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Dave Richards, 1948-2018, ran the Founding Church of Scientology in DC

[Dave Richards and Ron Miscavige, after the Eagles Super Bowl win in February]

We were saddened to learn from Ron Miscavige and Becky Bigelow last night that Dave Richards died unexpectedly yesterday at his home in Phoenix. He was 69.

Dave Richards was one of the most congenial of the longtime former Scientology executives to leave the church and then speak up about its abuses. He had joined Scientology in Alberta in 1970, then had gone to DC in 1971 and was soon put in charge of the Founding Church of Scientology there as its commanding officer in his early 20s.

(Just a quick note, because we find that even some veteran Scientologists seem unclear on this — FCDC was called the “Founding” church, but it actually wasn’t the first. L. Ron Hubbard created his first “Church of Scientology” corporation in Camden, New Jersey in December 1953, and the first actual physical church was started a few months later in Los Angeles in February 1954. The “Founding Church” in DC wasn’t created until the following year, 1955.)

Richards took over FCDC at a crucial time, as Hubbard was evading government investigators by running Scientology from a ship in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, while the DC org still attracted a lot of attention from the FDA and other agencies. Some of the Snow White Program — Scientology’s yearslong spying operation to infiltrate government agencies — was run out of the DC org. Dave provided some invaluable help to us as we were researching those days for our stories here at the Bunker. We are grateful not only for the chance to have gotten to know him, but also for some crucial help he was able to give us.

Dave was loved by many former Scientologists, and certainly by the man who says Dave was his best friend — that’s Ron Miscavige, father of Scientology’s current leader, David Miscavige.


Ron tells us that he and Dave spoke on the phone up to six times a week, and Dave would make the flight up to Wisconsin to watch the Super Bowl with him at a time of year that most people make the opposite pilgrimage.

When Ron began his video series, Life After Scientology, he had Dave with him on his initial episode. In that interview, Richards talked about the pain of being disconnected from his daughter, Megan.

“My daughter was somewhat in communication with me and and my wife until recently when she went to Oregon and got more involved with Delphi [a Scientology boarding school] and then the police arm of the church, OSA, took her to California for two weeks to indoctrinate her on how bad her mother and I were and what a bad influence we could be,” Dave told Ron.

“We supported her and her husband — her before she met her husband, and her and her husband while they were in Scientology — and I mean we bought them four cars. I paid insurance on those vehicles for years. My wife was even more of a contributor than I was. I would say she’s given them tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years…

“Megan has completely disconnected from her mother and had earlier on disconnected from me, and it got so bad that recently — her husband is a writer of fiction — my wife tried to buy two books from his blog, his website, and he discerned that it was her and gave her money back! I mean again, the church uses disconnection not so much with respect to assisting an individual Scientologist but with respect to having political control…The last time this happened in modern civilization was probably Germany in the 1940s. If you control somebody to the degree that they’re afraid, that they’re genuinely afraid… As little as a year ago my sister went to visit her and she told them, ‘I know my dad’s not an SP, I know my mom’s not an SP.’ But again this is a political tool, it’s the political arm of the church…

“I’ll give you an example. My daughter’s husband is named Garrett Robinson. And Garrett has a blog and on that blog recently, his father passed away recently and he went into how valuable your parents are, how they mold you, how they make you. Now that’s about as tone-deaf as you can get given that his wife cannot talk now. If he says his wife is a wonderful person, how did she get to be a wonderful person? By being raised by a pack of wolves or SPs?

“Megan was in the Sea Organization. She got pregnant and they tried to convince her that she should terminate the pregnancy. [She left the Sea Org and had the child but is still in the Scientology church.] She’s a wonderful mom. She has three children. The last time I saw two of those children was at least ten years ago. The third one I’ve never seen because he was born after I was disconnected from…

“I’m sure they’ve been offered Sophie’s Choice: You either disconnect or we’ll ruin your life. It’s that simple. The church is a vicious destructive cult, and they shouldn’t even be able to use the word ‘church’ because they’re not like any church you’ve ever seen.”

