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Scientology Legal Roundup: Per Wickstrom’s Fine Whine, And More!

Per_Wickstrom2As our readers can probably imagine, we’re pretty excited here in the Underground Bunker after getting yesterday’s news about Monique Rathbun’s hearing date for a temporary injunction on September 12. Scientology legal matters are definitely heating up, and so we thought it was time for a general roundup of the major cases being litigated around the country.

We’re starting in Michigan, where we revealed recently that Per Wickstrom, who runs a number of Scientology-style drug rehab centers, has filed suit against the Pennfield Township (near Battle Creek) because it has repeatedly turned down his requests to expand one of his facilities, called “A Forever Recovery.”

The Township removed the case to federal court and filed a motion to dismiss it. And now, Wickstrom is battling back: by whining.

Says an attorney who looked over the briefing prepared by Per’s lawyers, “This motion basically whines about how unfair it will be to get dismissed in federal court when they were doing OK in state court. And it whines that they should be allowed to amend their complaint. Since the federal court has a liberal policy of allowing amendment to complaints, it makes no sense that A Forever Recovery didn’t just ask the court for leave to amend in the event the court decides the complaint is inadequate. I think Wickstrom’s lawyers are among the whiniest, and I am sure that the judge will be very irritated with them by the time this case is over.”

 
THE NARCONON GEORGIA CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT: Recently, attorney Jeff Harris, acting for the plaintiffs, filed a motion asking the court to order the state of Georgia to preserve the evidence it seized in a recent raid of Narconon Georgia. (The state is investigating evidence of insurance and credit card fraud.) If the state does not file charges as a result of the raid, it would, by law, be required to return the evidence it seized to Narconon, which could then make it difficult for the class-action plaintiffs to get their hands on it.

Now, Narconon has responded, and with careful wording. The attorneys make clear they “of course” favor the preservation of evidence, but they argue this court lacks jurisdiction to order the state to preserve this evidence if no charges are filed. (Of course, it’s a little hard to imagine the state not filing any charges after the raid it put on, so this may all be moot soon.)

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to see how Judge Steve C. Jones rules on the motions to dismiss filed by all four of the defendants in this case (Narconon Georgia, Narconon International, the Association for Better Living and Education, and the Religious Technology Center).

 
THE GARCIA FEDERAL FRAUD LAWSUIT: Two important dates coming up in Tampa. On September 5, Magistrate Judge Thomas B. McCoun III will consider a dispute over the scope of some subpoenas issued by Scientology that Garcia attorney Ted Babbitt called overbroad. Then, on October 3, Brian Culkin will testify in an evidentiary hearing in regards to a Scientology motion to disqualify the Garcia attorneys, Babbitt and Ronald Weil.

 
THE LAURA DECRESCENZO FORCED-ABORTION LAWSUIT: September 30 is the big day when the U.S. Supreme Court will sift through more than 850 petitions in a conference and select only a small percentage to move on to the next level. Scientology is hoping that its petition for a writ of certiorari is among those chosen. The church wants SCOTUS to rule that California’s “priest-penitent” law is unconstitutional so it can prevent Laura DeCrescenzo from making use of some 18,000 pages of evidence the church was forced to turn over.

 
OKLAHOMA INVESTIGATIONS INTO THREE DEATHS AT SCIENTOLOGY DRUG REHAB: Crickets.

 
——————–

Will_Jada_SmithThe Smiths and Their Former Calabasas School

Back on July 3, we broke the news that the school started by Will and Jada Smith in Calabasas, California — the New Village Leadership Academy — had closed its doors after five years of existence.

Now, Roger Friedman has a fun new interview with a parent of a child who had attended the school, Hollywood producer Jeff Wald, who says the school couldn’t raise enough money because of the stigma of Scientology. (The Smiths had founded the school with intentions of using L. Ron Hubbard’s “Study Technology,” a key component of any Scientologist’s training.)

He makes a good point — it may have been tough to raise funds with the bad publicity the school garnered.

But we have to object to something Wald claimed about the money pumped into the school by the Smiths: “The Smiths were putting in $2 million of their own each year. They couldn’t keep supporting it.”

Um, not even close.

Records show that Will and Jada made a one-time, single payment of $1,235,000 to get the school going when it opened in 2008. Reportedly, about $900,000 of that was used to lease the building for the first three years.

For the last two years, the school was on its own, and was ultimately unable to raise enough money to keep going — not surprising, considering the economic climate. While the Smiths had initially put up a lot of money to get the Academy going, in its final two years they had much less to do with it.

 
——————–

John Travolta Makes a Totally Unplanned Speech, You Guys!

Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon, may be struggling with multiple deaths, numerous criminal investigations and civil lawsuits, and a whole lot of bad press, but JT wants you to think about the artists! The artists, for crissakes!

 

 
——————–

OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH A TREE CUT DOWN BY THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

Treebeard3

Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Times revealed that the Church of Scientology had cut down two healthy live-oak trees in Clearwater, Florida after the city had denied the church permission to do so. Scientology cut down the oaks in order to make way for a huge permanent tent being erected for its November International Association of Scientologists gala, which is normally held in England. Fortunately, we were able to catch up with one of the two trees before it was hauled away to be turned into cat litter.

THE BUNKER: So this sucks.

FELLED TREE: Tell me about it.

THE BUNKER: We understand that you were standing in a parking lot island south of the Super Power Building.

FELLED TREE: Parking lot island, he calls it. Don’t you live in a hole in the ground?

THE BUNKER: Fair enough. How long had you stood there before you were cut down?

FELLED TREE: I’ve lost count. Bette Orsini was just a sapling when I was already a ten-footer.

THE BUNKER: Apparently the Church of Scientology had relocated large trees in the past at great expense, but they’re doing things rather last-minute for this Super Power Building opening October 6 and the IAS gala November 8. They say they just didn’t have time to uproot you.

FELLED TREE: Yeah, everything’s in a big hurry, just like the Super Power Building itself. It’s only taken 15 years to open the thing. And I’ve watched every day of it. Like, I literally watched the paint dry. That’s not a metaphor.

THE BUNKER: You must have witnessed some interesting things in that time.

FELLED TREE: You think watching OT’s compete for parking spots is some kind of tree nirvana?

THE BUNKER: Well, you’re in Florida, the weather must be interesting. And the other flora and fauna?

FELLED TREE: You really know how to hurt a plant. You know how many living things called me home?

THE BUNKER: That didn’t really occur to us.

FELLED TREE: Well, at least I was cut down for a good cause.

THE BUNKER: You were?

FELLED TREE: Yeah, wouldn’t you like to be sliced in half so some dingbats can put up a tent for a fundraiser? “Clear the planet,” they say. Sure, but they left off the rest of it: Clear the planet, of vegetation.

THE BUNKER: To Serve Man.

FELLED TREE: Hey, I got that.

THE BUNKER: We hear the city fined the church $2,000 for cutting you down. What do you think Clearwater will do with that money?

FELLED TREE: Purchase a backbone?

THE BUNKER: So what will you do now?

FELLED TREE: Well, my last wish is to be pulped and turned into an issue of the Tampa Bay Times with a big, fat expose by Tom Tobin and Joe Childs about how David Miscavige has abdicated the leadership of the Church of Scientology to his male masseur, who is actually an FBI informant who has turned over the copyrights and trademarks of L. Ron Hubbard to a psychiatric hospital. But actually, I think I’m going to be made into cat litter.

THE BUNKER: That really, really sucks.

FELLED TREE: Tell me about it.

 
——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on August 28, 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.

If you’d like to help support The Underground Bunker, please e-mail our webmaster Scott Pilutik at BunkerFund@tonyortega.org

 

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  • Captain Howdy

    Me and the cats decided you’re all crazy.

    • L. Wrong Hubturd

      What took so long?

    • sister wendy

      Is this just a general comment? Or are you referring to the BTs?

  • jmh

    Tony, that interview with the felled tree is one of the finest examples of journalism I’ve ever seen in print. Bahahahaha!!!!

    • jmh

      Btw… hello Debbie Downvoter… Looks like your finger got a workout tonight.

      • jmh

        Aww. I feel strangely accomplished today. Not one but TWO downvotes from our bored little Scilon. Aren’t you up past your curfew, sweetie?

        • sugarplumfairy

          Are you sure they’re from a scientologist?

          • jmh

            Nope, not sure… but considering someone went on a downvoting spree today (look below) I wouldn’t be absurdly surprised. Why… have a confession to make?

    • filosofa

      I wholeheartedly agree. Too funny…also so sad at the same time.

      R.I.P Felled Tree.

      Just more proof – as if more were needed – that the “church” doesn’t give a tinkers cuss about anything other than ELron Hubbub, Lord Voldescavige and their own delusional fantasy world. Not the community, the rest of the wog world, the law or even nature itself, matters.

      Boooo to you, $ciloonies – you gang of soul-killing, mind-killing, people killing, pet-killing, tree-killing poor excuses for human beings.

  • sister wendy

    help please….is there a way I can delete my notifications after I’ve read them all? I can’t figure out how to do this….thanks

    • Jvm3

      I’m not sure that you can.. It doesn’t seem to give an option for that. After you’ve read them it just removes the “unread” red tag. Their help/FAQ section just details how to stop email notifications.

