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While Miscavige spends millions on new buildings, Scientology withers elsewhere

One of the many reasons that we appreciate Mike Rinder and look forward to his recovery is that at his blog he has done such a diligent job over many years documenting how Scientology has been withering away.

Staffing shortages, failed fundraising plans, pathetic turnout for events: Mike has documented it and showed the steady diminution of Scientology’s resources on the ground. There’s just no question that the organization has lost membership even as its leader, David Miscavige, amasses and spends huge sums of money thanks to his wealthy donors.

While Miscavige splurges, the locals starve. That’s the message we’ve taken from Mike’s hard work, and we have another example of it today.

In August 2023, we’re looking forward to Dave opening up another of his expensive boondoggles, the renovated “Ideal Org” in Austin, Texas. Each of these projects costs many millions to produce, and there’s no evidence that they do what Dave promises and brings in a land rush of new interest in the church. But we’ll be watching to see what kind of party Dave throws there on August 26.


Meanwhile, August is turning out to be very different for the small number of dogged volunteers who have tried to keep one of Scientology’s sneaky front groups going in LA. We’re talking about Criminon, and specifically the Criminon Western United States (WUS) office in Eagle Rock, CA.

Criminon provides Scientology materials to prison inmates, part of Scientology’s “social coordination” and “social betterment” campaigns that work through drug rehab (Narconon), school curriculum (Applied Scholastics), and disaster relief (Volunteer Ministers) in order to forward the idea that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was the greatest genius who ever lived. But over the years we’ve heard from numerous former members of these efforts who tell us they were always fly-by-night and more for public relations than for improving the world.

Thanks to a tipster, we can watch how things have gone for Criminon WUS in recent weeks, in the form of emails from its director, a woman named Barbara Kalergis.

Subject: postage

Dearest Supervisors

Just sending an update on what has been going on in the office and with Criminon WUS. We continue to get between 20-40 requests for new starts each week. Stats are going between Emer and Normal. This is due to Lessons and Comps. If you don’t do your lessons and nudges Comps go down. Simple. On the finances, I just spent $1510.00 for the maintenance fee and postage for the BRM account. Fees went way up!!! Yikes. Also as you probably know, postage went up again. Each week we spend around $200 for incoming mail and then again around $200 for outgoing postage. I’m averaging. Some weeks higher some lower.

Needless to say if any of you can start donating more than $10 a month, it would help. I ask for help on the finances because we fund ourselves and I have to keep things going. Do what you can.

As always thank you for what you do


[We asked former Sea Org officer Sunny Pereira to decode some of Barbara’s language for us: “‘New starts’ is persons who have never done any service yet. ‘Emer’ is an odd abbreviation for emergency, which is when a statistic is equal to or goes slightly down compared to the week before. ‘Normal’ is a small increase in the same statistic. It sounds like lessons is one statistic and comps is another. Lessons would be the sections of a course. They count each section completed as a lesson. Then the whole course would be a comp (completion). For Criminon the supervisor may be operating by mail only. The inmates do the assignments and mail in the results, and the supervisors ‘nudge’ them to keep going toward a completion.”]

Subject: Criminon has to move!!!!!!!


Dear All
I just got notice that the Criminon Office has to move. In 30 days. Needless to say I’m a little panicked.
I need your help!
If you are in the LA surrounds or know business owners (Scn) please put out your comm lines.
We need a room, preferable with toilet access, that is about 300+ sq ft. 15×15 or 20×20.
We pay now $550 a month, plus utilities. I know that is nothing in the real world, but we operate on a minimal budget and most all the monies go to postage and printing. At this point with the FP we can’t go a lot higher than that. Contribution to us is the go button.
I will also need moving expenses. I have a few thousand in the bank but that will be gone for production. This money for moving is separate. I figure 3-4 thousand, with rent and moving utilities and stuff.
One of you can step up to the plate and can be in charge of raising the money. I can’t do everything and most of the staff are baby boomers like me and we will need help (ie, younger people).
Don’t want to come across as a victim, but its a confront… Let’s get it done…text me or email any leads or ideas.


Subject: update on eviction and help packing up

I have received quite a few comms back on this. Mostly lines that I’m to call. Been on the phone a LOT and so far maybe one office to look at. nothing else so far. I have collected $2000 so far which is great. I’m thinking if we cannot find a space with Scngst. It will cost a lot more…

I will be going into the office a lot in the next few weeks to deluge any unnecessary papers etc. Pack up admin supplies etc. Any help with that you can do let me know. We’re in Eagle Rock
We are having to vacate our office and we need to find a new office location and space. Ideally 400-600 SF. Right now any location within reason. If you have any leads please contact me. We also need some donations to help with the move.
Thank you in advance for your help.


As Barbara herself admits, the amounts of money here are low, even trivial by Miscavige standards. But they just don’t have the funds to keep going at their Eagle Rock office and now have to be out by the end of the month.

We called Barbara and left a message with her yesterday. We were hoping she could help us understand how Criminon could be so starved of cash when Dave is opening a new cathedral costing millions in Texas. We’ll let you know if she gets back to us.


