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Scientology honcho lectures Clearwater leaders on how he’s been mistreated

Like the rest of you, we’ve been fascinated by the skillful reporting by Tampa Bay Times writer Tracey McManus as she’s covered the ongoing strife between the Church of Scientology and the city of Clearwater, Florida.

McManus has twice delivered blockbuster investigations about how, since the city in 2017 spurned Scientology leader David Miscavige’s attempt to get his hands on a small downtown parcel of empty land, wealthy Scientologists have gone on a buying spree of property there, seemingly in a bid to snuff out the city’s attempts at revitalization. The maps accompanying those stories have simply been stunning, showing how much Miscavige has increased his stranglehold of downtown land.

Yesterday, McManus had another breaking story, about how Miscavige had suddenly met with three top city leaders after a couple of years of silence. The story, quoting those city leaders, gave the impression that the meeting was a productive one, and a positive sign for ongoing relations between the church and the city.

But city councilman Mark Bunker tells us he got a very different impression after talking to the people who were actually in that meeting.


“They said it was a three and a half hour lecture by Miscavige about how poorly he was being treated by the city,” Bunker tells us.

Having watched quite a few of Miscavige’s hourslong stemwinders on video, we can imagine just how much fun that must have been.

“It was a chance for Miscavige to make his case to the city,” Bunker added. “And I guess we’ll have to proceed from there. But none of them bothered to ask him about who owns the properties that were recently sold, and whether he had any influence over them.”

Bunker judged it a missed opportunity.

But if he was disappointed to hear that Miscavige had lectured city leaders in a harangue, he still had hopes that progress could be made, as long as new city manager Jon Jennings and city attorney David Margolis understand that at this point, Miscavige needs to give more than promises that the church is going to hold up its end of the deal.

To understand what’s going on, we want to remind readers about a few things that didn’t make it into McManus’s otherwise excellent piece.

You see, Underground Bunker readers will probably remember why that little 1.4-acre parcel of empty land sitting by the old City Hall is so important to Scientology, and why Miscavige covets it so much and wants to keep the city from including it in its plans to revive the area.

Someone new to the story might ask, why would Miscavige be bothered by the idea of a downtown revitalization and an increase in tourists to Clearwater? After all, wouldn’t tourists mean more people to give personality tests and lure into Scientology?

No, that’s simply not the case. You have to understand, Scientology’s “Flag Land Base” in Clearwater is the organization’s “spiritual mecca,” and it’s a place where longtime, wealthy Scientologists from around the world fly in for very expensive upper-level processes they can’t get anywhere else. Because of this, “Flag” has for decades been Scientology’s financial engine. It brings in more money, week after week, than all the rest of Scientology’s locations around the world combined.

The city of Clearwater, to Miscavige and the church, is about one thing and one thing only: Separating those wealthy Scientologists from their cash, not recruiting new beginners.

So, for that reason, the more that Miscavige can keep the gawking public away from what’s going on in Clearwater’s downtown, the better it is for him.

But several years ago the city came up with an interesting idea for how to revitalize its core: Bring the aquarium downtown. You see, while the downtown is dead, Clearwater’s beach, a couple of miles west, is thriving. And one of the best attractions there was its aquarium, and its famous star: Winter the dolphin (who, sadly, died recently).

In what seemed like a genius move, the city and the aquarium came up with a plan which would benefit both: Move part of the aquarium downtown in an expansion on a 1.4-acre lot the aquarium owned. The city was all for it, but it horrified Miscavige. Why?

Well, as we’ve pointed out numerous times, the location of that small piece of empty land happens to be right next door to Scientology’s Oak Cove hotel, and more importantly, right behind the Fort Harrison Hotel. The last thing Miscavige would want are tourists at a new aquarium expansion slam up against the holiest of Scientology’s locations. (And especially, we have noted, because that part of the Fort Harrison Hotel, the bungalows, is where parishioner Lisa McPherson was killed in 1995 by Scientology’s neglect.)



[The Pierce Street parcel, an empty lot David Miscavige wants badly]

With the church opposed to the plan, the aquarium eventually gave up on it, and then decided to sell the plot of land. Miscavige wanted to get his hands on it so badly, he spent a boatload on fancy presentations about how he would turn the land into a nice swimming pool for the Oak Cove, and then make a lot of other improvements to the downtown.

But you have to understand, the last thing the aquarium folks wanted to do was reward David Miscavige for his opposition to their plans by handing over the parcel to him. So even when Miscavige said he’d pay up to $15 million for the land, which was valued at more like $4 million, the aquarium still turned him down and sold the plot to the city.

Miscavige was livid. It was then, as McManus explained yesterday, that he stopped meeting as often with city leaders, and the secret land buying spree began. Miscavige had declared war on Clearwater, even though he kept it as secret as possible.

Thanks to McManus, his plans became public. (The church has denied that it is directing the land purchases, but come on.)

And now, this week, Miscavige finally had a chance to lecture Clearwater’s mayor, city attorney, and city manager about how mean they’ve been to him.

But here’s the thing, now that Miscavige has told them off, does it really make sense for the city to keep fighting him over that mostly useless little parcel?

We certainly understand why the aquarium leaders didn’t want to give it to Miscavige after the way he ruined their plans. But if the city can get a nice swap for something even better or more useful from Miscavige, should they take it?

