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SCIENTOLOGY FILES TO REMOVE GARCIA ATTORNEYS FROM FRAUD LAWSUIT

Brian Culkin

Brian Culkin

The Church of Scientology has filed a motion to disqualify the attorneys for Luis and Rocio Garcia in their federal fraud lawsuit against the church.

Scientology has a long history of this kind of legal maneuver, and it’s not surprising that they would make a motion like this in a case which has not gone their way to this point. (At any moment, we were expecting a ruling from federal Judge James Whittemore about the church’s argument that the case go to its internal arbitration and be dismissed from federal court. Whittemore hadn’t given away which way he was leaning, but the church may have felt it was about to be denied.)

In its motion, the church says that Garcia’s counsel — led by Ted Babbitt — has improperly relied on the help of an attorney who formerly represented the church, Robert Johnson, and two former church executives, Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder.

And the church’s star witness in this motion? Brian Culkin, a former church member who until just a few weeks ago was telling us he was trying to get his own refund from the church.

Culkin was featured in the November, 2011 series “The Money Machine” in the Tampa Bay Times. He was a business consultant who had a short involvement in the church — less than a full year — but in that short time he turned over $350,000 to Scientology. Since then, he’s been telling us that he wanted to try to get his money back.

Recently, he contacted us, telling us that he had a story we’d be interested in. He turned over to us e-mails that he received from the church, showing that after spurning his refund requests for more than a year, the church was suddenly offering not only to engage in arbitration with him, but to make the arbitration more fair by allowing him to select one of the people on the panel. To us, it looked like the church was trying to create a new record of being more open to refunding money, since the long history of spurning refunds was at issue in the Garcia case. Culkin asked us to hold off on that story until he learned more about the church’s intent regarding his refund.

Culkin apparently got his refund, and was then convinced to help Scientology by signing a declaration which he believed would remain confidential, but the church then submitted in the Garcia case. The document accuses former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder of trying to recruit Culkin for a refund lawsuit.

We have a lot of documents to post here, and there’s a lot in them to discuss. We have calls in to Ted Babbitt and Mike Rinder and a message in to Brian Culkin to get their thoughts on this development.

 

Garcia Case Motion to Disqualify

 
Here’s the declaration of Brian Culkin to support the church’s motion…

 

Brian Culkin Declaration

 
Declaration by church employee Allan Cartwright…

 

Allan Cartwright Declaration

 
Declaration of church employee Sarah Heller…

 

Sarah Heller Declaration

 
Declaration of church employee Glen Stilo…

 

Glen Stilo Declaration

 
Declaration of Judy Fontana…

 

Judy Fontana Declaration

 
Declaration of Peter Mansell…

 

Peter Mansell Declaration

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on May 10, 2013 at 16:15

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