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Leah Remini ‘Fair Gamed’ by Scientology? Her sister gets a visit, and Tony Dovolani is tailed

Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani, during their run on DWTS

Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani, during their run on DWTS

In her public appearances since she left Scientology last summer, actress Leah Remini has talked about losing many longtime friends who were ordered by the church to “disconnect” from her and her family.

She’s talked about how stunning it was to see how quickly people she’d known for decades suddenly turn their backs on her.

Our sources told us that she was devastated by that reaction, and her family worried that Leah might also experience Scientology’s infamous “Fair Game” operations — intimidation campaigns carried out with the use of private investigators.

But Leah gave no indication that the church was retaliating against her except for ordering her friends to cut off all contact. Our sources also indicated that the church hadn’t begun Fair Gaming Leah or her family.

Until now.

A few weeks ago, a woman calling herself Patricia Lang showed up on two different occasions at the house of Leah’s half-sister, Elizabeth Remini, who lives on the east coast. Lang said she was a reporter working for Editor’s Choice magazine, and that she was working on a story about Leah and other Hollywood celebrities. She left her name and phone number with someone working at the house.


We can find no record of a journalist named Patricia Lang, nor an “Editor’s Choice” magazine. And when we called the number, it went to a robotic voice mail. We haven’t received a call back.

What appears to be an intimidation attempt on Elizabeth Remini occurred only a few months after Elizabeth’s full sister, Stephanie Remini, died in December.

The visit by “Patricia Lang” is very similar to another intimidation attempt we published here recently — an e-mail from someone claiming to be a newspaper reporter that was sent to Mike Bennitt, a former Scientologist who has been filming Scientology events in recent months.

In that case, the supposed reporter seemed to know a lot about Bennitt’s background — an obvious attempt to make Bennitt uncomfortable that he was being investigated — and the e-mail address the “reporter” left turned out not to be valid.

We know of several other recent cases of people posing as reporters who contacted former Scientologists or church critics, claiming to be writing stories that never materialize.

We wondered why, if Scientology is behind these operations, the church thinks it’s an effective technique.

We asked former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder that question, and he sent us this response:

This is an attempt at intimidation pure and simple.

It is a mind game. The church hopes to create upset or fear with the actual target (in this case Leah) by upsetting people around them. They know these people will contact the target and tell them about it (we saw this with people contacting Monique Rathbun’s family including her father) and they hope this will dissuade the person from continuing to speak out and expose their dirty laundry. You wrote about Robert Almblad — his only crime was giving me work. There are numerous examples.

The “reporter” ploy is an easy one. Visiting neighbors to “survey them” is another. Distributing fliers is another. Sending out slanderous “anonymous” e-mails is another.

These tactics are all pursuant to the policies of the church that have been filed in the Rathbun case.

Of course, isolated incidents are hard to nail down. How can you prove that someone with a fake name and phone number was hired by the church? But when it is a pattern and the most prominent whistle blowers all experience the same sort of thing, then there is no doubt as to the source. What do these people have in common? Critics of the church of Scientology. And the church has a policy to do this sort of action. It doesn’t take a genius to conclude the obvious.

Unfortunately, the church drags people who have nothing to do with their problems and disputes into the fray.

They don’t deserve it. But fortunately, every time Scientology does this sort of thing they create new enemies for themselves. And the one straight up and vertical statistics of leader David Miscavige and Scientology is the number of new enemies made. And these are not disinterested enemies, they are motivated.

It’s a classic strategy of Scientology retaliation campaigns — instead of harassing the former member or critic the church wants to silence, they visit or follow people close to them, knowing that it will get back to the real target of the operation.

A recent example: our sources tell us that a person close to Leah has been experiencing a “noisy investigation.”

It’s her former Dancing With The Stars partner, Tony Dovolani.

For two weeks recently, Dovolani was tailed wherever he went by cars with missing license plates so he could not identify them, our sources tell us.

It was a ham-fisted job of trailing him, but that was probably the point. In Scientology’s “noisy investigations,” the goal is for the target — Dovolani — to see that he’s under surveillance.

The Reminis are not amused. But we’re told that Leah is not about to be intimidated.

We’ve also learned that Scientology’s strict policies get bent for celebrities. While Remini has lost friends — some of whom she was used to doing some business with — those rules of “disconnection” aren’t being applied equally.

An example: Jennifer Lopez is not a Scientologist, but her father is a longtime member. Recently, J-Lo talked about supporting Leah on Ellen Degeneres’s show.

By Scientology’s own rules, that should have put considerable pressure on Jennifer’s father to disconnect from her. But we’re told that’s not the case.

Once again, we turned to Mike Rinder, telling him that our sources say Leah is learning how Scientology doesn’t follow its own rules about who can be connected to whom.

Celebrities (and big donors) are afforded special treatment in Scientology. They don’t have to follow the rules enforced on run-of-the-mill members of the church. Celebrities are not made to disconnect if they don’t feel the need. Tom Cruise is Exhibit One — even though Katie Holmes should be a declared SP (it is doubtful that she is, because after all, she is a celebrity too) Tom is allowed to remain connected to her through Suri. Other celebrities like Kirstie Alley or Jenna Elfman get the same sort of pass.

Celebrities don’t have to adhere to the same rules as other Scientologists when it comes to showing up on time for course periods. Or being handled by a Master-at-Arms. they are often protected from Registrars — only a select person is allowed to talk to them about money.

When there is celebrity or money involved, the “firmly held religious beliefs” that are so fanatically enforced for everyone else become optional. In the Church of Scientology celebrity and money talks. Everyone else walks (or crawls).

We asked Leah’s publicist for a comment from the actress about these developments. We’ll let you know if she responds.


Scientology tax return of the day

On April 7, we caused a bit of a ripple in the world of Scientology watching by releasing numerous tax returns of Scientology entities that had never been published in the press before.

Scientology has enjoyed tax-exempt status since 1993, and churches are not required to submit annual returns. However, following a change in the law in 2006, even church organizations are required to submit returns for “unrelated business income,” known as 990-T reports. Those returns don’t reflect the church-related income taken in by Scientology (an organization built on the idea of paying large sums for spiritual advancement), but the forms do ask for a corporate entity to report its “book value” — an indication of that entity’s total assets, such as real estate.

We published numerous documents that day, but there are many more that we’ve obtained with the help of Jeffrey Augustine. There are so many, we thought it might work best to release one each day.

Today, we’re getting a glimpse of the value of just one locality in Scientology’s web — the San Diego organization. As you can see from the document, the San Diego org reported its book value as $12,840,672.


2012 Church of Scientology of San Diego 990-T return


Surviving Scientology starts a podcast series

Karen de la Carriere is branching out. Her husband, Jeffrey Augustine, extends the Surviving Scientology franchise with his first podcast, a 30-minute conversation with former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder. (For more about Rinder’s background and his memories of “The Hole,” see our series of video interviews with him.)



Posted by Tony Ortega on April 17, 2014 at 07:00

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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer


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