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Former members of the Lisa McPherson Trust reflect on Tuesday’s ‘Aftermath’ episode

[Bob Minton and Stacy Brooks]

Tuesday night’s Scientology and the Aftermath episode was another stunner, and contained surprises even for some of us jaded, longtime Scientology Watchers.

Sure, many of us knew a lot about the terrible Lisa McPherson story, and that her 1995 death spawned a reaction in the form of years of protests in Clearwater, Florida, some of them put on by the Lisa McPherson Trust, a feisty organization funded by a Boston businessman, Bob Minton. And we knew that Minton was put under such a ferocious “Fair Game” campaign by Scientology’s secret police, the Office of Special Affairs, he ended up switching sides before his untimely death of a heart attack in 2010.

But Leah Remini’s costar, and former head of OSA, Mike Rinder, stunned us with details about the operation that he personally oversaw against Minton, and offered his apologies for, he admitted, destroying the man. It made for amazing television.

And we figured the people who lived it might have some interesting things to say about the episode. So we asked former LMT employees like Robert Peterson, Jeff Jacobsen, Jesse Prince, Mark Bunker (who appeared in the episode) and also McPherson family attorney Ken Dandar.

Jeff Jacobsen, for example, was a Phoenix critic of Scientology we first wrote about in 1999. It was Jeff who noticed in 1996 that the year before, in the mysterious death of a woman in Clearwater, the woman’s address was one he recognized — the woman, Lisa McPherson, had died at Scientology’s holiest site, the Fort Harrison Hotel. Jeff alerted a Tampa Tribune reporter, and soon the death of McPherson became one of Scientology’s biggest scandals.

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Jeff told us he really enjoyed the episode. “It’s 40 minutes of trying to boil down two years of craziness, but I thought they did a good job. The one thing that really surprised me was the thing about the Swiss money.”

Ah yes, the frozen assets! Mike really shocked us all with that particular detail.

In 2009, Tampa Bay Times reporter Tom Tobin wrote an article titled “How Scientology Got To Bob Minton.” Tobin talked to Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun, who had only recently gone public after defecting from Scientology as high-level executives.

In the article, Rinder described using private investigators to look into Minton’s finances, and found a way to apply pressure to him. But in 2009, Rinder wouldn’t give Tobin details about how it had been done.

“There were things that, really, he was worried about and had caused problems for him in the investigation that we had done,” Rinder said, declining to give more detail. “I’m just going to leave it at that.”

So it was only in this week’s ‘Aftermath’ episode that Mike finally revealed more, saying that Scientology’s private investigator, Dave Lubow, had persuaded the Nigerian government that Minton had scammed them in bond sales. The Nigerian government then asked a prosecutor in Switzerland to open an investigation and freeze Minton’s funds.

“He had no money. That was the real pressure that was put on him,” Rinder said.

Mark Bunker tells us he didn’t know that detail until he taped the show. “I just knew that Bob wanted out, but I didn’t know the way that they had done it,” he told us, and added how much it meant to him that Rinder had spoken up and apologized. “I was deeply moved by Mike’s comments during the taping of the show. I’m so glad that he came out and said what he did.”

Former LMT employee Robert Peterson also praised the show, but expressed some doubts about the Swiss money story, saying that Minton had told him he had money in other places. Ken Dandar tells us that he does believe Minton’s money was focused in Switzerland, and that freezing the assets there hobbled him.

“I got a call just before Easter. I think it was Good Friday,” Dandar says, remembering how things turned in 2002. Minton was calling him from the New York office of a Scientology attorney. “Bob was crying. He said his lawyer from Boston was with him. ‘Ken,’ he said, ‘Monday morning you have to dismiss the McPherson case. They have all of my money. And if you don’t dismiss the case, the blood of my daughters, and my wife and myself will be on your hands.’

“I said to him, Your lawyer’s sitting there? You need to call the cops right now. You are being extorted. And number two, as much as I appreciate all that you’ve done, you are not my client and I will never dismiss the case.

