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After ‘Real Water’ fiasco, Scientology donor and former Nevada legislator files for bankruptcy

We’ve kept an eye on Scientologist attorney, legislator, and Real Water honcho Brent Jones for a long, long time.

Way back in the year 2000, our New Times Los Angeles colleague Ron Russell wrote a pretty amazing piece about how a man named Raul Lopez, after suffering a brain injury and receiving a large cash settlement, was fleeced by Scientology. Ron’s piece explained that Brent Jones was one of Raul’s attorneys, and had gotten him involved in an ostrich egg investment scheme.

In 2012, at the Voice, we started watching Brent more closely because we noticed the connection between Brent, Scientology, and “Real Water,” which was gaining popularity despite its nonsense claims. The Guardian ridiculed Real Water’s claims about extra “electrons,” and we remarked, “One look at Real Water’s website should give you an indication that this product is aimed at people with room temperature IQs.”

Then, in 2014, our old friend Nathan Baca alerted us that Jones, a Tea Partier, had managed to get himself elected to Nevada’s state legislature.


And four years later, after his single term as a lawmaker, Brent ran for Nevada lieutenant governor, and his wife Aimee ran for his old seat in the Assembly. Both were defeated.

Then, all hell broke loose. In March 2021, Real Water turned out to be poisoning people. According to the FDA, numerous consumers, including children, were being rushed to hospitals with liver failure after drinking the “alkalized” water. The government shut down Real Water, and lawsuits exploded in the Nevada courts.

We’ve had some help from correspondents who have watched those lawsuits slowly progressing, and we had noted that Real Water Inc. and its parent company,, had filed for bankruptcy.

And now, we noticed that Brent and Aimee Jones themselves also filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last month, and their filing helps fill in a few details.

According to their submission, the couple moved several times in the couple of years before the Real Water scandal broke in 2021, from a large house in Boulder City, Nevada to Fountain Hills, Arizona, and then to Ojai, California.

Today they’re renting a modest house in Montgomery County, Texas, north of Houston.

They estimate that they have $29,785.26 in assets (which is mostly from the value of a 2017 GMC Denali SUV that they plan to surrender), and more than $4 million in debts.

Most of that debt is related to their former Real Water enterprise. But untold more is represented in ongoing litigation, that they are unable to put a dollar amount on yet.

They listed 68 individuals who are suing them, including five minors and at least one deceased woman, Kathleen Ryerson.

“Kathleen Ryerson drank upward of 64 ounces of Real Water a day, her sister said days after the product was pulled from stores,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote in 2021. “An avid Real Water drinker for years, 69-year-old Ryerson died Nov. 11 from aspirated pneumonia and liver failure.”

Brent and Aimee reported that they are both unemployed and are living on $4,200 a month coming from relatives. They say they have $170 cash on hand and $55.26 in a checking account.

That’s some turn of fortune for a couple that just a few years ago was selling Las Vegas tap water as a magical cure.



Technology Cocktail

“It should be noted that, in running either havingness or ‘not-know’ on a preclear, the preclear may exteriorize. In other words it may become apparent, either by his observation or because the preclear informs him, that the auditor has ‘exteriorized’ a preclear. Under “The Parts of Man” section there is an explanation of this phenomenon. In modern auditing the auditor does not do anything odd about this beyond receive and be interested in the preclear’s statement of the fact.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1956



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

“You want to make a Clear Clear. You want to make somebody who won’t have any trouble with the Goals Problem Mass or any trouble with the bank from there on out, and all of his fondest hopes, and so forth. And of course, if you keep doing that in extremis and then straighten out the whole track, and take up all fragments of the Goals Problem Mass in their turn and handle all them, you’ll make an OT. You couldn’t help it. So you probably could make a Dynamic Clear or a Clear Clear, a stable, a very stable Clear by moving straight on through the Goals Problem Mass and getting these valences parked in their proper places on the track so they’re not troubling the pc, and so forth. And he’d stay that way. It’s taken trillennia to get these things assembled into a black sponge. And it’ll take him more trillennia to get them back together again because it’s quite accidental that they remain in that weirdly balanced balance. You mean somebody has got a package that comes from 10 trillion years ago, beautifully poised and balanced against a package that came from 110 trillion years ago, and he’s got a 100 trillion year loop in the Goals Problem Mass. And these two things are opposing each other gorgeously. How does he do it? I ask you. Thetans are skilled, but I never expected them to be that clever. But they actually can do it.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 8, 1962


