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How Humira, the world’s best selling drug, is helping to finance Scientology into the future

[Bob and Trish Duggan with Scientology leader David Miscavige]

The always reliable Jeffrey Augustine has scored another fascinating document for us that we are happy to share with you today.

It’s a tax document showing that the richest Scientologist donors in the world, Bob and Trish Duggan, recently found a way to make sure that millions more will be going to the church each year, and with no end in sight.

That’s the conclusion we’ve come to after looking at the tax document Jeffrey found and sent to us recently. It’s a 2015 tax return for the Bob & Trish Duggan Foundation, and it has some eye-opening numbers.

We’ve written numerous times about the Duggans and their amazing largesse to Scientology. Bob is currently worth about $2.8 billion, according to Forbes. His wealth zoomed in 2015 when he cashed in by selling Pharmacyclics, a company that had multiplied in value thanks to a successful cancer drug. Each fall, the Duggans are given a huge new trophy to celebrate how much they’ve donated to the church. This past year, we estimated that they’ve now given something like $80 million just to the International Association of Scientologists, only one way that a church member can give money. Forbes claimed that Bob Duggans’s total giving to the church has reached $360 million, but they didn’t explain how they reached that figure.

And now, it appears that the Duggans have found a new way to funnel money to Scientology. After talking with Jeffrey and looking through other records of the Duggan Foundation, this is the picture we’ve been able to put together.

According to tax records, the Duggan Foundation has been around since at least 2012, but for both 2012 and 2013 it reported no assets or income at all. But in the 2015 return which Jeffrey obtained, it has a remarkable new valuation.

On December 24, 2015, the Duggans moved 1 million shares of stock from the pharmaceutical firm AbbVie into the Foundation, with a valuation of about $59 million.

AbbVie is the maker of Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis medication which in 2014 became the world’s best selling drug. In 2015, AbbVie acquired Pharmacyclics from Duggan for $21 billion.

So, on the last week of 2015, Duggan moved 1 million of his AbbVie shares, worth about $59 million, into his Foundation, and estimated conservatively that its annual investment income from that seed money would produce about $2.9 million in annual “distributable income.”

With only a week left in the tax year, the Duggans didn’t have time to distribute any of that money. But they made it clear who would be eligible to receive it in the form of charitable grants:

“The Foundation restricts its contributions to 501(C) organizations that are churches of Scientology and affiliates social betterment organizations,” the document states.

Jeffrey points out that since the Duggans socked away that AbbVie stock to generate income for the church, AbbVie stock has gone from about $59 a share in 2015 to $72 today. If that income generates only a 5 percent return, as the 2015 document conservatively estimated, that’s about $3.6 million annually for donations to Scientology initiatives. We’ll be very interested in about a year to see the Foundation’s 2016 tax return, and find out what it says about which Scientology entities receive those donations.

Let’s put that Duggan generosity in some context of what other wealthy donors are giving to the church. When you see a Scientologist like Jim Bridgeforth get a big trophy like he did this past fall for moving up to “Diamond Meritorious” status…

 

 
…that $5 million in donations he’s being recognized for is a cumulative total and may have taken him 20 years to achieve.

With their Foundation, the Duggans have set aside pharmaceutical stock so that it may reliably generate around $3 million every year for the church, without doing anything at all.

That’s not to say that Scientology leader David Miscavige won’t be hitting up the Duggans for even more money every year, but it allows for a steady flow of millions to the church year in and year out, and without any “regging.” (Scientology officials who hound members for donations are “registrars” or “regges” for short.) We don’t know if this new arrangement has anything to do with the 2016 death of Charmaine Roger, the registrar who was assigned personally to the Duggans. But we can imagine that it’s an arrangement that will make things easier for both sides.

The upshot? The better AbbVie does selling Humira and other drugs, the better the Church of Scientology does. That’s pretty ironic for a church that openly hates the pharmaceutical industry and pushes for a “drug-free world.” And we also can’t help wondering how the people who run AbbVie feel about it.

Here’s the document. Our thanks again to Jeffrey Augustine!

 
Bob.Trish.duggan.Foundation

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,808 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,565 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,911 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,405 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,445 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,157 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 683 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,772 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,912 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,232 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,207 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 563 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,865 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 972 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,374 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,247 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 828 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,333 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,577 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,686 days.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on July 11, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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