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Whale watching: Your 2018 mid-year guide to who’s keeping Scientology alive

[Jim Bridgeforth and Victoria and Tom Cummins, Scientology cetaceans]

Thanks to the tipster who forwarded us pages from the new Impact magazine, we have your mid-year Scientology whale watching update!

If you’re new around here, we’ll catch you up by explaining that every October, Scientology leader David Miscavige recognizes Scientology’s biggest donors (we call them “whales”) by handing out huge trophies. We usually get photos of that celebration in late January or February, although this year we got them early. Then in June, Miscavige does a smaller mid-year celebration of his whales at the Maiden Voyage week aboard the cruise ship Freewinds in the Caribbean. We have that update for you today.

We’re always sensitive to small changes in how these honors are presented, and last time, in November, we noticed that the the whales were encouraged to make cute poses with their trophies. That has continued this time, with lots of hamming it up, but with a big difference — no trophies! We don’t know why the hardware has been left out of the photos. Were we drawing too much attention to them? Who knows.

Anyway, we’re starting off this time with Maiden Voyage’s biggest leviathans, who posed together in the photo you see above. (Photoshop fanatics, you will notice a break in the photo, which was a result of us putting this photo together because it was published across a page break in the magazine. Calm down.)

Jim Bridgeforth and Tom Cummins run American Power and Gas, a Pinellas County, Florida reseller that has cashed in on energy deregulation. Bridgeforth was previously recognized for reaching the donor status of Diamond Meritorious, after cumulative giving of $5 million to the International Association of Scientologists (which is only one way that church members are encouraged to donate money). Now, he’s reached the IAS donor status of Patron Laureate With Honors, which we estimate to be about $11 million in giving. That suggests he’s given $6 million in a little more than a year. Straight up and vertical, Jim!


His pal at American Power and Gas, Tom Cummins, was celebrated just last October as Patron Excalibur ($20 million), and now he’s reached Diamond Excalibur at $25 million. So he’s on quite a tear — approximately $5 million in only six months!

So you may be wondering where we come up with these amounts. We’ll stop here and review how we know what these donors are giving…

In 2006, the IAS published a list of these status levels, and how much you had to have donated over your career in order to qualify…

Patron: $50,000
Patron with Honors: $100,000
Patron Meritorious: $250,000
Silver Meritorious: $500,000
Gold Meritorious: $1,000,000
Platinum Meritorious: $2,500,000
Diamond Meritorious: $5,000,000
Patron Laureate: $10,000,000

A few years later, some additional levels were added, but no dollar amounts were listed. (Scientology had apparently figured out that everything they published ended up on the Internet or something.) The new, even higher levels…

Platinum Laureate
Diamond Laureate

Patron Excalibur
Platinum Excalibur
Diamond Excalibur
Patron Maximus

By extension, you would expect that if they went even higher, the next couple of levels would be Platinum Maximus, and Diamond Maximus. Also, at every level, you can also earn the additional tag “with Honors,” which means that you have given a bit more on the way to the next plateau.

Now, we’ve taken a stab at estimating what these higher statuses might stand for, using a conservative progression that is much less steep than the ones we already know about. Here’s our guesstimate:

Platinum Laureate — $12 million
Diamond Laureate — $15 million
Patron Excalibur — $20 million
Platinum Excalibur — $22 million
Diamond Excalibur — $25 million
Patron Maximus — $30 million
Platinum Maximus — $35 million
Diamond Maximus — $40 million


After we published that list, we heard from a person who had worked in Scientology finances who told us our progression was indeed conservative. But we’re going to stick with it, and now, we’ll try to extend it. Here’s our new guesstimate for the entire list of IAS statuses…

Lifetime membership $5,000
Sponsor $10,000
Crusader $25,000
Patron $50,000
Patron with Honors $100,000
Patron Meritorious $250,000
Silver Meritorious $500,000
Gold Meritorious $1 million
Platinum Meritorious $2.5 million
Diamond Meritorious $5 million
Patron Laureate $10 million
Platinum Laureate $12 million
Diamond Laureate $15 million

