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Whale watching update: Your 2017 mid-year guide to who’s keeping Scientology alive

Our thanks to the tipster who sent us the new issue of Scientology’s Impact magazine! We adore Impact, the official publication of the International Association of Scientologists, because it lets us see who are the big donors propping up Scientology as it faces so many challenges around the world.

This is the mid-year issue, so it’s not as important as the copy of Impact which comes out early in the year to show us who was celebrated at the annual IAS Patrons Ball held in October, usually at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, England. The Saint Hill party is the one for Scientology’s biggest whales (our word for the really big donors) and even Tom Cruise is known to show up wearing his Freedom Medal of Valor as a special sop to the richies who turn over truly huge sums.

This mid-year issue is for another party called Maiden Voyage, the one held for a week on board Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds, to commemorate its launching under Scientology ownership in the summer of 1988. This issue of the magazine shows us which wealthy whales were celebrated aboard the Freewinds last month somewhere in the Caribbean.

We think the Saint Hill gala has a bit more prestige, but these folks who get trophies in June have also turned over piles and piles of money, and this is their time to shine.


Please check out our February story for a full rundown on how we know the amounts that are listed here, and for an overview of the biggest of the big donors. OK, here we go.


Patron: Jason & Sandy Kleiman, Dusti Woodbury, Valeria Busciolano & Leo Oriolo, Don Davis

In order to be named Patrons, these folks have reached a cumulative total of $50,000 each in giving to the IAS. It may have taken them years to reach this level, or it might have been a single donation. And keep in mind, this doesn’t count the amount of money they may have paid for expensive Scientology courses, or the many expenses that come with them (like spending a week on the church’s cruise ship, for example).


Patron with Honors: Ram Jagdat, Inger Serup, Joe Gailunas, Tina Tsai, Louis Feldman

According to Scientology’s own publications, you have to donate a cumulative total of $100,000 to the IAS to be named a Patron with Honors.



Patron Meritorious: Regina Ploner, Paula Shapiro, Valerie Margo, Lia Quarti & Angelo Civera

These donors have given a total of $250,000 each to the IAS.


Silver Meritorious: Eric & Karen Berg

Scientology’s caption: “Eric and Karen Berg hail from the Washington DC area. She serves as the Chairman for the local and regional OT Committees while Eric organizes and delivers seminars and serves as an FSM along the Eastern Seaboard. The respected healthcare professionals disseminate materials to peers and others to help raise awareness of the dangers of psychiatric abuse.”

The Bergs have ponied up $500,000 to the IAS in order to be named Silver Meritorious. And again, that’s not counting what they’ve spent for courses, costs, or other donations to Scientology causes, including donations to any future Ideal Org.


Silver Meritorious: Po Sau Tam

Scientology’s caption: “Raised in Hong Kong, Po Sau Tam is a long-serving OT Committee member in New York. Among her many achievements she has staged a series of successful Ideal Org events and carries the torch as an active IAS Field Disseminator. She accepted the award on behalf of herself and her husband Randy.”

Another $500,000 giver.


Silver Meritorious: Assaff & Narayanee Rawner

Scientology caption: “Assaff and Narayanee Rawner are from Scientology families spanning multiple generations. They lead a cutting-edge robotic camera company that garnered top honors from WISE for its unrelenting expansion. Together, they have 18 years of combined service on the national OT Committee where they lead a movement in the name of an OT United Kingdom.”

A $500,000 couple.


Silver Meritorious: Peter Somplatzky

Scientology’s caption: “Peter has resided at the helm of Dusseldorf’s OT Committee for the past five years. A Scientologist for almost three decades, he has guided people onto and up the Bridge for just as long. Today, he is helping to generate an IAS movement across all of Germany, and currently stands among the top producing IAS Field Disseminators worldwide.”

Another $500,000 man.


Gold Meritorious: Jim Speiser

Scientology’s caption: “A Gold Humanitarian Ideal Org builder for Cincinnati, Jim Speiser is leading the charge to get Columbus to Ideal through a series of successful energy drive events. The accomplished veterinarian is an interned Golden Age of Tech Phase II Class IV Auditor and is also an active contributor to the Global Salvage campaigns.”

Now we’re getting into major whale territory. Jim has reached a real milestone, giving at least $1 million in cumulative donations to reach this level.


Gold Meritorious With Honors: Steve & Peggy Oppenheim-Fabos

Scientology’s caption: “Steve and Peggy Oppenheim-Fabos are a multitasking pair who have earned the status of Silver Civilization Builders for their own Ideal Org in Denver. They are also ranking contributors for San Diego, Salt Lake City, Hawaii, Detroit and Silicon Valley Orgs and they are currently leading the drive to expand the Mile-High City to beyond the size of Old Saint Hill.”

We estimate that adding “With Honors” to their status means that Steve & Peggy have donated a cumulative total of about $1.5 million.


Gold Meritorious With Honors: Dennis McKenna

Scientology’s caption: “Having led the Sacramento Ideal Org change in the Golden State’s Capital, Dennis McKenna is on a crusade to make all orgs Ideal. The OT Committee Expansion Team Leader’s energy drives have taken him from Austin and Atlanta to Milano and Budapest — living up to his title as a Legend of the Ideal Org Crusade.”

Another $1.5 million donor.


Diamond Laureate: Tom & Victoria Cummins

Scientology’s caption: “Tom and Victoria Cummins epitomize leading Flag OTs in this Golden Age of Scientology. Year after year, they circle the globe in support of the IAS and Ideal Orgs, venturing from Taiwan and Australia to Italy and Denmark. Wherever they touch down, they inspire and motivate others on the path to OT. Tom has established himself as one of the foremost IAS Field Disseminators on Earth. And, together, they are a dynamic duo doing their part to propel the Ideal Org movement.”

According to the conservative progression of status values that we have established after talking with former Scientologists familiar with IAS donations, we estimate that “Diamond Laureate” is reached after donations totaling $15 million. So this is one loaded Florida couple! (We often see Tom in photographs of Scientology events that make their way to social media.)

OK, readers, it’s your turn. Let us know what you can about these fat cats and their Scientology involvement.

We always love to see what our commenters manage to dig up for us!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,812 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,569 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,915 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,409 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,449 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,161 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 687 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,776 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,916 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,236 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,211 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 567 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,869 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 976 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,378 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,251 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 832 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,337 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,581 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,690 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on July 15, 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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