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Joy Villa on the prospect of Trump going after Scientology’s tax-exempt status: ‘Nope’

Scientology celeb Joy Villa is getting a ton of ink this week for her complaint that former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski slapped her butt inappropriately at a social gathering in November.

What we hadn’t seen her comment on, however, was the recent report by Huffington Post reporter Yashar Ali that Joy’s MAGA benefactor, Donald Trump, told his longtime aide Lynne Patton that he’s in favor of pulling the Church of Scientology’s tax exempt status.

Yesterday, however, one of our readers managed to get a response out of the pop singer at one of her Facebook accounts, and it looks like Joy doesn’t believe that the president will follow through on that desire to clip Scientology’s wings…



There was some confusion after Yashar’s story about whether Trump could actually do something about Scientology’s tax exempt status even if he wanted to. But we had previously researched that situation and pointed out that yes, one of the three people in the country who could, by law, order an investigation of Scientology’s status is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who works directly for the president.

So if Trump really would like to see Scientology challenged, as Patton alleged, then there’s a clear avenue for him to take. But Joy Villa seems to think that the president isn’t raring to take a run at the church.

We really have no idea if she’s right about that or not. At this point, we’re still marveling that a talent-challenged Scientology celebrity wannabe we used to monitor for her exercises in obscurity is now international news for her sexual assault claim, which has even eclipsed her Congressional ambitions. What a country.


In August, Leah Remini came back in the strongest way possible

[Saina Kamula and Mirriam Francis]

We’re continuing to look back at 2017’s most significant stories here at the Underground Bunker and today it’s a flashback to August in our annual Scientology year-in-review.

We started out the month by looking at a sermon by Clearwater pastor Willy Rice, who had hoped to host a taping of a Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath episode at his church. But even after that didn’t pan out, he said to his flock that he stood by things he had said about Scientology and its effect on their town.

The next day, Carol Nyburg became the latest to discuss her involvement in a television series about Scientology disconnection that hasn’t aired. Carol’s episode was about her painful separation from her daughter, but she also had good news for us — her son chose her over Scientology, and a new relationship for her has resulted in marriage.

In August we also got a new look inside the Super Power Building (given the bland moniker “Flag Building” after it was opened in 2013). This is one of the great monuments built to David Miscavige’s hubris. It’s massive, the features inside are ludicrous on a scale even L. Ron Hubbard never imagined, and we see no evidence that it’s having any effect on spreading Scientology. Once again, we claim dibs on the Oiliness Table once this thing goes belly up.

Although it was still summer, Leah Remini’s new season of ‘Aftermath’ was slated to start ahead of the regular fall television schedule, and it was up for an Emmy award, to boot. Early in August, the media expectation for the new season was building, and the show won a Television Critics Award. We talked to Mike Rinder about the effect he thought the show was having on Scientology itself. Leah, meanwhile, visited with Stephen Colbert.

In order to provide a curtain-raiser for Leah’s second season, the Hollywood Reporter posted a story about court documents being forged — but we felt a need to provide some clarification, that it wasn’t the Church of Scientology that was involved, even though there’s no doubt it was an alarming abuse of the courts. In our own curtain-raiser on the second season, we talked to Jeffrey Augustine about the barriers to a new IRS investigation of Scientology.

And when Leah did start her second season, what a nuclear bomb she led with. The stories of child molestation and child neglect — and its coverup — told by Mirriam Francis and Saina Kamula were heartbreaking, and set the tone for Leah’s new run at the church. We followed up with Mirriam and Saina the next day, asking them about their disappointing interaction with the LAPD.

We then pointed out that one of the Scientologists helping to promote an anti-Aftermath petition was Danny Masterson, as well as someone who has worked for him, Michael Peña’s wife Brie Shaffer. In fact, we pointed out that Shaffer is actually listed as a witness on the police report for one of the alleged rape incidents filed by a Masterson accuser. How curious!

As we had predicted, once Clearwater’s Pastor Willy Rice voiced some pretty strong opinions about Scientology, he became the subject of his own smear video posted by the church.

August 21 was really a historic day for us. Not only did we make the file from the 2009-2010 FBI investigation of the Church of Scientology fully public for the first time, but much more importantly, we stood in the shadow of the moon that morning in Madras, Oregon, for what turned out to be a glorious total solar eclipse — and we were fortunate to have Jefferson Hawkins along with us. What a moment.