Patron Excalibur $20 million
Platinum Excalibur $22 million
Diamond Excalibur $25 million
Patron Maximus $30 million
Platinum Maximus $35 million
Diamond Maximus $40 million
Patron Invictus $50 million
Platinum Invictus $60 million
Diamond Invictus $70 million
Invictus $80 million

OK, so with those amounts set, here are the rest of the Maiden Voyage whales, and their amounts. (We’ve had to estimate on some of the “With Honors” statuses)…



Bill and Lesley McCaffrey, Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million)


Caroline and Len Collen, Gold Meritorious ($1 million)


Monika and Gerhard Lidl, Gold Meritorious With Honors ($1.75 million)


Dennis Romeiser and Simone Lorenzen, Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million)



Lucia Kuo and Steve Wu, Diamond Meritorious ($5 million)
Claire Taylor, Platinum Meritorious With Honors ($3.75 million)


Hans Ruscheweyh, Gold Meritorious With Honors ($1.75 million)
Nola Aronson, Gold Meritorious With Honors ($1.75 million)


Timothy and Sara Baxter, Gold Meritorious With Honors ($1.75 million)
Kjerstin Kartrud, Silver Meritorious ($500,000)



Minoru Motokawa, Silver Meritorious ($500,000)
Iris Kammer, Patron Meritorious ($250,000)
Paolo Tucci and Adriana Scarpellini, Silver Meritorious ($500,000)


Simone Hafenmayer, Silver Meritorious ($500,000)
Marcel Gemme, Gold Meritorious ($1 million)



Catherine and Shahab Emrani, Gold Meritorious With Honors ($1.75 million)
Kathy Feshbach, Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million)


Angela and Brandon Marion, Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million)


Julia and Lambros Malamas, Silver Meritorious ($500,000)
Marianna Fogelstrøm, Silver Meritorious ($500,000)

And wow, here’s a special bonus from the magazine. It purports to be a listing of all Scientologists who have recently upped their IAS status through donations. Now, it doesn’t define a time period, and it also is missing some of the names above, so it may not be complete. But still, as a guide to the Scientologists who have been giving money lately and keeping the organization afloat, this is a pretty nice gift for us…

Diamond Excalibur ($25 million)

Tom & Victoria Cummins
The Dohring Family

Diamond Laureate With Honors ($17.5 million)
The Atkinson-Baker Family

Patron Laureate With Honors ($11 million)
The Bridgeforth Family

Patron Laureate ($10 million)
The Pumphrey Family

Diamond Meritorious ($5 million)
The Clouden-Sgroi Family
The Gaines-Ferguson Family

Platinum Meritorious With Honors ($3.75 million)
The Gomberg Family
Norm & Terri Novitsky & Family

The Taylor Family

Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million)
Kathy Feshbach
Simone Lorenzen & Dennis Romeiser
The Weber Family

Gold Meritorious With Honors ($1.75 million)
Nola Aronson & Steven Lettau
Roberto & Rosa Banke
The Berg Family
Ben Elkington
The Gut Family
Tom & Ruth Kennedy
Matt Lamy & Anne St. Claire
Emmett & Ali Osborn

Tom & Christine Wright & Family

Gold Meritorious ($1 million)
The Anola Family
Brian & Donna Andrus & Family
Len & Caroline Collen
Paul Krynen
Beat & Evelyn Niederberger & Family
Vicki Norton
Lynn Peters
The Sanchis-Mihara Family
The Tardibuono Family
The Derek Wilson Family

Silver Meritorious With Honors ($750,000)
Andrea Abbate & The Wakley Family

Rev. Alfreddie Johnson
Lisa & Michel Rentchler

Silver Meritorious ($500,000)
Marianne Fogelstrom
Kevin Branagan Grant
Phyllis & Rae Mack
The Malamas Family
Ilse Rech
The Sarros Family
Irving Sorrentini
Patrick & Susan Wehner

