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


Florida Bar past president hired to stop court from serving lawsuit on David Miscavige

On Thursday, we brought you some of the language from a motion filed by Valeska Paris that is seeking to have a Tampa federal court declare Scientology leader David Miscavige an official defendant in a labor trafficking lawsuit that Valeska and two other former Sea Org workers filed against Miscavige and the church.

This was after months of painstaking effort by Valeska’s attorney Neil Glazer and his large legal team, who have been trying to find and serve Miscavige the lawsuit, to no avail.

Meanwhile, at a November 17 hearing, Mark Bunker described for us how the attorneys representing various Scientology institutional defendants were so loathe to associate themselves with Miscavige, they didn’t even correct Judge Thomas Barber when he mispronounced the Scientology leader’s name.

No attorney for Miscavige has come near the case, so total has Dave’s evasion of service been.


Until now. With the motion filed and Judge Barber likely to name Miscavige a defendant, on Wednesday attorney William J. Schifino Jr. filed a document with the court indicating that he is taking on the motion, but that he is only appearing on Miscavige’s behalf in a very limited way.

Just check out this language as Miscavige tries to have it both ways, with an attorney in court fighting against his being served, while pretending he’s still not involved in the case (emphasis ours):

William J. Schifino, Jr., Esq. of Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A., hereby files this Limited Notice of Appearance as counsel for Defendant David Miscavige in the above-styled cause, without submitting Miscavige to the jurisdiction of this Court, only to file a Motion to Quash Purported Service of Process and oppose Plaintiffs’ Motion for Order Declaring Defendant David Miscavige Served with Process and in Default, which will be filed pursuant to Local Rule 3.01 with the Court on or before December 27, 2022. Undersigned counsel makes this Limited Notice of Appearance solely to challenge service of process and reserves all rights to challenge, if necessary, (1) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, (2) lack of jurisdiction over the person, (3) improper venue, (4) failure to state a cause of action, (5) statute of limitations, and all other defenses available to Miscavige.

Did you get that? Schifino is there to try and stop all this nonsense about serving Miscavige, but that doesn’t mean that Miscavige is under the jurisdiction of the court! You don’t see the man behind the curtain!

And Miscavige isn’t messing around. He’s hired a lawyer, Schifino, who was the 2016 president of the Florida Bar. Hey, those piles of tax-free money can pay for the very best!

Meanwhile, on Thursday Glazer filed a request for oral argument on his motion, which could set up a showdown between these two powerful attorneys in Barber’s courtroom. (Pretty please?)

We remember that in a separate lawsuit when Miscavige’s evasion of service came up, one of his attorneys simply sneered that the plaintiffs weren’t trying hard enough to find him.

Will Schifino dare to make that argument in front of Judge Barber, after all of the work that Glazer’s team has documented about their attempts at service being blocked by Scientology security guards?

We can hardly wait to see what Schifino tries. Will he make the Florida Bar proud as he tries to keep a ‘religious’ leader from being named in a lawsuit that alleges horrific treatment of children trafficked as laborers?

As we’ve pointed out many times before, the high-priced attorneys Scientology hires never seem to pay a price for the horrendous positions they take and repugnant things they say and file in court.

Schifino is just the latest in a long line.


Clearwater council trying to fire its city manager after only a year


Tracey McManus at the Tampa Bay Times reported the surprising news Thursday night that Clearwater’s city council voted 3 to 2 to fire new city manager Jon Jennings after only a year on the job.

Jennings has come under some criticism for his assertion that Clearwater would not move forward without working with Scientology leader David Miscavige as a partner.

But Mark Bunker, the city councilman who was so opposed to that statement, was actually one of the two members of the council who voted against firing Jennings.

Bunker explained to us last night that if he had been the only “no” vote, the firing would have gone through. But because another council member, David Allbritton, joined him, another vote is required that will take place on January 5.

And so in the time before that vote, Bunker tells us he’s going to appeal to the public to generate support for Jennings, hoping that one of the council members who voted yes might change their mind.

But why, we asked him, would he be supporting Jennings after Bunker had been so disappointed in the city manager’s statements about Miscavige?

Bunker explained to us that although he’s been disappointed by some of Jennings’ actions in regards to Scientology, he thinks the city manager has generally done a good job in his first year, and he thinks Jennings is being treated unfairly.

In other words, he told us, the vote to ouster Jennings really has nothing to do with Scientology at all.

Instead, as McManus indicated in her story, the council has been critical of Jennings regarding the handling of a contract to manage a 4,000-seat amphitheater in Coachman Park that is under construction. Jennings and Mayor Frank Hibbard had clashed over it, and Hibbard led the vote to ouster the city manager.

Bunker told us he feels for Jennings, who was asked to leave a job in Maine, bought a house in Clearwater, and is now facing the possible prospect of being fired after only a year.

