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


Thar she blows: The ‘whales’ who are keeping Scientology afloat in 2018

[Nancy Cartwright and her daughter Lucy Mae Murphy]

Each October, the whales return to East Grinstead, England in an annual migration that we find absolutely fascinating.

We’re talking, of course, about the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) events that take place each year over an October weekend in England, when Scientology leader David Miscavige gathers his biggest donors to honor them with new “statuses.”

Scientology makes a game out of giving the church huge sums, begging big donors — we call them “whales” — to turn over more and more in the hopes of reaching a new status level, a bigger trophy, and the prospect of being feted at the IAS gala and included in a subsequent issue of Impact magazine.

That issue (#163) just reached us, and we have to say we’re pretty blown away. Although everything we saw from the event itself indicated that the crowds are getting smaller and smaller, Miscavige has more whales than ever turning over huge amounts. It’s one of those wild paradoxes about Scientology: As membership shrinks, big donors have actually increased. There is simply no doubt that membership has dwindled, the church is having a tougher time finding new recruits, and it’s having staffing problems at its existing facilities. Two recent defectors who had access to internal documents tell us worldwide membership is now fewer than 20,000 people.

But the people who remain, many of whom have been members for decades or grew up in the organization, are the truly dedicated. And among them are some pretty wealthy people forking over huge piles of money. This is the longest list of people giving $1 million or more that we’ve ever seen.


It’s really important to keep in mind that these are cumulative amounts. Someone credited for giving $5 million, for example, may have given only a few hundred thousand in recent months that enabled them to get past that plateau. Although, as you’ll see, even Impact magazine is making note of some people who have been turning over prodigious sums in a short amount of time. [For an explanation of how we know what amounts the statuses represent or the estimates we’ve made for some of them, see our methodology here.]

So let’s take a look at all of the cetaceans in this issue, from the biggest whales down to the “Patrons,” who have turned over a cumulative $50,000. If you know something about the people you see, please let us know. We’re always curious to know how these rich Scientologists made their fortunes.


Trish Duggan & Family
Florida, USA
Lifetime Member since 1986

A consummate artist and cultural benefactor, Trish Duggan is a globe-trotting IAS Field Disseminator and Ideal Org Builder without peer. She’s a human rights champion who is dedicated to creating the space for universal human rights, most recently and remarkably in Costa Rica.

[For the third year in a row, Trish is all alone without Bob Duggan after they split in 2015. Also, she’s still on top and the only one who gets to pose with Miscavige himself. But note that there’s no status level listed. Is Trish still “Invictus?” We don’t know. Maybe she’s so far off the charts now they’ve stopped dreaming up names. Our last estimate for what she’s given is some $80 million just to the IAS, and millions more to various expansion projects. Forbes claims that Bob said he had donated more than $360 million in total, but we haven’t seen any other confirmation of that.]


PATRON MAXIMUS [$30 million]


Michael Holstein & Family
Florida, USA
Lifetime Member since 1994

Michael is a Danish entrepreneur and owner of multiple businesses who splits his time between Clearwater and China. He’s dedicated to creating sanity on the Fourth Dynamic through the IAS. His ascent to Patron Maximus is unprecedented, gaining 18 Honor Statuses in eight unbelievable months.

[Translation: Holstein forked over his entire $30 million in donations just this year.]



Tom Cummins & Family
Florida, USA
Lifetime Member since 1985

Tom and family continue their meteoric trailblazing for Scientology expansion, completing six upper echelon IAS levels in the last year alone. FSMs, Field Disseminators and Ideal Org Titans, they are Humanitarians 260 times over on behalf of 30 Ideal Orgs.

[In other words, Cummins has given millions more in fundraising for “Ideal Org” projects. He’s also a fixture at their grand openings. But where is his fashionable wife? Surprising that she couldn’t make this event — she’s usually the one with the most striking outfit each year.]




Alan & Sheila Atkinson-Baker
California, USA
Lifetime Members since 1988

The Atkinson-Bakers have been ardent supporters of the IAS for 30 years. From psychbusting to IAS Field Dissemination, their unwavering conviction and willingness to defy the MEST universe in support of the IAS make them heroes to the core.

