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Scientology quietly acquires $13.5 million converted church near Big Blue: But why?

[The former church at 4975 Sunset Blvd]

We’re certainly used to hearing that Scientology has acquired new buildings, but the location of a new $13.5 million acquisition has us a bit puzzled: It’s a set of creative offices in a converted church just a few blocks west of the “Big Blue” Scientology headquarters complex on Sunset Boulevard in East Hollywood, also known in Scientology as “Pacific Area Command.”

But PAC base and its components — the former Cedars of Lebanon “horseshoe” building, the American Saint Hill Organization, the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles “Ideal Org” — have been set for decades. We can’t remember the last time there were any new acquisitions adjoining or near it.

What would Scientology leader David Miscavige want with a $13.5 million converted church so close to Big Blue?

We’re fortunate to hear anything about it at all, thanks to some stellar work by journalist Jack Witthaus at CoStar News, a commercial real estate information bureau. It was Witthaus who realized that the buyer was actually a nonprofit that was part of the Church of Scientology.


The church on Sunset was built in 1925, and in 2014 it was in derelict condition. That year, Full Grace Church sold the building for $3.7 million to developer Robert Herscu, who wanted to turn it into offices for creative types. Herscu ran into some trouble with preservationists, however, when he removed the original stained glass windows after the city mistakenly gave him a permit for it.

In 2015, the space held its opening event as “Big Art Church,” which LA Weekly described as “a studio, gallery, school and performance venue in a a former church built in the 1920s in East Hollywood.”


[The interior of ‘Big Art Church’]

We’re not sure who the tenants are today, but the building was recently back on the market and it was advertised by Madison Partners as being 100 percent leased: So any buyer would already be guaranteed rental income.

Knowing Scientology, however, they will soon boot out those renters, even if it costs them a pretty penny to do so. (We’ve seen the same thing at other locations when Scientology purchased already-leased buildings for “Ideal Org” projects.)

Anyway, the buyer in the transaction is listed as “Building Management Services,” which is about as generic as you can get. But records show that BMS had been created as a nonprofit in 1987 as a subsidiary of Scientology.

According to those same records, the CEO of BMS is Coburn Knight, a former Guardian’s Office member who is Clear #12,637. Knight is also CEO of a Scientology property front we’re more used to hearing about, Social Betterment Properties International, Inc., which was the entity fighting over property for a Narconon rehab in Maryland a few years ago, and that bought the former Larry Hagman estate for a Narconon in Ojai, California.

So there’s no question that it is Scientology which has bought this fancy office just a few blocks from Big Blue. But why?

We turned to Mike Rinder for his thoughts.

“BMS is one of the entities set up to buy properties. Sort of like CSRT. It might even own the Hollywood Guaranty Building and other properties in Los Angeles, but I am not really sure,” Mike tells us.

“Coby Knight has been in the Tax Accounting department of OSA Int for decades — along with Ellen Reynolds and Jim Morrow. He is just a name on the paper of the entity. He isn’t ‘CEO’ of anything. As for why they bought it. Not a clue. They’re trying to spend money to buy real estate because they are accumulating too much cash? But then I don’t know why they’re not using the money to finish more Ideal Orgs. Unless Miscavige doesn’t want to finish them but is happy for them to keep dragging out. It’s a very strange purchase. Three blocks from LA Org? Beats me.”

What do you think? With an Ideal Org, Advanced Org, and Saint Hill Org at Big Blue, and with the Scientology Media Productions complex just down the street, what does Miscavige need another churchy office for?


We want to hear your guesses.