With a recent referendum passed that will bring new development to some bluff properties and a huge move forward to revive downtown, Bunker says the city’s concerns about Scientology are being addressed, and he thinks Jennings should stay. We’ll see what happens between now and January 5 and whether the council will change its vote.


Technology Cocktail


“How to make havingness: Have preclear put out eight anchor points of size, thus creating a space. Have him pull in these eight to the center and have him retain the resulting mass. Do this using large and various objects for anchor points. Do this until he is willing to release such old energy deposits as engrams and ridges but still continue to make havingness.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1954



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

“By the way, professional football is nowhere near as successful as college football; that is to say, people go to see college games. Well, actually I won’t go see a college game because I know most of those players are on the payroll. I was, by the way, the first boy in America to bust that story to the print, to the newspapers: professional paid football players on college teams. I didn’t get expelled for it, my fellow editor got expelled. But he didn’t really get expelled, he just simply got disgusted. And he is now one of the top sports editors of America. But the two of us found that college, the college — our own college — was paying considerable salary under the name of scholarships and bonuses and things like that, to good football players in order to make a good football team. And they were getting in more money at the stadium for every game than they were getting in through the tuition window. And this was an interesting story, we thought. So we broke it in the college paper and broke it over the Scripps-Howard newschain, which I was associate editor of the paper and my pal was also a sports reporter, as well as a student, on the paper.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 17, 1954


Avast, Ye Mateys

“B. BEREZ: Goodbye Mr. Berez. You who used ethics most wrongly were found with a huge tin of marijuana to be the most out-ethics person aboard. B. Berez, you were the longest aboard in all the out ethics days of the old RSM. We can blow some charge on that. So goodbye Mr. Berez. I trust you will soon go up in smoke.” — The Commodore, December 17, 1968


Overheard in the FreeZone

“A thought occurred to me a long time ago while in session after reading the Factors and the Axioms of Scientology. And ever since that moment I have never felt at all ‘insignificant’ while contemplating the vastness of the physical universe. And that thought is: We are not actually ‘in’ the physical universe (unless we pretend to be so). We created it, the whole thing, from scratch. If anything, the physical universe is within US! A corollary to this idea was that one needn’t change location in the physical universe in order to visit or be in comm with another thetan. Just open a theta window and say ‘Hi’.”



Past is Prologue

1999: The judge in the Lisa McPherson civil case this week authorized the addition of David Miscavige to the list of defendants. From the St. Petersburg Times: “In a ruling Tuesday that stunned the Church of Scientology and its attorneys, a Hillsborough County judge allowed Scientology’s worldwide leader, David Miscavige, to be named as a defendant in a lawsuit over the 1995 death of church member Lisa McPherson. The lawsuit has been amended to say that he ‘totally controls’ and ‘micro-manages all of Scientology,’ and that his ecclesiastical role is part of an elaborate set-up to shield Scientology and its leaders from liability. The lawsuit also says Miscavige’s subordinates informed him of McPherson’s deteriorating condition and were acting on his orders as she became psychotic and was ‘imprisoned’ for 17 days while in the care of Scientology staffers in Clearwater. Church attorneys told Hillsborough County Circuit Judge James S. Moody that his ruling could add two years to the case after Miscavige hires a separate legal team that likely will include Gerald Feffer, a Washington, D.C., lawyer in the same firm that last year defended President Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Feffer also worked with Miscavige for years to help secure Scientology’s long-sought tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.”


Random Howdy

“After Waco the political will to do anything about cults vanished. The main reason they finally did something about Warren Jeffs and the FLDS was because it was a pedo factory. America is a very religious country and it’s also a celebrity-obsessed country. When you have names like Cruise and Travolta running interference for you, you can run a long way.”


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] Growing up in Scientology’s Sea Org, and encountering David Miscavige: A look back
[TWO years ago] Tom Cruise rant reminds Tom DeVocht: Miscavige eyed Cruise as high Scientology official
[THREE years ago] The Scientology spy who wants desperately to come in from the cold
[FOUR years ago] Finally, Scientology spells out its crazy ideas in a video you weren’t supposed to see
[FIVE years ago] Mexico officially recognizes Scientology as a religion, Miscavige claims at New Year’s event
[SIX years ago] Scientology is totally reading your comments here — and you’re scaring them senseless
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s Clark Carr: Those letters after my name were no good and I didn’t know it
[NINE years ago] At OT 3, you learn you have space cooties — how do you get rid of them? Scientology exorcism!
[TEN years ago] Did Scientology Kill Joel Sappell’s Dog?
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Infusion: 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 2,881 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,386 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,936 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,926 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,817 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,122 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,992 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,097 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,570 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,886 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,452 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,371 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,539 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,119 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,381 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,417 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,132 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,697 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,012 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,187 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,738 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,869 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,207 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,062 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,181 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,537 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,840 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,946 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,344 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,220 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,803 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,298 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,552 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,661 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 17, 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