Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


SEASON’S GREETINGS: Mark Bunker shares fan mail from Scientology members

We’re finally getting a chance to go through our backlog of email that piled up during the Danny Masterson trial, and we were glad to see that we’d been sent a message from our old friend Mark Bunker, the Clearwater, Florida city councilman.

He wanted us to know that he’s been targeted with what appears to be a small campaign by local Scientology members.

“There seems to be a push to have Scientologists complain about my behavior on the council as a handful of emails have come trickling in,” he told us, and he thought we’d like to see a couple of them.

If you’re not familiar with the situation, Bunker has been working to expose Scientology abuses for many, many years, and always in the most friendly manner possible. As he has said many times, he never complains about a Scientologist’s involvement in the church, but about the policies and practices of the organization under leader David Miscavige. And in particular, the way those practices keep Clearwater from becoming a more lively place downtown, where Miscavige has control of so many properties. In 2020, Bunker was elected to the city council after running on his record of opposing Scientology.


And since then Bunker has repeatedly brought up Scientology’s controversies in city council meetings, something that has not exactly endeared him to Mayor Frank Hibbard.

On October 21, the mayor received a complaint about Bunker’s “discriminatory” comments on the council.

Mayor Frank Hibbard
City of Clearwater

Dear Mayor Hibbard,

I have been operating a business in downtown for the past 20 years I have owned other businesses in Clearwater for over 30 years. I pay taxes and have volunteered many many hours in this community.

I attended law school at Boston University and graduated from Morehouse College. I grew up in Mississippi where I suffered from and fought against violations of civil rights as an African American.

As you might imagine, I am shocked to see, in this day and age, a City Councilman being so disgustingly discriminatory. I am talking about Mark Bunker who continuously operates as a hate monger against my church, including at the past city council meeting.

Mark Bunker is similar to the bigots in Mississippi who did everything they could to put people like me down.

No government, nor its individual members in official capacities, should be discriminating against their own constituents based on race or religion.



(We’re going to leave the name off since we didn’t get a chance to reach out to the business owner.)

Bunker tells us he figures the comments that had angered the letter writer occurred the night before, when he’d urged local voters to approve a referendum that would result in the sale of some downtown land to developers in a major improvement that Scientology leader David Miscavige opposed.


“I was making a closing pitch why people should vote yes to allow new development on our downtown bluff. These are points the business community wanted me to make because I was the person who could allay the fears of those avoiding downtown because of Scientology. I would hardly consider these comments harsh,” Mark says.

He also showed us another fun letter that came in on November 4…

Dear Mr. Hibbard,

As a Resident of Clearwater, I am shocked that Mark Bunker is allowed to continually discriminate at the City Council Meetings.

I am a licensed Real Estate Broker, and I would be fined and possibly lose my license if I demonstrated Religious Discrimination like Mark Bunker does.

Mark Bunker continues to display this behavior freely in the City Council meetings, without objections from anyone else at the meeting.

Voting is a personal decision. I personally make my decisions by researching issues and making my own determination about how I choose to vote.

As the Executive Director of the Clearwater Community Volunteers, I have personally built, decorated, and manned Winter Wonderland for more than 20 years. Each year we bring tens of thousands of people into downtown Clearwater. The Church of Scientology sponsors this wonderful event, giving an incredible experience to thousands and thousands of Clearwater residents.

I personally have met people that came as children and now bring their children because Winter Wonderland is such a special place to visit. In addition, Winter Wonderland is a food and toy drive, so we provide Christmas to many, many families that cannot afford Christmas. This is possible because of the support from the Church of Scientology.

I sincerely hope that Mark Bunker is not allowed to continue spreading hate and lies to our residents at the meeting and wasting the valuable time of our other City Councilmembers.

Very Sincerely,


“I guess I won’t be invited to officiate the opening of Winter Wonderland this year,” Bunker told us last night.

In fact, according to a report in the local Patch, the Clearwater version of Scientology’s Winter Wonderland opened last week.


For those unfamiliar with Winter Wonderland, here’s what we said about Scientology’s interesting relationship to Christmas last year at this time…

Scientology has a long and complex relationship with the R6 Christianity implant that each of us thetans struggles with thanks to the galactic warlord Xenu.

