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More proof Scientology’s ‘Fresh Start’ clinics going belly up: San Diego County site for sale

We told you previously that Scientology is now only listing five US locations for its Narconon rehab network, down from dozens in past years. In particular, we’ve been watching the demise of its ‘Fresh Start’ clinics in Southern California. Longtime reader Science Doc has been keeping tabs on Fresh Start’s Warner Springs location in San Diego County for years, and sent us this surprising new report.

I bought the first of a series of secondary residences in rural Southern California in 2014, and from that point until moving to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico immediately before Covid I drove past Narconon Warner Springs at least twice a week. Usually I drove slowly, and I payed attention. Narconon Warner Springs is on CA 79 South in the hamlet of Sunshine Summit, about 8 miles from Warner Springs. It is a small and eclectic community. Other residents include several excellent wineries, two immediately across the highway from Narconon. There is a retirement community of well-kept manufactured homes. Less well known, and perhaps ironically, there is a simulated North Korean POW camp operated by the US Navy. Newly minted aviators and special forces spend a week there being hunted down in the woods and then placed in cages while not being water boarded. Several friends went through that in the late 70s. It’s been there a while.

What became Narconon Warner Springs has been there a long time too. The Main Campus of Narconon was originally a fishing camp. There was a shallow lake on the property. Guests would drive out from the big city for a few days of relaxation in remote San Diego County. That sort of thing went out of fashion at some point. Narconon Southern California (a registered fictitious name for Narconon Fresh Start) first appears in the San Diego County Recorder’s property records in 2001, with the purchase of the former fish camp. In a few years they also purchased the former JLB Ranch property about two miles up 79 in the direction of Temecula. Both properties were licensed by the State of California as rehabs. In a major expansion they also bought a large property in rural Lincoln County Nevada that became Narconon Rainbow Canyon.


Property records show that both Warner Springs (main campus) and Rainbow Canyon had multimillion dollar mortgages. If you remember the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 you know that anyone and sometimes his dog could get mortgages earlier in that decade. In 2010 Bank of America sold the Narconon Southern California mortgages to an entity called Caliente Warner Springs LLC, variously located in Los Angeles and Orange County. Public records do not tell the complete story, but real estate investment groups sometimes bought distressed mortgages at the time. Even if the investors purchased some mortgages at a discount the property owners were still on the hook for the original principal and interest plus late fees that might accrue.

When Narconon Warner Springs first came onto my radar in 2014 the place could be said to be booming. They always had three or four vans that shuttled people between the Main Campus and JLB Ranch. They also had private cars parked at the main campus. Initially the car count was typically 18 to 20. I would sometimes see as many as 15 people walking about, especially near meal times. This was also the era of peak Narconon litigation, and Tony’s blog covered many of these. Less well known is that Narconon Southern California’s insurer was soon suing them in Los Angeles County. California has a Duty to Defend requirement, and insurers have to honor all tenders, at least initially. If an insurer has reason to believe that they are not responsible due to, for example, negligence, they can sue the insured party, and the courts work that out at a later date.

As time passed the car and people counts at Warner Springs dropped in fits and starts. By 2019 I was commonly seeing six or fewer private cars. Property records showed that Narconon also sometimes owned houses in Sunshine Summit so it was never exactly clear what the car count measured, but activity by any measure was going down steadily.

By late 2020 Covid was driving a boom in secondary real estate markets as people were fleeing dense urban areas for homes in rural areas, and it was time to sell my last two properties in rural California. So once again I was driving past Narconon frequently. I wasn’t the only one moving out. When I drove past Narconon one day in late January of this year JLB Ranch had two commercial size dumpsters overflowing with furnishings. The Main Campus appeared to be hanging on. I contacted Tony immediately. Once back at home in Mexico Tony and I checked property records and discovered that Caliente Warner Springs LLC had begun foreclosure proceedings on the Main Campus of Warner Springs by recording a Notice of Default on January 21, 2021, demanding millions of dollars. Other real estate records showed that JLB Ranch was for sale, as was Narconon Rainbow Canyon. On April 28 the LLC recorded a Notice of Sale, starting a 21-day countdown to a public auction on the courthouse steps. What often happens in these is that the lender bids the amount of principal, interest, and foreclosure fees due, just north of $3.5 million here, and is awarded the property. If someone wants to compete they need to show up with a stack of cashiers checks. On June 3, a document was recorded showing that the LLC indeed assumed ownership of the Main Campus parcels. Meanwhile JLB Ranch was listed in a real estate data base as recently sold.

My wife was visiting friends in the area on July 23 and I asked her to drive by Warner Springs to get photographs. The place was in poor condition with a For Sale sign and a vehicle count of exactly zero.

