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Another Scientology success story: Real Water liver failure lawsuits proliferate

 
Things keep getting worse for Real Water president and former Nevada legislator Brent Jones as the lawsuits pile up accusing Real Water of poisoning customers, particularly children, and causing them to have liver failure.

There’s been a lot of news coverage of the FDA investigation of Affinity Lifestyles.com, Real Water’s bottler, which is being held responsible for causing dozens of illnesses, most of which happened in November 2020. Jones himself produced a 2-minute video asking people not to sell or consume his product (see above), and took down the rest of Real Water’s website.

Some of that news coverage has also mentioned the reason that we’ve kept an eye on Jones for years, and that’s his involvement in Scientology. He and his wife Aimee Jones are high-level, longtime Scientologists, and so it was very interesting to us that they both ran for statewide office. (Brent served one term in the state’s Assembly, but he failed to win a primary for Lieutenant Governor in 2018, and Aimee failed in her bid to win the Assembly seat he had vacated.)

When we were covering their political candidacies, part of the story was that the two of them played down their background in Scientology, and Aimee’s campaign manager in particular got really nasty with us over it.

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So we have a feeling that as the Real Water saga unfolds, Brent and Aimee will once again try to keep their Scientology involvement out of the picture.

But there’s a good reason to keep Scientology in the picture, because it’s an organization that is soaked through with deceptive and quack medical claims, and it indoctrinates its members to flout the laws and ethics of the non-Scientology world.

Scientology’s own records show that Brent went Clear in 2009, and other records show that his involvement goes back at least to 1997.

In 2000, our colleague Ron Russell at New Times Los Angeles wrote about Jones’ involvement in the sad case of Raul Lopez, a Southern California man who received $1.7 million in a settlement after suffering brain damage in a car accident. Scientology pounced on the suddenly wealthy young man, finding creative ways to get him to part with his money, including investing in ostrich eggs, which Jones, his attorney, helped facilitate. Back then, Jones and his ostrich egg scheme was known as “Affinity Foods.” (And “affinity,” by the way, is a key term in Scientology, part of the “Affinity – Reality – Communication” or “ARC Triangle” of L. Ron Hubbard foolishness.)

Aimee, meanwhile, started her involvement in Scientology more recently, but church publications show that right around the time her campaign manager was trying to convince us that she wasn’t a Scientologist, Aimee was actually paying for some of the most expensive, esoteric Scientology experiences that exist.

Between 2016 and 2019, record show, Aimee completed the three “L rundowns,” Scientology counseling that can only be experienced at the spiritual mecca of the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida, and which is some of the most expensive stuff on the Scientology menu. Just one of the L Rundowns can cost about $25,000, and can go up to $99,000, according to a 2007 price list. And that doesn’t include the cost of weeks of accommodations and ancillary expenses. And Aimee did all three of them: L11 in 2016, L10 in 2018, and L12 in 2019. Brent also did the L11 rundown, in 1998, and their son Blain Jones did L11 in 2015.

This family really loves the L Rundowns!

When their campaign manager claimed to us in 2018 that they had only taken Scientology courses to “learn the business model,” we asked her to get a statement from the couple specifically about the L Rundowns and she didn’t get back to us.

Former Sea Org technical expert Sunny Pereira explained to us that before a Scientologist can even get on the L Rundowns they have to be very experienced, with years of auditing under their belts. And then they go through processes like this: “While attached to the E-meter, find the exact date, down to the last millisecond and the location of exactly when they received the implant ‘To Harm.’ Such implants are put into us between lives,” Sunny explained to us.

In 2014, in our series about the various steps on Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom,” we listed some of the questions that subjects are asked during L10, for example:

One set of questions is about family. A sample of them…

Have you ever badly raised a child?
Have you ever split up a family?
Have you ever forced a child into an unsuitable profession?

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Have you neglected your child’s education?

The next set of questions is about sex.

Have you ever sexually aroused someone and then not satisfied him (her)?
Have you ever made love to a person of the wrong race?
Have you ever made love to a person of the wrong species?
Have you ever used the wrong body part for intercourse?
Have you ever failed to have intercourse with someone you should have?
Have you ever misused sex?

There are many more sets of questions and processes.

You can see that it’s strange stuff as well as being extremely expensive.