[The Atkinson-Bakers also featured in this unseemly tale of disconnection.]


DIAMOND LAUREATE [$15 million]

Nancy Cartwright & Family

California, USA
Lifetime Members since 1991

Nancy is an American actress whose voice is heard in virtually every home this side of civilization. Her extensive credits include being an International Spokesperson for The Way to Happiness for more than 20 years and being the top contributor to the Valley Ideal Org.

[Nancy is, of course, the voice actor who brings Bart Simpson to life. She’s also the “Grand Governess of the Vast Valley Territory” in her local org. The last time we heard from her as a donor, she had passed the $10 million mark. So this is a pretty big move up, especially for a celebrity. No others, including Tom Cruise, come close to this, at least not in published lists of donors like Impact magazine.]



Jim Bridgeforth & Family
Florida, USA
Lifetime Member since 2006

Jim and family are upper echelon Humanitarians for 13 Ideal Orgs. Renowned energy drivers, they backed Scientology Media Productions as Legendary Millennium Disseminators, co-hosted epic IAS events in Germany and Clearwater and staged dozens of Freewinds Conquering Life Conventions.



PATRON LAUREATE [$10 million]

Willis & Kyera Pumphrey
New York, USA
Lifetime Members since 1985 & 2005

The Pumphreys are executive staff members of the IAS-sponsored Harlem Ideal Org. Each has introduced thousands to LRH technology; he through the World Literacy Crusade and Applied Scholastics and she as a singer, composer and scriptwriter.



Joyce Gaines & Bruce Ferguson
California, USA
Lifetime Members since 1994

Joyce Gaines and Bruce Ferguson are human rights champions. He is a Youth for Human Rights Field Director with 13 years of experience in India and South Asia. She is a major league psychbuster and veteran Citizens Commission on Human Rights Commissioner.




Marie Arnold & Sandy Gomberg
Las Vegas, USA
Lifetime Members since 1991 & 1990

Sandy and Marie were Criminon Supervisors for seven years and now represent CCHR and United for Human Rights on the Las Vegas OT Committee. They also man every IAS energry drive across their zone and have advanced from Patron to Diamond Meritorious in just 12 mesmerizing months.

[Translation: They forked over $5 million just in the last year.]



Terri & Norm Novitsky

California, USA
Lifetime Members since 1988

Both New OT VIIIs, the Novitskys have been Scientologists for over 40 years. She has been named Power FSM five times. Jointly, they’ve helped to power six Ideal Orgs to fruition, including becoming Gold Humanitarians for the Valley Ideal Org.



Adelheid Rech
Dusseldorf, Germany
Lifetime Member since 1985

Adelheid is Executive Director of Dusseldorf’s Celebrity Centre, where she has “conducted the orchestra” for almost a quarter of a century. She’s also an exuberant IAS energy driver and passionate Ideal Org Builder.




Buz & Claire Taylor
California, USA
Lifetime Members since 1985

The Taylors’ impressive credits include forming the mission that became Philadelphia Org, and Buz is a Founding Member of Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Claire served the LA Org OT Committee for 20 years and is the OT Ambassador In-Charge for Greater Los Angeles.



Bernard De Uthemann & Family
Lausanne, Switzerland
Lifetime Member since 1986

The De Uthemanns, represented by Bernard and his daughter Eleonara, are New Civilization Builders for Lausanne’s future Ideal Org. Their long resume includes 18 years of service to Narconon and an impressive track record championing human rights and drug-free living.




Simone Lorenzen & Dennis Romeiser
Hamburg, Germany
Lifetime Members since 1987 & 1994

Simone Lorenzen and Dennis Romeiser have forwarded Scientology’s Germany expansion for decades. Key players on the OT Committee, they are spearheading the drive for an Ideal Germany. They are also among the country’s top IAS Field Disseminators.



Herbert & Susanne Marks and Family
Stuttgart, Germany
Lifetime Members since 1990


Herbert and Susanne are true heroes in Stuttgart’s triumph to becoming Ideal. Herbert was a premier energy driver on Stuttgart’s OT Committee and now serves on staff alongside Susanne, who is a legendary VM and Stuttgart’s Field Control Secretary.



