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The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 1: The Feds

[IRS commissioner Charles Rettig and AG Merrick Garland]

Last August we started this countdown because we wanted to shine a light on the non-Scientologists who help keep Scientology in business, and who end up enabling Scientology’s worst abuses.

Along the way we’ve touched on various attorneys and private eyes and businesses that help church leader David Miscavige maintain his control over this multi-billion dollar enterprise, and who protect him from investigations, lawsuits, and prosecutions.

Many of you anticipated who was going to end up in the top spot. There’s simply no question that the number one reason Scientology is still ripping apart families, extorting the elderly, forcing young women to have abortions, and generally treating its employees (even children) as indentured servants is that the US federal government doesn’t do a damn thing about it.

As Lawrence Wright explained so well in the movie Going Clear, Scientology is protected because a bunch of accountants at the Internal Revenue Service determined in 1993 that Scientology was a legitimate nonprofit religious organization that deserved tax exempt status.

That gives Scientology, and Miscavige personally, a powerful shield against investigations and lawsuits, as we’ve seen time and again over the years.

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When is the government going to act? In 2017 there was an intriguing lead: Huffington Post writer Yashar Ali reported that a close Trump aide, Lynne Patton, had told Leah Remini privately that she had watched Leah’s show with the Trumps and that the new president was interested in revoking the church’s tax exempt status.

With Jeffrey Augustine’s help, we then pointed out that if this were true, Trump could have his Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, ask the IRS to initiate an investigation of Scientology’s exempt status.

That never happened, and Patton’s claim was never confirmed. Also, we’ve pointed out that for years the IRS, led by Commissioner Charles Rettig since 2018, has been decimated by Congress with budget cuts and was hardly in a position to initiate the kind of years-long, bruising battle that an investigation of Scientology would result in.

Will there be a difference with another new president? There are early indications that Biden wants to beef up the IRS and increase its auditing strength. That’s perhaps a move in the right direction. Also, we can’t help remembering that the three previous major federal investigations of Scientology — in 1963 by the FDA, and in 1977 and 2009 by the FBI — were all under Democratic administrations. Is that a reason to believe that the Biden administration would be interested in an IRS audit of David Miscavige? We don’t know.

We completely understand why ordinary citizens take it upon themselves to write countless petitions asking the IRS to investigate Scientology, or submit personal reports to the agency, hoping that the government simply needs to hear about Scientology’s abuses before it can act.

But that’s just not the case. The US government is fully cognizant of Scientology’s true nature, and has been for more than 50 years. The government knows that Scientology is in violation of its secret IRS agreement, and that it uses criminal methods to enforce its rules and extort its members. Evidence is not what the government lacks. It’s political will.

The IRS is only one part of the problem, however. The other federal agency with the power to do something about Scientology’s abuses is the Department of Justice, under the attorney general. Your proprietor has personal knowledge that federal investigators have been interested in Scientology’s crimes, and some of the people we have profiled here, such as elderly victims of financial extortion, have been interviewed by federal agents in the last few years.

Based on those investigations that we have personal knowledge of (and assuming that there are perhaps many others that we don’t know about) we believed there was a significant chance that under the Trump administration the Department of Justice might make a move. But again, it didn’t happen. There’s now a new attorney general, Merrick Garland, under a new president. He inherits a law enforcement apparatus that has sat on its hands regarding Scientology for decades now.

Does a new sheriff in town mean that the investigations we know have been taking place will actually result in some charges?

We try to remain optimistic, at least because we know so many victims of Scientology, each of whom deserves justice. But until this government acts, Merrick Garland and his counterpart at the IRS, Charles Rettig, will remain at the top of our list of Scientology enablers.

 
The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology

1: The feds
2: Monique Yingling

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3: The judges
4: The LAPD
5: The dirty tricks private eyes
6: The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department
7: The litigators
8: The ghost private eyes
9: The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office
10: Political shills
11: Gary Soter
12: The city of Clearwater, Florida
13: Google and other tech titans
14: The Los Angeles Times
15: Jeffrey Riffer
16: James Packer
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17: Louis Farrakhan
18: Mark “Marty” Rathbun
19: Wally Pope
20: Gensler
21: Parents who subscribe to ABCMouse
22: Graham Norton and other celebrity strokers
23: The apologist academics
24: Rebecca Dobkin and other low-level PI grunts
25: DirecTV and filmmakers buffing Dave’s channel

 
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Jon Atack and Ed Stratton

“Ron Hubbard probably got the idea of the anti-social personality from Hervey Cleckley. Ed and Jon talk about the original list, Robert Hare’s update, Hubbard’s points and Jon’s model of the human predator.”

