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Could a Scientologist be the next governor of Nevada?

The national media was buzzing yesterday about a new campaign ad from Las Vegas city councilwoman Michele Fiore, who announced on Tuesday that she was entering the Republican primary for Nevada governor.

We couldn’t help enjoying the reaction to her over-the-top ad, which featured Fiore, long known as an advocate of firearms, shooting beer bottles labeled “vaccine mandates,” “CRT,” and “voter fraud.”

Hey, we may have a different take on the issues, but we recognize some smart marketing when we see it.



But the real reason that we’re intrigued to see Fiore aim at higher office is that we saw this coming a long time ago, and we tried to alert Nevadans that Fiore has a very interesting history of involvement with the Church of Scientology.

She first got on our radar back when we were editing Raw Story, which featured a very fun story in 2015 about the fiery Nevada conservative. At that point, while she was still an Assemblywoman, Fiore had gained some national notoriety for suggesting that cancer was a fungus that could be flushed out with warm water.

The Raw Story article chased down some fun facts about Fiore’s earlier dreams of success in Hollywood, a 2006 independent movie she co-wrote and starred in about a woman becoming an unlikely singing star.

Hey, Fiore has always been an ambitious woman who seeks the limelight, and and those are traits that can’t hurt in the political arena.

After two terms in the state legislature, in 2016 she ran for Congress, but came in third in the Republican primary for US representative. She regrouped and won election in 2017 to Las Vegas city council, and she appeared to change focus. Nevada public radio, in particular, seemed taken with her new attention on constituent issues, and told listeners that Fiore was largely misunderstood.

But at the same time, we couldn’t help notice what a cozy relationship she was forming with Scientology.

In a 2018 story here at the Bunker, we noted that Fiore was promoting the work of notorious Scientology front group CCHR — Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which is Scientology’s most unhinged propaganda arm, advocating for the outright dismantling of the psychiatric profession and replacing it with Scientology. And Fiore was also a featured speaker at the Las Vegas Scientology “Ideal Org.”

Sure, a politician might shill for the local Scientology church and even advocate for CCHR without being a Scientologist herself. But it was another item that had really thrown us for a loop: We had found Fiore’s photo featured in a Scientology magazine promoting its private cruise ship, the Freewinds. In the photo, Fiore was frolicking with a dolphin as an advertisement for the sorts of excursions that Freewinds passengers enjoy in the Caribbean.

At first, we thought we might be seeing things. We knew that only very dedicated Scientologists got the chance to set foot on the Freewinds. But soon enough, we found that Fiore’s campaign had posted the same photo in a social media campaign, confirming that yes, it was Fiore who was swimming with dolphins in the photo.

What the hell? We never got a response from Fiore’s campaign asking for some explanation for what the city councilwoman was doing on Scientology’s barge.

And to try and get some perspective on these varied pieces of evidence, we turned to an expert, former Sea Org official Mat Pesch, for his thoughts on what it all meant. Here’s what he told us:

She isn’t just interested enough to attend a seminar, she is actually working to promote and spread Scientology programs and LRH ‘tech’ as the solution to common social problems. She is ‘sold’ on Scientology at least to that degree and is working as an agent for the organization. I don’t know what Scientology courses or counseling she has done, but she is a Scientologist in that she knows, applies, and actively works to get others to apply the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. That’s a Scientologist.


And now she’s announced for governor. Could she become the first Scientologist (or at least a Scientology ally) to reach such a high political position?

Nevada publications don’t seem too sanguine about her chances. The Nevada Independent noted that she enters a crowded Republican primary field, and that she won’t be considered a frontrunner in it. Also, local media noted that Fiore’s own house was raided by the FBI in January in a campaign finance investigation, and that a grand jury is involved, but it’s not yet known whether that will result in charges for the city councilwoman.

With that probe hanging over her, more than one local reporter noted how brief her announcement event was on Tuesday, and that she took no questions.

Well, perhaps she is a longshot. But we can’t help feeling some excitement to see a Scientologist reach for such a high office. And with guns blazing!


Bonus items from our tipsters

Speaking of the Freewinds, how about New Year’s on the barge!


Michael Chan gets in on the Masked Singer action!



Austin is Texas hot!



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Source Code

“You want to know what is wrong with the fellow? Let’s say that when he is very young somebody decides to take his tonsils out….Later on he meets some doctor who says, ‘Well, the reason you have ulcers is because … ?’ Actually, it was because one of the doctors during the tonsillectomy — this fellow’s earlier colleague — had an elbow in the patient’s stomach. I think doctors knew this all the time, by the way. I am sure they had this all worked out. The doctor leans his elbow on this young would-be writer’s stomach, and he grinds this elbow down while he is holding the patient. Later on the fellow has to be operated on for ulcers. You can make more money this way and send your children to better colleges.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 22, 1951



Avast, Ye Mateys

“Sea Org members are highly acceptable to one another. Where evidence seems to be to the contrary it is an urgency to uphold the standards of the group which after all has a very arduous and important job to do.” — The Commodore, October 22, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Ron’s invention of auditing: quite probably the single greatest advance in the history of mankind. And it works because life comes before, and is senior to, the physical universe; auditing confirms this. Life errs when thinking the physical universe has domain over it. Auditing undoes this fallacy.”


Past is Prologue

1998: The St. Petersburg Times published an article this week on David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology. “When David Miscavige recounts his rise to power in the Church of Scientology — a journey that began when he quit high school at age 16 — it is mostly a story of war. War against renegade Scientologists. War against Scientology’s critics. War against its one-time arch enemy, the IRS. But Scientology’s 38-year-old leader insists he is a determined peace-maker as well. After years spent well outside the public’s radar screen, Miscavige says he plans to step forward now and take a central role in trying to end differences with those who still oppose Scientology, the self-improvement ‘technology’ devised by the late L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950s.”


Random Howdy

“So when your certificates get canceled, whose job is it to track down all those engrams and body thetans and tell them they need to re-implant and re-attach themselves?”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for November 10. Trial tentatively scheduled for February.
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 December 17 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for November 19.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30, 2020 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ US Supreme Court denied Valerie’s petition Oct 4.
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 November 2.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9, 2020 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 June 28, 2022.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.



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] Could Marsy’s Law foil Scientology’s attempt to force rape victims into ‘arbitration’?
[THREE years ago] A call to arms for Scientology voters: ‘Religious freedom’ vs. the evil psychs!
[FOUR years ago] Wally Hanks, Scientology ranch terror recently portrayed on ‘Leah Remini,’ dies at 70
[FIVE years ago] Who was responsible when Scientology finally paid Lawrence Wollersheim a lot of thin dimes?
[SIX years ago] A Scientology childhood: What it’s like to grow up under the Hubbard spell
[SEVEN years ago] Tom Cruise and his Freedom Medal of Valor: Where’s the tabloid press?
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Has No City Permit for IAS Gala or Other Events: Is It Keeping The Party Private?
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s Sea Org Application: What Are Your Crimes?
[TEN years ago] Scientology Transfusion: Commenters of the Week!


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 2,461 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,966 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,486 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,506 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,397 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,704 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,572 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,346 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,676 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,150 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,466 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,032 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,951 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,119 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,700 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,961 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,997 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,712 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,237 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 592 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,767 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,318 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,467 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,787 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,642 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,761 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,117 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,420 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,526 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,924 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,800 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,383 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,878 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,132 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,241 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 22, 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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