Tom & Ruth Kennedy
California, USA
Lifetime Members since 1991 & 1994

The Kennedys are Ideal Org Humanitarians for both Silicon Valley and Stevens Creek. They also love to save lives and set an example through their IAS donations, which makes them a tour de force at local IAS events.



Matt Lamy & Annie St. Claire-Lamy

California, USA
Lifetime Members since 1996 & 1994

The Lamys are passionate about the arts. She’s an award-winning landscape designer and FSM. He performs at org events across Los Angeles. Their “piece de resistance” is their meteoric rise from Patron to Platinum in five breathtaking months.



Bennett & Harriet Weber
New Jersey, USA
Lifetime Members since 1986

The Webers’ decades of service to Scientology include founding the New Jersey Mission 30 years ago. Currently, they served on the Harlem Ideal Org’s OT Committee in addition to being FSMs and Field Disseminators for the IAS.




Lee & Sandi Borth
California, USA
Lifetime Members since 1988 & 2002

The Borths have been dedicated IAS supporters for more than 30 years. Lee computerizes children’s online learning courses, while Sandi works with community groups to bring personal help across Greater Los Angeles.



The Ruscheweyh-Mayer Family

Gerhard & Monika Lidl




Marco & Ingrid Mayer, Sabine & Wolf Mayer, Edith & Hans Ruscheweyh, Philipp Mayer, Carolin Mayer

Warren & LeAnn Meyer



Christine Sandmann Wright

Bernhard & Manuela Gut



Peter Somplatzky & Yvonne Steiner


Len & Caroline Collen



Steve Touhey

Adam, Erin, Edith & Moshon Reuveni



Maria Bianca, David, Giovanna, Gianmarco & Santiago Gottardo

Dmitry Fedorov & Nina Reznikova, Timofey Fedorov




Kallye, Kendrick, Aaradona & Braden Walker

Linda Lagemann



Mark Hall

Fabrizio Fasan

Rachel Henner, Sylvia Henner, Jurg Obrecht & Laura Henner




Dagmar & Thomas Roeder

Adriana Scarpellini & Paolo Tucci


Julia Malama

Martin & Luana Kolb



JC Falas

Michal & Alexandra Bucko

Gisela Jailloit


Aydogan & Samiha Polat



Sally, Gerhard, Martine & Oliver Benneck

Annabelle, Moritz, Hannah, Gudrun, Bernd & Maximilan Lang, Jan Storinsky



Katrin, Mette, Mia & Marianne Fogelstrom


Adrian Pownall, Meredith Dearborn, Jessica Frykman, Bent Hammerskov, David Frykman, Eli Berger, Noushin Hammerskov, Fredlyn Berger, Vanessa Frykman, Richard Wall, Anna Ohiniya Frykman, Yvonne Wall, Klara Gal, Kamilla Gal, Janos Gal




Manuel Burkhardt, Mike Kennard, Chloe Kennard, Viola Burkhardt, Krys Kennard, Cornelius Burkhardt, Ian Milton, Scott Milton, Dorothy Milton, Philip Reichl, Aurelie Reichl, Evi Reichl, Max Reichl, Bernd Reichl, Mira Reichl

Natasha Shek, Thomas Gill, Tanja Domani, Saila Domani, Helene Gentze, Alessandra Apperti, Verena Gentze, Mariano Apperti, Ulrich Katzschmann, Stephanie Groeger, Gabriele Casella, Margarita Sotnykova, Tom Hoessle, Marion Hoessle, Mel Batson



Rebecca Haeusler, Gregor Haeusler, Natalie Voigt, Murielle Wagner, Claude Decurnex, Conny Furst, Matthias Stroebel, Ryoko Nakanishi, Kathrin Runge, Stephan Streicher, Izumi Sunohara, Blanca Mercedes Hernandez, Helena Jansen, Sandro Jansen, Ralf Jansen


Bernhard Tschupp, Gabi Korell, Bernd Korell, Dmitrii Kviatkovskii, Kim Kviatkovskaya, Patricia Wordie, Kathi Wordie, Scott Wordie, Brian Wordie, Gisela Metzner, Sally Wordie, Samantha Gilchrist, Angie Gilchrist, Garion Gilchrist, Chiara Kirsch, Jutta Kirsch, Thomas Kirsch




