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


Is Tom Cruise buying up downtown Clearwater to create a Scientology entertainment mecca?

[Tom Cruise and the Skyview in downtown Clearwater]

Clay Irwin signed a deal today to sell his downtown Clearwater bar, the Lucky Anchor, after a little less than two years operating a watering hole in the shadow of Scientology’s spiritual mecca.

Clay is a familiar figure here at the Bunker. He opened up the Lucky Anchor on January 1, 2017, and then the next month became infamous for taking a jaunt through Tom Cruise’s unfinished condo while filming it live.

Clay has been surveilled by Scientology, and he’s hosted rally nights for fans of Leah Remini’s series, Scientology and the Aftermath. But several weeks ago, he let us know that he was tiring of running a bar in a mostly dead downtown and while being something of a lightning rod for Scientology aggression.


[Clay and his bar]


He asked us to keep his search for a buyer quiet until he could get a deal finalized. He did find a local couple who wanted to take over the bar, which is at 519 Cleveland Street in a building owned by a local investor.

But then, just days before the deal was scheduled to go through, it got held up. Clay told us that he’d learned the building itself was about to be bought by a new owner.

“They were supposed to buy it back in August, but they kept putting it off,” Clay says.

Then he told us the things he’s been hearing about the people buying his building.

“First, I heard it was Tom Cruise. Then I heard it was his entertainment company, and also the church. Then I heard it was Agami.”

Clay was referring to Moises Agami, the developer from a wealthy Mexico City Scientology family who are big donors to the church.


[Moises Agami, center, when the family was recognized in 2015 for $7 million in donations]

It was Agami who purchased and began renovating a building for condominiums that he then redesigned so that the top two floors would be a giant penthouse suite for Cruise, including a 9-car private garage next door. The project, the Skyview, is just a block from Irwin’s bar.

“They’re trying to keep it extremely quiet,” Clay says. But he often stops by the Skyview to see its progress, and he says the workers there are Scientologists.

“It was the Scientologist workers who told me,” he says. “Agami is buying eight parcels on Cleveland Street, and Tom Cruise is going to be involved in some way. I was told Tom wants to turn Cleveland Street into an entertainment district — for Scientologists.”

Oh, the mind reels.

While we try to find some documentation of what’s going on, we’d like to hear your ideas — what would a Scientology entertainment district look like?

If Cruise is trying to turn central Clearwater into a kind of Disneyland for Scientologists, it does fit with a general trend we’ve been talking about for a couple of years now — Clearwater’s supplanting of Los Angeles as the center of Scientology’s universe.


While there are probably still more Scientologists (current and especially former) in the Los Angeles area, we’ve seen numerous signs that church leader David Miscavige is putting more resources into Clearwater as Los Angeles struggles with staffing shortages and a general lack of activity.


[Cleveland St, with the Cruise condo building — the Skyview — and the Lucky Anchor boxed in red]

Cruise has purchased his double-level penthouse right in the center of the Clearwater campus after selling his Los Angeles properties. John Travolta bought a home next door to Kirstie Alley last year. David Miscavige, meanwhile, has abandoned his former main California compound, the international management base east of Los Angeles. And the Flag Land Base in Clearwater is still the most profitable location in the entire worldwide organization, pulling in more money on a weekly basis than the rest of the church’s locations combined. Increasingly, it looks like Clearwater is being built up as Scientology’s most active fortress while it shrinks in membership elsewhere.

We’d love to know how Cruise wants to figure into that new emphasis. If you know something, please drop us a line.

And thank you, Clay Irwin, for being such an entertaining fixture in Clearwater the last two years. We wish you and Bruno the best of luck in your next adventure.




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

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

We’re building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs.’ 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.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Today’s Ideal Org: Tel Aviv, Israel!



Now on sale: Twice the Miss Lovely!

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. What a pleasure it is for us to work with her on this after we wrote about her ordeal as a victim of Scientology’s “Fair Game” campaigns in our 2015 book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, which is also on sale in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions.



[ONE year ago] Scientology plan to shut road through its secretive ‘Int Base’ in California foiled again
[TWO years ago] It’s Election Day, but screw that — Chick Corea is finally superhuman thanks to Scientology!
[THREE years ago] Up next for Scientology: Sending out Tom Cruise to put on a grand performance?
[FOUR years ago] The Heinlein Letters: What L. Ron Hubbard’s close friends really thought of him
[FIVE years ago] The Tom Cruise Smear Machine: Accusations From His Deposition You Haven’t Heard
[SIX years ago] Scientology Excommunication: Documents the Church Usually Keeps Under Wraps


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,262 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,895 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,375 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 438 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 326 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,501 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,275 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,049 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,395 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,961 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,881 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,048 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,629 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,889 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,929 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,641 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,167 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,256 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,396 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,716 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,572 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,691 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,047 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,349 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,455 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,858 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,729 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,312 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,817 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,061 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,170 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 8, 2018 at 12:25

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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email