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Scientologist ‘Dapper CEO’ Vick Tipnes wins victory against discrimination lawsuit in Tampa

The last time we told you about dapper Blackstone Medical Services CEO Vick Tipnes, the London-born Florida entrepreneur was being sued by an employee named David Bunting who complained that Tipnes had tried to force him into Scientology.

We’re seeing these sorts of lawsuits pop up pretty regularly — a new one was filed in South Carolina just a few days ago (2nd item) when an employee sued a Columbia chiropractor, accusing him of trying to force Scientology on her.

In Florida, Bunting complained that Tipnes, whose company deals in equipment for testing sleep disorders, wanted Bunting to increase his productivity by taking Scientology courses. Bunting’s lawsuit claimed religious discrimination.

But Tipnes successfully challenged Bunting’s lawsuit with a motion for summary judgment when he convinced a Tampa federal judge that the real reason he fired Bunting was for his declining productivity. In granting the motion and dismissing the lawsuit this week, the court said that Bunting had failed to prove that his refusal to get involved in Scientology was the real reason for his firing, and not his declining number of sales calls.


The judge who made that call was Tampa federal jurist Steven Merryday.

Ah, now there’s a name we know well. It was Merryday who in 2011 dismissed another lawsuit that was trying to make a case that Scientology was the real reason behind a contested event: the 2007 death of Kyle Brennan.

Clearwater Police determined that Brennan, a mentally troubled 20-year-old, had taken his own life with his father’s firearm. Kyle’s mother, Victoria Britton, and her attorney, Ken Dandar, pointed to troubling problems in the police investigation and the behavior of Kyle’s father Tom Brennan, a Scientologist, to suggest that Tom Brennan’s relationship with his auditor, Denise Miscavige, twin sister to Scientology leader David Miscavige, was suspicious and suggested that Scientology had wanted Kyle “handled” in a way that resulted in his death.

It was Merryday who dismissed that lawsuit saying it lacked evidence to back up that narrative.

And now, Merryday again has dismissed a lawsuit blaming Scientology without allowing it to go to trial.

“Unfortunately, this is what happens all too often in federal court. Judges dismiss claims that should be decided by juries,” says Bunting’s attorney, Richard Celler. “Summary judgment has become a vehicle for judges to decide cases themselves in violation of the fundamental right to a jury trial. This has become all too common for employees, especially in Florida.”

Celler says that his team is evaluating Bunting’s options for appeal.

Tipnes attorney Hunter Chamberlin made us aware of the court decision yesterday. We sent him a number of questions for Tipnes about other recent Scientology court decisions and “Ideal Org” openings to see if he wanted to comment about Scientology’s recent winning streak in the wake of his court victory. We’ll let you know if he gets back to us.


Here’s the court decision…


Bunting v. Blackstone Medical: Order by Tony Ortega on Scribd


Hungary comes down hard on Scientology’s handling of private data

Just in this morning from our man in Budapest, Peter Bonyai: The Hungarian government has released a 129-page ruling on its investigation of the Church of Scientology’s handling of private data, and it is harsh.

“They breached their obligation to provide prior information, the principles of purpose limitation and fairness in data processing, they failed to meet the data security requirement, and also pursue data processing without appropriate legal basis,” the ruling reads. “The Authority hereby prohibits the Data Controllers from unlawful data processing, and requires them both to comply with this within 30 days of the delivery of this Decision in the following way…”

We’re just getting a good look at this document, and we’ll have more about it from our experts later. Read through it and let us know your reaction….


Hungary Ruling on Scientology private data handling by Tony Ortega on Scribd


Nan McLean gets a new closeup

If you’ve read our book on Paulette Cooper, you know that one person who was vital to helping Paulette survive an onslaught of Guardian’s Office intimidation and harassment was an Ontario grandmother by the name of Nan McLean. At 94, Nan is still a treasure, and we were happy not only to talk to her for our book but also to see her in Toronto in 2015 for Jon Atack’s conference. We also highlighted a 1973 documentary featuring Nan which recently made its way online.

And now, there’s an interesting new in-depth article which goes into original documents about the harassment that Nan and her family experienced in the 1970s. We’re very glad to see Nan getting this kind of attention.


Make your plans now!

Head over to our HowdyCon 2018 website to start making your travel plans!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,039 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,642 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 185 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,248 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,022 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,796 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,142 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,636 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,676 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,388 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 914 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,003 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,143 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,463 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,438 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 794 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,096 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,202 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,605 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,477 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,059 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,564 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,808 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,917 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on February 28, 2018 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, 1995-2017 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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