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Clearwater’s new city manager: ‘We must develop a partnership with the Church of Scientology’

We told you earlier that Clearwater city councilman Mark Bunker was told that a recent secret meeting between the city’s mayor, city manager, and city attorney with Scientology leader David Miscavige was a 3.5-hour harangue by the diminutive church honcho.

Yesterday morning, there was the first sign that Dave’s bitch session might be bearing him fruit.

At a planning session, new City Manager Jon Jennings revealed that he’s had subsequent conversations with Miscavige, and he’s now convinced that the city needs to “develop a partnership” with Miscavige and Scientology in order to bring life back downtown.

We excerpted his brief words during the 3-hour session. Please give it a look, and read over the transcript.



As you know, the Mayor and City Attorney Margolis and I met with Mr. Miscavige a few weeks ago and I’m pleased to report to you that I’ve had multiple conversations now with Mr. Miscavige. The conversations have been honest, they’ve been direct and very productive. We are working on a plan to work more collaboratively on the Cleveland Street corridor, which will lead to, in my opinion, greater economic development, investment.

Mr. Miscavige has repeatedly promised a full commitment to work with the city to align with the goals to make our downtown more vibrant and active. As a new person who is really not encumbered with the past, I believe it is time to put the acrimony of the past behind us, to work with a real estate development partner, the church, to maximize a vision of our downtown.

I understand the anger and distrust that has been created over the years, but in order for the city to move forward we must develop a partnership with the Church of Scientology as was stated in the 2014 Urban Land Institute study, which was commissioned by the city.

I am not naive to the issues, but I know if an entity that owns portions of property in our downtown came to us wanting to work in partnership, we would jump at that opportunity.

I am only discussing the opportunity to work on improving our downtown and not a judgment on the church. As I personally know through my own faith has taught me that I am imperfect to pass judgment on anyone. So shortly I hope to bring to the council a proposal for your consideration that will enable the city to work collaboratively with the church on their real estate holdings for the maximum benefit of the city.

Bunker tells us that Jennings’ remarks caught him by surprise, and he’s not happy about what he heard.

“This is the kiss of death for downtown. You can’t get people down there now because they believe that Scientology owns the entire downtown.”

Bunker thinks Clearwater’s citizens will reject the idea that Miscavige’s plans, such as new facades for Cleveland Street businesses, will attract more visitors, but he thinks it’s time they find out for sure.

“The mayor has been talking about sending out a survey, finding out people’s opinions on things, among them Scientology. I am going to propose that before we do anything with Miscavige, let’s do that survey. Let’s ask people what they think about Scientology bringing us a new downtown,” he says. “I’m not sure how the rest of the council is going to feel about this.”

In our last article, we explained the background on Miscavige’s beef with city leadership, and how he’s been peeved ever since the city prevented him from getting a small parcel of land. The city wants to use the parcel as a small part of its redevelopment of the dead downtown, but it’s right up against two of Scientology’s most important Clearwater landmarks.

In that piece, we suggested that the fight over the land may be less useful than, perhaps, a swap for something so both the city and Miscavige get what they want. But Bunker tells us that Miscavige was adamant in the meeting that he has no interest in a swap, and won’t entertain one. He’s only willing to pay cash.


Miscavige’s plan, Bunker says, remains the same since 2017: Give him the parcel, and he’ll bring in developers to spruce up Cleveland Street.

“It’s my belief that the people of Clearwater are going to reject that 100 percent,” Bunker says.

As for the Urban Land Institute report that Jennings referred to, Bunker sent us a link to a video he did years ago, explaining why it was so wrongheaded.

“I’m going to be sitting down tomorrow with Jennings and with the city attorney,” Bunker says. And he’s interested to see the rest of the council’s reaction when Jennings brings his proposal for a partnership with Miscavige. Things have changed since a couple of years ago, he says, but he still often finds himself as the outsider, trying in vain to point out Scientology’s track record for mendacity.

“I can see eyes roll on the council. I know how they react to me talking about Scientology. And you can’t help feeling like a QAnon nut, raving about this mythical creature that is destroying our downtown. And that’s very frustrating,” he says. “They can’t seem to get beyond, well, they’re a religion what can we do?”


Leah Remini podcast: Claire Headley

Says Mike: “We talk to our old friend and Aftermath OG Claire Headley again this week, this time to discuss Committees of Evidence. What are they exactly, our personal experiences convening, participating and being victims of them, and how they differ from arbitration. We have quite a lot of documents to go along with this episode — a great repository of information for future reference.” Listen to the episode right here!


