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Whale watching, 2017 edition: Who’s keeping Scientology from sinking?

It’s that time of year again! The new Impact magazine is out and it gives us a chance to see which of Scientology’s most wealthy donors — we call them whales — were celebrated at the annual IAS gala last October.

We’re fortunate once again to have the help of a tipster in Italy who received the Italian-language version of Impact, and then got us these images as soon as he could. We’re so lucky to have so many great tipsters around the world who help out the Underground Bunker on a daily basis! Our thanks to all of our unsung heroes.

If you’re new, we’ll give you the quick rundown on what you’re about to see from the pages of this special Scientology magazine. Every year, all Scientologists are under intense pressure to donate huge sums for a variety of different projects and in a variety of different ways. But one of the most important ways a member contributes to the cause is by donating to what started out as a defense fund for the church in 1984. The International Association of Scientologists (IAS) celebrates that founding every year in October under a giant tent in East Grinstead, England (except for in 2013, when it was held in Clearwater, Florida). The big whales are recognized if, during the past year, they have reached a new cumulative goal in their total overall spending.

So, for example, if over your career as a Scientologist you’ve given $90,000 to the IAS, you’ll be encouraged to give enough to reach $100,000 and the status of “Patron with Honors.” And it’s the same with higher amounts. So if you see someone here who is being celebrated for giving $1 million, that’s a cumulative total over their entire career, and they’re being recognized for passing that $1 million mark in the past calendar year. We hope that’s clear.


And once again, there’s no surprise as to who is the biggest whale of them all. Bob Duggan and his wife Trish are once again the number one Scientology donors, and get the honor of posing for a photograph with Scientology leader David Miscavige, along with yet another big-ass trophy.


Last year, the Duggans received a similar-looking trophy and they were said to have reached another new status that had to be invented for them, called “Diamond Invictus.”

This year was no different, but it looks like Miscavige has simply given up trying to come up with new names for the generosity of Bob Duggan. According to the magazine, the Duggans were named simply “Invictus” this year, with no modifier. So how much does that mean they’ve given?

Once again, we’ll review how we have come up with estimates for the different IAS status levels:

In 2006, the IAS published a list of these status levels, and how much you had to have donated over your career in order to qualify…

Patron: $50,000
Patron with Honors: $100,000
Patron Meritorious: $250,000
Silver Meritorious: $500,000
Gold Meritorious: $1,000,000

Platinum Meritorious: $2,500,000
Diamond Meritorious: $5,000,000
Patron Laureate: $10,000,000

A few years later, some additional levels were added, but no dollar amounts were listed. (Scientology had apparently figured out that everything they published ended up on the Internet or something.) The new, even higher levels…

Platinum Laureate
Diamond Laureate
Patron Excalibur
Platinum Excalibur
Diamond Excalibur
Patron Maximus

By extension, you would expect that if they went even higher, the next couple of levels would be Platinum Maximus, and Diamond Maximus. Also, at every level, you can also earn the additional tag “with Honors,” which means that you have given a bit more on the way to the next plateau.

Now, we’ve taken a stab at estimating what these higher statuses might stand for, using a conservative progression that is much less steep than the ones we already know about. Here’s our guesstimate:

Platinum Laureate — $12 million
Diamond Laureate — $15 million

Patron Excalibur — $20 million
Platinum Excalibur — $22 million
Diamond Excalibur — $25 million
Patron Maximus — $30 million
Platinum Maximus — $35 million
Diamond Maximus — $40 million

After we published that list, we heard from a person who had worked in Scientology finances who told us our progression was indeed conservative. But we’re going to stick with it, and now, we’ll try to extend it. Here’s our new guesstimate for the entire list of IAS statuses…

Lifetime membership $5,000
Sponsor $10,000
Crusader $25,000
Patron $50,000
Patron with Honors $100,000
Patron Meritorious $250,000
Silver Meritorious $500,000

Gold Meritorious $1 million
Platinum Meritorious $2.5 million
Diamond Meritorious $5 million
Patron Laureate $10 million
Platinum Laureate $12 million
Diamond Laureate $15 million
Patron Excalibur $20 million
Platinum Excalibur $22 million
Diamond Excalibur $25 million
Patron Maximus $30 million
Platinum Maximus $35 million
Diamond Maximus $40 million
Patron Invictus $50 million
Platinum Invictus $60 million

Last year, when the Duggans were named “Diamond Invictus,” we conservatively estimated their IAS cumulative giving at $70 million. And remember, that’s just for their IAS giving. We’ve seen evidence that the Duggans have also given millions more for various building projects around the world.

This year, the Duggans were simply named “Invictus.” What could that mean? $80 million in giving to the IAS? $90 million?

