2020-07-22 —

In the month before he died, Rodrigo Niño led a daily meditation series over Zoom. Dressed in a different striped caftan each morning, a grey-bearded Niño led the early-morning sessions for viewers confined at home at the height of the pandemic in late April.

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Working off the teachings of consciousness guru Richard Rudd, Niño spoke about mortality, self-reflection, and the expanded self. "We forgot that we forgot that we don't know who we really are," he said on Day 16.

Less than two weeks later, Niño--once a luxury real estate broker to rich Latin Americans, then a pioneer peddling the wonders of crowdfunding, and finally the enlightened founder of The Assemblage, a center for the consciousness community in New York--passed away from melanoma cancer.


When he died, the empire he'd built over two decades was crumbling. The assets he had amassed with his crowdfunding company, Prodigy Network, were facing financial ruin, he was facing a string of lawsuits, and The Assemblage had been reduced to a skeleton crew, with its staff furloughed, and members scattered by the pandemic.

The implosion of Niño's identity and the apparent implosion of Prodigy has left those thousands of investors in the dark over the fate of their investments.

Multiple investors, lawyers and Assemblage members have reached out to the company in the last several weeks, but they have heard nothing back. Both phone numbers on Prodigy's website are no longer working, The Assemblage ceased operations in June, and two of Prodigy's assets sold several days later at a loss.

It's a steep fall from the early days of Prodigy, which made waves as a pioneering crowdfunding platform, raising hundreds of millions of dollars. Within the space of a few years, Prodigy launched three AKA-branded hotels, two coworking properties for The Assemblage and a live-work hotel in Manhattan's hottest markets, including Nomad, the Financial District and Tribeca.

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