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Scientology proudly now displaying miserable secret deal it offered Clearwater leaders

[It’s a swimming pool paradise!]

We’ve been looking a little more closely at the special “Clearwater edition” of Freedom magazine that recently came out after Freedom had not put out a new issue for a year.

It’s quite obvious that the new issue was thrown together to counter the brilliant Tampa Bay Times investigation of October 20 which revealed that once again the Church of Scientology has pulled off a surreptitious and underhanded takeover of the Florida beach city’s dormant downtown.

In a classic example of disinformation, Scientology’s longtime propaganda magazine featured a story by editor John Sugg that smeared the Times and its reporter, Tracey McManus, blaming the newspaper for the city’s inability to revive a downtown that Scientology has had a stranglehold on since its first secret takeover in 1975.

But we also noticed that at its website Freedom is trying to convince its readers (who are essentially all Scientologists) of what a golden opportunity the church was offering the city of Clearwater before it was spurned, specifically in the sale of a 1.4-acre parcel of land that David Miscavige coveted.

Scientology is now willing to reveal what it secretly showed city leaders in 2017 as it tried to convince them that the parcel of land should go to Scientology, which was offering four times what it was worth.


It’s really fascinating, if purely academic, to see now the slick presentation that Scientology ginned up to impress Mayor Cretekos and other city leaders, proposing that Scientology would turn the 1.4-acre parcel into a swimming pool and playground for its Oak Cove “resort.” Here, take a look…


Slickly produced like all of Scientology’s videos, it makes the case that the Oak Cove is downright dangerous for the children there because there isn’t a better place for trucks to make deliveries, and because the resort doesn’t have a swimming pool like other hotels in the area.

But it’s no wonder why city leaders weren’t taken in. As we explained in our previous piece, the city and the owner of the parcel, Clearwater Aquarium, were in no mood to sell to Scientology after the church had opposed the $160 million plan for aquarium expansion into that parcel, which would have brought crowds of non-Scientologists into the downtown core for entertainment and, who knows, maybe some lodging and shopping as well.


That was the last thing that Scientology wanted. As this map shows, the parcel is not only adjacent to the Oak Cove, but also right behind the Fort Harrison Hotel and its cabanas — one of which was used as a prison for Lisa McPherson, who in 1995 spent 17 days in captivity there before dying of dehydration.

Can you imagine, thousands of tourists not only coming to see Winter the dolphin in an aquarium expansion on that site, but also hanging around to gawk at Lisa McPherson’s dungeon?

Sure, the church wants that land for a swimming pool. Not because it has many guests at the Oak Cove who would have used it, but simply as another parcel of land under Scientology control that no non-Scientologist would ever want to go near.

And what Scientology won’t explain in any slick presentation for the public is that the Flag Land Base is a factory. Wealthy Scientologists come in from around the world because they have work to do: They spend up to hundreds of dollars an hour for expensive interrogations and processing in order to go through exotic upper-level teachings that can only be obtained at the Clearwater base. It’s the reason that the Flag Land Base brings in more income than all the rest of Scientology’s facilities around the planet, combined.

Scientologists are not there to sit by a pool. The renderings you see in this video depict an expensively landscaped space that would simply be an additional buffer between Scientology and the outside world.


Why in the hell would city leaders of Clearwater want that?

Of course, they didn’t want it, and they didn’t fall for Miscavige’s gambit. The city purchased the parcel, as had been agreed with the aquarium.

Still, it’s really interesting and instructive for Scientology to make this public now. It will convince a few Scientologists that the city missed a good opportunity, but no one else should be taken in.

The city bought the parcel intending to bring in a developer who would turn it into some kind of destination, like a shopping and entertainment complex with a brewpub or something. We haven’t heard of any plans for that parcel yet: Is there a developer who wants to set up shop surrounded by church properties? Good luck with that, city burghers.

Meanwhile, burned that his offer to buy the parcel was turned down, David Miscavige instead had his wealthy followers secretly buy up a lot more downtown real estate, as the McManus investigation showed.

We hope government officials and journalists keep that in mind as they see this short film. It’s almost a perfect example of Scientology’s dishonest but slick positioning.

