“Narconon International is being dismantled,” he told us.
Hang on. Narconon International, the Scientology umbrella group that oversees and licenses all Narconon rehab centers around the world, which sits just under another Scientology umbrella group, the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), is going away? What made him think so?
This source of ours has connections deep inside the Narconon network, and they told him that Scientology leader David Miscavige was shaking up the way Narconon has been governed for decades. And we couldn’t really blame him. Narconon, in the last few years, has rapidly gone from one of Scientology’s most reliable moneymakers to one of its biggest liabilities. Patient deaths, government investigations, and dozens of lawsuits have rocked the rehab network and the troubles only seem to be increasing. A shakeup of some sort was probably inevitable.
We reported, for example, that during this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, Miscavige revealed that he’s opening up an entirely new set of Narconon facilities in countries where oversight is probably going to be more lax. And he made no mention of Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma, which has long been the network’s flagship center, but is seriously hurting after several recent deaths and numerous lawsuits.
The rehab centers — 100 of them in 30 different countries — are all licensed by Narconon International, which is run by Clark Carr, a former comedian and a longtime Scientologist.
Carr has been hitting back at some of Narconon’s bad news with press releases and videos, some featuring him sitting at his desk at Narconon International’s office at 4652 Hollywood Boulevard in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles (see photo, above).
We knew our source was well placed, but we found his news hard to assimilate. Surely Clark Carr and Narconon International weren’t going anywhere, right?
We were at the Sundance Film Festival when we got the word from our old friend Mark Ebner. He’d done it again. And this time, he’d hit a goldmine.
Ebner is the journalist who infiltrated Scientology for a 1996 Spy magazine story, and then helped out the South Park crew on their epic 2005 episode about Scientology’s secret teachings. For his trouble, Scientology investigated Ebner, even assigning a private investigator to go through his trash.
So it seemed like some kind of divine retribution when Ebner had the bizarre luck in October to stumble upon some Scientology plaques sitting in a pile of items tossed out from an office being cleaned out. Yes, the guy whose trash had been combed by Scientology turned out to find something interesting in a Scientologist’s trash.
The plaques had been awarded to Gay Ribisi for her large donations of $50,000 and $100,000 to the International Association of Scientologists, and it was quite stunning to see that they had been thrown out. (Ebner offered to return them to Ribisi, but she’s never responded.)
Now, Ebner had done it again.
He told us that he’d heard from a source that there was a pile of Scientology documents and other items sitting in an abandoned office that was undergoing renovation for new tenants. He hurried over, took some photos, and gathered up the documents and mailed them to the Underground Bunker.
Oh boy, what a trove.
What Ebner had stumbled on was the abandoned office at 4652 Hollywood Boulevard — Narconon International and its president, Clark Carr, had suddenly abandoned the place just a few weeks ago, and left so fast that they’d left behind some very interesting items.
Clark and his pals must have been in something of a hurry. They left behind lease documents (in 2007, Clark was paying $12,350 a month in rent for the place), customer database printouts, public relations planning documents (in 2004 they had a hockey team!) and dossiers on local politicians for pushing Narconon on them.
There are also some really interesting policy documents regarding Narconon governance and Scientology celebrities, and we’ll post those in a future item. For now, we wanted to reveal one of the most telling items in the pile.
It’s a Knowledge Report, and it’s only a few months old.
Scientology, as we’ve explained numerous times, is a snitching culture. If your parents express doubts about the organization, you’re obliged to turn them in. The same for any Scientologist or Scientology organization you think is not acting properly or doing its job. When you see bad behavior, you’re obliged to report it in something called a Knowledge Report. A “KR” has a certain format, and they can be brutal — and they almost always provide a telling look inside Scientology.
In this case, the KR was filed by a longtime “public” — a Scientologist who doesn’t work on staff or in the Sea Org. And he had written to Narconon International to complain about the way its flagship operation, Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma, had botched his daughter’s addiction problem.
Dated November 29, 2014, it’s a devastating description of Narconon’s most important location as an incompetent and amateur operation.
“My daughter … had a pretty severe drug addiction using oxycodone, Prozac, Zanax whenever she could get her hands on it as well as being on the methadone program. She was also on Prozac and had been on same for about 5 months when she went into treatment,” the father writes. He explains that he hired a highly recommended interventionist who convinced his daughter to accept treatment at Narconon in Oklahoma.
Scientology’s method of drug rehab is non-medical, so addicts first need to go through medical withdrawal before they can begin the program. Narconon Arrowhead, however, let its license for its own medical detox facility expire, and so it’s been contracting out the withdrawal period to a local hospital. The man flew his daughter to Tulsa so she could begin this.
“Late in the afternoon, [she] arrives at Narconon Arrowhead. She’s informed that there is no bed ready for her in detox hospital. I get the first of many disturbing phone calls from my daughter. My daughter was on Methadone, oxycodone and Prozac. She spent the night at Arrowhead.”
The next day, the woman was admitted to the hospital for detox, but she was creating havoc back home by making calls on her cell phone to friends and family members. Her father can’t understand why the phone hasn’t been taken away. But then, things get even worse.
