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Federal judge says he has the Scientologists for a justice panel, but Garcias say, ‘not so fast’

The Garcia litigation is enough to give us whiplash. As Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore pushes hard to get the case submitted to arbitration, it’s now the Garcias’ turn to say, “hold on there, judge.”

Back in 2013, the Garcias of Irvine, California, sued the Church of Scientology for fraud, saying that they had been deceived when they were pressured to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to the church’s various building projects. But Judge Whittemore sided with the church, saying that contracts the Garcias had signed while members required them to submit their grievances to Scientology’s internal arbitration scheme.

Top former church officials Mark “Marty” Rathbun and Mike Rinder testified that there were no internal arbitration procedures in Scientology, and that they had specifically written the contracts so that members could never get internal justice for their grievances. But even though he acknowledged that testimony, Judge Whittemore still told the Garcias to submit to arbitration run by the church (not independent arbitration) and he put their lawsuit on hold.

But then the two sides spent two years going in circles, unable to agree on how to sit a panel of three arbitrators, who Scientology insisted had to be members in good standing. Tired of the fighting, Judge Whittemore took matters into his own hands, and ruled that he would recruit and seat all three arbitrators himself, and he sent out letters to a selected list of Scientologists in the Los Angeles area. Scientology filed numerous motions objecting to the judge taking over, but Whittemore brushed them aside.


And Whittemore warned both sides that they better not interfere with the process. Specifically, he didn’t want the Scientologists he reached out to running to the church to ask them what was going on.

We found it hard to believe that the Scientologists who received his letter wouldn’t do exactly that, but we waited to see how it would turn out.

In a recent hearing in the case, Judge Whittemore announced that he had found the people he needs to seat the panel, and scheduled arbitration to start next month in Los Angeles.

But now the Garcias have filed a motion, expressing their extreme skepticism about the process, and asking for the Scientologists selected for the panel to submit sworn statements — the Garcias want them to swear that they did not violate the judge’s rules, and that they have not communicated with the church about the arbitration.

And why are the Garcias skeptical that the Scientologists didn’t quietly check with the church? Because if they didn’t do so, they risked their eternities.

Any Scientologist who communicated with a Court that potentially was judging Scientology without the permission of Scientology officials would be risking being declared suppressive. As such, the Scientologist would not only lose all friends and family but would be doomed not to have any chance of spiritual salvation for eternity. The fact that five out of twenty Scientologists polled agreed without condition to be arbitrators in this case amplifies the impossibility that the potential arbitrators have not talked to the Church.

The Garcias are also asking for some miscellaneous relief, such as a court reporter to record what happens in the arbitration proceedings, and they also restate their opposition to arbitration in general.

What do you think? Is there any chance that the five Scientologists in good standing who answered the judge’s letters and agreed to be on the panel didn’t immediately call the Office of Special Affairs to ask them about a Tampa court contacting them? And will they admit that in a sworn statement?

The judge seems pretty determined to get this arbitration over with, so he may make quick work of this objection by the Garcias. We’ll see soon enough.

Here’s the document…

Garcia v. Scientology: Motion for Misc Relief by Tony Ortega on Scribd


MLK Day at the Scientology compound

We just noticed that Paul Haggis, over at Mike Rinder’s website, named the two Scientology jackasses who leapt to their feet in outrage, protesting when Haggis dared to bring up civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when they were discussing Scientology leader David Miscavige.

Says Haggis…

It was LRH “biographer” and DM’s speechwriter Dan Sherman, who sat to my immediate left, and senior CoS executive Dave Bloomberg (famous for being the guy with the camcorder when Marty Rathbun was ambushed at LAX) who sat in the middle of the conference table…Sherman and Bloomberg who quite literally leapt to their feet to object to the insult of comparing DM to MLK – which of course I was not doing. I was, respectfully but rather doggedly, digging into the accusations made by the St Pete’s Times that alleged that DM had been physically abusive, trying to get anyone in the room to admit that even their revered leader was fallible. By way of illustrating what should be obvious, I suggested that even incredible men like MLK were human and made mistakes. That clearly outraged them, as I never even got to finish the sentence.

Haggis figures one of them might have been recording the session with a hidden camera, and so their vociferous defense of Miscavige was probably done knowing that DM could have viewed it later.

This anecdote was one of the highlights of Tuesday night’s episode, and we saw huge reaction to it on social media. So it’s fun to put some names and faces to the tale.

Here’s Dan Sherman, Scientology’s official L. Ron Hubbard biographer, who puts on a special show-and-tell presentation each March at the Hubbard Birthday celebration in Clearwater, Florida. For several years, we’ve lovingly referred to him as the Silver Mullet…


Dave Bloomberg was one of the trio who ambushed Marty Rathbun at LAX, as Paul pointed out. Here he is from a recent Scientology video…


Great job, guys.


Chris Shelton on Leah Remini’s impact

Says Chris: “This week I did an informal chat about some of the effects Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath is having on the world of Scientology and what we are seeing from Scientologists on social media. This season has also hit me hard personally because of the nature and people involved in some of the stories and I talk some about the impact the show is having on me as an ex-member as well.”



Bonus items from our tipsters





Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,880 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 26 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,089 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,863 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,637 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,983 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,477 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,517 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,229 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 755 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,844 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,984 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,304 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,279 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 635 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,937 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,044 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,446 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,319 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 900 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,405 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,649 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,758 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on September 21, 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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