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When will governments get that Scientology has been breaking bad for 70 years?

In the penultimate episode of the fourth season of Breaking Bad, Walter White becomes determined to wipe out his former boss Gus Fring with a car bomb. While he waits for Fring to go to his car on the fifth floor of a distant parking garage, White watches from the roof of a downtown Albuquerque building with a pair of binoculars.

Alas, Fring senses that something is wrong, and decides not to retrieve his car. His fate at the hands of Walter will have to wait for the next and final episode of the season.

We’re bringing this up because it was recently brought to our attention that the location for the scene, the building that Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, is perched on, was owned when the 2011 episode was shot, and is owned today, by the Church of Scientology.

It’s known as the Gizmo building, for an eclectic store that it housed. (Six years ago, some Breaking Bad fans made a fun excursion to the spot.) Scientology purchased the building in 2007 when leader David Miscavige was on a spending spree for his “Ideal Org” program, snapping up large properties that would then sit, unused, for years in places like Chicago, Kansas City, and Detroit.


Eventually, the buildings in KC and Detroit were renovated and opened as new Ideal Orgs, and Chicago is all but ready for its grand opening. But the Gizmo Building in Albuquerque sits, empty and unrenovated, year after year.

We want to thank reader Reyne Mayer who brought this to our attention. She pointed out what a sore point Scientology’s absentee ownership has been for the city, which is trying to bring new life into its downtown.

“I will tell you straight out, the owners of the Gizmo building are essentially holding downtown hostage for money. And I’m sick of it,” Albuquerque’s Mayor Tim Keller said at a press conference last year.

Local developer Mark Baker filled in more…

I was at the press conference and he said that the owner of the Gizmo, which is the Church of Scientology, isn’t actually interested in selling the building. Mayor said that the City offered “$2 million more” and that the Scientologists just said no. Apparently they have offered multiple times and now well above the actual value. There’s a real estate banner hanging on the building, but that is just a prop. They have never listed an asking price. And have never stated a counter-offer to anyone who has made an offer.

Similar story with the owners of the vacant Kress Building which is right next door. These two high profile buildings are right in the middle of downtown and a big part of the boarded-up, vacant look that is detrimental to the neighborhood.


[How the building looks today]

We’ve seen this in other cities as well, that Scientology will keep a property decaying until Miscavige is ready to turn it into a gleaming cathedral he can open. In the meantime, it doesn’t matter how much the local officials howl, the building simply rots.

But in Albuquerque, it’s an even stranger situation. Because in 2018, eleven years after it bought the Gizmo, Scientology purchased a different building that it actually intends to turn into its Ideal Org there.

Mike Rinder wrote about this new location last year, pointing out that not only is the new building rather ugly, but it’s out on the edge of town where there will be zero chance of attracting foot traffic.



Even in David Miscavige’s wildest expansion fantasies, Albuquerque could never use two Ideal Orgs. A fundraiser, for example, produced this awesome turnout in 2015, documented by our old friend Rod Keller…


So why is Scientology still stubbornly holding on to the Gizmo and foiling any chance for the city to spruce up its downtown?

Reyne suggested that with an annual tax bill of $15,000 for the empty building, Scientology may have unrealistic expectations of getting a high enough price to make up for those many years of costs.

That sounds like a likely reason. But in the meantime, Scientology is simply an impediment to the city’s renewal, and the mayor is beginning to see that, hey, maybe Scientology is actually bad for Albuquerque.

We know that the derelict ownership of the Gizmo Building is not high on Scientology’s long list of crimes, but it just reminds us that this ruthless organization never deserves the deference that so many city, state, and national leaders give it.

When are they going to wake up to Scientology’s true nature?


