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We have the letter Scientologists are receiving from a federal judge!

[Illustration by Observer]

On Wednesday, we told you that Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore informed the Church of Scientology that arbitration was “imminent” in the Luis and Rocio Garcia case. Now, just a couple of days later, we’re not so sure.

Judge Whittemore followed up his ruling by placing into the court file a copy of the letter that he’s apparently just now sending out to 20 Los Angeles-area Scientologists out of a list of 500 members in good standing and their contact information that the church supplied him under seal.

We have a copy of that letter, and we have to ask our readers, especially those who were Church of Scientology members, how do you think you would react to receiving such a letter? Should Judge Whittemore be so confident that he’ll so quickly find three Scientologists to be seated as arbitrators and sit in judgment of their church?

The quick recap: The Garcias, a California couple, filed their fraud lawsuit against the church in 2013, but two years later Whittemore decided that the Garcias were bound to follow contracts they had signed as church members which required them to take their grievances to Scientology’s internal arbitration scheme (a scheme which, former top church officials testified, didn’t actually exist; they claimed that the contracts were shams intended to keep Scientologists from getting refunds).

After Whittemore stayed the lawsuit and ordered the Garcias to submit to the church’s arbitration scheme, the two sides clashed over how to find arbitrators, which the church insisted had to be members in good standing. After two years of bickering, Whittemore was fed up and asked Scientology’s attorneys to submit an application so he could legally step in. He asked the church to turn over the list of members in the LA area, and now his job is to find three of them to volunteer to be arbitrators — without them running to the church to ask for advice. It’s tricky.


So here’s the text of the letter that the judge is sending out…

Dear —-

The Honorable James D. Whittemore presides over a lawsuit between two former Scientologists and two Scientology churches. At the request of the Scientology churches, and pursuant to the arbitration provision of the Scientology Enrollment Agreements entered into by the parties, the parties have been directed to arbitrate their dispute.

You have been identified by the Church of Scientology as a Scientologist in good standing, and therefore qualify to serve as an arbitrator. The purpose of this correspondence is to confirm your availability to serve as one of three arbitrators. Once selected, the arbitrators will be instructed by the International Justice Chief of the requirement of applying Scientology principles to the dispute in a neutral and fair manner. The arbitration will take place in the greater Los Angeles area within the next three months, at a location to be determined.

To preserve the integrity of the arbitration, it is important that you not discuss this matter with others, unless directed to by the court. Any communication, including your response to this correspondence, should be made in writing directly to:

The Honorable James D. Whittmore, United States District Judge
c/o Clerk of Court for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
George C. Young U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building
401 West Central Boulevard
Room 1200
Orlando, Florida 32801

Please answer one of the following questions and return your response on or before July 12, 2017 in the enclosed envelope. Your information has not been and will not be used for any purpose other than the selection of arbitrators. On behalf of the parties, your consideration is greatly appreciated.


Clerk, United States District Court, Middle District of Florida

___ I am available to serve as an arbitrator.

___ I am unavailable to serve as an arbitrator.

Former church members, you tell us: How are current members going to react to getting this letter? What are the odds that the judge can put together a panel relatively quickly?

Whittemore has scheduled a hearing for August 21, so it appears he’s pretty confident that he’ll get the job done, and quickly.

Should he be?

Here’s the document…

247 - Order on Hearing


A message from Victoria Britton

Here’s what we heard from Victoria…

Finally, after much delay, Kyle’s memorial headstone has been set. I’m truly grateful to you and the Bunker folks who helped make this possible. The photo of the smaller granite is from Ireland, a place Kyle longed to visit. When John McGhee heard this and realized it would never be, he purchased the granite to place on his grave. Once again, I’d like to express a heartfelt thank you!



HowdyCon discussed on Denver radio

We have to admit this is rather surreal for us. We’ve been on the Peter Boyles radio show in Denver several times, and we were actually in studio with him when we visited for our book tour in 2015.

We didn’t hit him up for publicity on HowdyCon, our recent annual meetup, because it was only a private party and we weren’t trying to market it to the public in general.

We did notify our old friend at the Denver Westword, Alan Prendergast, because we thought he’d enjoy joining us for the talks on Saturday night. We didn’t know that he’d write a piece about it for the publication, and that it would get him invited onto Peter’s show! We think you’ll enjoy their discussion about HowdyCon, Scientology, and other odd groups.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,797 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,554 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,900 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,394 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,434 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,146 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 672 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,761 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,901 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,221 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,196 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 552 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,854 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 961 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,363 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,236 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 817 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,322 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,566 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,675 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 30, 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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