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If the feds are sniffing around, they might look at Danny Masterson’s besties

[Danny Masterson stalwarts: Ben Shulman and Brie Shaffer]

In October we reported on a new development in the lawsuit filed by Danny Masterson’s rape accusers against the That ’70s Show actor and the Church of Scientology.

The lawsuit was filed in August 2019, alleging that Masterson and the church had conducted a campaign of harassment against the women since they came forward in 2016 with their allegations to the Los Angeles Police Department. The lawsuit was about that harassment, and not about the rape allegations themselves.

But then on June 16 Masterson was charged by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for raping three of the women who are suing him. He’s facing 45 years to life in prison, and he’s scheduled to be arraigned on January 6.

The new development we reported on October 11 was that Masterson, as expected, had filed a motion asking the court in the civil lawsuit to put a hold on some things as he’s facing criminal charges and the possibility of a rape trial. It could be potentially disastrous to him if the civil case requires him to give a deposition, for example, which would be testimony that could be used against him by the DA’s office. So it makes sense that Masterson wants to rein in the civil case in the meantime.

But even if that motion was expected, there was something very surprising in that court document which we referred to in our story, and so far none of the other media has bothered to point it out.


In a letter attached to Masterson’s motion, it was revealed that one of his accusers, the woman going by “Jane Doe #1” in the lawsuit and that we have also been referring to as Victim B, asked Masterson to turn over any documents related to “Grand Jury proceedings” and also any information about the involvement of other law enforcement agencies besides the LAPD and District Attorney’s office.

We figure it was a bit of a bombshell that one of Danny Masterson’s accusers, at least, seems to think he knows about a grand jury looking into this case, and the prospect of another agency investigating, which seems to be a pretty clear reference to the feds.

Are the feds looking at this situation? We can’t say for certain, although we’ve certainly heard some interesting things. And what would the feds be looking into? The victims in this case have repeatedly complained about the church conspiring to keep them from getting justice. And there’s plenty that they’ve alleged in the civil lawsuit for law enforcement to dig into.

It’s a tantalizing possibility, and we’ll keep looking for a sign that a federal case is also being developed.

In the meantime, we wanted to bring up one odd situation that we hope investigators take some time to look into.

It’s something that we learned about very soon after we first broke the news of the LAPD investigation into Masterson in March 2017. And it involves some property swaps that sure look suspicious.

As we’ve reported before, Victim B/Jane Doe #1 alleges that she was attacked by Masterson at his house on the night of a party in April 2003. In subsequent weeks, she alleges that the Church of Scientology tried to keep her from going to the LAPD with her allegations, and also put her through about $15,000 of past life therapy to help her understand what evil things she had done in previous centuries and millennia that would explain why she had become a victim in this lifetime.

But despite that treatment by the church, in June 2004 she went to the LAPD, which opened an investigation. The church responded by convincing the LAPD to close the case by filing numerous affidavits by church members denying that the attack had occurred. In September 2004, with the LAPD investigation shut down, Masterson then had his attorney, famous entertainment lawyer Marty Singer, present the woman with an offer for payment as long as she signed a non-disclosure agreement and promised never to talk about her allegations. Pressured by the church to sign the agreement or she would be excommunicated (“declared a suppressive person”), she signed and received something in the low six figures.

That same month, in September 2004, Danny Masterson then made two curious financial moves.

On September 15, 2004 he transferred ownership of a two-story, seven-bedroom, 3-unit apartment house on Clinton Street in Echo Park to his assistant, a woman named Brie Shaffer.


[1913-1915 Clinton Street]

The same day, Masterson and his close friend Ben Shulman transferred ownership of another property, a 4-unit apartment house on Edgeware Road in Silver Lake, also to Shaffer.



[827-833 Edgeware Road]

Why, the same month Masterson had convinced his rape accuser to sign an NDA, would he transfer two of his properties to his assistant?

Legal experts point out to us that although Victim B had signed an NDA and had promised not to speak out, Masterson must have known that there was still the possibility that she might sue him. Any property he owned, they tell us, might have been drawn into the conflict.

But Victim B had only two years to file a lawsuit based on the incident that happened in April 2003.

And it’s what Masterson did in April 2005, two years later, that really caught our attention.

After those two years had passed and it was obvious that Victim B was not going to sue Masterson, the actor made two financial moves.

On April 15, 2005, Brie Shaffer transferred ownership of 1913-1915 Clinton Street back to her boss, Danny Masterson.

And on April 28, 2005, Shaffer transferred ownership of 827-833 Edgeware Road back to Masterson.

The Clinton Street house today is valued at about $1.2 million. The Edgeware Road building at $1.9 million.