Technology Cocktail

“A person doesn’t get sick or injured unless he’s cast himself in the role of victim by reason of the game and his Overt Acts. And if you want somebody to cease to be a disease prone (new term there) and get up and do things and be bright and not flub and to win win win, get him up to a point where he can run victim with a comm process and from there on flatten the living daylights out of it.” — 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 [49] Mark Ebner



Source Code

“Dianetics has probably got more history per square inch connected with it than any other activity that’s ever occurred on this planet. The planet has really never recovered from the impact. That’s the truth of the matter. Along about ’51 or something like that I stopped shoving Dianetics as such, you see, why it sort of left the missing step at the bottom of the steps, you know, sort of feeling. It gives very definite, if somewhat superficial, clues to human behavior. I say somewhat superficially —it’s hilarious, you know, sometimes, somebody trying to find his aberrations in this lifetime. This poor bloke that just went on a mad jihad or amok —that’s the word. The Malays go amok. And we had an American university boy go amok the other day and got up in the tower of the University of Texas and slaughtered a lot of people with rifles and that sort of thing. It was interesting to me that he’d just been to see a psychiatrist. Told the psychiatrist all about it, that he had impulses to do it and so forth. And the psychiatrist said, ‘Good boy.’ And the fellow didn’t turn up for his next appointment. The psychiatrist never much bothered about it and then he went out and killed about 39 people or, I don’t know what the figure was, 14 or something like that. But it was interesting to me just as a little side comment, that if you read carefully into such cases — movie star commits suicide — just been to see a psychiatrist.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 4, 1966


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Since Lisbon our rudder has not reached its extreme swing. It gave trouble after the auto pilot was connected. When we disconnected the auto pilot the helm would not turn completely. It has only been partially corrected. As it is limited the ship does not steer well and three times has gotten us near real trouble. This is a dangerous situation.” — The Commodore, August 4, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The hiring of the doppelganger was originally in agreement with LRH: To take over some administrative tasks and also as a host so that LRH could concentrate on his research, writing and C/Sing etc. I got told by some oldtimer that there where two different LRH-bodies on the ship: A smaller and thicker one and a tall one. Both were seen by him at the same time: One in the cabin and one holding a lecture on deck. And two sets of similar clothes and shoes in two different sizes. The doppelganger can be around on the ship and MSH or kids would not object as they are in on this scam, told that the true LRH is somewhere else in hiding for security reasons or on some important mission. So they – and perhaps some close friends – knew about that and kept it a secret, because revealing that would create bad PR for LRH. Thus it might be true that Janis Grady really did believe she was talking with LRH, when she was handled by the double. So it might really be that most of the CMO, WDC and even RTC guys know nothing about the takeover and the influence by intelligence, they just have been hired and went to the Apollo since 1972 and ‘worked close to LRH.’ When the idea hits them that they have been part of a takeover plot by the Deep State, this is such an overwhelming overt they will swear that this was not so. Everyone who found that out by accident was begged not to reveal this secret to safeguard the PR and security of LRH. Only Quentin seems to have found out the truth and it cost him his life.”


Past is Prologue

1999: MSNBC reported this week that when Congressman Sonny Bono attempted to leave Scientology, he called on the FBI for protection. “Sonny did try to break away from Scientology, Mary Bono told Bardach in taped interviews, and they made it very difficult for him. But the situation was even worse than the article indicated, according to the source, who says that in desperation Bono asked for help from the FBI. The FBI does not comment on such matters. It was a bad, situation, says the source. Imagine if a member of Congress has to resort to that. What does it say for the ordinary citizen. The insider also says that George magazine got hold of the explosive information, but too late to make it into the article. I’ve got to hand it to John [F. Kennedy Jr.], says the source. He may have been a novice publisher, but he was completely fearless about taking on the church.”



Random Howdy

“He needs to do a comeback flick, something full of pathos that will tug at people’s heartstrings like ‘Fresh Prince: Down and Out In Bel Air’.”


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 Sep 7.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Next hearing August 1.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Ordered to mediation.



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] Danny Masterson delay attempt: Shawn Holley busy with Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer case
[TWO years ago] Danny Masterson delays motion to dismiss, and other recent mysteries for Scientology celeb
[THREE years ago] Leah Remini podcast: The ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ episode that never aired
[FOUR years ago] Scientologist-led anti-vaxx ‘Conscience Coalition’ is off to a humble start
[FIVE years ago] Ron Miscavige: ‘When I look back, it reminds me of stories I heard of the Stasi in East Germany’
[SIX years ago] Almost four years after its grand opening, a new look inside Scientology’s ‘Super Power’
[SEVEN years ago] Nancy Cartwright’s ‘defense’ of Scientology is the saddest thing ever
[EIGHT years ago] London! And a member of government asks us, what can we do about Scientology?
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s newest testimonials video is everything you want it to be
[TEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology Puts the Fun in Fundraising!
[ELEVEN years ago] Chick Corea, Heber Jentzsch, Ingo Swann, and Scientology’s 1977 OT Summit!


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 3,111 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,626 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,176 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,166 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,047 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,351 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,222 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,327 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,774 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,116 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,682 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,601 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,768 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,350 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,611 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,647 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,363 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,927 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,242 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,417 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,968 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,099 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,437 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,292 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,411 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,767 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,070 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,176 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,574 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,450 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,015 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,528 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,782 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,891 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 4, 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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