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Did you know you can get an email every morning when we post our daily Scientology story? We know some of the folks who come to the Underground Bunker aren’t here to talk about the politics of the day, and that’s why we created a daily politics feature over at our other blog, The Lowdown, and we ask readers to take their political discussions over there. And if you drop us a line at tonyo94 AT gmail, we’ll put you on the list so you get a morning reminder that a new Scientology story has been posted — and only for our Scientology stories.



Source Code

“A god of this universe, an anthropomorphic god — and I hope that you understand me very clearly when I use this word ‘god’ loosely and even blasphemously, for the good reason that this thing g-o-d is something which man has set up in his image. And it is merely an ambition on the part of a thetan, it’s an effort, a co-effort on the part of thetans to have a playing field and so on. And there is, actually, beings above the beingness of this universe. There are beings, but they are not this anthropomorphic thing who is the jealous god, who has hate and vengeance and so forth, that happens to be above that level. And the jealous god, the most jealous god there would be, would be a god who would insist at all times that he must not be duplicated, even to the point of not using his name in vain. He mustn’t be duplicated. No graven images. His space, it’s all his space and so forth. And we go on this way. Interesting, isn’t it?” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 14, 1953


Avast, Ye Mateys

“SMERSH: Good news. Adelaide trouble had a reprieve when they did not pass a ban bill at once but delayed it until Feb due to the filibuster tactics of our opposition and the ferocity of the defense. The ‘Parliament’ there was considering a bill to ban Scn, backed of course by the Health Minister who is a SMERSH appointee.” — The Commodore, December 14, 1968


Overheard in the FreeZone

“There is a big difference between the Hanas of the world and the new public who really don’t know the subject. Hana, and some others, who present themselves as long term Scientologists, worked with LRH, etc, who then bash the subject — I have no respect for them whatsoever or desire to help them as they are doing real damage to the uninformed. (After all, they must know, right?) And damage to me as the bad PR muddies up the general public image. No, they have placed themselves beyond receiving any help and their only course is to get their own ethics in and figure out what they could do to make up the damage.”



Past is Prologue

1995: The case against Karin Spaink and a number of Dutch Internet providers took a sudden turn when Scientology pulled away from the current suit. Here’s an excerpt from De Volkskrant. “The Church of Scientology has asked the president of the court of The Hague to delay the case against writer Karin Spaink and several Internet providers. The church has problems with proving her copyright on Scientology documents published on the internet by Spaink. The church accuses the writer Karin Spaink and the Internet providers Xs4all, Cistron, Dataweb, The Digital City and Planet Internet of ‘violation of copyright’ of documents which have been put on the worldwide network by users.” Says Spaink: “Seems like they’re stalling for time. Whether it’s fear or strategy is not clear; probably it’s a mixture of both. They have always said they were so convinced they’d win this one, it was a piece of cake they claimed. A new case will take at least a year before there’s a verdict; probably longer. And all this time the Fishman Affidavit will be available from a hundred sites in Holland. Also, my guess is that it will have severe repercussions for them in the American lawsuits. Dropping the case here, and still suing in the US?”


Random Howdy

“Most animals have more of an affinity for their offspring than the average Scientologist.”


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. 7: The litigators
[TWO years ago] Glam for Xenu: When Scientology celebrities ruled the world
[THREE years ago] Finally, L. Ron Hubbard’s first ‘Clear’ — Sonya Bianchi — found again after 68 years
[FOUR years ago] He was Scientology’s most famous spy, then he turned witness and vanished. Now, here he is.
[FIVE years ago] Nora Crest’s powerful new video: Why you can’t be gay in Scientology
[SIX years ago] Who are those WISE guys? A tipster helps us get some names of Scientology operatives
[SEVEN years ago] Another Scientology ambush, this time of Marty Rathbun with Louis Theroux present
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack: What we have here — in Scientology — is a failure to communicate
[NINE years ago] DOX: Florida Officials Fight Attempt to Hide Drug Rehab’s Scientology Connections
[TEN years ago] Scientology Story of the Year: Cast Your Vote Now!


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 2,514 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,019 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,539 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,559 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,450 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,757 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,625 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,399 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,730 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,203 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,519 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,085 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,004 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,172 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,753 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,014 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,050 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,765 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,290 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 645 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,820 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,371 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,520 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,840 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,695 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,814 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,170 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,473 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,579 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,977 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,853 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,436 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,931 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,185 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,294 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 14, 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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