Bunker tells us he’s interested in seeing the possibilities.

“It sounded like Miscavige is still offering that same deal: Let us put in that swimming pool, and we’ll bring in all these developers in other parts of downtown,” he tells us.

Miscavige also used the word “leverage” in an intimidating way, Bunker was told, which made him laugh. He reminded us how much “leverage” is the operative word in L. Ron Hubbard’s wretched novel (and even worse John Travolta movie) Battlefield Earth.

“Unless Miscavige goes first, he’ll always have that leverage, and the ratbrains at City Hall will be at his mercy,” he said with a laugh, quoting another favorite word from Terl, Battlefield Earth’s villain.

Knowing how much Miscavige wants that little piece of land, couldn’t Clearwater’s leaders use their own leverage to get not only a good swap from Miscavige that could help the revitalization plan, but also get him to cough up what’s going on with the land purchases and what he intends to do with them?


Bunker says he’s going to do his best to try. We’ll be watching at tonight’s city council meeting.

And to help make his point about Miscavige and “leverage,” Bunker threw together this delightful video and shared it with us.



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Source Code

“Sex — it’s interesting, but aberrative value of sex compared to the aberrative value of eight is zero. Of course, what happens to somebody like Freud that concentrates on sex, is he really doesn’t have guts enough to just kick completely outside all agreements with his civilization. And for somebody in 1894 to have suddenly said, ‘God — well, I tell you about God, he’s a trick!’ They probably would have lynched him. They’ll probably lynch me yet, but anyway … For somebody to have kicked outside the confines of the church at that time would have been too adventurous to contemplate. It almost is now.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 2, 1953



Avast, Ye Mateys

“A Court of Ethics is convened on MSM Ann Tidman. She did not come on duty till 0930. This violates Policy No. 10. Ann Tidman is to appear before the Court at 1930 in the Aft Lounge. Court Officer is Ens. Wayne Alkire.” — Ens. C. Cariotaki, T/3rd Mate, Convening Officer, December 2, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Now there also exists bad angels/aliens outside this dimension. Beings and some people here on Earth are in telepathic/mind communication with them. Certainly Jews are more likely to have this special communication or spirit guide guidance you could say. Of course not all of them have it, it’s just that they are more likely to have this ability in their DNA which enables this special connection, hence the huge amount of super evil people here on Earth who have Jewish DNA/family backgrounds…In reference to Scientology, implants seem to be able to affect DNA according to OT8 Student briefing, so people could be getting abducted, which changes their DNA which then can be passed onto their children. So basically we could be dealing with bad aliens implanting people so that they have telepathic communication with them forever.”


Past is Prologue

1997: Scientology appears to have destroyed years of public relations efforts with the city of Clearwater by staging pickets of the police and the Times. From the St. Petersburg Times: “City leaders Monday said the Church of Scientology’s angry protests of the Police Department over the weekend badly damaged Scientology’s image in Clearwater and set back the church’s efforts to become part of the city’s mainstream. The church continued to blast police Chief Sid Klein on Monday with another in a series of public letters accusing him of ‘orchestrating harassment’ against the church and its members. Church representatives also passed out fliers at the city’s downtown office complex and at police headquarters, asking for reports of corruption, abuses and discrimination in Klein’s department. City officials responded in strong terms to the church’s allegations. ‘If they can prove what they say, Sid ought to be in prison,’ City Commissioner Ed Hooper said. ‘If they can’t, they need to let this go. You either go to the state attorney’s office (with the evidence) or you get over it. They just can’t make wild allegations that can’t be substantiated.’ Church spokesman Brian Anderson said, ‘We can back up everything in those letters and will do so. Everything we say is documentable, and that will be presented at the right place and at the right time.'”


Random Howdy

“I’m an old punk who never had much time for hippies, but in retrospect I gotta admit they accomplished more than we punks did. We just had better fashion and got the music back to where it should be. I don’t know, but it always seems that after a certain point in any movement that the soldiers outlive their usefulness and the diplomats always take over.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for February 8. Trial scheduled for August 29, 2022.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), false imprisonment, aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Next hearing scheduled for December 21.
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 February 11.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
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 held November 2, awaiting a ruling.
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] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 8: The ghost private eyes
[THREE years ago] How to finance a Scientology church in a city without any Scientologists
[FOUR years ago] DOX: Scientology’s pricey Florida ‘spiritual mecca’ keeps up its value in latest tax records
[FIVE years ago] You saw Bonny Elliott talk about her battle with Scientology; Now hear it from her husband
[SIX years ago] Hey, Legoland: A former Scientology youth explains what your money will buy
[SEVEN years ago] Another Riffer-ific salvo from Scientology leader David Miscavige in our legal roundup
[EIGHT years ago] Here Comes Scientology, Here Comes Scientology, Right Down Hollywood Boulevard!
[NINE years ago] Scientology Targeting Eagle Scouts In New Initiative
[TEN years ago] L. Ron Hubbard Schools Richard Nixon: Sailing on the Apollo


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 2,502 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,007 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,527 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,547 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,438 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,745 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,613 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,387 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,717 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,191 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,507 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,073 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,992 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,160 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,741 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,002 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,038 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,753 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,278 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 633 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,808 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,359 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,508 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,828 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,683 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,802 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,158 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,461 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,567 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,965 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,841 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,424 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,919 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,173 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,282 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 2, 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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