Two days later, R.M. Seibert was back with even more documents showing how much Scientology is relying on R-1 religious visas to staff their Sea Org bases. It’s almost like no one in the U.S. wants to sign a billion-year contract and work for pennies an hour anymore.

On August 25, we joined a chorus of folks online who were demonstrating that Scientology’s “grass-roots” group, the STAND League, was as fake as astro turf. It’s amazing that Scientology attacks Leah Remini with this bot army.

Thanks to journalist Emma Best, the FBI coughed up new Scientology-related documents in August, and we got a look, for example, at records showing that the FBI had looked into complaints against the Anonymous movement in 2008. Tabloid media, meanwhile, turned some of the new documents into pure nonsense, of course.

On August 29, we were on hand for the San Antonio hearing over compelling the Rathbuns to testify, but their expensive lawyer successfully derailed the motion with an argument over jurisdiction. Ray Jeffrey and his colleagues can refile their motion in the county where the Rathbuns live, and the last time we checked they were still trying to decide whether to do that.

Among the new FBI documents coming out, there were declarations by L. Ron Hubbard Jr. (also known as “Nibs” and “Ron DeWolf”), which included some harsh things about his famous father being a junkie and sex pervert. It proved to be one of our most popular stories all year.

And on the month’s final day, we reviewed several signs that Scientology was losing its mind over Leah Remini’s series. “What we didn’t predict is just how unhinged Scientology’s attacks have become, and so reckless. We can’t help wondering if the wheels haven’t simply fallen off the crazy train.”

1. DOX: L. Ron Hubbard’s son called him a junkie and sex pervert in FBI’s Scientology files
2. As Leah Remini’s second season hammers away, Scientology is losing its mind
3. Celebrity battle lines: Michael Peña’s wife asks Scientologists to ‘Stand with Daniel Masterson’
4. Leah Remini goes there: Child molestation in Scientology for tonight’s ‘Aftermath’ premiere
5. Stephen Colbert: Do you believe Scientology is a religion at all? Leah Remini: No

A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2016: Scientology didn’t make us feel very welcome at its Harlem grand opening. Life in retirement looks pretty good for Scientology’s notorious dirty trickster, Eugene Ingram. In the presidential campaign, a lot of comparisons between Donald Trump and L. Ron Hubbard were being made, but we pointed out that it was the Clinton White House that had serious Scientology baggage.

A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2015: Steve Fishman, of the famous Fishman Papers, is doing serious time for a bizarre crime. Tom Cruise gave a speech in Spanish, and turned up at a Scientology org in Colombia. And Paulette Cooper had an amazing encounter in Europe.

A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2014: We remembered Denise Brennan on the occasion of her passing. Mary Sue Hubbard’s house finally went up for sale, as we had predicted. And Kim Poff and Michael DeLong filed lawsuits over the troubling behavior of Oklahoma state officials who were too afraid to take on Scientology.

A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2013: Leah Remini filed a missing-person report on Shelly Miscavige, PZ Myers read A History of Man with us, Gerry Armstrong helped us tell his tale, and Monique Rathbun filed her harassment lawsuit.

Five of our favorites from the most-upvoted comments of August 2017

August 4: Mat Pesch
Flag claims to have put 4,000 public through the “Super Power Rundown” in 4 years which is an average of about 3 people per week. When I printed out a list of public who had done $1,000 worth of service at Flag over a 3 year period, it was only 5,000 names. That means about 80% (4,000/5,000) of Flags active public have already done the service. One can expect that the public rate of completion at this time is probably average 1 to 2 people per week. Realize that the building is HUGE. It takes up a city block and is about 100 feet tall. All of the Scientology delivery in the world could be done in this building. The building cost in the neighborhood of $100 million. While Scientology is known for its huge, fancy, expensive buildings that sit empty, this one takes the cake. It should be recognized as the most unutilized building in the world with Miscaviges office building at the Int base taking a close second. I guess the money needs to be spent somewhere to maintain tax exempt status. The buildings also look impressive in promotional videos and magazines.

