Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Scientology’s ‘Super Power’ couple slammed down by appeals court over tax debt

Yesterday the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals handed down yet another stunning rebuke of Matt and Kathy Feshbach, a major Scientology power couple who have been battling the government for more than 20 years over unpaid taxes.

Another court has now found that the Feshbachs willfully tried to snow the IRS in order to get out of paying millions in taxes, crying poverty while actually spending huge amounts of money on personal expenses — which included huge donations to the Church of Scientology.

“Another taxpayer in the Feshbachs’ shoes — whose annual income really had dropped from the millions to $180,000 and eventually to $9,996 — would cut back on the personal chef, the dining-out, the expensive private schooling, or the other recurring non-business expenses. The Feshbachs never did that,” writes Judge Adalberto Jordan in the ruling by three of the circuit’s judges.

The appellate judges agreed with two previous rulings by bankruptcy and district court judges who found that the Feshbachs had willfully tried to evade paying the taxes even when their income was in the millions and it would have been easy for them to do so.


The Feshbachs can now ask for the entire Eleventh Circuit to review the ruling (an “en banc” review), but for now they’re on the hook for about $3.8 million.

In 2017, Forbes magazine wrote a lengthy story about the Feshbachs as a cautionary tale, saying that if you claim to be too poor to pay the IRS, it’s a good idea to at least pretend like you’re economizing.

It was their spending that really irked the IRS, since instead of paying down their tax liabilities, the Feshbachs instead continued to live an extravagant lifestyle. Between 2002 and 2011, the Feshbach’s generated over $13 million in income during those years, being much more than enough to pay off their tax liabilities for 1999 and 2001, and maybe even have some bucks left over for a weekend at the Holiday Inn Express in Branson — or more like a full year at the Four Seasons in Maui. So where did all the money go? The Feshbachs simply blew through it at an astounding rate.

What the Forbes piece didn’t mention was that among those astounding expenses were donations to Scientology and its expensive Oregon private prep school, the Delphian.

The Feshbachs were part of a storied Scientology family that had made news for their ruthless business practices. Matt and his two brothers, Joe and Kurt, became notorious in the 1980s for their shark-like way of shorting the market and cashing in on the misfortunes of others. They made so much money and were so dedicated to Scientology, Matt Feshbach gave a million-dollar donation (rare in those days) and Scientology leader David Miscavige rewarded him by allowing Matt to be among the first Scientologists to go through the “Super Power” rundowns which were just being developed at that time, the early 1990s, from L. Ron Hubbard’s earlier writings. The Super Power building itself was still decades away from being opened to the rest of the Scientology public. (At that point, Matt went back and got his Super Power certificate, doing the rundowns for a second time.)


Matt may have been one of Scientologys’ first supermen, but since 1999 he and his wife Kathy have been locked in battle with the IRS over huge bills that they claimed they could not pay, despite evidence to the contrary. They declared bankruptcy after the 2008 financial crash, but three courts have now ruled that their IRS debt is not dischargeable.

Meanwhile, the Feshbachs are still deeply involved in the church, which continues to promote Matt as a financial wizard.


Here’s Judge Jordan’s ruling, which is written in a clear, concise style despite the complexity of the case.



Feshbach vs. IRS: Appeal R… by Tony Ortega


Bonus items from our tipsters

A daily glimpse inside Scientologist social media feeds…









Source Code

“You’ll find the artists and musicians of this particular planet always have some schnook alongside of them to cave them in. They always marry the wrong girl, you know, and get the wrong agent, and, because they’re creating. The industrialist, the manufacturer, that sort of thing, these boys, it’s not because of any deep-seated communist plot, it’s just they are in trouble, that’s all. They haven’t got enough force to protect their own creativeness, and as a result, why, people attack them. Elementary. Basic answer on the whole track, if you had never had anybody create anything, you would have no trouble. Nothing had ever been created, why, of course you wouldn’t have any universe to be in trouble with. This is all very elementary.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 10, 1963


Overheard in the FreeZone

“What puzzles me is that there is so much opportunity for lawsuits, because none of the shut down laws, social distancing laws, mask laws are legal. They are all arbitrary laws. They are not based on facts. They are only held in place by media lies and fear mongering and arguments. Arbitrary laws are not legally binding. WTF is wrong with all the effing lawyers in America? The most litigious country in the world. This is unbelievably insane! There are 8 billion stupid people on earth. There is no intelligent life on earth. Anthony Fauci is the biggest criminal on earth, along with Bill Gates and company.”



Random Howdy

“After all these years a Scientologist is trying to dox me? I gave vaLLarrr more than enough clues to dox me but OSA was too incompetent to pick up on it. Actually it’s probably just Flunk looking for revenge.”


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 October 5 in White Plains, NY. 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, bond raised to $350,000 on Aug 27. Prosecutors appealed denial of their motion to have bond revoked, response from defense due Sept 11, response by prosecutors on Sept 14.

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 29 (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: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, awaiting verdict.


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] Scientology: So much effort and heartache, for such little effect
[TWO years ago] A dispatch from the front: Protesting Scientology’s anti-psych quackery
[THREE years ago] Ideal and Ideal-er: England org coming soon will be Scientology to the max
[FOUR years ago] Laying to rest the obfuscations of L. Fletcher Prouty, Scientology’s conspiracist-for-hire
[FIVE years ago] Another trial ordered against Narconon as Scientology derail attempt mostly fails
[SIX years ago] Finally! Scientology begins selling its mysterious ‘OT’ levels more openly with slick new videos!
[NINE years ago] Scientology Schweinehund: 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 2,056 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,560 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,080 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,100 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 991 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,298 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,166 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,940 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,744 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,060 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,626 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,545 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,713 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,294 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,555 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,593 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,306 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,831 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,361 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,921 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,061 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,381 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,236 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,355 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,711 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,014 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,120 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,522 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,394 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,977 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,472 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,726 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,835 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 10, 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email