[Scientologists Brie Shaffer and her husband, actor Michael Peña]

Did Brie Shaffer help her employer Danny Masterson keep properties out of Victim B’s reach while she had the chance to sue Masterson for allegedly raping her? We tried to ask Shaffer that question by messaging her and her attorney, Scientologist R. Rosser Cole, several weeks ago. We got no response.


We also messaged Masterson’s criminal and civil attorneys for comment. On the criminal side Masterson is represented by legendary defense lawyer Tom Mesereau, who has responded to our questions in the past. But he didn’t respond this time. And neither did Masterson’s civil attorney, Andrew Brettler.

And funny thing about Brettler. He works for Marty Singer at the law firm Lavely & Singer, the same Marty Singer who pressured Victim B to sign an NDA. It has struck us that no objection has been raised by Victim B’s legal team that Masterson is being represented by the law firm whose principal is literally a witness and significant figure in the case. An attorney we’ve turned to for advice about this case tells us he’s astonished that Victim B’s attorneys haven’t filed to have Brettler disqualified from the case.

Well, what do we know. We’re just looking at records and asking questions. And if the feds are doing the same, we have a feeling they’ll be interested in these property records and the story they appear to tell.

We hope, for example, that they have better luck getting in touch with Shulman. We wanted to ask him about giving up his partial ownership of the Edgeware Road building when it was transferred to Shaffer, because when she gave it back, she gave it only to Masterson, property records indicate.


[Masterson and best bud Ben Shulman]

Shulman is an interesting figure. Not only is he totally dedicated to his friend Danny Masterson (he was part of the scrum that showed up for Danny’s court appearance on September 18 that threw the court into confusion and delayed a hearing), he’s had an interesting connection to other Scientology celebrity families.

He was married to Brandy Lewis, Juliette’s sister, who is now married to actor Ethan Suplee. After his marriage to Brandy, Shulman was then paired with another Scientology celeb, Rebecca Minkoff, as her bag business exploded.


Embed from Getty Images

[Ben Shulman with Rebecca Minkoff, and on the left Ben’s younger brother Nicky, in 2008]

And another aside we can’t help throwing in. Ben’s younger brother Nicky has his own interesting journey in Scientology. We’ve confirmed with a couple of former Sea Org members that Nicky was with Serge Obolensky when Obolensky blew his hands off with a pipe bomb.

Obolensky’s story is a sad one and has been told in various forms before. But what we’d like to confirm with Nicky is something we were told that we hadn’t heard before: That the reason Obolensky was handling explosives was that he was on a mission to blow up newspaper boxes in Hollywood that had carried negative news about Scientology (“entheta”) and as a way to strike a blow against the “psychs,” the psychiatric profession that Scientology sees as the universe’s greatest evil force.

Nicky’s out of Scientology, we hear, but we were unable to reach him. If he’s listening, we sure would like to talk to him about Obolensky, about his brother Ben, and about his own observations of what Masterson and his besties were up to. The more we look into it, the more we find.



March 3, 2017: LAPD probing Scientology and Danny Masterson for multiple rapes, cover-up
March 8, 2017: Danny Masterson: Victim C gets support from a veteran actress
March 11, 2017: Scientology made Danny Masterson’s Victim B search past lives to explain being raped
May 9, 2017: Masterson hires Michael Jackson criminal defense attorney Tom Mesereau in rape probe
Nov 2, 2017: Read the threatening letter Danny Masterson’s attorney Marty Singer sent a victim’s husband
Nov 26, 2017: EXCLUSIVE: Scientology interrogated Danny Masterson and accuser, didn’t notify LAPD
Apr 27, 2018: Strange days for a woman accusing Danny Masterson of rape — and for her rocker husband
July 8, 2018: Masterson witness fears for safety as investigation drags on and on
Nov 30, 2018: LEAH REMINI: Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey, do your job already
Jan 22, 2020: Cedric Bixler-Zavala blames Scientology for poisoned dog he had to put down yesterday

Feb 3, 2020: Here’s Scientology actor Danny Masterson’s legal response to his rape accusers
Feb 10, 2020: Another dog poisoned: Bobette Riales says harassment worse since suing Scientology
Feb 26, 2020: SEVENTH victim comes forward to LAPD accusing Scientology actor Danny Masterson
Feb 29, 2020: Amended complaint filed against Danny Masterson with new stalking allegations
March 14, 2020: Danny Masterson’s victims speak out in sworn documents in lawsuit against Scientology
May 4, 2020: Masterson: Drop me from Scientology lawsuit if the ‘Jane Does’ won’t name themselves
June 19, 2020: Records show that Danny Masterson is a woeful Scientologist — would he turn on the church?
June 23: 2020: The key thing about Danny Masterson’s ‘DJ Donkey Punch’ nick is why he stopped using it
Sept 30, 2020: Could Danny Masterson’s odd legal fight over his Hollywood house endanger his freedom?
Oct 11, 2020: Danny Masterson asks to halt civil lawsuit while criminal case is ongoing, as expected
Oct 12, 2020: Bijou Phillips on her husband Danny Masterson: A macho ‘Strong Island’ guy
Oct 16, 2020: Danny Masterson ‘accidentally’ outs Jane Doe accuser after judge told him not to
Nov 16, 2020: Judge in Danny Masterson lawsuit doubts Scientology ‘arbitration,’ sets hearing
Nov 19, 2020: Danny Masterson takes another expensive and futile swipe at his criminal charges


