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The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 19: Wally Pope

In 2011 we spent the month of August counting down a list of the “Top 25 People Crippling Scientology.” Nine years later, Scientology is still hurting, but church leader David Miscavige learned long ago that paid membership was only one resource that kept him in business. He also relies on a small army of enablers, some paid, some not, who help him stay in business even though they aren’t Scientologists themselves. So we thought we’d recognize them with this countdown.

You must have known we’d be getting around to some Scientology legal types in this countdown at some point. Where would Scientology be, after all, without its small army of highly paid hired guns who clog up courts with mountains of paperwork and file nutty motions on behalf of David Miscavige to delay and derail any hope of justice for Scientology’s victims?

We’re sure you can think of a few of those legal mercenaries including some real hot-heads, but we want to make sure that mild-mannered F. Wallace Pope, Jr. of Tampa-based Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns, LLP, is not overlooked.

Wally Pope has been a reliable courtroom soldier for Scientology for many years. It was to Wally, after all, that Miscavige turned in part to help get him through the mess in the wake of Lisa McPherson’s death. Pope handled the family’s lawsuit against the church, and then handled attempts to bury the McPherson family attorney, Ken Dandar, under a bizarre $1 million penalty for daring to continue to litigate against Scientology. Ultimately, that attempt failed and Dandar got the $1 million penalty dismissed, but Wally had done his best, at least, to destroy one of Miscavige’s enemies.


We’ve seen Wally operate in a courtroom, and we can confirm what others say about him, that he doesn’t fit the fire-breathing image of other Scientology mercenaries. He’s a mellower type, and judges seem to respect and like him. Judge James Whittemore sure did, and made that very plain when we saw Pope litigating in Whittemore’s Tampa courtroom in 2013.

Wally might come off as a Southern gentleman, but what he was doing that day in court was pure Scientology. Luis and Rocio Garcia were former Scientologists who were suing the church for fraud, saying they’d been lied to in order to get them to turn over donations totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. But rather than deal with those allegations, what Wally had brought before the judge was a charge that the Garcias’ attorneys had played dirty and should be disqualified from the case.

On the other side was Ted Babbitt, a 48-year veteran of the law game who, like Ray Jeffrey at nearly the same time in Texas, was shocked to find himself hauled in to court to defend his propriety and ethics. But that’s Scientology’s (or rather, David Miscavige’s) style, to derail the case and paralyze the courtroom with frivolous accusations against upstanding attorneys because Miscavige wants it done.

Looking over our notes from that day in court, we can see that we repeatedly observed how Wally found himself presenting absolutely ludicrous arguments and “evidence” simply because David Miscavige wanted it done, to the point that Judge Whittemore clearly felt sorry for the man. That attempt to disqualify the Garcia attorneys failed miserably.

But Pope has been plenty successful in other gambits for the church, as we soon found out in the Garcia case after that disqualifying motion failed.

And Wally isn’t above getting his hands dirty in other ways.

You probably remember that in 2017, then Clearwater bar owner Clay Irwin found a spy camera aimed at his house. He had come to Scientology’s attention not only because he had opened a tavern right smack in the middle of Scientology’s “spiritual mecca” in downtown Clearwater, but also because of the bit of fun he had touring Tom Cruise’s unfinished condo while it was under construction. Clay figured it was Scientology that had him under surveillance, and we later told him he was right: We obtained evidence showing the private investigator operating the camera had been hired by Wally’s firm.

So, while Wally’s Southern gentleman schtick may keep him in friends at court, David Miscavige knows who he can turn to when something unsavory needs to be done for the church in the Tampa Bay area.

The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology

3: The judges
4: The LAPD
5: The dirty tricks private eyes
6: The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

7: The litigators
8: The ghost private eyes
9: The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office
10: Political shills
11: Gary Soter
12: The city of Clearwater, Florida
13: Google and other tech titans
14: The Los Angeles Times
15: Jeffrey Riffer
16: James Packer
17: Louis Farrakhan
18: Mark “Marty” Rathbun
19: Wally Pope
20: Gensler
21: Parents who subscribe to ABCMouse
22: Graham Norton and other celebrity strokers
23: The apologist academics
24: Rebecca Dobkin and other low-level PI grunts
25: DirecTV and filmmakers buffing Dave’s channel


Bonus items from our tipsters

There’s just no end of ways to give, give, give!




Source Code

“I know it’s mean of me, it’s cabalist, it’s rabble-rousing for me to infer that the majesty of government is actually being used to further some foul, religious end in some way and to cause everybody to be dead. But I’m very interested in the fact that the Church of England, of all organizations, right down here in the form of a vicar (who, I think, has had to move since), this bird — I’m looking at a face or two here who were present in this — was being very censorious about our giving death lessons to young children. Story went around the world. What do you think this guy does every time he stands up there in the pulpit? He’s talking about going to heaven and all this sort of thing. He’s giving death lessons to little kids. Diana came home from school one day crying. She was going to a local school up here. She wanted to know if all this stuff about poor Christ was true. And I gave her the hot dope, and — well, as a matter of fact, I did. I was very reasonable about the whole thing. I said, ‘Native populaces have their religious beliefs, and wherever you are, you must remain tolerant of the current beliefs,’ and so forth, and she took this in. But it’s interesting that this bird down here is asserting how wrong it is, don’t you see, to give children death lessons while he himself is giving them death lessons. Only our death lessons are straight dope this is what happens with regard to death — but his are a darn lie.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 27, 1963


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I was given a clue that what we have been feeling during these months of 2020 is a kind of ‘blanketing’ low-tone vibration. Probably a Freezone OT committee would be able to identify it and as-is it somehow. What is a fact is that the Dems and lefty Scienos and ex-Scienos have fallen victim to this blanketing of the planet.”


Random Howdy

“The Church of Scientology is as wrong as the Kims in North Korea. Some things just need to be stopped, you don’t even have to think about it, you feel it in your gut. I remember my father telling me about how my grandfather signed up to join the Lincoln Brigade to go fight Franco. I didn’t understand at first, but later I did.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Arraignment scheduled for September 18.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for August 27 in White Plains, NY, but attorneys are asking it be moved back. Jeffrey’s is set for October 24.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Motion for reconsideration denied on August 11
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Sept 4 (CSI/RTC demurrer against Riales, Masterson demurrer), Oct 7-19 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.
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, trial set for Nov 9, 2021. Plaintiffs granted permission to file changes to amended complaint by Sept 4.


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] Vote for the most startling statement on the ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ finale
[TWO years ago] Hey, Colombia: Here’s the video of Scientology’s David Miscavige you’ve been looking for
[THREE years ago] How dishonest is tabloid media about Scientology? Here’s a pretty good example.
[FOUR years ago] Scientology wastes no time taking over Florida sign after ‘disconnection’ billboard expires
[FIVE years ago] ¡Ay, caramba! Nancy Cartwright has a whale of a time in Mexico to raise money for Scientology
[SIX years ago] The Document: When Scientology canceled ‘Family Time’
[SEVEN years ago] Monique Rathbun vs. Scientology: Temporary Injunction Hearing Set for Sept 12
[NINE years ago] Scientology Cyclone: Commenters of the Week!


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 2,042 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,546 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,066 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,086 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 977 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,284 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,152 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,926 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,730 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,046 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,612 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,531 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,699 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,280 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,541 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,579 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,292 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,817 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,347 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,907 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,047 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,367 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,222 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,341 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,697 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,000 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,106 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,508 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,380 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,963 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,458 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,712 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,821 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 27, 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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