Avast, Ye Mateys

“MIMEO FILES FB: DOUG LEWIS is removed as I/C and demoted in the same unit for being unable to handle people and neglecting to study the project or clarify intention. Robert Williamson is restored to Mimeo Files I/C with orders to get the files set up. Doug Lewis, Robert Williamson, Mort Smithberg and Richard Bunnell are affected by this order. It is noted that Smithberg, a speed typist, should never have been assigned to this unit and should be replaced soonest. The project has no typing or stencil cutting duties. Its sole duty is to set up and to file all loose mimeos on the ship NOW, NOW, NOW. I haven’t seen such an enmest mess for a long while!” — The Commodore, February 8, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The problem in the indie and Freezone field is an Ethics Situation developing into a catastrophe. The tools are assignment of High Crimes and putting heads on a pike to cool things out and build ethics with gradients.”



Past is Prologue

1997: The investigation into the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson continued this week, with Internet participants posting some details of their efforts. Betti Gefecht spoke with one of the Scientologists being sought by the Clearwater police. “Susanne Schnurrenberger, one of the missing witnesses in the McPherson case, is finally located. I talked to her personally and urged her to contact the Clearwater Police Department. She claimed to not know that the whole world is looking for her or that Lisa’s death is still a matter of investigation. Since she was ‘medical officer’, they called her when Lisa was brought to Ft Harrison Hotel. She was told that Lisa was cracked up and that she should take care for her. She was there the first two days and nights. After that someone else took over and she was relieved, and that was it. Later she was told that Lisa had died of a thrombosis. Furthermore she said that she had been in Clearwater all the time and left the USA just recently. She said she did not know of any investigation going on and was definitely not on the run. When I asked her, what was the matter with Lisa and what Susanne did while being with Lisa, she answered: ‘Lisa was confused and couldn’t get any sleep. I was comforting her, reading to her to calm her down, and we were walking the beach for several hours. I wanted to get her tired so that she could find some sleep finally. But though I myself was almost falling asleep, Lisa stayed awake. So the relieved me finally, when I was exhausted.'”


Random Howdy

“Stan Lee, Forrest J Ackerman and Hugh Hefner are the Holy Trinity of my adolescence.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Retrial scheduled, jury selection begins March 29. Next pretrial hearing: Feb 16.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Next pretrial hearing Feb 13.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next status conference Feb 13.

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: March 15, 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.
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] Scientology intervenes at Danny Masterson hearing, judge refuses to dismiss rape charges
[TWO years ago] NARCONON SHRINKAGE: Scientology lists only five US locations as ‘Fresh Start’ is removed
[THREE years ago] War on wogs is hell: A peek inside Scientology right now, and it’s not pretty
[FIVE years ago] David Palter, 1952-2018: Remembering a Scientologist who became a steady critic
[SIX years ago] Ron Miscavige on life at Scientology’s secretive Gold Base (and getting thrown in its lake)
[EIGHT years ago] Ryan Hamilton’s plan to consolidate his lawsuits against Scientology rehabs is denied
[NINE years ago] Jon Atack on Scientology’s methods of ‘thought stopping’
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s Atlanta Drug Rehab Buys Its Way Out of Courtroom Nightmare
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Gag Reflex: The Church’s History of Enforcing a Vow of Silence


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 2,934 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,439 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,989 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,979 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,870 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,174 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,045 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,150 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,623 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,939 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,505 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,424 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,592 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,173 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,434 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,471 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,186 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,750 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,065 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,240 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,791 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,922 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,260 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,115 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,234 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,590 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,893 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,999 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,397 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,273 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,856 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,351 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,605 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,714 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 8, 2023 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


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