According to Scientology scripture, the story of Christianity (including the birth of Jesus) never actually occurred, it’s all an “implant” in our heads that Xenu put there when he committed a massive genocide on this planet 75 million years ago.

However, even though Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard belittled Christianity in his lectures, he knew a good thing when he saw it, and so in the early 1970s his Los Angeles followers began co-opting Christmas by putting a big tree up in Hollywood.

“Winter Wonderland” they called it, and it became a staple of Scientology’s outreach.

So even though Scientology scripture has it that the story of Christianity was just something made up by the galactic overlord Xenu 75 million years ago, a Scientologist business owner can claim today that with its Winter Wonderland setup, “we provide Christmas to many, many families that cannot afford Christmas.”


Bunker pointed out to us that he’s written each of the letter writers, offering to meet with them and discuss their issues about his comments.

Also, he’s put up a couple of new videos at his channel in response to the letter writers.

“The first one is my report on the court hearing on coercion and the second one is about Miscavige not supporting the bluff property vote but happy to tell people not to vote for me.”





Technology Cocktail

“The wide-open case (delusive but clear recalls of non-factual material) is distinguished by having the same manifestations in life as the occluded case, which is to say, a fear of and protest against sound, a general protest against life, a defensive and defeating attitude. But this case is in far worse condition than the occluded case and this condition is most easily noticed by endocrine disorders. This is denoted by sterility, untimely fat on the back of the ankles (startlingly common in the current civilization) and perceptic difficulties.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1953



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 as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

— The Underground Bunker Podcast

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH


— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— SPECIAL: Your Proprietor’s updates on the Danny Masterson trial

[1] Sep 21 [2] Sep 28 [3] Oct 4 [4] Oct 10 [5] Oct 11: Day One [6] Oct 12: Day Two [7] Oct 13: Day Three [8] Oct 17: Day Four [9] Oct 18: Day Five [10] Oct 19: Day Six [11] Special interview with Chris Shelton, Oct 19 [12] Oct 20: Day Seven [13] Oct 21: Day Eight [14] First week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [15] Oct 24: Day Nine [16] Oct 25: Day Ten [17] Oct 27: Day Eleven [18] Oct 28: Day Twelve [19] Second week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [20] Halloween special [21] Nov 2: Day Thirteen [22] Nov 3: Day Fourteen [23] Nov 4: Day Fifteen [24] Third week in review [25] Nov 5, Saturday special [26] Nov 6, Sunday special [27] Nov 7, Day Sixteen [28] Lisa Marie Presley breaking news [29] Nov 8, Day Seventeen [30] Nov 9, Day Eighteen [31] Nov 10, Day Nineteen


Source Code

“If you went into this technical society and you could just make better screwdrivers than anybody else, why, if you had any acumen at all, you eventually would make some kind of a minor success of the situation. But we’re not talking now about screwdrivers. We’re talking about the stuff of which life is made: life itself. And any time you get a technology of that character going forward, and you have a grasp of that technology, you cannot help but win. You don’t even have to try to win. People will come ahead and present you with large sections of Earth. That is all. I mean, it can’t help it. For instance, right now I’ve told them occasionally, from time to time, they’d never get into space without us. I’ve told them that from time to time. Well, what do you know? Cape Canaveral just sent for a Scientologist. They won’t get into space without us.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 12, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys

“NO ONE is to send telexes, telegrams, telephone messages or mail ashore without security clearance of CS-1. This includes the Ships Rep and Operations on international and mission lines but does not affect daily purchasing, PRO and port/agent cycles. This DOES include personal favors asked of persons leaving the ship on mission or on leave — they may NOT be given things to send specially for crewmembers or money to be transferred off normal org lines that are set up to handle just that.” — Ellen Klayman, F/Communicator, approved by Lt. Brian Livingston CS-1, December 12, 1969



Overheard in the FreeZone

“While Facebook is a tool to connect, and it could have been a great tool for dissemination, it has now become a cesspit for counter-intentions, ARC breaks, and suppression of the subject. This is something I want no part of. Scientology is meant to be the exact opposite of that. Therefore, I have made a decision to disconnect from groups that are not AOGP owned. This is me ‘delivering a successful blow’ if you will. Now probably nobody gives a shit, I certainly have seen the apathy amongst Indies so I’m not expecting a farewell or anything. But in some small way I am hoping to inspire others to get active and make their own stand against some of these cultish individuals as well.”


