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Stan Lee* helps Scientology raise money from beyond the grave!

[*Stan Lee is dead. This is Jim Meskimen, Scientology’s most loyal clown.]

We know this to be true: Scientology wants every last one of your dimes and pennies, even after you’ve gone to your great reward.

And that was demonstrated yet again at the latest “USA Heroes” event that Scientology held on August 11, which was summarized in another of those impossibly long fliers the church subsequently sends out to members.

This time, Scientology prepared its members for a fleecing with the help of comic book legend Stan Lee, who died in 2018. (Actually, it was Jim Meskimen, the impressionist and actor who has become Scientology’s most reliable celebrity stooge.)

We’ve seen these fundraisers evolve and change over the years, and now in this wheezing, careening final form of Scientology before Leah Remini sues it into the ground, it’s achieved a truly bizarre state.

Starting some 20 years ago, leader David Miscavige began a program of replacing local Scientology “orgs” in major cities with much larger and more expensive “Ideal Orgs.” (We tease him and refer to them as gleaming cathedrals.) Through the 2010s, it became a major focus under Miscavige, with local Scientologists put under a lot of pressure to raise millions of dollars to replace their local org with something far more ornate and complex than they’d ever need. We saw it happen in places as far-flung as Phoenix, Portland, Rome, Birmingham, and Atlanta, as each in turn became the focus of an intense money-raising effort, often with events featuring silly themes like Star Wars or gangsters or pirates.


Then, just before the pandemic hit, Miscavige apparently lost his patience for the way they were raising money for only one project at a time, and pushed his followers to raise funds for all remaining US Ideal Orgs simultaneously in places like Long Island, Hawaii, Battle Creek, and Albuquerque. And even if you’d forked over huge amounts for your local Ideal Org that had now opened, you were still pressured to give money for other cities in an “alliance.”

Then the pandemic hit and shut things down for a while, but the fundraising then simply moved online. So now, we’re left with this utterly strange result: An online, national fundraising party, where people are under pressure to give “humanitarians” ($100,000 each) for “alliance” Ideal Orgs in other cities that have nothing to do with them, and with Jim Meskimen pretending to be Stan Lee to get everyone pumped.

And it looks like it’s the usual anemic crowd of people we’ve become accustomed to seeing, from the Fabos Factor (Steve and Peggy Fabos) to Judy Norton and other older white folk who just keep giving and giving.

We did find this assertion especially interesting: “An incredible family from DC contributes to each USA Org and in doing so completes their 46th Alliance Humanitarian!” (That’s $4.6 million.)

And hey, there’s a Leisa Goodman sighting!

We’ll never forget, watching an excellent MTV News program on Scientology in 1995, when Goodman, who was listed then as the church’s “Human Rights Director,” told Kurt Loder menacingly that Scientology was not a “turn the other cheek religion.”

She had all but disappeared after about 2005, which is what happens so often to Miscavige’s mouthpieces, so it’s interesting to see her pop up here, pitching in cash from St. Louis, apparently.

Well, your fortunes in Scientology’s executive strata may rise and fall, but the pressure to fork over cash never goes away!



Technology Cocktail

“A person named Richard M. Nixon will enter his name this Fall at a convention as a citizen aspiring to the Presidency of the United States. Many Scientologists think he is all right because I once quoted him. This is very far from the facts and I hasten to give you the real story why Richard M. Nixon must be prevented at all costs from becoming president.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1960



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

“Anybody says to you, ‘Well, Scientology is weird because it believes in past lives,’ why, I look at them rather oddly and say, ‘Aren’t you familiar with the subject of psychotherapy?’ Be mean, you know. And they say, ‘Well, yes. Oh, yes. I’m a professor of Uptygup, you know.’ And say, ‘Well, why is it that you didn’t know that one of the primary branches of psychoanalysis and so forth — that of Professor Jung — believed implicitly in returns to druidism? See, we’re not being new at all’.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 25, 1966


Avast, Ye Mateys

“We had a rather splendid cruise. Summer sea and a water glass. The Cons did great. I had to ballast her bow down a trifle — 2 tons then 10 tons of fresh water into the deep tank. And I had to pull her nose back out of the waves once (to stop pitching you come away from the waves, not further into it). But that was very little to do. You notice its smoother when I’m up than when I’m turned in, still. The landfall and docking was excellent. If you close your window fully you can’t hear the bulldozer on the dock. Your vent gives plenty of air.” — The Commodore, August 25, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“You are immortal and have lived many lives and so is the person who recently dropped their body. Why not take the time to contact them and make sure they are feeling better and have no lingering trauma from their unplanned departure? If a dear partner drops their body, you owe it to yourself and to your partner to ease them through the transition to a purely spiritual existence again. We are spiritual beings who take on human experiences for fun and sensation and we do this over and over again, hopefully getting better at the human game each time. I lost a beloved daughter who died accidentally at a very early age and was reunited with her about 25 years later when I encountered her in another body. We did not recognize each other at first and that created some problems. If I had known what I know now at the time she died, our reunion would have been much less confusing.”



Past is Prologue

1999: Keith Henson posted an update on Robert Cipriano, a former witness for Scientology who is now working with his former target, Graham Berry. “Cipriano walked outside and somehow ended up with Moxon’s private investigator, Edwin Richardson, who drove him to an airport hotel. At approximately 9:30 a.m. Cipriano telephoned Graham. Cipriano told Berry that Moxon had told him by telephone that a group of them (from OSA) were on their way to pick him up and take him to an ‘old’ attorney somewhere on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. This ‘old’ attorney would ‘make everything all right’ and Scientology would give him another car, another apartment and ‘his life back.’ Graham had a friend keep Cipriano on the telephone as he raced to the hotel near the airport. While Graham was in transit his friend could hear over the phone Edwin Richardson continuously banging on Cipriano’s door. At Cipriano’s request he is now in a ‘safe house’.”


Random Howdy

“At first I thought you were funnin’ me but I hearsayed it and you’re right.”


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:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, hearing on proof of service on Oct 3.
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 Nov 6.
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] Here are Scientology’s new motions to force arbitration in the Valeska Paris case
[TWO years ago] Tom Cruise’s Scientology superpowers, No. 7: Pulling in objects with tractor beams
[THREE years ago] Leah Remini podcast: Scientology’s atrocious ‘Fair Game’ campaign against Mike Rinder
[FOUR years ago] If Scientology’s Ideal Org grand openings are on hold, fundraising steams ahead
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s new ‘STAND’ front unleashes bot army on Twitter — and gets zapped
[SEVEN years ago] Steven Mango, who appears in Theroux film, calls police to Scientology facility over assault
[EIGHT years ago] Stop worrying about ISIS and Syria and Iraq — Scientology’s got this, people
[NINE years ago] Chris Shelton explains why Scientology is in a management death spiral
[TEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: The All-Video Version!
[TWELVE years ago] Russell Brand Performs Wedding Ceremony For Outspoken Former Scientologists


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 3,132 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,647 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,197 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,187 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,068 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,372 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,243 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,348 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,795 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,137 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,703 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,622 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,789 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,371 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,632 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,668 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,384 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,948 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,263 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,438 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,989 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,120 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,458 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,313 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,432 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,788 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,091 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,197 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,595 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,471 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,036 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,549 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,803 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,912 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 25, 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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