Technology Cocktail

“The whole dream of a PE Foundation is to get the people in fast, get them invoiced in a congress type assembly line, no waiting, give them hot, excited, positive service and boot them on through to their HAS and THEN worry about doing something else with them. And never let a student leave or quit—introvert him like a bullet and get him to get audited. If he gets no reality don’t let him wander out. If he walks in that door for a free PE, that’s it. He doesn’t get out except into an individual auditor’s hands in the real tough cases, until he’s an HAS.” — 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

“There was Scientology One, that’s for the public. That’s your PE-level Scientology. And we’re putting out a plea to one and all to please contribute any data they think is vital and necessary to be in this. And then there’s Scientology Two, which is healing, which we haven’t had too much to do with. That’s care of the body, and so forth. And HPA/HCA levels probably get quite a bit of Scientology Two. And then there’s Scientology Three, and that’s advanced auditing, advanced Academy courses, that sort of thing, leading up to the area of Clear, such phenomena as we’ve had in the past. Now, it doesn’t happen to be a well wrapped up area, because we jumped off of that area to go into Scientology Four. And this occasioned even some of you quite a few headaches, because there was a necessary speed-up in research, and the place to research toward, of course, was OT. Now, that’s Scientology Four. And the material which you’re learning right now is Scientology Four. And then there is Scientology Five. And Scientology Five is the social, political, organizational levels of Scientology. This is a takeoff from the level of OT. And that isn’t just Scientology applied to political problems. That would be a misnomer although it would read like that in a textbook, and so forth. That isn’t that at all. It’s actually what does an OT do about it? That makes quite a different subject, doesn’t it?” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 8, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“HALF RATIONS: As soon as the new proper system for serving food is fully functioning the order re half rations will be cancelled.” — The Commodore, August 8, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

In the past few months, I took a group of participants to view meteor craters where we encountered long-dormant spirits. In subsequent events, we visited Stonehenge and later some sacred sites around the world. I terminated these visits after discovering that many of the participants were getting restimulated in two ways by participating in these events. The first mode of restimulation was from observing the site and having one’s spiritual companions getting triggered by the visit. The second mode of restimulation was from picking up spirits from the site. This unexpected restimulation can be mitigated in part during the remote viewing part by directly addressing the problem and making sure that all participants are back in present time at the end of the session. However, there is no easy way to determine if we have picked up spirits from the site without running processes designed to flush out new arrivals, and this is not practical with a large online group. I am currently running repair sessions on participants who picked up hitchhikers from visiting sacred sites, as I notice a drop in tone level of all those who participated.”


Past is Prologue

1996: Scientologist John Travolta made news this week when he visited the Celebrity Center in Hollywood. From the AP: “John Travolta, having a phenomenal year with the success of films like Phenomenon and Broken Arrow, turned out to celebrate Scientology, the religious group he credits for much of his success. Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston, went to a Hollywood party Saturday night to mark the 27th anniversary of the Scientology Celebrity Centre International. ‘It’s always been a safe haven for me in a town like Hollywood,’ Travolta said. ‘I have friends and I have knowledge here.'”



Random Howdy

“According to Hubbard the average Black South African thought Apartheid was too lenient.”


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] Hey, Dublin: Want to see some Scientology child abuse?
[TWO years ago] Tom Cruise’s Scientology superpowers, No. 14: Helping at the scene of a car accident
[THREE years ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 25: DirecTV and filmmakers buffing Dave’s channel
[FOUR years ago] ‘Aftermath’ supporters put Scientology on notice in its own ‘spiritual mecca’
[FIVE years ago] Fake medals and kiddie diddlers: Scientology’s cruise ship scandal gets even worse
[SIX years ago] Stephen Colbert: Do you believe Scientology is a religion at all? Leah Remini: No
[SEVEN years ago] Whale watching update: Your 2016 mid-year guide to who’s propping up Scientology
[EIGHT years ago] Why is the press so timid about outing Scientology’s many front groups?
[NINE years ago] DOX: Here’s Monique Rathbun’s response to Scientology’s appeal of its anti-SLAPP defeat
[ELEVEN years ago] VH1’S Mimi Faust On Scientology: “At 13, They Told Me I Was a Freeloader”
[TWELVE years ago] A Scientologist’s Open Letter to the Village Voice and its Readers


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 3,115 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,630 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,180 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,170 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,051 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,355 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,226 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,331 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,778 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,120 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,686 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,605 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,772 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,354 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,615 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,651 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,367 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,931 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,246 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,421 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,972 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,103 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,441 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,296 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,415 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,771 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,074 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,180 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,578 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,454 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,019 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,532 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,786 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,895 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 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, 1995-2022 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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