As I sat to write this the next day I checked recordings in Lincoln County, Nevada and saw that on July 20 LRES Corp. on behalf of the LLC recorded a Notice of Default on the Rainbow Canyon property demanding millions of dollars in principal and interest plus foreclosure fees.

Does this mean the end of Fresh Start? Tony has previously reported that their locations have disappeared from Church of Scientology websites. The only evidence to the contrary is that last year deed recordings in Texas show that the Harlingen Narconon property was sold by a longtime local Scientologist to Fresh Start. But the Fresh Start Operations such as they still exist are no longer being claimed by Miscavige, and Warner Springs has been sold and abandoned.

The LLC wasted little time getting the former Main Campus onto the market. The listing price is $2.25 million. The app shows the listing along with some remarkable photographs including the sauna used for the quack detoxification procedure. Other photographs speak to the generally dilapidated condition of the property. Nevertheless, my friends in the area say the property could easily be worth the asking price depending on some zoning and water questions. Hopefully it won’t become another rehab operation.

— Science Doc



David Dees documentary now out!


Back in March we told you that a short documentary was coming about David Dees, a Scientologist who had gained a certain reputation for his conspiracy-obsessed illustrations.

Filmmaker Brad Abrahams tells us that the film has now been released, and we’re really looking forward to seeing it. You can watch it right here!




Derek Lambert with a new video

Another conversation with Karen de la Carriere about “Scientology treachery.”




Source Code

“The Rock has such terrific significances connected with it: violations, survival, not to survive, thisa, thata, the other thing, identifications, cross-references, see file B, see file A 1,002,642, cross-reference Navy Department, you get the idea. Bulletin of War, Space Command, planet Exnoo, figure-figure-figure-figure, think-think-think-think-think-think, figure-figure-figure-figure, thought-thought-thought-thought, thought, significance-significance-significance-significance… And when he looks at this particular piece of matter, energy, space and time which is all it’s conceived of, he doesn’t conceive of matter, energy, space and time. He thinks, Cross-reference: Space Command, 8,000,000,682, general order to all torpedo-men. Following: pursuant to the orders of the admiral… See? Now, this unfortunately cross-references with Order of the Day, Monastery Platitude, Mount Xenu. There shall be peace. Which conflicts with, Dear, I know you are dedicated to holy orders, but I need a new pair of shoes. Which in itself is very vastly in conflict with Order of the Mount: Honor thy father and thy mother. Wait a minute, how’d that get in there? And that’s why the preclear’s so baffled.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 25, 1958


Avast, Ye Mateys

“LOCAL MONEY: Be sure you turn in your local wallpaper. I sure hope it’s cooler at sea!” — The Commodore, July 25, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Why have we lost so many of our powers after coming to this planet? I mean, I remember shortly before and I was a giant disembodied Thetan that new ALL of the sciences that make up everything and I also had enormous magical creation of ability, and I use to sweep across enormous gigantic masses of planets and instantly create groundcover foliage. I met a guy in Scientology that I used to know when we are 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.”



Past is Prologue

2000: Lisa McPherson Trust media director Mark Bunker reported this week that charges will not be filed against the Scientologist who attacked him with a hammer while he filmed for a German TV crew. “Bernie McCabe’s office has written me to say that no charges will be pressed against Richard Bernard who attacked my with a hammer nearly six months ago. Hammer attacks involving Scientologists will now be considered Sacred Rites and will be protected under the Florida Constitution.”


Random Howdy

“I prefer to think of D.M. as Theon Greyjoy.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for August 9. Trial tentatively scheduled for early November.
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 Sept 9.

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 to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology responded on June 25.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments scheduled for Oct 5.
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: Third 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.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


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 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?


[ONE year ago] Scientology to the rescue: After losing son and wife, Johnny Lewis’s dad is happier than ever
[TWO years ago] For once, a target of Scientology gladhanding did his homework and said no thanks
[THREE years ago] 50 years ago today, Scientology was banned in the UK — Here’s why it was a bad move
[FOUR years ago] The Rathbuns hire a lawyer, and Ray Jeffrey answers questions about his legal salvo
[FIVE years ago] Why does Scientology have no sense of humor? Because seriousness is a sacrament
[SIX years ago] A video response to Scientology’s crass celebrities, Jenna and Bodhi Elfman
[SEVEN years ago] Garcia federal fraud lawsuit survives another challenge by Scientology
[EIGHT years ago] Scientologists Warned about Facebook “Entheta” After Leah Remini’s Departure
[NINE years ago] Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise’s Split Becomes an Advertisement


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 2,372 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,877 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,397 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,417 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,308 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,615 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,483 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,257 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,587 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,061 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,377 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,943 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,862 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,030 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,611 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,872 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,910 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,623 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,148 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 503 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,678 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,229 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,378 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,698 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,553 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,672 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,028 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,331 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,437 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,839 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,711 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,294 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,789 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,043 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,152 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 25, 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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