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Scientology submits names of 500 members to federal court as ordered, but there’s a catch

[Scientology attorney Robert Potter and Judge James Whittemore]

Whoa, Nelly. We’re going to find out soon just how far the Church of Scientology can push an already amped-up federal judge.

Two weeks ago, we told you the bizarre new twist in Luis and Rocio Garcia’s 2013 federal fraud lawsuit, which had Tampa Judge James Whittemore becoming so fed up he took matters into his own hands. In 2015, Whittemore ruled that the Garcias had signed contracts which required them to take any disputes to Scientology’s internal arbitration and he stayed the lawsuit. Since then, both sides have been unable to select arbitrators, with each accusing the other of operating in bad faith.

Tired of the fighting, Whittemore asked Scientology’s attorneys to file a request that would enable the judge himself to intervene. He then ordered the church to submit to him in just 15 days the names and contact information of 500 Scientologists in good standing in the Los Angeles area. Whittemore said he would select three names at random to serve as arbitrators to get the two sides beyond the impasse, and if he found out that either side tried to interfere with the process or contacted any of the people he selected, he would impose sanctions, which could even result in jail time.

We now have Scientology’s response, which indicates that the document was filed along with a sealed envelope for the judge containing the 500 names — but just names, with no contact information.

Scientology says it believes that Whittemore contacting Scientologists directly would be diving too directly into the church’s internal matters. The church is asking Whittemore to choose one name at random, and then submit it to Scientology’s “International Justice Chief,” Mike Ellis, who will contact the chosen Scientologist to see if they are willing and able to serve as an arbitrator.


Any other procedure would inevitably lead to chaos. A Scientologist in good standing is unlikely to agree to participate in an arbitration proceeding without assurances from the IJC that the proceeding is authorized under Church law. If the Court were to contact a person it has selected, that person undoubtedly immediately would contact a local Church official or the IJC for information and advice, and quite possibly a lawyer.

Uh, yeah. We pointed out that exact problem two weeks ago.

Anyway, the upshot is, Whittemore asked for phone numbers, and Scientology is telling him to go fish.

Oh, and we did say that they are asking the judge to select just one name, not three.

You see, Scientology attorney Robert Potter reminds the judge that according to the church’s internal rules, the Garcias were supposed to select one arbitrator, the church would then select the second, and then those two arbitrators would choose a third.

The church has asked Whittemore to choose just one arbitrator from the list of 500 names as the Garcia’s choice, and then the church will reveal its choice for the second arbitrator, and so on.

So after Judge Whittemore pretty angrily put his foot down and said he’d select the entire three-person panel, Scientology is telling him he can only select one. And not by telephone.

We’ll be interested to see how the judge reacts to that.


Garcia v. Scientology: Defense Motion for Selecting Arbitrator by Tony Ortega on Scribd


Craving blood money? Scientology’s propaganda rag ‘Freedom’ needs a managing editor.


We want to thank our tipster who sent us the advertisement Freedom magazine put up this week seeking a managing editor.

Freedom has new Los Angeles offices in the Scientology Media Productions compound on Sunset Boulevard, so you know this is a sweet gig. For the last few years, Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige has turned Freedom, which was once a cartoonish attack dog, into a more staid and earnest publication which takes on the issues of the day with great gravity and not the least whiff of irony.

Take the most recent issue, for example, which is focused on the NSA and domestic surveillance, warning about government overreach. This is pretty rich coming from the organization that in the 1970s perpetrated the single largest infiltration of the federal government, resulting in 11 top church officials going to prison for conspiring to burglarize federal offices.


But holding your nose over Scientology’s hypocrisy is the least of your worries if you take the job. There’s the whole thing about working for David Miscavige, for example, and the tricky little problem of ever working for a legitimate publication afterwards. But hey, just think of the money. The money! Oh, it’s sweet.

Scientology knows you’re going to be throwing your journalism career away, so they pay two to three times what the market rate is for these jobs. And you’d be a moron not to try to jack them up even higher. They have the money to pay, believe us!

Here’s the magazine’s current masthead, according to the Freedom website…


And once again, we wonder, whatever happened to Jennifer Lankheim? She was editor in chief when the magazine went through its transition, and she really put her stamp on the publication. But then she vanished. Is she doing something else for Scientology? If you know, drop us a line.


Chris Shelton on undue influence

Says Chris: “Brainwashing, mind control, cohersive persuasion, undue influence and a myriad of other terms are used to describe what con men, destructive cults and other dishonest individuals and groups do to influence thought and behavior. In this video, I discuss what brainwashing is, where the concept comes from and some of the concepts that explain how it works including examples from my own time in Scientology and how they utilize some of these techniques on their members.”



Bonus items from our tipsters

Ooh, Kansas City putting the “fun” in fundraising…


While in Atlanta they celebrate one year since David Miscavige came to town



Countdown to Denver!


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 4,733 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,836 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,330 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,370 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,082 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 608 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,697 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,837 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,157 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,132 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 488 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,790 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 897 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,299 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,172 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 753 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,258 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,502 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,611 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on April 27, 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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