“I call the detox hospital and discover my daughters gone, not in the hospital? As it turns out, right in the middle of her withdrawal, [she] left the facility and actually signed herself out? (I found out a few days later that she was hallucinating while doing so when hospital staff let her out the door) then she goes wandering around in Oklahoma!? Somehow God was watching and after a time, an older gentleman confronted her and gave her a ride back to the hospital. She went back to the hospital and they re-admitted her. How did this happen?”
Then, there’s trouble with the doctor at the hospital. He’s not a Scientologist, so he didn’t wean the woman off of Prozac — which she was apparently taking normally on a prescription. (Scientology virulently hates psychiatry and any of its medications.)
“The same hospital doctor also told [her] that she would ‘probably not do well at Narconon’ and that they had another rehab program in Florida which was totally covered under my insurance plan and that all she needed was a plane ticket to get there?! My question here is why wasn’t this detox hospital safe pointed? This happened on two occasions with the same hospital doctor whilst she was there and it shook her confidence in a Arrowhead,” the father wrote. In other words, he can’t understand why Narconon Arrowhead would contract with a hospital that hadn’t been convinced of Narconon’s effectiveness (it hadn’t been “safepointed”) and was actively recommending against it.
The father then notes, day by day, her aborted stay at Arrowhead itself…
August 13…[She] finally arrives at Arrowhead. I get her last phone call (before her phone is taken from her) and she tells me her room is dirty and the sheets are very old and worn. She also complaints of not being handled with her Prozac situation. I get no real answers from the withdraw staff as to how this will be handled. At this point in time, I’ve given 8 thousand dollars via debit card to the intake personnel. I had asked the question about refunds (should the cycle not go well) and was told I would get my money back based on how much treatment was delivered. I’m cool with this. The plan was to have her do work study program and I needed to get the other seven thousand to NA ASAP, I was totally prepared to do this.
August 14…[She] is taken to the hospital because she “doesn’t feel right” no handling has been taken on her Prozac situation. She is seen and released from hospital and taken back to Narconon.
August 15…[She] does not want to stay at Arrowhead, demands to leave. She is taken into town and left at the shelter. [She], being the resourceful drug addict that she is, gets someone back at home to pay for her taxi and plane ticket home. She comes home and uses hard for a week, then gets admitted to … a psyche-oriented rehab in …, that she had been to before. They just handle the addictions with drugs and suggest that the 12 step programs be followed.
The father indicates that he spent the next two months wrestling over a refund before he was finally returned $4,000 of the $8,000 he had sent as an initial payment for his daughter’s care.
“In closing, I’d just like to say this was one of the worst handlings I’ve ever encountered regarding service from a Scientology based facility. I was a staff member at … for several years and I know how an org is run. Please look into this matter so it doesn’t happen again to someone else,” he writes.
Here’s why this letter is so devastating. Narconon is under siege right now because so many non-Scientology addicts and their parents are suing because they were told they would receive individualized drug counseling and instead received Scientology training.
But in this case, Scientology training as part of rehab was exactly what this father was expecting when he sent his daughter there. Not only would he not have objected to Narconon’s program if it were delivered correctly, but even if he were unhappy, as a longtime and loyal Scientologist he would never sue the program, and we would never normally hear about his complaints.
But because Clark Carr absconded so quickly from his offices a few weeks ago, we now have this harsh denunciation of what an amateur operation Narconon is, and from someone inside the church.
Ebner, we really owe you one.
We have more in the way of Knowledge Reports and other interesing documents and policies left behind by Narconon Arrowhead for a future post. We also sent a request for comment to Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw and to Narconon International, and we’ll let you know if they get back to us.
In the meantime, we put it to our tipster network — Where’s Clark, and what’s happened to him?
Connor Cruise and Lillie Parker
Chris White works hard to keep an eye on Tom Cruise and his kids, Isabella and Connor. And this time, he’s got an interesting piece in the Daily Mail about how Connor has grown close to Lillie Parker, Kirstie Alley’s adopted daughter, since Lillie lost her fiance Nick Trela to a motorcycle accident in November. Chris quoted us saying we have perceived that the Scientology celebrities may also be doing some wagon-circling with Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear about to come out.
Your proprietor on the air in Toronto
Mark Elliot had us on his radio program the other night to talk about Narconon…
Bonus photos from our tipsters
Won’t someone please think about the children…
Actual caption: “We had the very best helper today at the Dianetics book booth”
Wow, can you say desperation? FREE six month memberships in the IAS?
Dad is finally space-cootie free! Celebrating his completion of OT 7…
Meghan Fialkoff is developing a cartoon character of herself for the next big thing at Drug Free World!!
The glamorous Meghan Fialkoff, standing next to her dad, Queens dentist Bernard Fialkoff, in the first photo, got a big crowd for its Scientology anti-drug message at a Brooklyn charter school, and she claims an unnamed Assemblyman and NYPD Community Affairs officer also attended.
Scientologists are using social media more than ever. Drop us a line if you spot them posting images to Instagram or Facebook!
Posted by Tony Ortega on February 9, 2015 at 07:00
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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts