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Judge Whittemore grants Luis Garcia discovery of Scientology’s murky trusts in fraud lawsuit

Luis_Rocio_GarciaIf you’ve been following our coverage of Luis and Rocio Garcia’s federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, you know the suit recently hit a strange snag.

Ten months after the lawsuit was filed in January, Scientology suddenly announced that the Garcias had chosen the wrong venue for their complaint, because several of the defendants — Scientology entities which are trusts — have their trustees in California, where the Garcias live. Under a basic legal concept known as “diversity jurisdiction,” those California trustees make a Florida federal court the wrong place for the Garcias to file.

But the Garcias complained that Scientology had sand-bagged them by waiting so long to bring this problem up, and they also complained that Scientology’s information about the trusts and trustees was incomplete and confusing. And now, Judge Whittemore has agreed, and is giving the Garcias the right to gather information about Scientology’s secretive entities.

We asked attorney Scott Pilutik to give us his read of Judge Whittemore’s order.

I was hoping the scope of discovery would be a little broader; and I was hoping Whittemore would be a bit more angry; if he is he’s disguising it well. He denied the leave to amend the complaint without prejudice because the time isn’t ripe to do that since he’s allowing discovery, the result of which will dictate what could or couldn’t happen to the complaint. He denied the sanctions request for basically the same reason, but I do think that the decision on sanctions could have been determined, if not an amount, prior to discovery. In any case, he didn’t close the door on sanctions.

As for the main discussion, he agreed with Scientology (and me, for what it’s worth) that the residency of a trust is determined by the residency of its individual members. Which means that if Scientology is able to demonstrate that its USIMT & CSRT trustees were, at the time of the filing of the lawsuit, California residents, then it’s probably game over for them as defendants in this particular case — but remember, none of this would prevent the Garcias from filing in state (either FL or CA) court.

So the fight over the next 90 days will be over scope, or as I put it previously, the size of the shovel Whittemore is handing Babbitt. Whittemore has defined it somewhat narrowly on the presumption that CSRT and USIMT are indeed trusts. But he’s left a little wiggle room for Babbitt to work in an argument that perhaps CSRT and USIMT are only nominally trusts but should be construed as some other entity (of which I won’t bother speculating). He writes:

“Accordingly, the parties are granted leave to conduct discovery limited to the issues of diversity jurisdiction, including but not limited to the citizenship of the ‘members’ of CSRT and USIMT at the time this case was filed and the principle place of business of IASA.” [boldface emphasis mine]

My guess is that Scientology is going to be able to prove that CSRT’s and USIMT’s trustees were California residents at the time of the filing, simply because we know that they would have been able to show as much a few years back. At the very least, I’m happy that we’re about to learn more about the mysterious CSRT than we’ve ever before learned, presuming Scientology’s cooperation anyway, which perhaps I shouldn’t bet on.

We’ll let you know when we can find out what kind of information the Garcias manage to pry out of CSRT and the other Scientology entities in coming months.

Meanwhile, action gets started again tomorrow morning in Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit against Scientology leader David Miscavige at the Comal County courthouse in New Braunfels, Texas. Once again Mike Bennitt will be our man on the scene as the two sides continue to fight over the possibility of subjecting Miscavige to a deposition. (And here’s Mike’s full video from yesterday’s proceedings.)

 
——————–

Marc Headley on the BBC as the UK goes nuts about Scientology marriage

As we mentioned yesterday, a lawsuit about Scientology marriage in England that we’ve been watching ended up with a decision we’d been expecting. Overturning archaic (and stupid) English marriage laws, a pair of 25-year-olds will be able to get married at a Scientology org.

We got a call yesterday from a BBC producer who seemed to know almost nothing about Scientology, and we tried to explain what we’ve written before, that this was mostly a clever ploy by very canny members of prominent Scientology families that were taking advantage of a weak and outdated law to garner Scientology some good publicity. Was it something we said? They never got back to us. Fortunately, they did invite Marc Headley to be on their show, and he was great…

 

 
It’s a shame the BBC reporter was so clueless here. (Not the anchor, who did a good job.) No, dimwit, the OT III materials do not say that the human race started 75 million years ago. Sigh. No wonder Alessandro Calcioli and Louisa Hodkin fended off that question so easily.

