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Clearwater police chief: Scientology is complying with orders during the pandemic

[Bunker, with Leah Remini and Mike Rinder, in a previous exchange with Clearwater police]

We followed up with Mark Bunker today, and he had news for us about Scientology continuing to operate its “Flag Land Base” in Clearwater, Florida, where Bunker was sworn in this week as a new city councilmember.

Bunker told us that on Monday he had brought up his concerns about Scientology defying a ‘stay-at-home’ order with City Manager Bill Horne. Bunker also spoke with Police Chief Dan Slaughter.

“I spoke with Chief Slaughter on the phone and expressed my concerns about the buses and the crowded living conditions,” Bunker tells us. “He investigated and wrote this detailed report to Bill Horne about the actions he took and didn’t take. While the Fort Harrison Hotel and the Super Power building were inspected, none of the interiors of the berthing quarters were viewed because both City Attorney Pam Aiken and Chief Slaughter said they would need a warrant to do that.”

Here’s the report that Chief Slaughter submitted to Horne, in full:

Mr. Horne,


I spoke with Councilman Bunker today regarding concerns about the Church of Scientology parishioners and requesting a welfare check be done. Additionally, our Communications Center received some calls about Scientology compliance with CDC guidance, executive orders, and resolutions. PIO Shaw advised there was some similar concerns expressed on Twitter. I spoke with Sheriff Gualtieri, who indicated he had field some inquiries about it as well. There was a youtube video posted that referenced March 21, which showed buses at or near capacity; but that date was before the “Safer at Home” order.

Based on the reported concerns, I did the following:

I circulated downtown on Monday and monitored the unloading of buses. I observed the buses to be less occupied than normal. The number of passengers appeared to range from 8-15. The persons were seated separate from each other. I could see as persons unloaded, they would stand on the bus six feet apart waiting to get off. I spoke with Division Chief Graham who indicated he had a conversation with Scientology staff and reviewed their protocols for transport and disinfecting procedures Scientology instituted. He advised he felt they were using best practices.

I again circulated downtown this morning and monitored the unloading of buses. I had the same observations as yesterday, but the buses I observed did not have more than 13 passengers. There is substantially less foot traffic of Scientology personnel downtown as well.

I circulated other locations on Tuesday, driving past some residential locations on N Fort Harrison and off of Keene Rd. I did not observe any congregating at any of these locations or violations of the social distancing requirements. The social distancing requirements would not extend inside of a residential unit. As longs as occupancy is consistent with Code, there would not be a violation.

At 140pm, I went to 210 Fort Harrison and advised I would like a staff member to give me a tour of the building so I could evaluate compliance with the current prevention measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ben Shaw and Sarah Heller met me and we discussed the processes they have in place to prevent spread. I learned the following:

— Ben Shaw advised that some persons staying at the Fort Harrison are international guests that are unable to get flights home due to restricted travel.
— All persons that have any indication of illness or have arrived with any travel related concerns are quarantined for 14 days.
— There is signage prevalent in the building, which I observed.
— There is a short questionnaire asked of persons entering the Fort Harrison to confirm they have read prevention material
— There is multiple locations for persons to obtain surgical masks, gloves, and gel sanitizer.
— I was able to review and keep two pamphlets available at each desk that discuss protective measures.
— I walked the common areas in 210 S Fort Harrison and did not see any gatherings in violation
— I toured the pool area and observed the pool was closed. People were allowed to use chairs that were significantly separated from each other to sunbath or lounge.

— I toured two food dining areas at 210 S Fort Harrison which were operating, but with separation between dining tables of approximately 10 feet. We discussed the restaurant restrictions and Sarah advised that their food dining was not regulated by the Governor’s Executive order because they are not part of those establishments governed by chapter 500 or 509. Matt Smith reviewed and confirmed that she was correct, they were exempt as a religious organization and governed by chapter 66 of the Pinellas County Code not Florida Statute 500 or 509. I did not observe any alcoholic beverages being served.
— I toured 215 S Fort Harrison as well. The general areas again did not have any evidence of groups congregating. I discussed the auditing sessions with Ben Shaw. He advised that they had created distance between the auditor and the parishioner, and the sessions involve two people.
— I toured the dining area used for the general employees. They advised they generally have two sittings, but have expanded to four sittings at three different locations. The have removed tables and chairs to increase spacing. I observed employees in line at one of the sittings. The employees in line were separated by six feet, using the hallway to achieve the distance. There were monitors making sure there was compliance.

Based on the observations made, I don’t see any compliance issues. They have prevalent signage and disinfectant available. Neither location was dense with people. Ben Shaw advised that with air travel restrictions, occupancy is currently lower than normal.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Chief Slaughter

Bunker tells us that after he got Chief Slaughter’s report he saw Slaughter today while volunteering at the Salvation Army to help hand out food. He said he told Slaughter that while he appreciated the inspections that were made, Scientology could make places like the Flag Building or the Fort Harrison Hotel very clean for weathy patrons, but what he was more concerned about were the living conditions for Sea Org workers, which Slaughter was not allowed to see.

“We have to take care of their health, because it can spread so quickly to the public. It’s not just an issue for Scientology, but for the rest of us because those Scientologists visiting Flag will take it back home,” Bunker says. “Clearwater made changes after it got a black eye for the images of all the people at the beach. Well, I think this can give us a black eye too.”


Source Code

“OK, and this is the 1st of April 1954, little more on simple procedures, basics. The problem which the auditor faces is a very simple problem. That’s what makes it so difficult. He has a human being who is out of present time. Ordinarily this is the target of the auditor, although you can use auditing on cats, dogs and horses, and so forth. As a matter of fact, I was auditing a horse the other day. Got him into present time, too. It’s very easy to audit a horse. All you make him do is reach for you and you retreat until he feels good and dangerous. And his spirits will come up and he’ll be in present time enough to be rid.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 1, 1954



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Membership figures in the Freezone — just like in the Church — have been dropping for decades so that the next generation is expected to be nothing but extravagant buildings owned and controlled by US government agencies like CST and RTC in order to increase illegal earnings of controlled intelligence non-governmental organizations (NGOs)….In the west, however, a toothless Scientology — which no longer audits effectively, thus leaving the reactive mind untouched, and no longer produces real Clears and OTs, but instead studies theory (‘The BASICS’) for the most part or, as in the Freezone, replaces the auditor’s training with ‘discussions about Scientology’s aspects in news groups’ — serves a similar purpose as the Freemasons’ lodges centuries ago: a reservoir for critical spirits, free thinkers and intelligent freedom fighters controlled by secret service circles.”


Random Howdy

“Better to be pissed off than pissed on.”


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] Sword-wielding, Bentley-driving man killed by police at Scientology org identified
[TWO years ago] Scientologists are trying to convince each other that the new TV network is a roaring success
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s spies: L. Ron Hubbard’s twisted legacy that proved his sickness
[FOUR years ago] Augustine: One weird trick every Scientologist needs to learn for real ‘total freedom’
[SIX years ago] Hey, you guys, the new Scientology E-meter is a hit!
[SEVEN years ago] LEAK: Narconon’s Legal Affairs Director Admits No Scientific Basis for Advertised Success Rates
[EIGHT years ago] Sunday Funnies: LRH Gets an Answer from Tricky Dick!


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 1,894 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,398 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,918 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 938 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 829 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,136 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,004 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,778 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,552 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,898 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,464 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,383 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,551 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,132 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,393 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,431 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,144 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,669 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,199 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,759 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,899 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,219 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,074 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,194 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,549 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,852 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,958 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,360 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,232 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,815 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,310 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,564 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,673 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 1, 2020 at 09:05

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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