      • sister wendy

        thanks

        • Jvm3

          You’re welcome, even tho my response wasn’t very helpful :P. Disqus has a lot of great features, and a ton of potential, but it can be very annoying. It doesn’t work well with Safari on ipad/iPhone. Runs very clunky. But I like that you can link to and comment on a variety of news articles’ comments sections without re logging or signing into Facebook.

          • sister wendy

            Thanks:) I know what you mean- I love anything where I don’t have to sign into Facebook

    • Douglas D. Douglas

      Sometimes I can’t get to whatever I’m being notified about. Make sure you have clicked on every link that is accompanied by a highlight bar. You may need to scroll down deep to find any you have missed.

      • sister wendy

        can you say more about this? I seem to have missed some. What is the “highlight bar”?

        • sister wendy

          hmmm…well, I must have found it- now there are no notifications. how weird..thank you both.

          • Douglas D. Douglas

            It’s that small vertical bar to the left of the notification. They are in different colors.

            • sister wendy

              I see this now! Thanks for helping me notice the details, 3D

  • edge

    How many trees did they cut down to make all those sets of The Basics that are sitting in whales’ garages?

  • Graham

    Apologies if this has already been noted elsewhere but the “Church” of $camatology gets more negative publicity in the Daily Fail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2404377/Scientology-heads-Harlem-attract-members-dont-know-history.html

    • Nevermore

      Hahahaha – they’re planning one in Manchester? That could be a real source of lulz! I wish they’d come back to where I live. Last time they tried setting up a stall in one of our main shopping streets, the police were called, and told them to pack up and get out. We also had the rare sight of people from both sides of my city’s notorious religious divide joining in mocking them – priceless!

      • filosofa

        Just grabbed this from WWP, for your delectation. Just those pesky kid’s from Anonymous having fun. Hope the whole thing doesn’t show as it’s a long post and there are tons of lulzy pics…

        https://whyweprotest.net/community/threads/august-17th-manchester-uk-post-game.113256/

        EDIT – Hooray, just the link showed, so I haven’t filled the Bunkerites home with photo’s! Enjoy!

        • Nevermore

          Looks like they had a good day – next time, I might join them!

          • filosofa

            Me too. Bit far for me to travel but I admire them from afar and one day I might just turn up with caek, if I get the chance.

  • Cheryl

    The whole single down vote thing leaves me a little perplexed. What is the intention, to make everyone worried that we are being monitored? Like that’s going to work. Posting in some untranslatable /unreadable far eastern script is expected to have a similar effect I suppose. It does seem a complete waste of someone’s time plus . If they disagree or have something to say why don’t they just comment in english, I thought through their training, they had the answer to everything. Also if this site is dismissed as being on the fringes of the Internet, why do they bother at all?
    If they want to learn about proper down voting or counter comments they only need to look at the messages on The Independent or Daily Mail online versions.

    • Nevermore

      No, I think it’s more a case of them ‘doing their bit’ for Scientology, by coming in here and registering all those down votes. They don’t seem to have noticed that we’re all actively competing to get them – but then, I don’t think they’re allowed to read what they’re downvoting, they just go down the page, downvoting each comment. And I think the one posting in foreign scripts was just a troll? I suspect this will happen more and more, because we’re really NOT on the fringes of anything. Tony is in the eye of this particular hurricane, and this is his blog. The wider its rep spreads, the higher the chance of trolls coming to call.

      • Graham

        Is this site moderated in any way? Now Tony’s hit the main-stream we probably are going to get trolls- destructive piss-takers who just want to de-rail things for the LULZ. As ever- Don’t Feed the Trolls.

        • Nevermore

          I don’t know Graham – I don’t doubt Tony keeps an eye on it (as he apparently doesn’t need to sleep!) but I’ve not heard anything about formal moderating.

          • tetloj

            In 2 years if I have twice seen cease and desist warnings…once with fairly directed threats and once with unsubstantiated, ridiculous accusations about Miscavige (there’s enough substantiated behavior to accuse him of…no need to make stuff up). No posts deleted IIRC, but bans were threatened and the posts stopped (not sure if this was a result of banning those posters

            • Robert Eckert

              Some posts have been deleted (obscene unsubstantiated accusations) but only on the rarest of occasions. As far as I can tell, no-one has ever actually been banned, though Tony of course has that power if need be.

        • noseinabk

          This site is not moderated. Tony knows that the bunkerites can handle things most of the time. He has asked people to cool it but does not ban. Unlike some ex scion blogs, we can handle disagreement, trolls and even the dreaded down vote. 🙂

          • Missionary Kid

            I would put it as the {dreaded} down vote. 😉

        • Missionary Kid

          Tony occasionally steps in and says, “Knock it off.” The two things that are not tolerated are discussions of violence towards persons and personal flame wars. Edit: We pretty much police ourselves.

