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Scientology fires back at the Garcias, but reveals absolutely bonkers ‘arbitration’ instructions

[Mike Ellis and Judge James Whittemore]

In October, the Church of Scientology held its first-ever internal arbitration procedure. It heard the case of Luis and Rocio Garcia, former members who had given about a million dollars to the church and wanted a good portion of it back.

The Garcias sued the church claiming fraud, but a Tampa federal judge, James Whittemore, stayed their lawsuit and agreed with the church that contracts the Garcias had signed as Scientologists obliged them to take their grievance to the internal arbitration — even though the church had never actually carried one out before.

The arbitration was held October 23 and 24 in Los Angeles, and the panel of three Scientologists decided to give the Garcias $18,495.36 — money that reflected what the couple had put on account for accommodations at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater and for the Freewinds cruise ship but that they will never use.

The Garcias refused the money, and then filed a motion in Whittemore’s court calling the procedure a farce. It also accused the church of lying to Whittemore about how the arbitration would be run.

Now, Scientology has fired back with a filing that counters the objections raised by the Garcias, but we noticed that its answer included some pretty interesting admissions. Will they matter to Judge Whittemore? We really don’t know.


The Garcias complained that they had turned over hundreds of pages of evidence they wanted the panel to examine, but the “International Justice Chief,” Mike Ellis, refused to give the panel all but 70 pages of it. In its response, Scientology argues that Ellis was merely removing material that was “irrelevant” to the procedure.

The Garcias pointed out that Judge Whittemore had told Scientology (and the Garcias, for that matter) not to try to influence the panel in any way. But the entire first day of the two-day arbitration was taken up by Ellis “hatting” the panel, the Garcias complained. In its response, Scientology says Ellis only spent about an hour with the panel.

The Garcias were told they couldn’t bring their attorney, Ted Babbitt, to the proceeding, but Luis’s smartphone revealed on the afternoon of the second first day that Scientology’s attorney, Gary Soter, was somewhere in the building running a wifi hotspot. In its response, Scientology conceded that Soter was on the premises, but claims that he was there — late on the first day — in order to answer questions in case Ted Babbitt had come (even though the Garcias had been told not to bring him).

The Scientology response is slick, as you can see for yourself below, but will it satisfy Judge Whittemore? What the Garcias could use at this point is the judge ordering an evidentiary hearing to probe both sides about what happened at the arbitration.

If that happens, the central question will be this: Did the Garcias get a fair hearing from the Scientologists on the panel, or was it such an unfair miscarriage of justice that Judge Whittemore is convinced that the Garcia lawsuit should be revived?

As to the arbitration’s fairness, Scientology submitted a document written by Ellis which included his instructions to the arbitrating panel. And wow, it’s a doozy.

Just get a look at the Scientologese in this wacky instruction to the panel, telling them essentially, “we know we’ve been telling you that suppressives like the Garcias are evil fuckwads with lots of secret evil intentions (‘withholds’), but you need to set that aside and pretend that the Garcias are not fire-breathing alien devil-bats from the planet Exnoo and give them a fair shake.”

Here’s the IJC’s actual language…

This proceeding is to be conducted in accordance with the Scientology Justice Policies as written by L. Ron Hubbard using Scientology justice procedures. Only relevant data, presented in accordance with Church policy, will be considered. Any questions of relevance will be decided by me pursuant to Scientology justice. Added inapplicable data, hearsay, third party, entheta or other irrelevance will not be admitted. Keep your TRs in while dealing with persons declared Suppressive, who dramatize missed withholds. It is unfortunate that no-gain cases generalize entheta and attempt to ARC break others; their overts are continuous, they have withholds and they cannot communicate freely. With good 8C and a good comm cycle, you can get the job done. This will require not allowing added itsa or the commission of further counter-survival acts across the dynamics, such as spreading rumors about prominent persons in Scientology, giving fragmentary or generalized reports about entheta, non-compliance with instructions or snarling about justice. It is expected that this arbitration will be carried out in alignment with L. Ron Hubbard policies on refunds and justice without alter-is.

You are to conduct this arbitration in a fair and neutral manner, notwithstanding the Garcias have been declared.

Come on now — that has to go down in history as one of the all-time most messed-up Scientology utterances of all time, doesn’t it? We can’t wait to see Judge Whittemore’s reaction to it.

Here’s the Scientology response itself…


Garcia v. Scientology, Def. Opposition to Vacate by Tony Ortega on Scribd

And the arbitration instructions that Ellis gave to the panel…


Garcia v. Scientology, Exhibit: Arbitration Instructions by Tony Ortega on Scribd


Scientology scores a victory in Hungary, but not the battle we’ve been watching

You might have seen some reports on social media yesterday that the Church of Scientology had won a court victory yesterday erasing the gains made by police there. We asked our man in Budapest, Péter Bonyai, to explain what’s going on…

According to the new article, the original search warrant that authorized the police raid has been cancelled by the appellate court, citing that the police presence and actions were disproportional and excessive when compared to the nature and gravity of the accusations and suspicions. As a consequence, the police have to give back every document and device seized during the original raid.

But note that there are three separate official investigations directed against the Church in Hungary.

The police investigation has definitely suffered a setback with this.

But the Church is also being investigated for tax fraud. This is separate from the police investigation, not affected by this ruling and conducted by the National Tax Authority. As far as I know, they are making progress and even conducted a no-notice inspection last week. The main point of contention is reportedly the validity of Scientology’s claims regarding the religious nature of the services offered (if the services are deemed to be commercial in nature, the Church will face a huge tax bill due to having to apply VAT to all payments made for services for the last five years).

The third is the procedure initiated by the data protection (privacy) agency. The Church has appealed against the 129-page resolution and it will most probably turn into a lengthy court battle.

— Péter Bonyai


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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,035 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,638 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 181 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,244 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,018 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,792 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,138 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,632 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,672 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,384 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 910 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,999 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,139 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,459 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,434 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 790 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,092 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,198 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,601 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,473 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,055 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,560 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,804 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,913 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on February 24, 2018 at 07:00

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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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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