Well, here’s a crazy new data point to consider. Over at Forbes magazine, Bob has his own page where his wealth is constantly being re-estimated. (Currently, he’s said to be worth $2.6 billion.)

We keep an eye on this page from time to time, and so we can say that there’s something new that’s been added to it. To wit, this claim: “Duggan is apparently a top donor to the Church of Scientology, of which he is a member; he says he’s given the church nearly $360 million over his lifetime.”

Say what! Bob Duggan has now said publicly that he’s given more than a third of a billion dollars to the Church of Scientology over his career? Where? To whom? We looked around to see if Forbes had printed such a statement somewhere else, but we couldn’t find anything. If you can find the source of that statement, please let us know.

Whew. Well, whatever the real total number, there’s no denying that the Duggans are in a class by themselves. But let’s take a look at the other whales who were celebrated this past October.


Diamond Laureate ($15 million): Alan and Sheila Atkinson-Baker (Los Angeles)



Patron Laureate with Honors ($11 million): Tom and Victoria Cummins and family (Florida)


Diamond Meritorious ($5 million): Jose Cardona and Heidi Fajardo and daughter Penelope Hernandez (Venezuela)


Diamond Meritorious ($5 million): Jim Bridgeforth (Florida)


Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million): Eduardo Galan (Venezuela)



Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million) Gary and Peggy Patrick (Florida)


Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million) Jose Llaguno and Rosa De Nobrega (Venezuela)


Gold Meritorious with Honors ($1.5 million): Ruddy Rodriguez (Venezuela)



Gold Meritorious with Honors ($1.5 million): Kathy Feshbach (Florida)


Gold Meritorious with Honors ($1.5 million): Kourosh and Justin Maddahi (Iran and now in Los Angeles)


Gold Meritorious with Honors ($1 million): Hans and Maria Beekmans (Holland)


Gold Meritorious ($1 million): Cay-Dietrich and Inga Koehn (Germany)



Gold Meritorious ($1 million): John Carey and Carol Klugman


Gold Meritorious ($1 million): Marcel Roelofs


Gold Meritorious ($1 million): Georg and Irin Kirsch



Gold Meritorious ($1 million): Dennis Romeiser and Simone Lorenzen


Gold Meritorious ($1 million): Julio Marquez and on the right Shigeru Saito


Gold Meritorious ($1 million): Herbert and Susanne Marks

And here’s a list of some of Scientology’s smaller cetaceans…

Silver Meritorious With Honors ($750,000)

Dmitry Federov and Nina Reznikova
Ada Gentsel

Rudi and Claire Loehwing
Chieko Mabe
Marco and Ingrid Mayer
Wolf and Sabine Mayer
Alt and Emmett Osborn
Hans Ruscheweyh

Silver Meritorious ($500,000)

David Achilli
Richard Eisenboeck and Simone Hafenmayer
Stephen Kearney
William King
Linda Lagemann
Maria Lara
Giacomo Lopiparo
Warren and LeAnn Meyer
Heiko and Diana Paul
Giovanni Rusconi and Patrizia Brambilla
Paul and Amy Seymour
Yafit Toledo
Makob and Billie Wegmann
Fabrizio Zampetti and Sonia Guacci

Patron Meritorious ($250,000)

Andreas and Marianne Altheimer
Martha Ballestros and Javier Ramirez
Bruno and Mary Bergeron
Adrian Hayman
Aaron and Dani Kyro
Thorsten Overgaard and Joy Villa
Veronica Rodriguez Martinez
Rani Ronen and Orit Young
David and Jodi Weissberg
Jeff Wentzell

Patron With Honors ($100,000)

Carlos Alonso and Judith Francas
Marco Antonnuci
Ben, Peter and Helen Asberg
Davide Balconi
Manuel Burkhardt
Jose Cabrera
Henry Dornheim
Trinita Fitzgibbon
Helmuth Grimm and Lynette Barry
Blanca Hernandez
Hitoshi Ikeda
Martin Kanstrup
Mikhail Kulikov
Antonio Lombardi and Grazia Mannea
John and Marianne Marburger
Victor and Alonso Mendoza
Andre Pierre and Denise-Joelle Devatine
Katharina Laiss Prinz
Francesca Rusconi
Matt and Alexis Salisbury
Diane and Paul Stein
Patrick and Dianne Stojak
Lars Winther

Notable among those missing from this year’s issue are Grant and Elena Cardone, who were celebrated last year for reaching Patron Laureate, at $10 million. Come on, Grant, couldn’t come up with a couple million this year to make Platinum Laureate? Slacker.


HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,673 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,776 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,270 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,310 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,022 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 489 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,607 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,777 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,097 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,072 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 428 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,730 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 837 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,239 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,112 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 693 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,198 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,442 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,551 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on February 24, 2017 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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. 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.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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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