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Tonight, Leah Remini exposes the crazy grift of Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs’

[Bert Schippers]

On October 14, Scientology opened its latest “Ideal Org,” this time in the city of Detroit. It was the 61st org to go Ideal since the program started in 2003. (Scientology says 70, but that’s counting some other sorts of facilities that have also gone Ideal — another of them, an “Advanced Org,” is being opened today in South Africa.)

Ideal Orgs have opened in places as far-flung as Tokyo, Budapest, Bogotá, and Tel Aviv. About half, 30, are located here in the United States. We’ve covered their grand openings closely for years, and we’ve also watched carefully the extreme fundraising events that were required to pay for them.

Tonight on Scientology and the Aftermath, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder provide some terrific inside information that shows just how crazy the Ideal Org fundraising obsession is, and what a grift of Scientology’s own members.

Starring in the episode is Bert Schippers, who with his wife Lynne Hoverson provided about $300,000 of the Seattle Ideal Org’s funding. Lynne and Bert sued the church after they were expelled, trying to get back money they still had on account, and their ordeal appeared in the Tampa Bay Times. At the Voice, we wrote about an odd wrinkle in their legal case.

Bert does a great job explaining how relentless the fundraising is, and how much is promised to members that never materializes. The details are going to make your skin crawl.



[Paul Burkhart]

We were also thrilled to see Paul Burkhart on the episode. As we explained in our own story about Paul from 2016, he was in a really unique position in the heart of Scientology’s upper management. And because his job was so specific — space planning for the new buildings — he tended to escape a lot of the drama roiling Scientology’s executive ranks. It also meant that there were few people in the world who know more about the Ideal Orgs and what went into them.

The dollar amounts he quotes made our jaw drop. It’s incredible what David Miscavige is spending on these projects, raised locally in some places but not in others.

But what do all of the Ideal Orgs have in common? Burkhart said he personally visited “15 to 20” of them. And he saw the same thing at every one: they’re empty.

That’s something we’ve heard countless times from many sources, but it’s something else to hear it from a former insider like Burkhart and on Leah’s show. We hope this episode really stuns people about Miscavige’s obsession for new buildings. And there’s no sign of it stopping.

Here’s a couple of our own short videos about Ideal Orgs to prepare you for tonight…


UPDATE: We’ve noticed there’s some general confusion about how many episodes of Aftermath have aired, what their titles are, and how they are numbered. This is completely understandable, because for some reason from the beginning of this series A&E has been completely weird about how it classifies and numbers shows, with “regular” and “special” episodes. So, just to help those trying to keep track, here is the third season’s track so far…

Nov. 13: “The Jehovah’s Witnesses” 2 hours. Featuring Lloyd Evans, Jerry Minor, et. al. (Special)

Nov. 18 “Emotional Aftermath” Featuring Vicki Marshall, Christie Collbran, et. al. (Special)
Nov. 27 “Star Witness” Featuring Valerie Haney (Regular)
Dec. 4 “Spies Like Us” Featuring Cierra Westerman and Robert Almblad (Regular)
Dec. 11 “Unlikely Pairing” Featuring former Nation of Islam members (Special)
Dec. 18 “Where Is Shelly?” Featuring Janis Gillham Grady and Tom DeVocht (Regular)

Tonight’s episode, “Ideal Orgs,” is a regular episode.

The scheduled January 8 episode, “The Collection Agency” (about regging) is a special episode.

Regular = Mike and Leah drive around in a car and meet guests in their homes or in rented houses.
Special = Mike and Leah sit down with a panel of people in a studio.

So, how are the episodes numbered? Your guess is as good as ours. Will tonight’s show be “Season 3, Episode 7”? Or, since it’s only the fourth “regular” episode, is it “Season 3, Episode 4”? We really have no idea.

Also, some places (including Wikipedia) are still referring to the December 11 or December 18 episode as “The Disappeared.” That’s a title for an episode that was moved to later in the season and hasn’t aired yet.


Today’s ‘Advanced Org’ opening in South Africa

Rod Keller is keeping an eye on things happening today at Kyalami Castle as Scientology opens its first new ‘Advanced Org’ in decades…



Start making your plans!


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

[The Big Three: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. 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!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Scientology watchers, start making your plans for HowdyCon 2018 in the Windy City!
[TWO years ago] Five years later: Debbie Cook’s indictment of Scientology under David Miscavige, annotated
[THREE years ago] We’re kicking off the new year by revealing the poster for HowdyCon 2016
[FOUR years ago] A Scientology untold history special report: ‘My lunch with Quentin Hubbard’
[FIVE years ago] BUNKER SPECIAL: David Touretzky on L. Ron Hubbard, Mark Twain, and Mary Baker Eddy
[SIX years ago] Another Indie Goes All the Way: Simi Valley Ditches Scientology For Good
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Rocked By Allegations of Greed in E-mail to 12,000 Church Members


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,316 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,447 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,949 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,429 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 492 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 380 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,687 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,555 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,329 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,103 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,449 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,015 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,935 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,102 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,683 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,943 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,983 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,695 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,221 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,310 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,450 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,770 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,626 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,745 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,101 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,403 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,509 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,912 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,783 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,366 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,861 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,115 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,224 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 1, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 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. Our book about Paulette, 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 Underground Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | 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, or 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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