What timing — just hours after The Atlantic magazine apologized for running a paid “advertorial” about Scientology’s “Ideal Org” program, Buzzfeed has published a lengthy investigation of the church’s building program that writer Alex Klein has been working on for quite a while.
He contacted us several weeks ago, and it was obvious then that he’d been doing his homework about Scientology leader David Miscavige’s aggressive real estate caper.
As we pointed out just last night in our story about the Atlantic, Miscavige (through his spokespeople) answers nearly every criticism of Scientology by touting all the new buildings that he’s been opening up around the world. But former Scientologists tell us that the constant fundraising for these new “Ideal Orgs” is actually one of the key things fueling internal unrest in the church, and driving away longtime members.
Now, Klein has dug into the financial numbers behind two of the Ideal Orgs in particular — in Seattle and Orange County, California — and the results are startling.
Relying on interviews with former Scientologists who donated to and helped organize the Ideal Org purchases, Klein repeatedly finds that Miscavige and the international church are raising far more money than is being spent at the local level. And with Scientology answering to no one as a non-profit that doesn’t open its books, it’s impossible to know what Miscavige is doing with the huge amounts that aren’t accounted for.
To put his story together, Klein talked to a who’s who of ex-Scientologists and researchers, most of them familiar names here at the Underground Bunker: Mike Rinder, Luis Garcia, Hugh Urban, Mark Bunker, Lynne Hoverson, Bert Schippers, and Amy Scobee’s stepfather, Mark Elliott.
Give it a read and then tell us your thoughts.