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Mark Bunker: How I changed seats and freaked out Scientology last night in Clearwater

Attorney Elise Winters has hated the idea of me on the Downtown Development Board since I was elected. She previously tried to get me kicked off the board with some very transparent maneuvers and failed. She has me exiled to the kids table out of sight with a mic that often isn’t working.

Last night, the other council member that sits with me on the board couldn’t attend so I took her seat on the dais and apparently freaked out the attorney. With a minute or two to go before the meeting began she called out to one of the Scientologists closest to me and told her you have to move down a bit and I knew what she was up to.

“Oh, come on,” I said quite loudly, seeing she was suggesting I may break the injunction that the police department has said for years they won’t enforce.

She replied, “I’m an attorney. I have to take it seriously.”


“She is definitely more than ten feet away from me,” I said. She replied, “I know. I measured it.”

Well, then what the hell is she worried about? Why even bring it up? She seems to believe I am going to leap out of my chair and attack the Scientology board members while frothing at the mouth. I’ve never done anything like that in my life and I’m not going to start now so she can relax. Her biggest fear seems to be that I will mention Scientology, the one issue that the Scientologists on the board refuse to do anything about.

At the end of the meeting, I talked about the great success of the re-opened Coachman Park and amphitheatre and said Scientology is the one remaining obstacle to turning the downtown around, and they (the majority of the board are Scientologists) were in the best position to do something about it. That should probably be the central topic of each meeting. They could report on the progress they are making to convince owners to allow businesses to open, and ask the almighty David Miscavige to make it go right.

Instead, board member and Scientologist realtor Terri Novitsky angrily said I was being unfair. “Other business owners who aren’t Scientologists are leaving their buildings open as well,” she argued.

Yes, well, they suck too, but they’re a drop in the bucket compared to the massive holdings of Scientology. Ironically, she is in the best position to do something about it. She is the broker for many of those purchases and I’m sure pocketed a pretty penny. Much of it was likely donated to Scientology to get a shiny medal and big gold cup. Hip, hip, hooray!

As we ended the meeting, I told the one member of the board who is not a Scientologist that he must be a very brave man. I could snap and rush the dais and he would be their last line of defense. He was cool with it.

— Mark Bunker


Technology Cocktail

“A Mest Clear has not been through a total confrontingness. He arrived by what was a shortcut. His regained ability to postulate operates unexpectedly. He puts himself into things he hadn’t confronted yet. He doesn’t confront them. And there he goes.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1959




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 [43] Tory Christman [44] Kate Bornstein [45] Christian Stolte [46] Mark Bunker [47] Jon Atack [48] Luke Y. Thompson


Source Code

“Faith is a very fascinating subject. Faith can be artificially installed. You can take a person as a clinical experiment, hypnotize him and install the Great God Motaw. You tell him that the Great God Motaw is now taking care of his life, safeguarding him, looking after his concerns, will see that the future is all arranged for him, will see that all goes well and that everybody loves him, and will, beyond everything else, give him absolutely correct data every time he asks for it. The Great God Motaw, installed in such a circuit, more or less takes the whole computer, moves it over, and now he has the Great God Motaw sitting there. You can even install it so that the Great God Motaw has sonic, which is strictly hallucination.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 13, 1950



Avast, Ye Mateys

“The Supreme Test of a thetan is to make things go right. I want every divisional officer to spot those on the ship who pass this test.” — The Commodore, July 13, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Again a tornado skips hitting the Scientology town of Clearwater, Florida. It happens time and time again. Would you like to know why? Because the church calls in its top wizards to use their thoughts to create reality, and these dudes sit around doing Scientology mind exercises and this sends the tornado away from Clearwater. Lol, I’m not joking, the truth about spiritual abilities is being hidden from us by the powers that be because only they want the powers!”


Past is Prologue

1998: Bob Minton was picketed at his New Hampshire home this week, leading to a confrontation when Scientologists entered his property. “2 Scientologists picketed my NH house this evening and tresspassed to photograph me and Stacy Young while we were swimming in the pool. They also yelled obscenities from 200 feet away. After the shots over the heads of OSA boys, somebody called the police to have them checkout the shooting incident in NH. I was called by police and told there were 4 police cars in front of my house and I should walk out of the house, hands above my head and surrender to the police. I was handcuffed and held in my driveway for 20 minutes while the police decided what was going on. Now I am free again and I urge everyone to read my post tonight entitled ‘Scientology versus Democracy Redux.'”


Random Howdy


“Scientologists believe that the Narconon treatment can cure you of alcoholism and once completed you can drink in safety again. In fact from what I’ve read they sometimes make you drink before you leave to prove this.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Found guilty on two counts on May 31, remanded to custody. Sentencing on Sep 7.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Trial scheduled for August 15.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs allowed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Circuit.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
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 sentencing of Masterson on Aug 4.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Next hearing August 1.
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] ‘Arbitration,’ again: Here’s Scientology motion to derail new labor trafficking lawsuit
[TWO years ago] Scientology’s response in Danny Masterson case appeal: ‘I changed my mind’ is not a defense
[THREE years ago] Kelly Preston dies; Lisa Marie Presley loses son to suicide; Scientology remains useless
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s targeting of children is only getting more blatant as the church struggles
[FIVE years ago] Scientology scrambles to keep Miscavige out of forced-abortion trial
[SIX years ago] Almost 12 years ago, Shelly Miscavige vanished. Here’s why we keep asking about her.
[SEVEN years ago] Hey, thetan: Scientology has a few questions for you
[EIGHT years ago] Hey, Star magazine, why is Tom Cruise afraid of Aussie journo Bryan Seymour?
[NINE years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology lets slip the reason it still produces L. Ron Hubbard’s bad fiction
[TEN years ago] Leaving Scientology: Jon Atack Navigates the Labyrinth of Paranoia
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Gets a Smooch from the L.A. Times
[TWELVE years ago] Scientology’s Spy Program: Anatomy of a Covert Operation


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 3,089 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,604 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,154 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,144 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,025 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,329 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,200 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,305 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,752 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,094 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,660 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,579 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,746 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,328 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,589 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,625 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,341 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,905 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,220 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,395 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,946 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,077 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,415 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,270 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,389 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,745 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,048 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,154 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,552 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,428 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,011 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,506 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,760 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,869 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 13, 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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