Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Help us dig through this financial disclosure by Scientology’s sneaky front groups

[ABLE president Shannon Walker]

Once again our great tipsters came through with a cool new document, and we’re looking forward to our smart commenters digging through it for us.

What we’re talking about is the newly available 2016 tax return from the Association for Better Living and Education. ABLE is a Scientology entity that runs many of the various sneaky front groups that try to forward L. Ron Hubbard’s ideas in schools (Applied Scholastic), in drug rehab (Narconon), in prisons (Criminon), and for handing out anodyne little booklets to convince the public that Scientology has an actual moral code and isn’t an unethical pack of narcissists who will say anything for the purpose of Keeping Scientology Working (The Way to Happiness Foundation).

ABLE is run entirely by Sea Org lifers who wouldn’t tie their shoes unless David Miscavige told them to. But the front groups try to pretend that they have only a tenuous tie to the Church of Scientology itself.

So how is ABLE doing? A few highlights we gleaned after looking through the document:

— Gross receipts were $9.8 million in 2016, down from $13.2 million the year before.

— Total assets were $8.0 million, down a little from $8.7 million in 2015.
— Net assets also declined a little, $6.3 million in 2016 after $6.5 million in 2015.

The president of ABLE is now listed as Shannon Walker (whom we previously identified when Narconon went through a big change at the end of 2015).

Her predecessor, Rena Weinberg, is still a ghost.

One significant difference was in ABLE’s spending on legal services. In 2015, ABLE’s top five independent contractors were all law firms, and spending on them totaled $1.8 million.

In 2016, the top five were also law firms, but the spending had increased to nearly $3.9 million.

For a little perspective, we asked former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder to glance over the new tax return.

“Obviously, their revenues went down significantly — which is not in keeping with the massive international expansion that Miscavige always touts,” Rinder says. “And it’s funny how their employees list their hours of work per week as 40. This is clearly a lie. These are all Sea Org members. There isn’t an SO member on earth that works only 40 hours a week. They spent a HUGE percentage of their revenues on lawyers — nearly $4 million in a year. And this is just the ones that ABLE pays. Also, it’s odd that they only list Canada, Denmark, and the UK as having foreign accounts they have an interest in? You would think it would be all the ‘Conts’ — Mexico, Australia, S. Africa?”

Interesting question. And we’re sure that our various experts like John P and Derek Bloch will have things to say after looking through these numbers. Have at it!


ABLE 990 Form 2016 by Tony Ortega on Scribd


SMERSH Madness 2018

Today we continue the second round of our big dance featuring the people we think are working hardest to defend Scientology against its enemies. These are not only Scientologists, but also the people who enable the church as it works against its foes. Which of them do you think deserves the most recognition for Keeping Scientology Working, spreading disconnection, and litigating former Scientologists into the ground?

Today’s match features our #7 seed, the endlessly ambitious Joy Villa, who skyrocketed to fame last year when she wore a pro-Trump dress at the Grammy Awards. We’ve been keeping tabs on her since at least 2014, when she continually showed up in church publications and was working with Scientology front groups. In October 2016, Joy and her then-fiance, Danish photographer Thorsten Overgaard, became “Patron Meritorious” donors for having given at least $250,000 to the church, and they were married at Scientology’s holiest site, the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida, on Christmas Day 2016. But once her “MAGA” dress got her notoriety, Joy has talked about being an evangelical Christian as she worked her way into the White House and was even endorsed by the president himself. Joy’s political aspirations for a Congressional run may have been derailed, but she’s still working right wing rubes — at least those who haven’t figured out that she’s a Scientologist on the make.

Joy is taking on our #10 seed Nancy Cartwright, the voice actor famous for her work as Bart Simpson. (Nancy defeated Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan in the first round.) In Scientology, she’s also known as “Her Royal Governness of the Vast Valley Territory,” because she took the lead on fundraising for so many years in order to complete the “Ideal Org” in the San Fernando Valley. But she’s also known inside Scientology celebrity circles as being a real hard-ass, riding other celebrities about staying on lines and making donations. An OT 8, Nancy is a bitter-ender who will stay with Scientology believing that someday, it will make her a god.


Who deserves to move on as a champion of Scientology? Who has done more to perpetuate the church’s reputation in this time of crisis? Cast your vote!


Yesterday’s winner: Bert Deixler crushed Grant Cardone!


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 5,057 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,660 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 203 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,266 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,040 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,814 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,160 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,654 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,694 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,406 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 932 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,021 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,161 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,481 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,456 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 812 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,114 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,220 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,623 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,495 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,077 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,582 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,826 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,935 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on March 18, 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

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email