          The $cion attorneys cited implied violence towards a witness among the comments on this blog as a reason their witness was reluctant to testify. It was pure bullshit, because he blew them out of the water, but we’re careful not to imply violence against anyone. The exceptions are, of course, divine or natural intervention or what Bubba does to them once they’re in prison.

          If a troll drops in, they become a chew toy for different members of the Bunker. If they’re Scions, they give themselves away with poor spelling, syntax, and general ignorance. The effect is quite similar to white blood cells attacking a foreign body.

          There are sometimes Indies who drop in who are intent on praising the {virtues} of LRH. There’s one who is quite sincere. The sad thing is, he has a flat learning curve, and doesn’t bother to look at independent information that’s available everywhere. He writes English very well for a foreigner, but metaphor is lost on him.

          Most of the Indies who drop in aren’t going to try to sell us on the {tech} that LRH came up with. They’re valuable because sometimes they know history or have personal stories or can tell us what happened to various people connected to $cientology. They have a strong dislike
          for what the Co$ is now.

          BTW, because there’s so much snark and sarcasm in the comments, I came up with what I call the sarcasm font it’s designated by the brackets { and }. Some people dislike it, and others use it.

          • sister wendy

            MK- where are those brackets on the keyboard…?? I have a German keyboard, and there are no sarcasm brackets;) I’m left with winking….ideas? Maybe I could use pound signs £ or maybe a ç

            • Missionary Kid

              On our Englisto figure oh keyboard, it’s shift + [ and ] There probably is an html code for it, but in the meantime, * or ” around a single word or phrase would suffice.

              I’ll try looking it up. I’m just learning HTML codes. It may be too much to do on a German keyboard.

            • sister wendy

              thank you:) Yeah- I think I will have to go with the *- we also have no brackets on our boards…

          • Dice ✓

            Good comment!

      • Cheryl

        They are even more delusional than I thought-if that’s possible!

        • Nevermore

          Seriously, I thought being a civil servant was a life of humdrum slavery until I started reading Tony’s stuff about $cientology on the Village Voice!

          • Cheryl

            That’s one of the reasons I stopped being a chartered librarian, thought I would die of boredom !

          • tetloj

            Fellow slave! LRH created the bureaucracy from hell. My public service is absolutely laissez faire compared to the Sea Org

    • tetloj

      Cheryl, there will be a statistic defined that a down vote is a blow to the enemy and some one is sent here to downvote And record how many times they did it so they can report how effective they are at handling the enemy. They would be instructed to not really read the comments. It’s just some mindless tool clicking arrows hoping their supervisor won’t be unhappy with their stats…maybe the odd zealot thinking they are impinging. Never expect too much logic or cause-and-effect thinking with Scientology. That’s been processed right out.

      • Cheryl

        It’s sad that they think they’re striking a blow when it’s having no effect at all. Is it only on a Thursday that they ‘strike’?

        • Nevermore

          Yes, that’s when they have to submit their ‘stats’, to prove they are working themselves to death in the service of the {church}.

          • Cheryl

            Makes it sound like there’s an element of panic in it.

            • tetloj

              Sad is a good word.

  • richelieu jr

    JT’s had some work done.. His eyebrows appear to be some sort of decals…

  • richelieu jr

    Sucking up shit and cat piss, cat litter and Scientologists are about on equal terms on these, I think…

  • Mary_McConnell

    I like Jeff Wald… he’s been around Hollywood forever and has survived his cocaine addiction and all the mess he made of things in his life that came with it. He’s what they call ‘a trooper’ . But what Jeff fails to mention ( and perhaps he is unaware of the fact of ) is that Scientology “study technology” was the primary method used by the school and students, therefore, making it a Scientology based school. So, regardless if anyone is calling it for what it is, his kids were educated and trained in Scientology practices.

    This also happens with attendees of Scientology front group Narconon and related programs. The secular use of religious practices cloaked by nice looking coursebooks with drawings instead of Scientology policy letters and bulletins format. Same stuff, different format is all. Now maybe Jeff does not mind all that, but if he’s aware of it then he’s misleading the readers here.

  • Spiderpope

    Travolta is right, the loss of artists to drugs is a tragedy. Just think how much revenue the Cult missed out on thanks to their deaths.
    Celebrities please, listen to John. They have programs in place at the Cult that will spend your money for you, leaving you too broke to afford drugs and will provide all the brain altering you need for just a high, high price.