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Scientology chiros make pilgrimages to Clearwater before heading to prison

[Jay and Jeff Spina with a Scientology award]

We got home yesterday from our fun time in Los Angeles last week covering Danny Masterson’s preliminary hearing, and we thought we’d catch up on other Scientology legal matters that have been going on since we were gone.

First on the list, we were intrigued to see that both Jay and Jeffrey Spina — the two upstate New York chiropractors and longtime Scientology donors — asked for, and received, permission from federal Judge Kenneth Karas to ignore their bail restrictions and make short trips to Clearwater, Florida.

The two have pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud, and Jay Spina was sentenced to 9 years in prison on April 13 after Judge Karas admitted that the case made his “blood boil.” Not only had the Spinas operated a yearslong, sophisticated scheme to defraud the government, but they pushed risky injections that ended up killing a woman, and when her son complained Jay responded by trying to bully and silence him. Jay is supposed to turn himself in to begin his prison sentence in July, and the court has ordered him to forfeit $9.1 million and make another $9.76 million in restitution.

We’re still waiting for a sentencing hearing to be scheduled for Jeffrey and the other defendants, who include their sister and a woman who was an accountant in the company. But in the meantime, Jeff made his request to go to Clearwater between May 20 and May 30 (yes, he’s there right now), and Jay plans to go June 3 to 8.

Both of the Spina brothers own property in Clearwater, so they may just be tying up loose ends before heading to the slammer, but it can’t look good that two prominent Scientologists are going to the trouble to request permission from a federal judge in order to make pilgrimages to the city that is the location for Scientology’s spiritual ‘mecca,’ the Flag Land Base, where wealthy church members go to be fleeced at sky high rates.

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We’d like to hear from our ex-Scientologist experts: what Scientological reasons could there be for two prison-bound OTs to make last-minute trips to Flag before heading to the hoosegow?

 
Meanwhile, OT Scientologist Brent Jones was named in a federal lawsuit filed a week ago. We’ve been telling you about the purveyor of “Real Water” for years now, and how he’d come up with maybe the most Scientological business ever: Taking Las Vegas tap water, mixing in some minerals and claiming to zap it in some electrical way and then selling it at a premium by making unsubstantiated health claims.

Jones also had political aspirations, and served a single term as a right-leaning state legislator before running unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. His wife Aimee, meanwhile, made an unsuccessful bid to take the Assembly seat that he had vacated.

Brent is reportedly now making himself scarce after the feds filed the lawsuit on May 19 following weeks of scary press accounts about how Real Water had caused a death and numerous serious illnesses, including at least one liver transplant. (A lawyer suing Real Water had told us that two transplants had occurred.) Whatever the toll, the government seems to have little doubt that something went wrong at the Las Vegas bottling plant to cause non-viral hepatitis among Real Water customers, and it has now ordered the company to cease bottling the stuff.

Something we don’t see mentioned in other press reports about this case (and in general the press coverage has been excellent): Brent and Aimee actually moved to Panama some time ago, and we don’t know if that will make it tougher to bring a case against them.

But we thought you’d be interested in seeing the documents in the case.

Here’s the federal complaint filed against Jones and his company.

And here’s the federal consent decree putting an end to the bottling of Real Water.

Let us know what stands out for you in the documents!

 
In the Garcia appeal, there’s a new document. The first court case that was derailed by Scientology “religious arbitration” was the fraud lawsuit filed by Luis and Rocio Garcia in 2013. After going through the arbitration procedure, which they likened to a kangaroo court, the Garcias appealed the ruling by federal Judge James Whittemore that denied them right to trial. Oral arguments were heard in the appeal at the Eleventh Circuit last July, and we’ve been waiting ever since for a ruling. We’re especially interested in what the Eleventh Circuit comes up with in case it also has some effect on two subsequent lawsuits that were derailed by Scientology’s arbitration legal gambit, the lawsuits brought by Valerie Haney and the Danny Masterson accusers, both in Los Angeles.

Well, now there’s reason to suspect that the waiting may last even longer. The new document is a letter from lofty Scientology attorney Eric Lieberman, who writes the circuit to point out that a case is pending before the US Supreme Court involving “subject matter jurisdiction” which may have ramifications for the Garcia case. (If you recall, the Garcia lawsuit was temporarily delayed by a maddening and extremely arcane issue of subject matter jurisdiction because the Garcias are from California and had filed their suit in Florida and were suing Scientology entities in both states.) We don’t know if the court will take note of Lieberman’s letter or the Supreme Court case, but this appeal has dragged out so long already we aren’t holding our breath for a ruling anytime soon.

 

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In the Brian Statler wrongful death lawsuit, a small victory for the Statler family. A ruling by a magistrate in the federal lawsuit filed by Brian Statler’s family will give them access to the disciplinary reports in three incidents from the personnel file of one of the police officers who shot and killed Statler on March 27, 2019 at the Inglewood Scientology Ideal Org.