“And he hung up on me. The next Monday, he was in Florida meeting at [Scientology attorney] Wally Pope’s office, planning with Scientology on how to bring me down.”

Jesse Prince told us that what Tuesday night’s episode glossed over was how much damage it did to people when Bob Minton and Stacy Brooks flipped.

“At the Lisa McPherson Trust we kept meticulous records of all the people and their families who had come to us. It was an intelligence trove of information about people who were trying to leave Scientology. All of it was turned over to OSA by Bob and Stacy,” he says.

“And not only did Bob and Stacy retract their affidavits and change them, but they tried to make me do it too. They had me down there in a hotel by the beach, and I had a microphone on myself that I had gotten from Frank Oliver. Because I didn’t think anyone would believe what Bob and Stacy were saying to me. Bob was telling me that I had to retract all of my testimony in the McPherson case, the Wollersheim case — to get Bob out of trouble.”

Jesse says he told Minton that he would never change his testimony. “I told him, You think you can use me as a fucking bargaining chip? At that point Bob threatened to call the police. So I walked away and never talked to Bob again.”

And the recording? “I gave the recording to Ken Dandar. They were going after Ken so hard. They wanted me to give false testimony against Ken to crush the McPherson case.”

After the episode aired Tuesday night, Jesse told us he was disappointed that it didn’t go into more detail about just how destructive Scientology’s plots had been, and how much damage Bob and Stacy had done after they flipped. And he didn’t like that the episode made Bob and Stacy seem to be heroic figures.

“That fairy tale they told on TV? It made me nauseous,” he said.

“Jesse is absolutely correct,” Dandar tells us. “The episode made Scientology look bad, but not nearly as bad as they really are.”

Others were more charitable. “I thought it was great,” Jeff Jacobsen told us. “There’s no way to squeeze all the craziness from that time into an hour program. This was just right.”

Robert Peterson was also complimentary. “It is virtually impossible to convey the intensity of those times,” he told us. “I thought it was a positive show. I don’t have any hard feelings against Mike Rinder or anyone from Scientology who used the L. Ron Hubbard ‘tech’ against us. If it hadn’t been Mike it would have been somebody else.”

Bunker was also glad to see Rinder say what he did. “During the course of getting Bob out of this, Mike and Bob did develop a friendship. We spoke about this quite a bit in the time before his death, that he really did create a friendship with Mike Rinder.”

 
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Bonus items from our tipsters

Would Scientology’s sneaky “human rights” front lure famed Olympic champion John Carlos, famous for his 1968 Black Power salute, to an event celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.?

Of course it would.

 

 
Actor Jason Dohring, son of ABCMouse.com baron Doug Dohring, helps out at the Celebrity Centre…

 

 
——————–

Start making your plans!

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

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

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?

 
——————–

THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] A mini-trove of early Scientology materials has some gems for us today
[TWO years ago] For 30 grand or so, Scientology will let you into its shrine to L. Ron Hubbard. Here’s a peek.
[THREE years ago] Scientology attorney Bert Deixler writes a threat letter to Karen de la Carriere over TV show
[FOUR years ago] Jon Atack: Scientology’s elusive ‘Clears’ and ‘Operating Thetans’ — where have they been?
[FIVE years ago] Leah Remini is still thumbing her nose at Scientology leader David Miscavige
[SIX years ago] Ursula Caberta Retiring: Her Thoughts On Fighting Scientology in Germany for 20 Years
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Sues Debbie Cook Over Her New Year’s Eve E-Mail

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,346 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,477 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,979 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,459 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 522 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 410 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,717 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,585 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,359 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,133 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,479 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,045 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,965 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,132 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,713 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,973 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,013 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,725 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,251 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,340 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,480 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,800 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,656 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,775 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,131 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,433 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,539 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,942 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,813 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,396 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,891 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,145 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,254 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on January 31, 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, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), 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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele

 

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