August 11: Len Zinberg
If successfully prosecuting Scientology for its crimes and abuses was an easy task, it would’ve happened already. That it will not be easy should only strengthen our resolve, because we know it is necessary.

August 14: Luv2LuvEm
I just want to say, before all the new people flood into the Bunker after Season 2 starts tomorrow…I was one of them after Season 1 of Aftermath. The wonderful people in this forum are so genuinely kind, even to newcomers and that’s pretty rare in tight communities like this. I’ve learned SO much from you guys and I feel like even if I ask a “stupid” question the people here will take the time to sit down and explain things in a compassionate way. Morning is my favorite time now. I love that quiet time early before everyone is up, when I get my coffee, read Tony’s article and then spend hours going through all the comments. I get up extra early now because I look forward to it so much. You guys are awesome.

August 15: Princess Poopypants
Hate? Let me tell you a little about a hate group. Yeah. I have not said much about my mom, except that she disconnected from me in 2004. Well, here is a little about Scientology and hate. I had a very hard time with my mom. All my life. This is how I remember it. It may not be how she remembers it. I don’t know. She joined the Sea Org when I was 3 years old. (She is still there, 40 years later). I remember many days standing at the fence of the daycare screaming for my mom to come back. Because I knew some days, the sun would go up, then down, then up, then down, then up, then down again, many, many, many, MANY times before I would see her again. Later I found out it was weeks or months. I remember one time, I had not seen her for months. I saw her coming from across the street. I was so excited to see her. I don’t know why, but she would not come inside the fence. She did, however, hand me the biggest apple I had ever seen. I was a big deal to me that day. But then very soon she had to go. No hug, she just left. Did I spend my whole childhood crying for my mom to visit me? Sure felt like it. There was a point when I locked up, though. I stopped crying. I stopped caring if she came or not. I even once stood on the side of the Fountain building, which was 5 stories up (I was 6 or 7) and thought about falling. I was not afraid to die. I was afraid of the consequences if I lived. What gets a child to the point of thinking like this? For years the relationship between my mom and I was very, very rough. It was always one or the other of us trying to mend things, but neither of us at the same time. Mending never happened. Ever. Then sometime in the 90’s (I would have been in my 20’s), I made the huge mistake of doing sessions on her. I won’t talk about the sessions themselves, ever, but at that time I found out that my mom had labeled me an SP when I was 5 years old, and had been treating me as an SP since then. That fucking hurt so much. So so so so much. It was like being stabbed in the heart with a dagger. It was over for me. Any thought of repairing my relationship was gone from that moment on. And still, in this day, I have forgiven her for it. Not that she has ever asked for forgiveness. I will take her in my home and love her to the end of time. Scientology made her this way. She thinks it is ok to pretend she does not love her family. I don’t know my real mom. I only know this fake mom, molded by Scientology. She was taught to hate her own child.

August 17: Jefferson Hawkins
[The anti-Aftermath petition] indicates an all-out panic mode. Normally one would never mention an “entheta” article or show to the Scientology field. That’s Hubbard policy. I don’t have the reference handy as I pulped all my OEC Volumes 12 years ago, but old timers will remember. You never call attention to entheta articles or shows – because Scientologists might get curious and read or watch them. So they are taking a gamble that Scientologists will meekly sign the petition and not look at the show. Good luck with that. Some will – more than they will ever know. No question that this is a coordinated effort and that Scientologists are being ordered to sign it. Staff will simply be marched to computer terminals and forced to sign. Public will no doubt have to turn in a “compliance report” that they have signed the petition, and these will be reported to OSA, who will report the totals to Dave Miscavige. And Dave is probably screaming and yelling and threatening everyone within reach to get those petition totals up. It’s a weak move and will likely backfire. If the show is “lies,” then where is the lawsuit? Nowhere, of course. They will never take this to court as the evidence, presented under oath, would bury them.


Chris Shelton talks to Leah Farrow

You might remember our story about Leah Farrow and her time as a Sea Org worker on the Freewinds. Now Chris Shelton has spoken with her about her six years aboard Scientology’s private cruise ship.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,977 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 123 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,186 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,960 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,734 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,080 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,574 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,614 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,326 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 852 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,941 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,081 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,401 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,376 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 732 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,034 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,140 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,543 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,416 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 997 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,502 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,746 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,855 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 28, 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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