Source Code

“All this of course is, is, I’m just, I’m just kidding you mostly. I don’t believe that you’ve been in the universe seventy-six trillion years. I don’t believe you have any past before birth. I don’t believe that there’s any reason whatsoever for this universe to be here except that some fellow called the devil or something that built it. Uh, I don’t believe any of these things. And I don’t want to be agreed with about them. It infuriates me to be agreed with about them, so I’m not asking for anybody to agree with me. But I’m not asking for anybody to disagree with me either.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 1, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“NEXT PORT: The next port has its drawbacks but also its advantages. It is a bit dusty and occasionally smelly. But it is very quiet. It has an interesting native area. And you can have ash trays by the ton at the pottery shop. Remember to bargain hard. Offer a third or less of what is asked and come up a bit when buying odds and ends.” — The Commodore, December 1, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I used to wonder what if I accidentally ended up in a female body next time around. Oh my god, I couldn’t act like a woman, that’s just not me. Would I also solve this with a sex change or just turn dyke? Well into Solo NOTs, that’s no longer a concern, as these considerations on gender-beingness and identity have gone out the window since and I no longer have any issues or concerns which one I end up with, as I would be comfortable now operating whichever lot fell my way. It’s really just a matter of willingness to assume a beingness and take responsibility for it which I previously would have rejected as … ugghh, puke. I’m pretty sure Bruce Jenner could have been contented with his sex and accepted it for what it is had he gone up the Bridge instead of under the knife. Psych alter-is = complications, non-comprehensibles = professionals trained in the schools of false data = MONEY, STATUS. Who’d wanna mess with a such a good thing?”



Past is Prologue
1995: Judge Leonie M. Brinkema dismissed the case of the RTC against the Washington Post. “A lawsuit against The Washington Post by the Church of Scientology has been dismissed by a federal judge, who ordered the church to pay all attorney fees in the suit. US District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema said that the church had no grounds to prohibit The Post from printing brief excerpts from religious texts that the church has tried to conceal from the public. The excerpts were published in a Style section story on litigation between the church and former members who have put the disputed texts on the Internet. In her ruling, filed yesterday, Brinkema said The Post’s quotations from copyrighted church texts were brief and fell within fair use doctrine, which allows publications to quote some copyrighted materials in covering matters of public interest.”


Random Howdy

“I’m putting out a shoop challenge. I’m envisioning a shoop of LRH with a doll of Miscavige sitting on his lap and Tiny Cancer has a Tom Cruise doll sitting on his lap. The prize to the winner is a chicken dinner or a quadrillion Howdy bucks.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson’s demurrer denied Oct 19, arraignment delayed to Jan 6.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed for ‘Fatico’ hearing on Jan 19.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles

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.’ Petition for writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court filed Oct 30.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 18, re-hearing on motions to compel arbitration; Jan 29, Masterson’s request to stay discovery pending the criminal case
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Nov 18: Feshbachs indicated they will enter into consent judgment to pay the debt.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.

Concluded litigation:
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs.
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
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.


SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Scientology amps up shattering suppression in the wake of Leah Remini’s onslaught
[TWO years ago] President George H.W. Bush dies at 94, and we remember a fateful October 1991 day
[THREE years ago] How L. Ron Hubbard used ‘past lives’ to set a trap for Scientologists
[FOUR years ago] Leah Remini: Scientology’s new attack has a Katie Holmes angle they aren’t talking about
[FIVE years ago] Legoland theme park donates $10,000 to Scientology front on behalf of Jenna Elfman
[SIX years ago] Hey, Dr. Phil, get a clue about Scientology and stop stiff-arming Lori Hodgson
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: Fundraising Mailers Galore!
[NINE years ago] Melissa Paris, Valeska’s Sister, And Her Own Ordeal in Scientology’s Cadet and Sea Orgs: Forced to Marry at 16


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 2,137 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,641 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,161 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,181 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,072 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,379 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,247 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,021 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,825 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,141 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,707 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,626 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,794 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,375 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,636 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,674 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,387 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,912 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 267 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,442 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,993 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,142 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,462 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,317 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,436 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,792 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,095 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,201 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,603 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,475 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,058 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,553 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,807 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,916 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 1, 2020 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, 1995-2019 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, 15 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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