And even better evidence that Brent and Aimee are hardcore Scientologists and weren’t just studying “the business model” comes from Janis Gillham Grady, who told us this anecdote about them:

Both Brent and Aimee Jones are Scientologists and even apply disconnection. A fun story to tell – we have some mutual friends who have a second home out of state. Brent and Aimee had planned to visit with them but had to make sure it was during a time that Paul and I were not there as we are “SPs”. It was worked out that the Joneses would leave town the day Paul and I were to arrive. We arrived in time for dinner – the Joneses thought they were having dinner with our mutual friends, not knowing we were arriving in time for dinner. Of course when the Brent and Aimee found out dinner included the Gradys, they could no longer join our mutual friends for dinner! Well, it just so happens there is only one real restaurant in this little town we were visiting – so what did the Joneses do to avoid Paul and me, they called in their food order and while the mutual friends, Paul, and I were enjoying a nice sit down meal, they sent their teenage son in to pick up their food in order to avoid bumping into us!

As we’ve said before, this very involved, longtime Scientologist couple then settled on a business that might be the most Scientological we’ve ever heard of. They rebottled Las Vegas tap water, zapped it with proprietary equipment (not an E-meter, as far as we know), and then called it Real Water, claiming it had more electrons and could keep customers healthy.

The Guardian in 2011 ridiculed the non-scientific claims of “alkalized” Real Water in 2011. But we also found that in 2016 a class action lawsuit was filed that attacked Affinity Lifestyles for making bogus claims for its product.

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The plaintiffs noted that after they filed their lawsuit, Real Water suddenly removed some of its more outrageous claims from its label, and in a court filing produced versions before and after the complaint was filed.

 

BEFORE:
— Move your body to an alkalized state by removing acidic toxins
— Take in an abundance of antioxidant electrons to neutralize harmful free radicals.
— Experience increased cellular hydration like never before!

AFTER:
— Unleash the power of negative ions.
— Experience the power of alkalinity.
— Hydrate like never before!

Also that year, Affinity Lifestyles.com was hit with two separate federal lawsuits by women who claimed the company had forced Scientology on them as conditions of their employment.

Lisa Marie Bailey alleged that Brent Jones had asked her to watch Scientology videos at work, and offered raises for employees who completed courses with Scientology materials. She alleged that she was discriminated against and demoted because she was a Mormon. Grecia Echevarria-Hernandez also sued that year, saying that she refused to do the Scientology courses in order to get raises because she was a Catholic and wanted nothing to do with Scientology. Both women were fired, and both believed it was because they did not want to become Scientologists.

Now, of course, Affinity Lifestyles.com and Brent Jones are facing a much more dire situation. The FDA has said it is looking into allegations that a cluster of acute non-viral hepatitis cases have one thing in common: Real Water.

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On March 24, the FDA accused the company of not cooperating with its investigation.

Given a lack of cooperation by the firm, FDA investigators have been unable to complete investigations at the “Real Water” Inc. facilities in Henderson, NV and Mesa, AZ and have not been provided with any records. As a result, on March 23, FDA issued a Demand for Records under section 414 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Yesterday, Real Water attorney Laura Ungaro told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “I can’t imagine how they could say we’re not cooperating. We’ve done everything but stand on our heads for them. Anything and everything they want, we’ve made available to them.”

She also told the Review-Journal that the company wasn’t sure it was at fault for the illnesses.

She might not be certain, but the people filing lawsuits against the company seem pretty sure of themselves.

Previously we talked to attorney William Kemp after he had filed his first lawsuit, on behalf of the Wren family. Since then, he’s filed five more lawsuits, all related to the 2020 contamination. Another lawsuit, meanwhile, says that a man’s 2019 liver transplant was caused by drinking Real Water.

And another attorney has filed a federal class action lawsuit against Affinity.

At the time of their purchase, and contrary to the express and implied representations made by Defendant in respect to the Product, the Product is defective, is deceptively advertised, and causes undesired side effects to consumers, including, but not limited to, liver failure, hospitalization, fever, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue, which, if known to Plaintiffs and members of the Classes, would have caused Plaintiffs and members of the Classes not to purchase or use the Product.

Yesterday, meanwhile, the Review-Journal reported that a Real Water lawyer admitted to a judge that he has been unable to find either the lead technician or the plant manager for the company and asked for another month to track them down.

Um, yikes.

