Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology's harassment of Paulette Cooper titled 'The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.' He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world from an undisclosed location in an underground bunker he shares with four cats and one of them wrinkly Shar Pei dogs. Despite his super-secret security protections, you can still reach him pretty easily by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT gmail.com (Drop him a line if you'd like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.) [Header image courtesy John Rickard]
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Scientology’s ‘International Justice Chief’ surfaces for the Garcia lawsuit

The last time we checked in on the federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology filed by Luis and Rocio Garcia of Irvine, California, we told you that Judge James D. Whittemore had given Scientology a pretty good challenge.

Scientology wants Judge Whittemore to dismiss the lawsuit in favor of the Garcias being compelled to []

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Garcias decry Scientology kangaroo ‘arbitration’ and ask judge to reinstate fraud lawsuit

[Scientology actor Jim Meskimen, right, with Garcia arbitration panelist Mike Driessen]

In October, Luis Garcia went on Facebook to declare that the Scientology “arbitration” he’d been forced to endure turned out to be an utter joke. But now, with a new court filing, we’re learning just what a farce the procedure was as the Garcias ask []

So much for all that: Attempt by Garcias to revive Scientology lawsuit shot down by judge

 Well, so much for that. Tampa federal Judge James D. Whittemore has denied the latest motion by Luis and Rocio Garcia, who were attempting to revive their fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and avoid struggling any further with the church’s Kafkaesque internal []

Judge calls for February mini-trial in Garcia case, and we have text of the Lemberger lawsuit

Judge James D. Whittemore

Here’s a little bit of a surprise. We had expected that Tampa federal District Judge James D. Whittemore would be nearing a decision on the Church of Scientology’s motion to compel Luis and Rocio Garcia to submit to internal church arbitration and dismiss their fraud lawsuit.

Instead, he’s called for []

Does a judge’s order in the Garcia fraud lawsuit suggest trouble for Scientology?

We’re still waiting for a major decision from Federal District Judge James D. Whittemore in Tampa that will determine if Scientology can dodge a fraud lawsuit by insisting its former members have to submit all grievances to its internal arbitration system rather than litigate in a civil court.

But in the meantime, Scientology asked, and Whittemore []

Garcia federal fraud lawsuit survives another challenge by Scientology

Luis and Rocio Garcia’s federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology has survived another challenge as Judge James Whittemore denied the church’s latest motion to dismiss.

The Garcias say they were defrauded by Scientology when it pressured them to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars in building projects, but since their lawsuit was first filed []

SCIENTOLOGY DENIED: Federal judge finds that Garcia fraud lawsuit can continue

Luis and Rocio Garcia

Federal District Judge James D. Whittemore today issued an order denying a motion by Scientology that would have ended the fraud lawsuit brought last year by former church members Luis and Rocio Garcia, who say they were scammed for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.

The Garcias were longtime members []

Ted Babbitt’s gambit: Recasting the Garcia federal fraud lawsuit against Scientology

Luis and Rocio Garcia

After several months delay in the federal fraud lawsuit that Luis and Rocio Garcia brought against the Church of Scientology, the Garcias have filed a surprising new motion: They’re dropping three defendants from the suit and asking Judge James Whittemore for the right to amend their original complaint.

If you remember []

Judge Whittemore grants Luis Garcia discovery of Scientology’s murky trusts in fraud lawsuit

If you’ve been following our coverage of Luis and Rocio Garcia’s federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, you know the suit recently hit a strange snag.

Ten months after the lawsuit was filed in January, Scientology suddenly announced that the Garcias had chosen the wrong venue for their complaint, because several of the defendants []

Scientology Moves to Dismiss Garcia Fraud Lawsuit On a Question of Jurisdiction

Could Luis Garcia’s lawsuit be in trouble?

Yesterday, the Church of Scientology was required by Judge James Whittemore to come up with a 5-page description of its internal arbitration system as the latest step in the federal fraud lawsuit brought against the church by Luis and Rocio Garcia.

But on Monday, the church filed a []