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So much for all that: Attempt by Garcias to revive Scientology lawsuit shot down by judge

Luis_Rocio_Garcia3

 
Well, so much for that. Tampa federal Judge James D. Whittemore has denied the latest motion by Luis and Rocio Garcia, who were attempting to revive their fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and avoid struggling any further with the church’s Kafkaesque internal “arbitration.”

But no dice. After considering the matter for a couple of months, Judge Whittemore has ordered the Garcias and Scientology to press on and find a way to get past their disagreements and arbitrate their differences.

“While the record indicates that Plaintiffs have had difficulty designating an arbitrator of their choice who is a member in good standing with the Church, it cannot be said that Defendants have acted in a manner inconsistent with arbitration,” the judge writes in his order dismissing the Garcias’ motion.

The Garcias filed their lawsuit back in January 2013, alleging that they had been defrauded by Scientology in the way they had been hounded for donations in dishonest ways, they said. But Scientology countered that as longtime Scientologists the Garcias had signed many copies of contracts which contained a clause requiring that if they had a dispute, they should take it to the organization’s internal arbitration and not a court of law.

The Garcias, with the help of former Scientology officials, made a strong case that the contracts themselves were fraudulent, and that there is, in fact, no internal arbitration system for them to take their dispute to — something even the church itself admitted was the situation when it agreed that it had never held an internal arbitration in its history.

But Judge Whittemore decided that he would be violating Scientology’s First Amendment rights as a religious organization if he tried to question the contracts or Scientology’s internal justice rules. He told the Garcias they had no choice but to submit themselves to the (nonexistent) arbitration, and he put a stay on the lawsuit.

The Garcias appealed that decision (it was denied), and then came back to court several months later, saying that Scientology had made it impossible to select arbitrators under Scientology’s self-serving rules. But Whittemore, while acknowledging that it had been a difficult process, said that Scientology’s argument that the Garcias had been disingenuous in some of their complaints was not “wholly unsupported.”

So that’s that. The Garcias have no choice but to try once again to empanel a set of three arbitrators by Scientology’s rules — and we’ll try to find out if they actually intend to do that.

 
Here’s the document…

Garcia v. Scientology: Order denying lift of stay

 
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Bryan Seymour on Scientology’s AO for sale

 
AOSHSydney

 
News that Scientology had put up a “headquarters” for sale in Sydney reached our shores yesterday, and so we wanted to clarify some things about the various real estate happenings going on over there.

In May 2014, church leader David Miscavige opened Scientology’s new “Ideal Org” in Sydney. This is the souped-up but still basic kind of Scientology facility that Miscavige wants for every big city in the world.

When a Scientologist needs higher-level courses than an Ideal Org can deliver, he or she moves on to something called an “Advanced Org,” and only a few of them exist around the world. Australia’s “Advanced Org Saint Hill” (AOSH) has been located on Greek Street in Sydney’s Glebe suburb. But then, also in 2014, Miscavige plunked down a pretty penny for a former national acoustics lab in the suburb of Chatswood to be the home of a new Advanced Org.

Since Scientology is shrinking everywhere, and particularly in Australia, this seemed like a pretty inexplicable move.

Anyway, with the new AO being developed, the old one, on Greek Street in Glebe, has been put up for sale. We asked Australian journalist Bryan Seymour for his thoughts on the move.

This is one of the oldest, I think the first, sites for Scientology in Sydney. It’s also where the president of Scientology Australia, Vicki Dunstan, has spent most of her time working.

When billionaire James Packer was taking courses around 2004 he regularly attended the Glebe complex. Australia’s richest man was often cooked meals by a teenager working 100 hours a week for $35 a week (when he did get paid). Here’s our report on it…

 

I have also heard Scientology has, or is, selling their Dundas property (featured in the story linked above).

This will mean consolidating their administration, RPF and staff HQ at the ‘new’ facility in Chatswood.

The Chatswood property is well off the beaten path with no foot traffic, but it does have wary neighbours wondering what is in store…

The sale of the property in Glebe should go some way to offsetting the reported costs of purchasing and renovating the old National Acoustics Laboratory at Chatswood – around $54 million all up.

Australia is holding its four-yearly census this Tuesday. The last census revealed just over 2,000 people here are Scientologists – less than the number who claim to be Jedis.

It will be interesting to see how many identify as Scientologists this time around.

Thanks, Bryan!

 
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Bonus items from our tipsters

Oh, you bet Scientology was out in force last night for the Olympics opening ceremony in Rio. And look, we can get athletes to wear our Drug-Free World crap!

 
SciRio

 
In Colombia, they’ve pretty much dropped all pretense.

 
SciBogota

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 6, 2016 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 and Kindle editions. 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.

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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