This is quickly becoming one of the worst Scientology business craterings of all time.

 
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Leah Remini podcast: John Sweeney

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Says Mike: “Sweeney did a program about Scientology for Panorama in 2007, where I was one of the ‘handlers’ on behalf of Scientology. It was a catalyst for me leaving — I was in London defending Scientology and Miscavige from the ‘chaos merchants’ at the BBC. After I had left, I did a second Panorama show with John explaining some of the things that had happened in that first program. We had a lot to talk about then and now about scientology’s tactics with the media.” Listen to the podcast here…

 
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Source Code

“I don’t think ever in my life I even ever held out my hand for a fee. I don’t ever mention it. I’ve even acted sometimes as Registrar for an organization that didn’t have anything to do with money and people would walk in occasionally and throw some money on the desk and I’d invoice it so they could have a receipt. I gave it to them so they could have a receipt, not so I could have any money. Now, that’s about the wildest look you ever saw! I remember auditing some people in the early days and we never talked about money and they got embarrassed after a while and they gave me several thousand dollars. That’s a reverse look, isn’t it?” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 30, 1965

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“The hot water on A deck is tepid.” — The Commodore, March 30, 1970

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“I see two main kinds of critics. Those that critique Scientology and want a reform, and those that critique Scientology and want to disappear it, or agree with disappearing it. I think it’s time to examine the systems on this planet, because Scientology is a system, and the real government running this planet is another system, and there are other systems like the pretended political systems governing ‘democratic’ countries. LRH stated that Scientology was the most ethical system on Earth. This statement only makes sense if it is compared with the other systems: Critics wanting to unmock (destroy) Scientology but fail to analyze the other systems in the same framework. So far, my analysis of the other systems (including the one running this planet) has shown that Scientology is the most ethical system of them all. The others fall far from being ethical at all.”

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Past is Prologue

1996: A copy of NOTS Series 34 was posted anonymously this week. “NED for OTs Series 34 THE SEQUENCE FOR HANDLING A PHYSICAL CONDITION. There is a definite sequence for handling a physical condition. All steps must be done in this sequence to fully handle the condition: 1. The item. 2. The body part. 3. Illness (of the body part). 4. Cures for illness. 5. Protest of cures for the illness. 6. The body part (again). 7. The item (again). 8. The period of illness on it (Cluster-making incident).”

 
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Random Howdy

“The first time I heard about people having to pay for being sec checked I was gobsmacked. OT 7’s have to get sec checked every 6 months to the tune of twenty grand or thereabouts. Imagine if the cops started charging people to be interrogated? Without a lawyer!”

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson arraigned Jan 20. Discovery hearing on April 20, prelim set for May 18.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed to April 13.
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 Feb 4. Arraigned on Feb 9. Pretrial conference set for Apr 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.’ 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. June 7: 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.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

Concluded litigation:
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.

 
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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.

SCIENTOLOGY: FAIR GAME

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.

LEAH REMINI: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH

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.

SCIENTOLOGY’S CELEBRITIES, from A to Z

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?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Scientology tries desperately to keep members from letting reality sink in during pandemic
[TWO years ago] Leaving Scientology’s ‘Sea Org’ isn’t easy, and some turn to desperate measures
[THREE years ago] Georgia police department closes its case on Arnie Lerma attempted murder-suicide
[FOUR years ago] Dungeons & Dragons and Scientology collide: Can we get a saving throw on that engram?
[FIVE years ago] Scientology leader David Miscavige in Atlanta on Saturday: Can you feel the excitement?
[SIX years ago] AUDIO LEAK: Hear a Scientologist being declared suppressive and facing the loss of her family
[SEVEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: These fliers should convince you to give all your cash to Scientology!
[EIGHT years ago] Independent Scientology: The Ballad of Captain Bill
[NINE years ago] VIDEO: Proof that L. Ron Hubbard Was the Most Awesome Human Being Ever

 
——————–

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 2,256 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,760 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,280 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,300 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,191 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,498 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,366 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,140 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,470 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,944 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,260 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,826 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,745 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,913 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,494 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,755 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,793 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,506 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,031 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 386 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,561 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,112 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,261 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,581 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,436 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,555 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,911 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,214 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,320 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,722 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,594 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,177 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,672 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,926 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,035 days.

——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on March 30, 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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