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The million-dollar donors keeping Scientology flush, New Year’s 2020 edition

As we promised on Monday, we have for you today the greater whales who were celebrated at a special New Year’s “Patron’s Ball” in Beverly Hills, another opportunity for Scientology to celebrate its biggest donors.

On Monday, we showed you the lesser whales, the donors who had forked over up to $750,000 to David Miscavige’s slush fund, the International Association of Scientologists, and today we have the richies who were recognized by the IAS for bestowing at least $1 million or more.

This set of donors is from California and other parts of the Western US, but Scientology cetaceans from other parts of the world will get their chance to vie for pretty trophies at upcoming celebrations that will be held at Maiden Voyage on the cruise ship Freewinds in June and at the year’s biggest shindig, the IAS annual anniversary gala in October that takes place in East Grinstead, England. (But what about the trophy-winners who were scheduled to be feted on LRH Birthday weekend two weeks ago in Clearwater, Florida? Will they still get a spread in an upcoming issue of Impact magazine? Poor things.)

Scientology makes a game out of giving the church huge sums, begging big donors to turn over more and more in the hopes of reaching a new status level, a bigger trophy, and the prospect of being included in Impact magazine.


But it’s really important to keep in mind that these are cumulative amounts. Someone credited for giving $1 million, for example, may have given only a few thousand in recent months that enabled them to get past that plateau. (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 here are the Western US big whales. Let us know if you recognize them.


Gold Meritorious ($1 million)
Will Wiatt
Orange County, California
Lifetime Member since: 1991
“A recently retired veterinarian, for 37 years Will Wiatt saved lives on the Fifth Dynamic (to that end, he’s X-rayed a boa constrictor and treated a baby giraffe). A five-time Model of Admin Know-How awardee and a noteworthy FSM, he is now dedicating himself to ascending the Bridge at AOLA.”


Gold Meritorious ($1 million)
Kathi Likes
Denver, Colorado

Lifetime Member since: 1992
“Kathi is a Silver Humanitarian for the Denver Ideal Org and has served on its OT Committee for 11 years. She is part of Denver’s Ideal Org Alliance team that helped complete Salt Lake City and Kansas City and is now on a drive to get Albuquerque, New Mexico, across the Ideal finish line.”


Gold Meritorious ($1 million)
The Wehner & Guzzetta Families
San Jose, California
Lifetime Members since: 1985 (Pat, Susan), 1987 (Christina), 1991 (Stephen)
“Veteran Mission Holders and executives, the Guzzettas run the Silicon Valley Mission while the Wehners helm the mission in San Jose. Cumulatively, they have ushered well over 1,000 people onto and up the Bridge and have served nearly 80 years on staff.”


Gold Meritorious ($1 million)
Paul, Bonnie & Natalie O’Malley
Sylmar, California

Lifetime Members since: 1992 (Paul), 2000 (Bonnie)
“Paul and Bonnie O’Malley are New OT VIIIs and Double Cornerstone members for Super Power. He is a dentist who has helped salvage lives by steering people onto the Narconon program and she is a Class V Auditor with six Clears to her credit (including daughter, Natalie).”


Gold Meritorious With Honors ($1.75 million)
Jason Toms
Los Angeles, California
Lifetime Member since: 1998
“A Southern California transplant from Colorado, he’s led The Way to Happiness by distributing some 10,000 DVDs throughout the world. He’s also helped propel translations of the Basics into Chinese and spearheaded a drive to get LRH books into libraries in Pakistan and the Middle East. Jason accepted the award on behalf of Ultimate Creations.”


Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million)
Kevin & Karen Dale
Lake View Terrace, California

Lifetime Members since: 1986
“Kevin and Karen Dale are building a better future through education. Karen has been on staff at Delphi Los Angeles for 30 years — 11 as its executive director, while Kevin has served as project manager and benefactor for Delphi LA’s preschool.”


Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million)
The Driessen & McCullough Families
Glendale and La Crescenta, California
Lifetime Members since: 1988 (Peg), 1991 (Mike)
“Mike Driessen is the deputy chairman of Celebrity Centre’s OT Committee. He and his team have staged more than 50 events in a bid for an all-Ideal West US. Meanwhile, Peg McCullough helps champion human rights in India and Bangladesh.”


Diamond Meritorious ($5 million)
Martha & Sam Bousfield
Redmond, Oregon

Lifetime Members since: 1993 (Martha), 1998 (Sam)
“Sam and Martha Bousfield are known as Ideal Org players and Platinum Humanitarians for Sacramento — their home base for many years. They are also known for their insouciance, innovation — and their flying car (for real!).”


Patron Laureate With Honors ($11 million)
Steve & Wendi-Lynn Hechtman & Family
Sacramento, California
Lifetime Members since: 1993
“As pioneering IAS Field Disseminators, Steve and Wendi-Lynn Hechtman have ignited a record-breaking IAS energy drive in Sacramento. Their success is no secret, it’s been exported widely, from Portland to Phoenix and Denver to Washington, D.C.”


Diamond Laureate ($15 million)
Sandy Gomberg & Marie Arnold
Las Vegas, Nevada

Lifetime Members since: 1990 (Sandy), 1991 (Marie)
“For Sandy Gomberg and Marie Arnold, helping is their passion. She leads the human rights team for the Las Vegas OT Committee and he helms the CCHR chapter that staged a CCHR exhibit in the Nevada State Capitol Building last May.”


