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Clearwater city manager unhappy about landing on our ‘Top 25 Enabling Scientology’ list

[The Aftermath’s finest moment?]

Someone alert Glen Stilo, but Mark Bunker sent us an email this week. And boy, are we glad he did.

On Saturday we concluded our special series, The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, and as many of you had predicted, the IRS and the US federal government ended up in the top spot.

The point of our series was to focus not so much on David Miscavige or other figures within Scientology that we usually write about, but instead to give some attention to the non-Scientologists that the church relies on for help, whether it’s private investigators willing to do Miscavige’s dirty work, politicians singing the church’s praises, or companies that are quick to help with Miscavige’s “expansion” efforts.

Among the winners we announced along the way was at the #12 spot, which we awarded to the city of Clearwater, Florida. We illustrated the piece with perhaps the most famous moment from Leah Remini’s three-season A&E series, when she and Mike Rinder accompanied Clearwater resident Mark Bunker to a small park owned by the church, and within minutes Clearwater’s police force showed up in multiple patrol cars. (See photo above.)

We pointed out that it wasn’t always this way. After Scientology’s underhanded and surreptitious invasion of Clearwater in 1975, the town had fought back with public hearings that was one of the few times public testimony was ever heard about the extent of Scientology’s dirty tricks, spying, and sabotage that had been recently revealed in FBI documents.


Thirty years later, Scientology is not only still using Clearwater as its “spiritual mecca,” but after David Miscavige didn’t get a tiny parcel of land he wanted, he retaliated by secretly doubling the church’s footprint in the downtown area.

And then he moved in.

But someone differs with our analysis that Clearwater is more of a doormat to Scientology than ever. And we were rather stunned when we realized who was that critic of our countdown.

Here’s the email that Bunker shared with us…

From: Horne, William
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2021 1:25:01 PM
To: Bunker, Mark

Subject: Re: Scientology article

CM Bunker,
It is disappointing that Tony Ortega has placed the city of Clearwater in the top 25 of organizations that are enabling Scientology. He truly doesn’t know our community.

Bill Horne
Clearwater City Manager

Hey, wow, Clearwater’s manager Bill Horne checked out the Underground Bunker!

We talked to Mark Bunker yesterday to get his thoughts on the city manager’s email.


“I understand the city’s viewpoint, but I think it’s good to educate them about Scientology,” he told us. “I’ve been sending your articles around to people here.”

And is it helping?

“I think the majority of people there think that there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Well that’s discouraging.

We sent an email message to Mr. Horne last night, asking if he might want to discuss further his thoughts about Scientology and the city’s place on our list. We hope he takes us up on it.

And that’s not the only email we received from Mark Bunker. (Glen Stilo alert!)

We asked Mark about the recent attempt by Scientologists who dominate the Downtown Development Board to remove an ex-officio (non-voting) seat in order to keep Mark Bunker from participating. That attempt was shot down by the city council, and we had wondered when the next meeting of the DDB would occur. We figure it will be kind of entertaining to see the DDB Scientologists after their little power play was stymied.

Mark sent over this email, which announced that the DDB’s May meeting has been cancelled (emphasis ours).

Dear Mayor Hibbard and CM Bunker,

I wanted to let you know that there will not be a DDB meeting in May. I requested that the Chair cancel the meeting earlier last week because there are no agenda items and I have a lot of CRA work to complete before taking maternity leave in two weeks. He graciously agreed. I realize the timing of this request may seem unusual given last week’s Council discussion on ex-officio members, however I want to assure you this was my request due to my pending maternity leave and it happened prior to the Council conversation on Thursday. CRA staff is preparing the DDB for a constructive conversation around their grant funding priorities and equity work in June. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Amanda Thompson
Director | Community Redevelopment Agency


First, we want to wish Amanda all the best on her maternity leave, and we appreciate that she cleared up that the DDB canceling its May meeting was not connected to its April putsch attempt. (We kid, we kid.)

And one more item from Mark Bunker, which he posted to Twitter. Someone vandalized his name on a city plaque!



Leah Remini podcast: Listener questions 4

Says Mike: “We cover a range of topics…The first is that Scientology paid the IRS $12.5 million as part of the settlement which resulted in tax exemption. At the event announcing the exemption, Miscavige said the bill to the IRS was $1 billion.” Here’s the episode!



Source Code

“A Clear apparently is the — oh, not apparently, it’s true — he’s the original electric eel, and so on, and apparently affects physical objects without half trying in that state. That is to say, you can warm something up or something. This isn’t phenomena that you would consider even very good phenomena; I mean, it isn’t very advanced, don’t you see? Now, you can see very easily that throwing a lightning bolt couldn’t be very much of a trick. It merely depends on practice in holding your position. If you could hold your position very accurately, why, you could throw a lightning bolt that would probably char the Empire State Building. But that’s beside the point. That’s just theoretical. What you’ve got here in actual fact is that by staring at things you can make them warm, and things like this, you know. You pick up a, here’s a glass with some ice in it, you know? You stare at it for a few minutes and you haven’t got a glass with ice in it. It’s the warmest Coca-Cola you have ever had anything to do with, don’t you see? This is very, very low-scale phenomena. It’s just monkey business.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 27, 1965


Avast, Ye Mateys

“I’ve just written an HCO Pol Ltr on ‘Death Wishes’ of interest to the ship.” — The Commodore, April 27, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“There is a taped lecture called ‘On Rhodesia’ and in it LRH describes the setting up of Scientology in South Africa in case Scientology was taken down in the USA and the establishing of the Sea Org as a means to put ethics in in case of a Scientology takedown in America. But the SO being associated with the Galactic Confederacy’s ‘Galactic Patrol’ it put its authority outside of this planet, and that makes LRH’s intention stick in this case. Namely that the planet might fall prey of international chaos, but the off-planet authorities will be able to put ethics in.”



Past is Prologue

1995: Mojo Nixon has included a song ridiculing L. Ron Hubbard on his latest album, Whereabouts Unknown, on the Ripe & Ready label.


Random Howdy

“The big difference between Scientology and the mafia is the mafia actually go to church on Sunday.”


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.


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] Have Jane Doe’s attorneys figured out how to serve Scientology leader David Miscavige?
[TWO years ago] Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard on family and sex: As enlightened as you’d imagine
[THREE years ago] Strange days for a woman accusing Danny Masterson of rape — and for her rocker husband
[FOUR years ago] Scientology submits names of 500 members to federal court as ordered, but there’s a catch
[FIVE years ago] LIVE IN L.A.: Hearing in Laura DeCrescenzo’s Scientology forced-abortion lawsuit
[SIX years ago] Should Louis Theroux be worried? What a Scientology ‘documentary’ actually looks like
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: More scenes from the End of Days
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s Notorious R2-45 Policy: Is There a Smoking Gun?
[TEN years ago] Michael Fairman Talks to the Voice After his Scientology Excommunication


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 2,284 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,788 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,308 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,328 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,219 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,526 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,394 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,168 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,498 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,972 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,288 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,854 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,773 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,941 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,522 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,783 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,821 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,534 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,059 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 414 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,589 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,140 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,289 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,609 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,464 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,583 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,939 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,242 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,348 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,750 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,622 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,205 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,700 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,954 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,063 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 27, 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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