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Judge to Valerie Haney: You need to get this Scientology ‘arbitration’ underway

[Valerie Haney and Judge Burdge]

On Tuesday, a hearing took place at Los Angeles Superior Court in Judge Richard Burdge’s courtroom that had been scheduled a year earlier, when the judge first derailed Valerie Haney’s lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and told her to take her complaints to Scientology’s internal “religious arbitration.”

He made that decision on January 30, 2020, and then scheduled a “post-arbitration” hearing for February 2, 2021, expecting that by that date the arbitration would have been completed.

Instead, over the last year Valerie has been fighting Burdge’s decision, first by filing a motion for reconsideration that Burdge rejected, and then by filing a petition for a writ of mandate with an appeals court, and when that failed a request for review with the state supreme court. That too was rejected.

So Valerie’s been busy. But on Tuesday, Judge Burdge, according to his minute order, informed her attorneys that it’s Valerie’s responsibility to get the religious arbitration going, putting it on her to get it done. He then moved the post-arbitration hearing out six months, to August 2.

OK, now this is getting kind of scary, and let us explain why.


Scientology first came up with its religious arbitration gambit in a 2013 fraud lawsuit filed by former church members Luis and Rocio Garcia. In March 2015 Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration, denying the Garcias right to trial.

And then, nothing happened.

We were covering the story closely at the time, and we can tell you that neither Judge Whittemore nor Scientology pressed the matter after the Garcia lawsuit was derailed.

It was the Garcias themselves who finally got the ball rolling on arbitration about a year later. According to Scientology’s supposed rules for arbitration, the first step would require the Garcias to select an arbitrator who was a member of the church in good standing. (Scientology would then select an arbitrator, and the first two arbitrators would select a third. All three had to be church members in good standing.)

The Garcias went through that process without the help of their attorneys; according to Scientology rules, they could only communicate with Scientology’s “International Justice Chief” Mike Ellis, who made the decisions about which members could serve as arbitrators.

Although they were under no pressure to do so, the Garcias decided to start the process in order to expose what a sham it was. And for months they tried to find a Scientologist who would agree to be an arbitrator that the church actually approved of. As the process failed time and again, they went back to the judge in the hopes that he’d cancel his order and get the lawsuit back on track. Instead, Whittemore surprised everyone by announcing that he would take over the selection process himself and chose three arbitrators. (And that’s one of the issues in the appeal that the Garcias filed after they went through the arbitration. It was also what the justices in the Eleventh Circuit seemed most interested in: How did Whittemore have the authority to take over the process of choosing arbitrators in a ‘religious arbitration?’ The Garcias are still waiting for an answer on that appeal, which was filed more than two years ago; oral arguments were held in July.)

In the case of the Garcias, it was pretty obvious that Scientology was glad to have the lawsuit derailed and didn’t intend to press the arbitration itself. If the Garcias hadn’t taken the initiative to start the arbitration, we have doubts that it would have happened at all.

But that’s not the case this time.

Tuesday’s court order shows that Judge Burdge is actively pressing Valerie Haney to get the ball rolling and start the arbitration, something she has said publicly she doesn’t want to do.

It’s Valerie’s contention that she was abused by Scientology and that she signed the agreement locking her into arbitration in part because an armed guard was present in the room when she was asked to sign it. Going through Scientology’s arbitration would be like crawling back to her abuser.

But Judge Burdge has not just denied her the right to trial, he’s now pressuring her to go through Scientology’s sham internal court. And she’ll have to negotiate the process personally with Mike Ellis, and without the involvement of her attorneys, like the Garcias did.

We’ll try to figure out how she’s going to respond.



Source Code

“I don’t say that you could walk up to the tomb of Alexander and bring Alexander back into the tomb and have him knock the dust together again and resurrect. See, I don’t say that you could do this. But I don’t say you can’t.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 5, 1957


Avast, Ye Mateys

“The demands for books to meet increased org activity generated by the FEBCs returning is a subject of concern. Pubs Org fell low in income after mid-1970 and has not recovered and is travelling at a non-viable level now reflected in its crossed Cash-Bills. Non E has been assigned with a Liability Condition in the offering and a general rocket has been set. A strong US center is being urged by me, an order not fully carried out a long time ago. Measures will have to be taken. Eval in Data Bureau should get to work on its WHY. There was a spectacular stat change in mid 1970 after which no recovery.” — The Commodore, February 5, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The risk we are running now is dispersal and distances. All around the planet there are many people who want to do something. But there should be focus points so that those people get contacted and into communication. We have had very bad examples of that in the past. Insanity reigned. I believe now we have the chance and freedom to do it right. This is the ultimate test. There is nothing impeding us anymore. We are many and we are more sane now. On top of it there is no Suppressive over us. We have to just organize this in the fullest sense of the meaning. Organization is not bad. For some, it got a bad name because of Miscavige. But those did not know their LRH on Organization. Organizing is a beautiful thing and it helps human beings regain their pride. Being on one’s own is just effort and there is no pride there except for the insane: ‘Look, I am doing it all by my own.’ LRH was sane enough to understand that the forward progress of Scientology depends on sane organizations applying and promoting the Tech.”


Past is Prologue

1999: The Associated Press reported this week that Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, predicts growth and acceptance in Europe. “The Los Angeles-based church created by late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard has been persistent in attempts to become recognized as a legitimate religion, said the Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president of Church of Scientology International. ‘There is a shift,’ he said. ‘Scientology has become visible. It will happen in the next five years, maybe 10 years.'”



Random Howdy

“The one thing that LRH and D.M. have elevated to a fine art is cheapness. I heard stories about J. Paul Getty when I was a kid and he had nothing on these guys.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson arraigned Jan 20. Next conf to set prelim, March 24.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed to March 2.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Charged in Brooklyn federal court on February 4.

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. March 8: Status conference.
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] Scientology provides all the proof you need that Narconon is more than ‘tied’ to it
[TWO years ago] Tonight, Leah Remini looks at Scientology’s ultimate prize: The protections of tax exemption
[THREE years ago] Best reactions to last night’s Scientology Super Bowl ad, which asked, ‘Curious?’
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s 2017 Super Bowl ad, ‘Your Full Potential,’ is another mystery sandwich
[FIVE years ago] Scientology is the bomb diggety, and here’s proof, starring Leah Remini’s husband!
[SIX years ago] SCIENTOLOGY DENIED: Australia’s only Narconon rehab center loses zoning fight
[SEVEN years ago] The secret of everything? It’s time for Scientology’s Original Operating Thetan Level Five!
[EIGHT years ago] Jenna Miscavige Hill on her Uncle, Scientology’s Leader: A Bully Too Afraid to Show His Face
[NINE years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: The Denver Miracle!


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 2,203 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,707 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,227 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,247 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,138 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,445 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,313 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,087 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,891 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,207 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,773 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,692 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,860 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,441 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,702 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,740 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,453 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,978 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 333 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,508 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,059 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,208 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,528 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,383 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,502 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,858 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,161 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,267 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,669 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,541 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,124 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,619 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,873 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,982 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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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