Patron Meritorious ($250,000)
Ismenia Baldrio Rivas
The Barth Family

Stefania Bejarano
Valentina Bejarano Rivera
The Benitez Cardesin Family
Bernard Bonner
Warren Bruckmann
Fabio Ciampaglia
Paul G. Collins
Daniel Creech
Todd & Pat Fifield & Family
Sai-Jun Fong
Dorri Goldschmidt
Sheri Hamilton
Jeff Harris
The Jaimes Garcia Family
Vira Lynn Jones
Ulrich Katzschmann & Helene Gentze
Matt, Amanda, Emma & Liam Kiely
Bolke Koster & Family
Linda Lee
Rosa Lugo
The Manning Family
Luna Marquez Guzman
Minako Matsuo
Carlos Wolfgang Navarro
The Nelson Family
Scott & Kathy Otto
Carlo Piccato & Paola Molino
Fredy Ragua & Family
Martha Rei
The Replyanskiy, Kopikova & Adjemian Families
Iris Riley
The Rush-Stephens Family
Pierre Schemsky
The Stojak Family
The Webber-Hablutzel Family

Patron With Honors ($100,000)
Ross & Ann Auburn
Jason Bennick
The Berman Family
Frank A. Blakely III
Elena Budova & Family
Nicole, Leon & Andreas Buchholz

Edmund R. Daniel
The Forslund Family
Susan Gardiner
Beverlea Hall
Hallock Family
Hashimoto Family
Maria Herves Y Carlos Durand
The Kerber Family
Payson-Kicinski Family
Rachel Lemus
Hsueh-Mu Lin
Haiceh Malek & Hooshyar Matin
The Mcenery & Orlandini Family
The Melchior Family
The Vigneron-Morel Family
Llewellyn Moss
The Nachtigall Family
Ben Ozorak
The Prince-Pyne Family
The Pula Family
The Rigdon, Greenberg & Panek Family
Kathryn Roberts & Bobby James
The Roznay Family
The Russell Family
Humberto Salgado & Family
Haruki & Law Sasaki
Yves Seguin, Nicole Lacombe & Family
The Waugh Family
Ursula Suss
Terence Terzian
Tudik & Bodo Family
Jim & Cynthia Warren Family
The Wordie Family
George & Barbara Yiangou
Tracy & Jeanette Zimmer & Family

Patron ($50,000)
The Achilli Vissani Family
Patricia Alvarez & Family
The Anderhaiden-Hcornaert Family
Markus & Claire Beckert
Andre Belanger & Family
Laura Betterly Blom & Steven Blom

Grigory, Yulia & Anastasia Bogdanov
Ivan Briones
Camhi-Levy Family
Rosa Chow
Zach, Joanne & Cienna Dewitt
The Dallaserra Family
Jonathan & Jessica Davitt
Harry A. Derr III
Jim & Jeanette Douglass Family
The Dupre-Goncalves Family
Walter Fatoric
Doris Fattinger
Richard & Mitra Fitzgerald
Greg Fox & Adriana Tobon
The Garner Family
Lea & Alan Gilbertson
Juan Carlos Giraldo Polania
The Glickman Family
George & Rochell Goodrich
The Green-Anderson Family
Anders Hakmar
The Harris Family
The Hays & Shirokov Family
Geir Hoibakk
The Jacob Family
The Jost-Schneider Family
The Kahl Family
Donna Kincaid
The Korobko Family
The Krueger Family
Po Cheng Kuo & Chen-Ni Chen Family
Yukio & Chie Kurita
The Lasley Family
Elizabeth Linares Hernandez
Hsin Chou Lo
The Lowenstein Family
Chiou Ching Lu Family
The Marneweck Family
Luna Marquez
Saralinda McCrink & Family
Mochizuki Family
The Monaca-Surico Family
The Morris Family
Jean-Yves Moulinier
Noleen Naude
Carlos Navarro
Max, Kit & Emma Oliva
Lisette Pelletier
Desanka & Suncica Petricevic
The Ramirez Caro Family
Abigail & David Reitze Family
The Restrep Roldan Family
Gladys Rivas
Tuija Rovira
Kathrin Runge & Family
Debbie & Ed Sharp & Family
Andrew & Trey Sheldon
Yukiko Shinomiya
The Sprungli Family
Chien-Hsing Sung Family
The Tapert Family
The Tisi & Pedretti Family
The Toohey Family
Denis & Silvie Valiquette
LJ Wang & Family
Tzu Fen Wang & Chi Yang Lin Family
James Wannop
Andrew Wells
Yuji Yamagata
Ai Yano
Joseph & Elisa Yazbeck
Jen-Hung Chung & Hui Chen Yen Family
Astrid Wolff