Powerful words, and we’re glad that Dave got a chance to say them on Ron’s program.

“I loved the guy,” Ron told us last night by telephone. “The night before, yesterday, I called him, and I just happened to say, did you work today? He drives for Uber. No, he said. Why not? I’m not feeling good, he said. Three or four days ago, in the bathroom he was putting on jeans and he slipped and fell and hit his head. And now he couldn’t eat. If he drank something it wouldn’t stay down. I told him it sounded like a concussion. He needed rest. I told him to take care of himself. And that was the end of the call.”

Yesterday afternoon, Ron says he got a call from Sandy, Dave’s wife. She told him that she had found Dave in the morning, next to the bed, lying face up.

“He was one of the nicest people I knew in my life,” Ron said.

Check the interaction of these two great friends in the video, the first of Ron’s series…



Underground Bunker TV

The programming just keeps coming at Underground Bunker TV. We’ve posted short videos about how ABCMouse and Humira are helping to keep Scientology in business, about Scientology attorney Gary Soter’s attempt to stop Leah Remini, David Miscavige’s position in the church (and why he’s shy about it), what Scientology says about Jesus and Christianity, Scientology’s obsession with masturbation, the reason Miscavige is obsessed with “Ideal Orgs,” why nothing was done about Narconon deaths, the vile secret buried in Dianetics, the continuation of Scientology spying, why Tom Cruise doesn’t see Suri, Where Is Shelly?, how many Scientologists are there, anyway, questions about the Writers of the Future contest, and a case of Scientology forced abortion the Los Angeles Times ignored. Today we have another short spot that brings up something we’ve covered here before. We hope these vids will draw people back here to the Bunker to seek more information. So please help us get them out into the world!





Paulette tells us we can reveal the publication date she has set. We’ll let you know when pre-ordering begins.


Scientology’s celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs’ — now with comments!

[Rebecca Minkoff and the Birmingham Ideal Org]

We’re building landing pages about two of David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, his celebrities and his ‘Ideal Orgs.’ We’re posting pages each day, and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them, in order to build a record and maintain a watch as Scientology continues its inexorable decline — and yes, we finally have comments working on these new pages! Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments about all of your favorite celebrities and failing Ideal Orgs

Previously, we posted pages for celebrities Anne Archer, Beck Hansen, Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, Elisabeth Moss, Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, Giovanni Ribisi, Greta Van Susteren, Jenna Elfman, John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley, Laura Prepon, Marisol Nichols, Michael Peña, Nancy Cartwright, Tom Cruise Danny Masterson, Stanley Clarke, Edgar Winter, Alanna Masterson, Billy Sheehan, Judy Norton-Taylor, Terry Jastrow, Eddie Deezen, Sofia Milos, and Bodhi Elfman. And for the Ideal Orgs of Portland, Oregon; Sydney, Australia; San Diego, California; Denver, Colorado; Nashville, Tennessee; Perth, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Sacramento, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Silicon Valley, California; Rome, Italy; Orlando, Florida; Moscow, Russia; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Seattle, Washington; Dallas, Texas; Melbourne, Australia; San Fernando Valley, California; Pasadena, California; Bogotá, Colombia; Budapest, Hungary; Phoenix, Arizona; London, England; Orange County, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Auckland, New Zealand; Miami, Florida; Basel, Switzerland; and Berlin, Germany.

Today it’s Rebecca Minkoff and Birmingham, England!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,234 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,867 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 410 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 298 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,473 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,247 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,021 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,367 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,933 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,601 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,861 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,901 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,613 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,139 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,228 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,368 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,688 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,544 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,663 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,019 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,321 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,427 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,830 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,701 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,284 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,789 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,033 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,142 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 11, 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates

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

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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