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The wealthy people getting Scientology through the lockdown with their donations

[She’s the tops, once again]

As we promised yesterday, we have for you today the donors that Scientology leader David Miscavige has chosen to celebrate in Impact magazine even though the annual October gala of the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) was not held this year.

Miscavige hands out trophies to his big givers — we call them whales — up to four times a year, but the IAS event in October is the main event, and these richies usually get all gussied up for it. This time, Miscavige decided to recognize them by having them photographed at home and dressed how they liked. And no trophies this time.

The other difference we noticed was that most of the donors had not moved up in status, which is the usual custom to qualify for being included in Impact magazine. Perhaps Dave was feeling generous and recognized that most of his big leviathans weren’t going to be making significant donations during a pandemic. (Where possible, we’ve noted the previous appearance by a donor so you can see whether they moved up or not.)

New to Scientology fundraising? You’ll see that it 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 with names like “Patron Meritorious” or “Diamond Laureate.”

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.)


Before we get to the million-dollar donors, let’s give a special shout-out to Thorsten Overgaard (Joy Villa’s ex), who moved up from Patron Meritorious ($250,000) to Silver Meritorious ($500,000) and chose a snazzy tunic for his photo.


OK, now, the million-dollar givers.


Gold Meritorious ($1 million)
Louis & Heide Peens
Zimbali, South Africa
Previous appearance: January 1, 2019 South Africa AO grand opening, Gold Meritorious

David & Colleen Eck
Previous appearance: IAS 2006, Patrons ($50,000)



Gold Meritorious ($1 million)
Manuel & Gabriela Suarez
Previous appearance: IAS 2019, Silver Meritorious With Honors ($750,000)

Paul & Bonnie O’Malley
Previous appearance: New Year’s 2020, Gold Meritorious


Gold Meritorious With Honors ($1.75 million)
Jens & Jacqueline Nerlich
Berlin, Germany


Gold Meritorious ($1 million)
Sam & Joy Gendusa


Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million)
Dave Tourje

Gold Meritorious With Honors ($1.75 million)
Akio & Yuko Kitaura
Tokyo, Japan
Previous appearance: IAS 2015, Gold Meritorious ($1 million)



Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million)
Richard Paek & Tracee Nichols

Mike Driessen
Previous appearance: New Year’s 2020, Platinum Meritorious


Platinum Meritorious With Honors ($3.75 million)
Buz & Claire Taylor
Previous appearance: IAS 2018, Platinum Meritorious With Honors

Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million)
Tony & Sharon Lonstein

Previous appearance: January 1, 2019 South Africa AO grand opening, Platinum Meritorious


Diamond Meritorious With Honors ($7.5 million)
Alessandro & Luana Baggio
Treviso, Italy
Previous appearance: IAS 2019, Diamond Meritorious With Honors

Diamond Meritorious ($5 million)
Steve Wu & Lucia Kuo
Taipei City, Taiwan
Previous appearance: Maiden Voyage 2019, Diamond Meritorious



Platinum Laureate ($12 million)
Steve & Wendi-Lynn Hechtman
Previous appearance: New Year’s 2020, Patron Laureate ($10 million)

Diamond Meritorious With Honors ($7.5 million)
Gianfranco & Marilena Baggio
Treviso, Italy
Previous appearance: IAS 2014, Platinum Meritorious with Honors ($3 million)


Diamond Laureate ($15 million)
Jim & Gigi Bridgeforth
Previous appearance: IAS 2019, Diamond Laureate



Diamond Laureate With Honors ($17.5 million)
Alan & Sheila Atkinson-Baker
Previous appearance: IAS 2018, Diamond Laureate with Honors


Patron Maximus With Honors ($32.5 million)
Tom & Victoria Cummins
Previous appearance: IAS 2019, Patron Maximus with Honors



Patron of Legend (Half a billion?)
Bob Duggan

This is the first time we’ve seen Bob back since he and his wife Trish split up in 2015 (their divorce was final in 2017). We had wondered if he was distancing himself, but then he gave Tracey McManus an interview in November 2019 and made it clear that he was still in the fold. Now he shows up in the Impact parade for the first time in years.

Forbes reported that Bob told them he had given well more than $360 million a few years ago, and they gave up on new status names and are just calling him “Patron of Legend” now.


Patron of Legend (Half a billion?)
Trish Duggan

In 2016 alone the Bob and Trish turned over $60 million in cash to Scientology, most of it in the form of Abbvie stock, the maker of Humira, the biggest selling drug in the world. Abbvie also makes psychiatric drugs like depakote, but that isn’t stopping David Miscavige from using the stock to generate millions annually for Scientology.

Trish made national news when she turned out to be one of Donald Trump’s biggest individual donors in the 2020 campaign, giving $4 million to the super-PAC America First Action. But her ex was not to be outdone as Bob has also given millions to the Trump campaign. But even with their OT powers, they have been unable to postulate a win for the president.