Crusader ($25,000)
Gregor Achermann
Vicki E. Alexander
Brigitte Arbogast
Maria & Dennis Austinat
Maida Candler & William Cantle Family
Debbie Carey
Bill Cavalierano
Po-Chung Chen
Yen Yung Cheng Family
Tseng-Chen Chien

Patricia Coleman
The Duckhorn-McNally Family
Robert Giroux
The Habib Family
Robert & Daina Hogg
Hsiu Chao Hung Family
Eva Huszar
Kassowitz Family
Petra Kelemen
Wiltrud Kesting
Armin Knick
Dmitriy Kondratiev & Family
Svetlana Krasniakova
Karen Kueter
Sylvain Levesque
Toke Lundburg
Marafino Chalmers Family
Matveevy Family
Don & Joan McDermott
Celina Mejia
The Miltenburg-Graziano Family
Hans Morelli
Valentino Moreschini
Lawrence Morrison
Nora Nagy-Koltai
Anna Okrugina
Laura Padgett
Vitaly & Nadezhda Paimukovy
Valerie Patton
Simone Picchioni
Mara Rancan & Simone Dal Molin
Simon Roy
William Sanchez Ayala
Igor Savko & Anna Kasianenko
Katrin Schulte-Bahrenberg
Marina Simpkins
Giorgio Sollini
Alain St. Pierre
Robert Syslo Jr.
Tajik Family
Marc & Catherin Thomas
Vairani Tortorella Family
Tsymbal Family
Chia Chen Yu Family

Sponsor ($10,000)
Marcelo Alencastro
Samuel Aray
Jeffrey Scott Arbuckle
Michael Brown
Josef Broz
Gianna Burgio
Evelyn Bueno
Bruce Campbell
Kevin Campbell
Lara Carlson
Cameron Dunham

Satyajit Erram
Stefan Forslund
Edna J. Fulton
Eliezar Jose Garcia
Rigoberto Gil
Joelle Grutter
Jairo Jose Gutierrez
Braulio Guzman
Birthe Heldt
Mark Hildenberger
Zara Isabel Hosto Linares
Yen Chun Hou
Tricia Julian
Uldana Kazakhbaeva
Yuki Koshiba
Piroska Kovacs
Veaceslav Lesan
Danny Lewis
Fabio Lo Porto
Angela Majorga Evans
Gomolemo Makolomako
Fabrizio Marenzi
David Marks Jr.
Dava McCown
Rafael Mejia
Juan Carlos Monsalve
Betzy Montoya
Teresa Mott
Martina Motta
Brayelin Navas
Giulio Nicolosi
Tiffany Novitsky
Carmen Pepin
Gyula Piroska
Deidre Quick
Ernesto Ramirez Loyola
Monique Refstrup
Teresa Regna
Juan Pablo Rodriguez Lomuscio
Daniel Sage
Gerda Sander
Barry Spencer
Ying-Liang Su
Matthias Tinner
Vic Tipnes
Casaba Tokodi
Mikhail Volin
Robert Walker
Jimmy L. Wilson

Thar she blows!


Bonus items from our tipsters

And what do those donations from whales pay for? Indoctrinating children into the L. Ron Hubbard mindfuck, for example, as Rod Keller illustrated this morning with this photo he posted on Facebook…



Marie Bilheimer could use a hand

You remember Marie Bilheimer, who was the subject of one of our most gut-wrenching stories, and then she went on to be featured on an episode of Scientology and the Aftermath. Well, she recently lost her job for no good reason, and her friend Saina Kamula set up a GoFundMe for her. You know what to do.





Please join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,206 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,809 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 352 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 240 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,415 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,189 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,963 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,309 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,875 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,543 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,803 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,843 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,555 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,081 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,170 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,310 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,630 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,486 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,605 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 961 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,263 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,369 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,772 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,644 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,226 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,731 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,975 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,084 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 14, 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


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