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Garcia case update: Has Judge Whittemore managed to fill a Scientology arbitrating panel?

There are new court filings in the Garcia fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, and two new dates to put on your calendar.

This Tuesday, there will be a hearing at Judge James Whittemore’s Tampa courtroom that was moved up a few days to avoid a calendar conflict. At that hearing, we expect the judge to discuss another document in the file, which reveals that both sides have agreed on the start of arbitration to begin in the Los Angeles area on October 23.

Hey, wait a minute. The start of arbitration, in this case? Does that mean that Judge W pulled off a miracle?

If you’ve been following along in our coverage of this case, you know that Luis and Rocio Garcia, an Irvine couple, filed a fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology in Tampa in 2013, saying that they’d been lied to by the church to convince them to turn over several hundred thousand dollars in donations. Two years later, Judge Whittemore put the lawsuit on hold and told the Garcias that they would have to abide by contracts they’d signed which called for them to submit their grievances to Scientology’s internal arbitration scheme.


Top former officials testified that Scientology has no arbitration scheme, and that the contracts the Garcias signed were purposely written to keep members from obtaining refunds. But Whittemore stood firm, and told the two sides to find a way to arbitrate using Scientology’s rules. Two years later, the two sides were still squabbling over how to seat a panel of three arbitrators made up of Scientology members in good standing. At that point, Whittemore took over and said he’d seat the panel himself. He then sent out a letter to Los Angeles-area Scientologists, asking them to volunteer to sit on the arbitrating panel, and instructing them not to go running to the church to discuss it.

Knowing the hold Scientology has over its members, we figured that was a tall order. But the way Judge Whittemore is acting in these most recent filings, he gives the impression that his letter campaign may have worked.

We’ll certainly be curious to find out if that’s the case after Tuesday’s meeting. We’ll have more then.


Mark Plummer gets dozens of Scientology Facebook pages yanked down

Mark “Warrior” Plummer tells us that one day in July, he noticed something about a Facebook page for one of Scientology’s Narconon drug rehab clinics.

He doesn’t want to give away precisely what he noticed, but he realized that the Narconon page was in violation of Facebook’s rules. So he reported it.

To his surprise, Facebook pretty quickly took the page down.

Since then, he’s been looking at other Scientology pages, and when he sees the same problem, he reports it.

As of yesterday, he tells us, his campaign has resulted in 32 pages being pulled, including pages for Narconon rehabs, a couple of CCHR chapters, several Criminon pages, and even a “What is Scientology” page.


Um, wow. We’re so used to the online giants like Google bending over backwards for Scientology, this really took us by surprise.

We’ll be very curious to see how many other pages Plummer manages to get pulled down, and what the church does about it.


[Mark Plummer, left, with John Peeler]


Your proprietor on KABC 790 with John and Jillian

We always enjoy spending drive time in Los Angeles with our friends at 790-AM



Bonus items from our tipsters

Our man in Perth, What’sup, drove by Scientology’s future “Ideal Org” and snapped this photo.


Says What’sup: “This is a backstreet, not even a footpath on either side of street. Taken late Saturday morning. 3 cars in lot. $6 million doesn’t get you very much these days, huh?”

No, it sure doesn’t. But it sure is good to hear from our friend at the other end of the world…



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,840 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,823 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,597 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,943 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,437 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,477 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,189 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 715 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,804 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,944 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,264 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,239 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 595 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,897 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,004 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,406 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,279 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 860 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,365 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,609 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,718 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 12, 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 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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