Technology Cocktail

“The reason the preclear is holding on to the body is ( 1 ) fear of loss of control and (2) havingness. If the havingness of the preclear is low, he is apt to close in tight to the body because this gives him more havingness and if the preclear fears that the body is going to go out of control he will also move in closer to the body. Thus we get interiorization as no more complicated than fear of loss of control and drops in havingness.” — 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 [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney


Source Code

“There are three classes of universes. There’s your universe and that class of universe known as the other fellow’s universe and the physical universe — universes of the type of the physical universe. Now, these in essence are three types of universe. Now, there’s a law back of all this, and that is to say that a universe is subject to the postulates of the god of that universe. Let’s take the physical universe. Everybody agrees that there’s a God someplace and that the physical universe obeys His law, so forth. It’s an interesting aberration in itself. Now, it’s a little more important, however, when we apply it to Mama. Mama is the god of Mama’s universe. Everybody concedes this. Maybe she isn’t in her own mind but everybody concedes that she is.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 12, 1954


Avast, Ye Mateys

“PENALTIES: Those absent from drills — no next meal. Those absent from study — 10 s per offense logged by supervisors and deducted from allowance and paid by Purser to 2 Div for facilities fund. False report — one week’s allowance. Outness or irresponsibility in admin or on post or watch — 3 days pay. REWARDS: When the ship is out of Non Existence and up to Emergency a reward schedule will be posted. MUSIC: No music while the ship is below Emergency.” — April 12, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone


“It really seems like Scientology was a cover for anti-communist CIA activities. Just like how Stanford Research Institute was used by the CIA to create remote viewers, so was Scientology. Remote viewing is an incredibly effective spy tool. Melbourne is a very communist place, of course this lefty hellhole would ban it. Our intelligence agencies now and back then deal in stopping any right-wing activities and love promoting leftist social engineering actions like feminist marches.”


Past is Prologue

1997: Dennis Erlich reported that Scientology is now required to produce, among other things, some of the documents concerning the transfer of advanced materials from L. Ron Hubbard to Scientology, witnessed by Notary Public David Miscavige. “On April 1 Magistrate Infante issued the following order granting my expedited motion to compel the scienos compliance (within 5 days) with his (Infante’s) prior order to produce a number of documents: poodleboy’s notary log book; income statements relating to sakrid droppings; every folder relating to me. In addition, the court finds that Plaintiffs’ failure to comply with this court’s previous order was without substantial justification. Therefore, on its own motion, the court orders RTC and BPI to reimburse counsel for Defendant Erlich for reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in bringing this motion. Based on the moving papers filed, the court determines that reasonable fees and costs are $850, which amount RTC and BPI collectively shall pay to counsel for Defendant Erlich within 7 days of the date of this order.”


Random Howdy

“Believe it or not, ‘Wichita Lineman’ is one of my all time favorite songs. I’m usually in tears by the end of it.”


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 holds its ‘Writers of the Future’ awards back on schedule, same garish display
[TWO years ago] Scientology answers Danny Masterson accusers at California Supreme Court, and it’s ugly
[THREE years ago] Scientology continues to see the pandemic as a public relations opportunity
[FOUR years ago] Scientology deception and financial fraud spelled out in incredible legal letter
[FIVE years ago] Why Scientology has no business pontificating on mental health — a discussion
[SIX years ago] Need a boost to your superpowers? Scientology has a (pricey) solution for that!
[SEVEN years ago] Astra Woodcraft, ex-Scientology kid, wants you to read a short essay
[EIGHT years ago] How Scientology broke up Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers: The story you haven’t heard
[NINE years ago] Why is Scientology’s cruise ship caught up in a lawsuit about human slavery?
[TEN years ago] Scientology’s Lavish Annual Party for Pampered Sci-Fi Writers, This Sunday!
[ELEVEN years ago] This is How You Finance an ‘Ideal Org’


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 2,997 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,502 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,052 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,042 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,933 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,237 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,108 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,213 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,690 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,002 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,568 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,487 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,655 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,236 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,497 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,533 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,249 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,813 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,128 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,303 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,854 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,985 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,323 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,178 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,297 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,653 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,956 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,062 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,460 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,336 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,919 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,414 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,668 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,777 days.


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


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


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