And it’s really no wonder that “Ale” handled it skillfully. His grandfather, David Gaiman, was once the top Scientologist in the UK, and literally wrote the book on how to fool reporters when he designed policy for church public relations. Good old grandad was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest infiltration of the US federal government in this country’s history — the Snow White Project of 1973-1977, which resulted in the largest FBI raid that had ever occurred to that point, and the prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment of eleven top Scientology officials.

David Gaiman passed away in 2009, but his widow is still giving huge donations to the church, Alessandro’s mother has gone on television to defend Scientology’s policies, his aunt is a Sea Org worker in Los Angeles, and his uncle, Neil Gaiman, is a world famous science fiction and fantasy author who says that he has given up Scientology. (And we tend to believe him on that score, as we’ve written before.)

Ale’s bride-to-be, Louisa, is the daughter of an attorney and Scientology donor, and this couple knew exactly what they were doing when they challenged this law.

Now we’re seeing a lot of breathless reports from websites in the UK that assume the church will next get tax breaks, and what does it all mean? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

What it means is that a tiny, dwindling, schism-wracked organization with only about 2,000 members in all of England may be able to save a few thousand quid as it continues to face oblivion.

And in the meantime Ale and Louisa can have a wedding.

If anyone over there wants to tell the real story about this publicity stunt, give us a call.

 
——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on December 12, 2013 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

 

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  • DeElizabethan

    The UK video was pretty good. The couple said that the cherch paid for all the legal and PR bills. Marc Headley was just excellent and with rebutal. Nice!

    • Baby

      Oh and Mark looks absolutely fabulous! Excellent speaker..and he is a Hottie! ( Just like Claire)

  • Robert Eckert

    O/T: Kim Jong Un’s uncle Jang, whom I told you was publicly charged with corruption and dissidence after a few weeks of being disappeared out of official depictions of the inner circle, has now been executed, DPRK media confirms, after a typically brief North Korean trial at which he abjectly confessed his sins:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/12/jang-song-thaek-executed_n_4435294.html

    On a lighter note, Tom Cruise sent Baba Wawa and all her friends on The View cake for Christmas. The gesture sparked speculation that he was copying Katie Holmes (ooh snap!)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2522711/Tom-Cruise-Barbara-Walters-Christmas-present.html

    • Jimmy Threetimes

      Always best to get the execution story out of the way before bringing out the cake. Well done.

      • Robert Eckert

        His crime was to think that the Kim Jong Un government isn’t coping with North Korea’s problems:

        “I attempted to stir up complaints among the people and the military that even as the country’s economic situation and people’s livelihood are in dire situation, the current regime fails to deal with it,” Jang was quoted as saying at the military court.

        Obviously somebody who says something like that cannot live.

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/12/a-traitor-for-all-ages-north-korea-executes-kim-jong-uns-uncle/

        • Jimmy Threetimes

          At least the citizens of North Korea have the capability to read about his story on the internet.

          http://youtu.be/LrOg7EjbGKQ

          • whenpigsswim

            That is freaky – especially the guy staring at the Google screen. And the rehearsed part about publishing papers on string theory in conjunction with European scientists.

            • Jimmy Threetimes

              Yes, the entire episode is pretty freaky. Everyone made a big deal of Dennis Rodman befriending Kim Jung Un, but Rodman was only used as ticket to get this camera crew into North Korea. It seems to be lost even on Rodman himself.

            • whenpigsswim

              Is this a part of a bigger series then? I’ll have to go search for it on youtube. I would love to see all of it.

            • Jimmy Threetimes

              It’s from HBO’s “Vice”. Each episode features a different country or region, this is from the episode on North Korea, obviously. But the Dennis Rodman thing got a lot of attention and I’m not sure that so many people saw the result of his visit, which was this episode. The entire season is worth a watch.

            • whenpigsswim

              Thanks, I’m going to check it out. And you are right, I saw all the publicity about DR visiting but never knew there was more to it so thanks for the heads up.