UPDATE: Wow, we just received this message from a reader, who we’re not naming at this time…

I was watching that video you posted and it reminded me of a story from that time. I work for the city in the solid waste department. I received a phone call from one of our usual contacts from Scientology asking for an extra dump on their dumpster at Oak Cove the following Saturday. Our driver got there and there were people staged all around the building with cameras. As the truck drove in someone literally called ACTION! They all started walking around the truck and darting around. Much like the kids running around the SYSCO truck in the video. And the dumpster was actually empty. All staged just for what would have been this video. Of course they claimed ignorance when we called Monday and asked for an explanation of putting our people and their people at risk.


Your proprietor was live Down Under

This is why we were up extra early this morning…




Scientologist financier now accused of mob ties, running Ponzi scheme

Things keep getting worse for Scientologist investor David Gentile (right), whose company GPB Holdings is the subject of federal investigations and now the target of a new class-action lawsuit.

Last night, Jeffrey Augustine reported that the lawsuit accuses Gentile and GPB of Russian mob ties as well as operating a Ponzi scheme.

From the press release by the law firms handling the lawsuit:

While the GPB Ponzi scheme formally began in 2013 the seeds of this fraud were sowed years before when David Gentile became involved with an Eastern European organized crime family headed by Michael Chernaya a/k/a Michael Cherney. Gentile’s relationship with Chernaya, his organization, and his family ultimately led to GPB’s first portfolio assets and GPB investor funds flowing to Chernaya’s organization, an organization that included David Gentile. Michael Chernaya’s ties to foreign crime syndicates, the mafia and Russian oligarchs are extensive and well-documented. He has been denied a visa by the United States. He has been barred from Bulgaria. Court documents reveal that although he is not in the United States, his two daughters, Rina and Diana Chernaya, live in Florida and have been the recipients of tens of millions of dollars from their father.

Oh, Florida did you say? We can’t help wondering about those Chernaya daughters and a certain organization in Florida we know about.

Gentile himself became involved with Scientology’s New York org around the year 2011, and quickly became a substantial donor.


But was Scientology itself somehow involved in GPB and its problems? We haven’t seen anything yet, but it’s still early.


Bonus items from our tipsters

Joy Villa performs at the Berlin Ideal Org. Photo shot by her ex, Thorsten Overgaard.



Source Code

The ship in question — the ship in question was a heavy cruiser and its four-stripe captain had first come ashore and had looked at me, you know, ‘What! You’re Senior Officer Present ashore?’ and had sniffed. And I was trying to get him orders and he was trying to get orders and everybody was trying to do something to get it out of here, because the Japanese might strike in the north at any time. He finally came in the office, you know, all four stripes and gold braid and so forth, and he said, ‘Mr. Hubbard,’ he said, ‘if you will sign — if you will sign sailing orders for me, I’ll sail.’ So I scribbled out: ‘You are hereby detached from this station and shall proceed upon your way as befits your duties and missions. Signed, L. Ron Hubbard.'” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 7, 1959


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I had an excellent psychic tell me amazing stuff about me that was accurate and she mentioned how I was Nicolaus Copernicus, that rings true for me, it could very well be true, I today am thinking totally out of the square and trying to expose the truth similar to how Copernicus was all those years ago.”


Random Howdy

“I’m still nursing injuries from slam dancing.”


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?



[ONE year ago] Here’s an example of how Scientology’s ‘disconnection’ is designed to eat away at you
[TWO years ago] Tonight on ‘Leah Remini’: ‘I just walked away from Scientology after seeing Leah’s show’
[THREE years ago] On the ballot tomorrow: The former lawman who let Scientology’s drug horror clinic off the hook
[FOUR years ago] Desperate to hurt Going Clear‘s Oscar chances, Scientology goes down a dangerous path
[FIVE years ago] Scientologist (and Tea Partier) Brent Jones is elected to Nevada’s legislature
[SIX years ago] Statistically Speaking: Jefferson Hawkins Takes Us Into Scientology’s Numbers Fixation
[SEVEN years ago] FOUR MORE YEARS!…Of Inaction On Scientology?
[EIGHT years ago] Michael Sandlofer, 1st Husband to X Factor’s Stacy Francis, on Her Past, Her Scientology, and Her Problems With The Truth


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,621 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,750 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,254 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,774 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 794 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 685 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,992 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,860 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,634 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,408 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,754 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,320 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,239 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,407 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,988 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,249 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,288 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,000 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,526 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,052 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,615 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,755 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,075 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,931 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,050 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,405 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,708 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,814 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,216 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,088 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,671 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,166 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,420 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,529 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 7, 2019 at 07:00

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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, 14 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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