Past is Prologue

2001: Caroline Letkeman reported a protest at the Vancouver Scientology. “We brought hundreds if not thousands of people uptone with our very positive picket signs and very positive presences. Dozens of people came by to find out what we were picketing and to take one of our flyers. One woman came out of the building to hand out copies of a new scn publication ‘Voice of the Volunteer Minister: The Volunteer Minister’s Newspaper. Gerry charmed her out of a copy and contributed it to the International Archives. We had some actual contact by a Scientologist who spoke on the subject of the picket. His name is Ty-bor or Ty-borg, we weren’t sure which. I asked Ty-borg his last name but he wouldn’t say. Ty-borg confronted us with some very unusual questions. He began with a series of questions such as, ‘How many people die in hospitals a year?’ and ‘Why aren’t you picketing them?’ ‘How many people in Canada die from prescribed drugs?’ Gerry gave him his best estimates, and nope, he was wrong on all numbers. But Ty-Borg had the numbers right at the tip of his analytical mind. Gerry told him that we were doing a Lisa McPherson Memorial Picket, and Ty-borg responded that he had ‘studied her case and she died of a blood clot.’ That’s why it was so odd when Ty-borg seemed to want to impart information of a medical nature about ‘my daughter.’ Later, I realized it was simply that he had mistaken me for Lisa McPherson’s mother. Obviously he didn’t know she was deceased. It was kind of a tense few minutes when I kept on demanding that he explain what he meant by ‘your daughter’s medical information.’ At first, I thought he was being exceptionally cruel in his bullbaiting, but it was just a case of mistaken identity. I gave Ty-borg a copy of our handout, and pointed out which side of the handout had to do with my daughter, Ann. As Ty-borg disappeared back into the scn building, he encouraged me to study the Lisa McPherson case.”


Random Howdy

“I remember one time I was talking to vaLLarrr and she let slip that the universe was 76 trillion years old. The next day she tried to make out she had been talking about the multiverse theory, but when I pressed her on it she admitted that wasn’t what she originally meant — she was honest in a weird way. That was a big win for me to get her to engage in verbal tech because normally she was super slick about avoiding that.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:

Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Status conference scheduled January 10, retrial scheduled March 27.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Plea deadline scheduled for December 16.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to time served with three years supervised release, restitution of $9.7 million.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial hearing December 9.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2. Hearing November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place at least through February 7.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Case settled ahead of scheduled Dec 6 trial.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



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] Lose weight, regrow hair, and best of all, help an OT 8 donate to Scientology!
[TWO years ago] Wild scene in court papers: Scientology leader David Miscavige finally, really served?
[THREE years ago] The LAPD has evidence a Scientology official it’s seeking has been sent to the Freewinds
[FOUR years ago] Tiponi Grey, 1968-2018, a woman who told off Scientology for its lack of compassion
[FIVE years ago] For the first time: The FBI file of Gabe Cazares, the Clearwater mayor targeted by Scientology
[SIX years ago] Scientology and ‘aliens’: What did L. Ron Hubbard actually say about space invaders?
[SEVEN years ago] More leaked video: Watch Scientology welcome 2007, a year David Miscavige would regret
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack packs a lot into a new short book — ‘Scientology: The Cult of Greed’
[NINE years ago] Judge Whittemore grants Luis Garcia discovery of Scientology’s murky trusts in fraud lawsuit
[TEN years ago] Only 2,418 Scientologists in England and Wales, Vastly Outnumbered by Jedi Knights
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Leader David Miscavige Digs Israel; BONUS: Black People are Cool!


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 2,876 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,381 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,931 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,921 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,812 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,117 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,987 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,092 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,565 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,881 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,447 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,366 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,534 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,114 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,376 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,412 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,127 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,692 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,007 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,182 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,733 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,864 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,202 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,057 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,176 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,532 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,835 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,941 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,339 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,215 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,798 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,293 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,547 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,656 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 12, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email