it clear that he was available to meet with Raniere.
"I wanted to challenge Raniere to a public forum," Parlato said later.
The Times story was followed by news accounts in the Huffington Post, Albany Times-Union and several other media outlets.
Raniere and Nxivm could not be reached to comment Friday.