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Source Code

“The first time you ask your preclear, ‘Now let’s go out across the country until we find a sawmill running. All right, now step into the buzz saw.’ He’s going to say gulp. It’s going to astonish him. But you’d be surprised what happens to him when he finds out he can do just that. He’s going to realize all of a sudden that there he is. He can be anything. Well, if he can be anything then he can have an unlimited number of viewpoints. If he can have an unlimited number of viewpoints, then he can know anything, can’t he? Well, if it’s written down, he can certainly be in the middle of a book at the library and read it. Well, that’s very easy. Or if somebody knows it at that time, he can go pick that somebody’s brains. That’s right. Read somebody’s mind.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 24, 1953

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“It is NOT hygienic to leave damp towels flung DOWN on bunks when they should be hung UP to air; it is NOT hygienic to have dirty sheets left on unoccupied bunks. It is NOT good to have those areas emmesty and NOT squared up and looking decent and clean. Therefore, all occupants of men’s and women’s dorms may expect a thorough inspection tomorrow forenoon, Saturday.” — W/O Bob Prior, April 24, 1970

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“To knowingly reg for money when you are not qualified to properly deliver materials is fraud, plain and simple. I am asking for $5,000 for the L11 I thought I was purchasing from someone I thought was qualified but is not. Just the fact that he is so controversial says something. The controversy was all before me. I trusted someone who is untrustworthy and now he laughs at me. What does that say? We are talking ethics here. Don’t sell things you can’t deliver. I don’t care how cheap, that’s not the point this is spiritually altering material. It doesn’t belong in the hands of people untrained to deliver. It’s not an argument of cost or ‘oh he gives good deals.’ The fact that he did wheel and deal so easily made me suspicious because an auditor should know their worth. I should have made a better decision based on that red flag. I accept that I continued with him on the L but I assumed he was qualified. If I am representing Spiritual material I wouldn’t rob you. Know what you are buying, look at certifications, research everything you can before laying down money because in the end just like with me. They laugh at you and create lies and justifications of their thievery. That’s what thieves do. Who in their right mind delights in playing detrimental games with people?”

 
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Past is Prologue

1999: Grady Ward posted a letter to Scientology lawyer Tom Hogan this week, in which he rescinded his settlement agreement. “This letter is to give notice to your client that I elect under California Civil Code 1689(b) to rescind the settlement contract that you believe we entered into on May 12, 1998. Pursuant to California Civil Code 1691, I hereby offer to return to you all consideration given me such as forbearance of any claim(s) in the district court for alleged copyright infringement, upon condition that you likewise return or void all consideration that I have tendered to you such as the $200 monthly payments, order and consent to judgment and permanent injunction. Your client, R.T.C. and its attorneys have shown a clear intention to dishonor the settlement negotiations entered into between us by repeatedly breaching the contract’s implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by wrongfully trying to deprive me of the very income I need to pay the $200 a month sum owed to you for life specified in the May 12, 1998 settlement negotiations. At least twice Marty Rathbun, a member of the board of RTC and a principal in the May 12, 1998 settlement negotiations has tried tortiously and in bad faith to interfere with my employment with Robert S. Minton and F.A.C.T.Net even though there was no justifiable reason to do so.”

 
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Random Howdy

“You can’t even receive auditing if you’re engaged in other ‘spiritual’ practices like meditation. The whole ‘other religions are OK with us’ is demonstrably false.”

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Preliminary hearing set for May 18.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: 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] Raising money in the time of the virus: Scientology will always find a way!
[TWO years ago] It’s an anniversary of shame for Scientology: Will they go for a repeat?
[THREE years ago] Scientologist pair running for office double down on their denials about church involvement
[FOUR years ago] Nan McLean in 1973: Rare Scientology documentary goes online, and it rocks
[FIVE years ago] Texas Supreme Court asks for Monique Rathbun’s response to Scientology’s petition
[SIX years ago] Scientology opens a new ‘Ideal Org’ in Basel this weekend — nearly a year after its last one
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s drug rehab hit with another lawsuit; Laura D asked to turn over computer
[EIGHT years ago] Claire Headley Tells Us How to Keep Scientology Working
[NINE years ago] Charges Dropped Against Scientology Executive Jan Eastgate

 
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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 2,281 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,785 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,305 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,325 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,216 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,523 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,391 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,165 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,495 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,969 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,285 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,851 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,770 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,938 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,519 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,780 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,818 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,531 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,056 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 411 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,586 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,137 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,286 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,606 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,461 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,580 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,936 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,239 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,345 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,747 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,619 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,202 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,697 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,951 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,060 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on April 24, 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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