            • Captain Howdy

              Ah cool, so it’s VICE as in Vice magazine. I’ve been a fan since the late 90’s and I love their online site also.

            • Jimmy Threetimes

              I didn’t know that it. I started watching because I’m a fan of that godless liberal scum Bill Maher and he kept pimping it on his show. He’s an executive producer or something on it.

            • Captain Howdy

              http://www.vice.com/en_us

              http://www.youtube.com/user/vice

              EDIT: wasn’t expecting a random video to embed. Fucking youtube.

            • Jimmy Threetimes

              Holy shit, she takes the equivalent of 1/3rd oz. in a concentrated dose daily? Talk about tolerance. The most I’ve smoked at one time was just about a quarter. But if it helps her or any other kids going through chemo, I’m all for it.

    • Miss Tia

      Huh, was that special barley brainwashing cake?? Methinks I can tweet about that 😀

      ETA: though we already know Babs is brainwashed on TC’s side!

    • jeff

      Let them eat cake!

  • HartleyPatterson

    The previous ruling that denied the Church property tax exemption because they did not ‘worship God’:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_v_Registrar_General_ex_parte_Segerdal

    The Charities Commission ruling that denied the Church charitable status:
    http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/media/100905/cosdecsum.pdf

    The current Supreme Court ruling, which effectively overturns Segerdal:
    http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2013_0030_Judgment.pdf

    Oh – if you read the judgement it is evident that the Court didn’t believe what the Scientologists were telling them about “Sunday Services” (heh) but went and ruled on a point they had not raised at all! No one was expecting that.

    • Tony Ortega

      Just sent you an email.

  • KJP in Portland

    Good Evening!

    Kinda weird news out of N. Korea…

    Not quite sure what to make out of the Garcia trial…

    • Eclipse-girl

      (((HUGS)))
      You have a lot to catch up on.

    • IBBy

      The north korea thing makes me really uncomfortable. and it only garnered about 3 mins of coverage on world news with diane sawyer

      • Robert Eckert

        The problem is that there is hardly any information coming out of North Korea. Speculations and rumors would not be helpful. You would like to hear more about what this really means, but nobody outside North Korea, and nobody inside below the level of Central Committee, knows anything.

        • Great White Clam

          I know its been said before but a countyr under the clam would look almost exactly the same from the outside.

          • Robert Eckert

            Yep. Uncle Jang has just been Declared for his High Crimes against Scientology the party.

            • Lurkness

              ….against the party Leader

            • Great White Clam

              good point

            • Artoo45

              The ol’ R245.

      • MaxSpaceman

        3 minutes on one of the 3 huge American tv Networks is actually a large amount of time. The broadcast is 1/2 hour, 7 minutes of which are commercials. So that was a *big* story.

        • Robert Eckert

          Aside from the 7 minutes of commercials, American news for some reason must devote several minutes to health stories, although I do not look to TV personalities of any kind for medical advice. I blame Peter Jennings.

    • Captain Howdy

      Big deal, he shot his uncle. I see that shit on “Cops” all the time.

      Last month he executed his ex-girlfriend and the entire dance troupe she belonged to and made their relatives watch it, and afterwards sent all of them to the gulag. Now that’s disturbing.

      • Robert Eckert

        The execution of the uncle is going to be followed by a purge of the evil conspiring clique which, the treacherous uncle has confessed, he inserted into the Central Committee and its administrative departments. The family members of the purged will presumably also have to watch the executions before going to the gulag: it’s tradition.

        • Captain Howdy

          Well, at least somebody still respects tradition.

          • Jimmy Threetimes

            I wasn’t drinking anything when I read that, so my ipad is okay.

            • Captain Howdy

              Curses! I should have wrote “glad to see that tradition isn’t dead but alive and well in North Korea” as I originally intended because your ipad would have been my latest victim!

            • Jimmy Threetimes

              That would’ve worked, too, but I close my eyes when I take a sip of anything. I’ve heard too many stories of keyboards and monitors ruined by the spit take.