So that’s the parade of wealthy donors this year. At the back of the magazine, there were some additional notes on whales who had gone up in status but were not photographed for the issue.

The Berg Family moved up to Diamond Meritorious ($5 million).

The Ozsan-Gregori Family moved to Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million).
The Lenkei Family moved to Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million).
And the Keppler Family moved to Gold Meritorious With Honors ($1.75 million).

Several others became million-dollar givers for the first time, rounding out the Gold Meritorious list:

The Kevin & Julie Adney Family
Daniel Duggan (Yes, Bob and Trish’s son)
The Hall, Holmes & Dowswell Family
Aaron & Danielle Kyro (Yes, the skateboard hero.)
Dennis Justus, Sheila Pauly, Dan & Jennifer Maas
Barbara & Housi Knecht
The Paine & Freihoff Family

And way back in the lists, we found this note about a new Patron ($50,000) that we thought would be of interest to some readers:

Vic & Juliana Tipnes.



Leah Remini podcast: Geoff Levin

In October we premiered the trailer for the upcoming documentary “Brothers Broken,” the story of Geoff and Robbie Levin, who were part of the 1960s band People! and also, while in the band, joined the Sea Org to dedicate themselves to Scientology’s cause. That dedication ripped them apart as Robbie left Scientology and his brother disconnected from him. The amazing story of how Geoff got out and finally reunited is told in the film. And we’re really looking forward to you seeing it, because this website actually plays an interesting part in the story of these fascinating guys and how they survived Scientology’s toxic stain. Geoff joins Leah and Mike this week, and you can listen to the episode here…


Source Code

“You can, by the way — it’s quite curious — if you were sailing down the street exteriorized and you take a look at somebody, you look over his anchor points, you’ll find those big wing anchor points. They’re way out there, great big gold balls way out in front. You can take one of these, one of this guy’s anchor points, you know, in front and pull it sideways and he’ll start to walk in a circle without knowing why he’s walking in a circle. And you push it out of position and he’ll start to lean. Oh, it’s a very obvious sort of structure.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 5, 1955


Avast, Ye Mateys

“VISITORS: Only 250 Greek visitors came to the ship today. I am sure they were well handled. But it shows, (a) a lapse of advertising in Div VI and (b) insufficiently interesting ship tour. We should do better next time.” — The Commodore, January 5, 1969



Overheard in the FreeZone

“The leftist mayor of Washington D.C. is making it difficult for people to arrive in the city for the Trump rally to overthrow the electoral fraud of Communist China and its puppets Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Democrat commies. (Including commie Scienos in our friends lists). The battle of the 6th of December in Washington D.C. will affect every country on the planet, its underground bases and probably the Moon and Mars.”


Past is Prologue

1995: The Globe published a story on the recruitment activities of actress Juliette Lewis. “Recently the 22-year-old actress was overheard singing the praises of the religion to Basketball Diaries star Leonard DiCaprio. ‘They were at a restaurant with some friends and Juliette was telling them about it’, says a witness. ‘Leonard seemed really blown away with it.’ Insiders say Juliette is a new recruit to the belief whose members include Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Lisa Marie Presley. ‘When she joined, they had her go out and find three other people to join’, says a source. ‘When those three join, your membership fees are waived, like with a pyramid scheme’.”


Random Howdy

“Well, Hubbard did say that the thetans created the MEST universe so that they would have a place to play, but that eventually they forgot they had done so. The idea that Hubbard saw this whole thing as a game has always seemed pretty obvious to me.”


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 denied Dec 11.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 30, Judge Kleifield granted Scientology’s 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. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
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] Does Mexico really need a Scientology ‘Advanced Org’? We’ll soon find out.
[TWO years ago] A Scientologist murdered: Our experts try to make sense of Australia’s ‘Advanced Org’
[THREE years ago] Court magician? Scientology attorney can now affect matter with thought, levitate, read minds
[FOUR years ago] Scientology cash-in! Top church attorney puts her beach bungalow on market for $2.4 million
[FIVE years ago] Scientology posts the new ad that will likely be its Super Bowl entry this year
[SIX years ago] Former spokesman Mike Rinder describes Scientology’s dismal options in 2015
[SEVEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology charges into the new year!
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Drug Rehab Program’s Newest Victim: A New York 15-Year-Old
[NINE years ago] All Scientologists Look Alike, Right? — And More in our Weekly Stats Roundup!


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 2,172 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,676 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,196 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,216 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,107 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,414 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,282 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,056 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,860 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,176 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,742 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,661 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,829 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,410 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,671 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,709 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,422 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,947 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 302 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,477 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,028 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,177 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,497 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,352 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,471 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,827 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,130 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,236 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,638 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,510 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,093 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,588 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,842 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,951 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 5, 2021 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, 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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