Lissa Swallow, Mark Swallow, Katja Kubik, Frank Kubik, Loana Wulf, Jos Guerts, Hayden Corney, Debbie Corney, Stephen Corney, Isabella von Massenbach, Elsbeth Moser, Quentin Pruniaux, Gerhard von Massenbach, Jean Paul Pruniaux, Armelle Pruniaux, Clara Pruniaux, Christine Picasso

Balazs Szabo, Christine Murphy, Derek Murphy, Taryn Murphy, Fabrizio Lello, Irene Denison, Sylvie Chevrot, Brian Daniels, Leonardo Balconi, Riccardo Balconi, Jean Chevrot, Angela McEnery, Eva McGinnis, Nigel McEenery, Molly McEnery, Joelle Clavadetscher



Christian Mirre, Simone Mirre, Markus Bachleitner, Anton Gfrerer, Jessica Canfora, Nicole Bachleitner, Vincenzo Aloe, Stefano Bonici, Dayana Feroleto, Mark Kuschel, Richard Olson, Francesca Pala, Maria Carmela Pala, Jim Miles, Elise Palmieri, Josef Uhrmann

Howard Moll, Jeremy Moll, Heather Moll, Pius Kirchler, Carola Schiller-Ducke, Tamie Itou, Gudrun Schrueffer, Koji Minami, Marco Catucci, Marco Sarais, Anna-Maria Gravante, Yuki Mori, Walter Panico, Leonard Seidel, Annegret Seidel, Susan Gardiner


PATRON [$50,000]

Andrew Lo Forte, Adrienne Edwards, Arturo Reguera, Present Reguera, Patricia Reguera, Lee Spiller, Marie-Josee Voyame-Bibler, Abi Reitze, Cash Reitze, David Reitze, Luca Reitze, Juan Carlos Giraldo

Liz Eckersley, Berni Roberts, Alain Roethlisberger, Akos Kunfalvy, Ludmila Kunfalvy, Meinrad Schoenbachler, Simon Villiger, Elizabeth Schoenbachler, Elena Villiger, Jen Lee, Douglas Marcel Almeida, Manuela Magistro, Vira Lai, Sky Cheng, Ofer Shimoni, Jeff Sherrer, Joelle Scherrer, Claudia Gersch, Gianmarco Gottardo, Suncica Petricevic


PATRON [$50,000]

Melody Sauvain, Filippo Del Tedesco, Nicole Tarabini, Felicia Torres, Einar Fehn, Thomas Fehn, Liv Fehn, Christina Fehn, Ingmar Stender, Helene Stender, Judith Csorgo, Philip Stender, Stephanie Anderhalden, Jennifer Anderhalden, Gloria Holland, Rolf Volkert, Mirjam Talkenberger

Julia Jarnerud-Wallin-Sjoblom, Cecile Robet, Robert Nilsson, Ivan Robet, Jayne Andersson, Axelle Robet, Uwe Hipp, Francesca Vavassori, Kathrin Runge, Letizia Boldi, Marita Jacob, Olli Mustonen, Grazia Weiss Levi, Anders Hakmar, Christine Giotto, Paul Shiel, Juliet McIntyre, Shannon Barnes


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Alanna Masterson, Terry Jastrow, and Marisol Nichols]

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 Scientology front: L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest!



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 loses another outlet for attracting young acting talent in Hollywood
[TWO years ago] In Scientology, dancing in a conga line might end up costing you thousands
[THREE years ago] Augustine: How Scientology changes its story to fit what it’s trying to get away with
[FOUR years ago] About that Tom Cruise Scientology ‘co-leader’ nonsense spreading in the media
[FIVE years ago] Our Experts Prepare Us for the Wall of Fire — Scientology’s Operating Thetan Level Three!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,287 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,418 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,920 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,400 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 463 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 351 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,658 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,526 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,300 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,074 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,420 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,986 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,906 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,073 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,654 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,914 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,954 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,666 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,192 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,281 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,421 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,741 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,597 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,716 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,072 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,374 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,480 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,883 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,754 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,337 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,832 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,086 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,195 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 3, 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email