“Two of the incidents centered on the officer’s use of a weapon or handcuffs; and led the department to sustain disciplinary violations against him,” the magistrate found in his order, and agreed that records of these incidents should be turned over to the Statler family for use at trial. The magistrate found that two other incidents in the file were not related, but a fifth incident “involved the officer’s use of a baton during an arrest of another drunk individual. The police department did not sustain the complaint or discipline the officer. However, the officer was required to undergo additional mandatory training regarding the use of force, report writing, and situational awareness.”

Over the city’s objection, the magistrate ruled that it would have to turn over records of this additional incident as well. Trial is scheduled for November.

 
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Source Code

“Time is a temperature. I don’t know what that temperature is in Kelvin, but now that I know that time is a temperature, I can find it. And the moment I find the exact temperature, I could make any area, at any given instant, timeless or speed its time up. I know that sounds very strange. But this is a great discovery in physics. Only you know about it, but it is a great discovery in physics. It’s rather a staggerer. ” — L. Ron Hubbard, May 26, 1961

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

“MELBOURNE: We served a writ on Anderson, the ‘judge’ of the Melbourne Inquiry for legal faults. Ian Tampion there got lots of immediate raw public congratulations and good wishes. Dianetic Auditing is starting up there and the org will soon be reestablished. Some real good people are on the grounds.” — The Commodore, May 26, 1970

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

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“I met a guy in Scientology that I used to know when we were on a spaceship just before coming to this planet. He didn’t go through the implant station like I did, and he was extremely OT, more than I. I lost most of my powers, but he was not or could not go exterior to his body and create anything magical and neither could LRH, either. These bodies just soak up a Thetan like a sponge since with all their automaticities they are 100 percent effect and a Thetan is 100 percent cause, so the two just snap terminals like a magnet. This explains a lot of it but, still, what happened to our powers? LRH could move objects with his mind, apparently, because a couple guys on Scientolipedia who were close to him said he put his hand in the air above a pencil and the pencil rose up to his hand so he could grab it. He told the guy that he had been working for 30 years to accomplish that. If that’s true, I don’t understand why he lost all his godlike powers of creating things out of nothingness.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1996: The cult of Scientology began a massive campaign of spam this week on alt.religion.scientology. They posted thousands of articles from a variety of accounts, but with the same content, over and over. The articles all began with this paragraph: “Many falsehoods and inaccurate statements regarding several aspects of the religion of Scientology have been observed on ars. The purpose of this message is to give you a sample of the true data from the book ‘What is Scientology?’ and show you where you can look to get the full contents of this book.” The first articles were posted by “Chris Maple” through a remailer at Yale University. Ron Newman reported the response from Yale. “The Yale postmaster has informed me that they have now blocked *all* posting to a.r.s. via their mail-to-news gateway. So please don’t harass the Yale postmasters or administrators. “By the way, the postmaster says that there were 886 attempts to send messages to a.r.s. through this gateway during a 28-hour period ending around 4 this morning.”

 
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Random Howdy

“The ultimate goal of Hubbard’s bridge was to take all your money and then turn you into a slave once your money was gone. And if you did have enough money to make it all the way up the Bridge, the EP was hopefully insanity or suicide so you couldn’t sue Hubbard’s ass for fraud or spill the beans.”

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Held to answer for trial, next arraignment set for June 7.

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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: Pretrial conference August 21 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for June 18.

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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THE DANNY MASTERSON PRELIM: Our reports from Los Angeles

Our exhaustive reports from each day of testimony that led to Danny Masterson being bound over for trial to face charges that he raped three women, including dramatic references to Scientology, May 18-21, 2021 in the courtroom of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo: [Day 1: Jane Doe 1] [Day 2: Jane Doe 1 & Christina B.] [Day 3: Christina B. & Jane Doe 2] [Day 4: Arguments and the ruling] [Post-ruling: The Scientology highlights]

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 BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. 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’s rising new anti-vaxx star, coming to a ‘re-open’ protest near you!
[TWO years ago] What California’s controversial new confessions bill means for Scientology
[THREE years ago] Karen Pressley on the madness of Sea Org life: ‘I no longer belonged to my dreams’
[FOUR years ago] L. Ron Hubbard was no Bill Shakespeare, but here’s some of his early playwriting anyway
[FIVE years ago] What you didn’t see on ‘I Am Cait’: Kate Bornstein and Caitlyn Jenner at Scientology HQ
[SIX years ago] Scientology denied: Karen de la Carriere stops a takedown attempt on videos at her channel
[SEVEN years ago] The David Miscavige summons, and other dire news for Scientology’s drug rehab network
[EIGHT years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology Has Your Back!

 
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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 2,312 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,817 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,337 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,357 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,248 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,555 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,423 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,197 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,527 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4.001 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,317 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,883 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,802 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,970 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,551 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,812 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,850 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,563 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,088 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 443 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,618 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,169 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,318 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,638 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,493 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,612 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,968 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,271 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,377 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,779 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,651 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,234 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,729 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,983 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,092 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on May 26, 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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