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Scientology’s richest couple buys ‘Holy City,’ a California ghost town and former cult site


Bob and Trish Duggan are the proud new owners of a pretty spectacular 142-acre parcel in California near Los Gatos, and we can’t wait to find out what they plan to do with it.

The Duggans are Scientology’s richest couple, and our readers are very familiar with them. In January, we wrote about the Duggans receiving their latest trophy for their donations to the International Association of Scientologists. A new “status” had to be invented for them because they’ve given so much more than anyone else in church history. This time, they were dubbed “Diamond Invictus,” and we estimated that it was for donating about $70 million — and that’s not counting the millions more the couple has given for numerous Scientology building projects around the world.

But Bob and Trish can afford it. According to Forbes, Bob is worth $3.2 billion and is the 638th richest man in the world. He built that fortune largely on the spectacular stock market success of a cancer drug he helped bring to market.

And now, he’s making news in California for buying a somewhat legendary tract of land that had been on the market for a decade. Ten years ago, the Holy City parcel was put up for sale at $10 million. But the Duggans got a steal, paying about $6 million for a great spread of land just off Highway 17, the road between Santa Cruz and Los Gatos.



It’s land that has a storied history. In the 1920s, it was the site of a religious commune run by William E. Riker, a religious charlatan and white supremacist who fleeced his flock with the best of them.

“He bilked his people to fund his shangri-la,” said one local who was interviewed by the San Francisco CBS station about the sale.

Hey, Scientology would feel right at home!

We can’t help wondering if Duggan will end up carving out at least part of the parcel for a Scientology drug rehab, or a retreat for stashing away church wives, or maybe just a place for raising wayward boys.

Of course, the Duggans may just carve up Holy City for expensive homes and a golf course or something. But we’d love to hear your ideas for how David Miscavige and Scientology might benefit from taking over “Holy City.”

Here’s the CBS station’s report on the sale…



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Today will be Day Three at the Audible studios on 7th Avenue as we turn Miss Lovely into an audiobook. Hey, this is hard work!



3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 10, 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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