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Scientology leader David Miscavige doing business in Florida: The evidence

One of the most stunning claims that Scientology leader David Miscavige has made in his frenetic attempts to keep himself from being named a defendant in a Tampa labor trafficking lawsuit is that he does no business in Florida.

With the Flag Land Base, Scientology’s “spiritual mecca,” being located in Clearwater, and with Miscavige having offices in several of the base’s buildings, that is a pretty bold legal position by the diminutive church leader.

However, on February 14 US Magistrate Judge Julie S. Sneed found that not only was Miscavige doing business in Florida as Scientology’s leader, but that he had been purposely evading service of the lawsuit, and she declared him served by substitute service, making him a defendant and giving him 21 days to answer the lawsuit, which had been filed last April by former Sea Org workers Valeska Paris and Gawain and Laura Baxter.

Miscavige filed an objection to that ruling on February 28, asking District Judge Thomas Barber to overrule Sneed’s decision. And once again Miscavige made the case that he was not personally doing business in the Sunshine State.


Well, now Valeska and the Baxters have fired back, taking apart Miscavige’s numerous arcane arguments in his objection. But they also pointed out some interesting pieces of evidence that support the notion that Miscavige is, indeed, personally doing business in Florida, and we thought we’d share those with you as we wait for Judge Barber to make a ruling.

First, they point to a fascinating story written by Tampa Bay Times reporter Tracey McManus that appeared on January 14.

In it, McManus explains that the day after Clearwater City Manager Jon Jennings was fired by the city council, his interim (and later permanent) successor, Jennifer Poirrier, received an unexpected call from none other than Miscavige himself…

She picked up on the fourth “No ID” call in a row. It was Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige.

“He called my personal phone, so I don’t know how he got that number,” she said.

Miscavige called on Jan. 6, Poirrier said, to explain he would soon arrange a meeting to catch her up on the discussions he’d been having with Jennings about the church’s plans for its downtown real estate.

What’s this? Scientology’s leader personally lobbying Clearwater officials about the church’s plans for real estate development in the city? Well, what do you know.

Also, they point to something we noticed as well, Scientology promoting Miscavige’s personal appearance at Scientology’s New Year’s event that was held at the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, and something that was then advertised to the rest of the Scientology world…


What we see here is David Miscavige personally leading the celebration in Clearwater, Florida that then was used to rope in the faithful around the world. Gee whiz.

And there was one more item that Valeska and the Baxters pointed out that we thought was interesting. Scientology’s attorneys have been questioning whether the Tampa court even has jurisdiction over claims made about the cruise ship Freewinds, which sails the Caribbean, and is not based in Florida.

But Valeska’s attorneys pointed out something fun. If you go to the official website of the Freewinds, look what is listed as the contact information for the vessel…




Well, that’s some interesting stuff, and we hope Judge Barber now has enough information to make a determination about whether to uphold Magistrate Judge Sneed’s ruling that Miscavige is a defendant in this lawsuit, which alleges that he oversaw years of abuse of Sea Org workers on the Scientology cruise ship.


Technology Cocktail

“In 1950 I did a lot of talking and made a lot of promises. And in 1957, seven years of study and work later, only now can they all be kept. To reach our present plateau I had to get a lot of people trained. Every one of those has coming to him a full realization of ability to help and handle others. All right. That’s the project. It’s big enough. Thousands of auditors should now have everything that’s been learned and developed about auditing. If they get that to which they’re entitled, no force on Earth can stop Scientology.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1957



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?

[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

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner [37] Karen Pressley [38] Steve Cannane [39] Fredrick Brennan


Source Code

“I said, ‘Go ahead and fly through the air,’ to a preclear once in a very careless moment. Preclear had said something about flying all to pieces, or going up in the air, and I said, ‘Well, go ahead and fly through the air.’ It was a bad thing for me to do, because I was disgusted. I was disgusted with the preclear, and I actually mirrored it. And the preclear took it as an auditing command and looked at me blankly and said, ‘How am I supposed to do that?’ Well, I could have said at that moment, ‘It’s a mis-command. I didn’t mean it.’ But I didn’t. I picked the preclear up and made him fly through the air. And I said, ‘See, you can do it.’” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 15, 1957



Avast, Ye Mateys

“SLIDE-TAPE SHOW: Geoff Barnes and Al Bornstein are highly commended for their excellent slide-tape show about Flag. As you read this it has already been exported to the various continents, having left the ship at 0600.” — The Commodore, March 15, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“In this Universe, spiritual survival and physical survival are polarized against each other. One tends to exclude the other. For that reason, trying to be an auditor and/or spiritual worker and make much money at the same time tends to be so difficult or unachievable. Spiritual workers have great dignity and are worthy of all the admiration, but they should know they need to keep a separate income. Understanding this is crucial for the immediate peace and future survival of auditing practices and other spiritual help activities.”


Past is Prologue

1997: Deana Holmes summarized an article in this month’s George magazine. “A rather balanced article appears in the April 1997 George magazine. It has some of our favorite Hubbard quotes, tells about Xenu, and basically discusses the half truths that Freedom has been tossing around about the persecution of Scientologists in Germany. Germany doesn’t come off as entirely the good guy, but Scn comes off looking *pretty* bad.”


Random Howdy

“I (and my parents) got my high school teacher fired for trying to use EST to teach us algebra. This was after he threw me out of the class for pointing out to him that EST was a cult and what he was doing was illegal and against school policy. This was like ’73 or ’74.”



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] Is Scientology so desperate for new suckers, it would hand out snacks on Sunset Blvd?
[TWO years ago] Scientology whistleblower Steve Fishman: Out of prison and getting younger every day
[THREE years ago] Report: Scientology cancels LRH Birthday, but still spreads quackery about coronavirus
[FOUR years ago] Tom Cruise, John Travolta and some other rare celebs made Scientology event in Florida
[FIVE years ago] What do you want to see in Leah Remini’s third season of ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’?
[SIX years ago] Sheriff’s deputy on what Scientology does behind its gates: ‘That’s not my business’
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology disconnection rips apart another family, this time affecting a familiar face
[EIGHT years ago] ‘Going Clear’ subject Tom DeVocht gets a lesson in Scientology’s social media surveillance
[NINE years ago] Ryan Hamilton files two new suits against Scientology’s drug rehab network — in California
[TEN years ago] VIDEO: What Did You Lose in Scientology?
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Future History! A Vision from 1969, and our Stats Roundup


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 2,969 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,474 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,024 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,014 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,905 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,209 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,080 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,185 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,662 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,974 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,540 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,459 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,627 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,208 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,469 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,505 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,221 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,785 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,100 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,275 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,826 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,957 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,295 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,150 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,269 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,625 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,928 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,034 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,432 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,308 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,891 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,386 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,640 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,749 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 15, 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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