Ask a Scientologist!

Here’s a question that came in to, and we thought Michael Laws might be the best person to answer it. If you have a question for one of our many experts, please send it in!

From what I’ve read Sea Org members seem to have a very naive conception of life outside the Sea Org. To what extent are Sea Org members “disconnected” from the outside world ? Are they aware of what is going on in it beyond what the church tells them? Is an ex-member kind of a time travel refugee when they get out?

It’s a complex question. You have to ask about a particular person, did they grow up in it, or did they have a previous life? If they had a previous life, they can quickly re-adapt. But many don’t. When I first came out, I couldn’t hold a job. I had 17 jobs in seven years. I was essentially unemployable. When I started doing better I took in about 50 people in a six-year period to try and give them a softer landing than I had. When you get out you don’t know how to grocery shop, you don’t know how to write a resume. You don’t know how to perform a job. In Scientology, for example, you might have a stat like “letters out.” The quality of those letters doesn’t matter. But in the outside world, that doesn’t work. There’s a lot of lore in Scientology that makes you Homo Novis, but then when you get into the real world and it doesn’t treat you like the superhero that you’ve believed you are for decades, it’s really, really rough. There’s a huge ego thing that has to be overcome. If you believe that you’re an executive and you won’t take anything less, or you think that a job is much easier, you end up burning yourself. The first thing you have to do is learn and acknowledge where you are. What is your real skill set? And it’s shocking. I thought I was a great salesperson. I failed at four consecutive sales jobs. So I tried construction, and I got fired from that after five months. For a while I just considered myself a victim, I couldn’t get a fair shot. But then you have to realize that you have to learn. I needed to figure out how to make a living. The faster you can come to reality with what your actual skills are, the better.

— Michael Laws


Source Code

“The possession of an object is necessary to its handling and control. The ability to have something is necessary to its nullification. In other words, if you want to take the danger out of something, you’d better be able to have it. Don’t try to stretch away and run away to the other end of Earth because some machine is going whirr-clang. Because there’s a guillotine somewhere that is going whirr-clang is no reason that you have to go to south Borneo. It might be if you’re trying to play the game of preserve the body, preserve the body, preserve the body, to take the body there. But I assure you, that if you run away from a guillotine, the next time you get beheaded it’ll hurt like hell. But if you didn’t run away from the guillotine there’s a distinct possibility that the guillotine wouldn’t clang. If it did it wouldn’t hurt. First, if it did clang it wouldn’t hurt, or it wouldn’t even drop, or it would disappear, or you probably have the ability to simply mock up a body someplace else. In other words, you could vanish if you could be there. But not if you ran away.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 25, 1957



Overheard in the FreeZone

“The Church is causing 98 percent of its own troubles by Misapplications of Scientology, such as Fair Game, wherein they drive others down tone. If the Church would stop all of its Misapplications — 98 percent of the critics would go away. For that remaining two percent who would insanely attack the Church for making people happier — you use AS-ISNESS as the ONLY solution to them. Prove they are telling lies….You are God in your own universe. You cannot be the effect of something unless you agree to be the effect…The Church is a DEAD END bridge at this point in time, as we have already said. The Church product is missing. Its stats on stable Theta Clears, OTs and Free Beings is zero. The Upper Bridge exists outside the Church — and the case gain and exteriorization and OT phenomena outside of the Church, far exceeds any inside the Church. The hope of man now belongs to the independents.”


Random Howdy

“You know, I actually try not to swear on here. And If I’m in mixed company I try to do the same. Even though I’m an old punk I do have fairly good manners, and I have the scars from my mother’s fingernails digging into the fleshy part of my arm when I didn’t to prove it.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Jay Spina: Sentencing set for April 3 in White Plains
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members: Trial set for April 14 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Waiting for an appellate decision from the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Hearing on motion for reconsideration set for June 17
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology: April 22 (plaintiff attorneys pro hac vice), June (demurrers by Masterson and Scientology), June (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe’s attorneys have asked for discovery, depositions (Warren McShane, Lynn Farny), April 20 hearing set (motion to compel arbitration)
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments were heard on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Amended complaint filed.


Start making your plans…

Head over to the convention website and meet us in St. Louis!


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

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

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, naturally, is trying to capitalize on the New Zealand mosque massacre
[TWO years ago] The Ideal Org grift isn’t complete until Scientology’s ‘Birthday Game’ is won
[THREE years ago] ‘God of Pop’ Kuba Ka on meeting Scientology’s David Miscavige: ‘Like an emperor or the Pope’
[FOUR years ago] Attorney for Scientology’s drug rehab centers threatens lawyer running anti-Narconon website
[FIVE years ago] ‘Going Clear’: Marty Rathbun on what he was thinking during his key moment in Gibney’s film
[SIX years ago] Lawyer Vance Woodward sues Scientology over his time in the church — here’s the complaint
[SEVEN years ago] A SMERSH Madness Update: Time for the Bracket Finals to Begin!
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: RON the Encyclopedia — THE VIDEO!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,888 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,392 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,912 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 932 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 823 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,130 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,998 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,772 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,546 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,892 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,458 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,377 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,545 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,126 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,387 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,425 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,138 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,663 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,190 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,753 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,893 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,213 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,068 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,188 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,543 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,846 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,952 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,354 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,226 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,809 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,304 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,558 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,667 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 25, 2020 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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), 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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