          • Robert Eckert
            • Captain Howdy

              Thanks Robert. I especially enjoyed the bullshit Unilever muti-death corporation ad before the main feature 😉

            • Robert Eckert

              That’s American tradition!

          • Sarah James

            That’s so wrong, and yes I laughed and up voted you. Also wrong.;)

    • Artoo45

      Nothing that a mission holder back in ’82 wouldn’t recognize.

  • nottrue

    I make a comment on Radar about how DM could take your eternity from you and make you a SP . But the WHALE was the way to go. WAS FLAGGED GONE IN 2 SEC

    • Eclipse-girl

      Sorry to hear that. You have done well. Take a rest. get a decent night’s sleep.
      More stuff happening in TX tomorrow.

  • noseinabk

    I would love to know who at ABC is a cultie.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/uk-woman-wins-marry-scientology-chapel-21173767

    If you search scientology on the ABC website this is what you get.

  • disqus_f8IIeNorN3

    Headley was terrific! I spotted a missed opportunity and thought I’d mention it. The interviewer asked Headley why Scientologists are so keen on their “religion” being recognized as a religion. The main reason is because they make huge “donations” to their “church”. They want these to be tax-deductible. This might seem obvious but I doubt the average citizen has any idea how the con works. Just a thought. Otherwise he did an awesome job.

    • Scream Nevermore

      Contributions to a church aren’t tax deductible in the UK – they’d need to be a charity for that to happen

  • noseinabk

    Lulz for those who missed it.

    YACHT Singer Live-Tweets Insane Internal Scientology Letter She Discovered

    http://laist.com/2013/12/11/yacht_singer_finds_scientology_mail.php

    • Sydjazz

      That’s too good hehe

  • Great White Clam

    So the clams can now do weddings in the UK? Whats to stop critics and anons or jokers and degraders from getting married in the clam chapple? Wouldnt that be discrimination if they were turned away by the clams?

    Scientology may have received recognition but not respect.

    ‘There are few people outside the organisation who would regard it as benevolent or trustworthy.’

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2013/dec/12/scientology-recognition-supreme-court-wedding-uk?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

  • http://www.tingleff.org/jensting/muslinger/ Jens TINGLEFF

    … and in England the criminal organisation known as the “church” of $cientology is already getting tax breaks in some locations, notably in the City of London where they have their bigger idle mOrgue https://whyweprotest.net/community/threads/london-rates-relief-based-talk.63069/

    • hansje brinker

      Damn.

    • DodoTheLaser

      A “Major Win” for COB to announce at the next event. But is it really?

    • Scream Nevermore

      I think a paper copy of this affadavit needs to be sent to MPS and councillors.

  • hansje brinker

    It is so “funny” when you known the affidavit of Lawrence Brennan, that the kool-aid drinkers belief that their “church” is a religion.

    Here the affidavit of Brennan.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T5HYavczyc

    • Jo

      Ray!!!!!!!!

  • hansje brinker

    It is so “funny” when you know the affidavit of Lawrence Brennan, that the kool-aid drinkers belief that their “church” is a religion.

    Here the affidavit of Brennan.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T5HYavczyc

    • stillgrace2

      That was a sobering message that I wish Judge Waldrip was watching tonight as he prepares for tomorrow’s court proceedings.

    • i-Betty

      And here is the lengthy video of Denise Brennan talking with Steve Hassan about the same subject. Thanks for posting the above; I’d not watched it before :)

      http://vimeo.com/59357326

  • DodoTheLaser

    Just finished watching “Kirstie” Pilot.
    Two things I liked:

    1. Blinkless TR’s reference
    2. Glazed Hole references

    Thank you to the show writers!

  • Krew13

    If Waldrip does what we hope for and says Slappy can be deposed, will the Sciloons be able to appeal it or will it be a fait accompli? I know the midget punk is running scared and is determined to avoid this at all costs, so I fear his team of Lionel Hutzs will file multiple appeals etc if the Judge allows the Jeffrey to depose Tiny Fists.

  • Eivol Ekdal

    Just watched Headley getting interviewed by ‘Paxo’ and the best part…
    Marc says Baba Booey on BBC Newsnight!!!

  • Jimmy Threetimes