Presenting Rod Keller's
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review

Volume 7, Issue 41 - January 19 2003


The St. Petersburg Times reported on January 13th that Scientology is building a power plant and parking garage for the new Super Power building. "The $4-million plant will match the Mediterranean Revival style of the massive Flag Building it will service next door. Same colors and stone accents. Same ornate 'dentals' along the roofline. Same red, terra cotta roof tiles. It will even have a tower similar to the much taller tower at the southwest corner of the Flag Building. In April the church plans to begin construction on a $3-million, three-level parking garage immediately north of the power plant. The garage, also Mediterranean Revival, will have spaces for 475 vehicles. "Called the Flag Central Energy Plant, the facility will help heat and cool not only the 889-room Flag Building but also an as-yet unbuilt auditorium and the Fort Harrison Hotel. The 20,000-square-foot power plant mostly will be a shell that houses a series of chillers and hot water boilers. The water will be circulated at about 1,800 gallons per minute through pipes about a foot-and-a-half wide to the three buildings. It will reach the Fort Harrison Hotel through pipes in the floor of the pedestrian bridge being built between the Fort Harrison and the Flag Building." Flag Land Base News' January edition reported news from the Clearwater Scientology orgs. "Five hundred people attended the opening of Clearwater's Winter Wonderland, an annual gift to Clearwater. Guests at the opening ceremony included State Senator Mike Fassano, who spoke of the dedicated efforts of Flag's Scientologists who work together to put on this event every year. The Church of Scientology Flag Organization Boy Scout Troop also took park in the opening, along with members of the Clearwater Fir Department. Thousands have visited Winter Wonderland this holiday season, as it has become one of the highlights for many Clearwater families. "At this year IAS Christmas Party, hundreds of Scientologists acknowledged those who have recently achieved Honor Status for contributions beyond their lifetime IAS membership. Entertainment included singer Shannon Roberts, and dancing to the rhythm of the Jive Aces. "In December hundreds of Scientologists gathered in the Auditorium of The Fort Harrison to celebrate the 27th Anniversary of The Flag Land Base. There, the Captain Flag Service Organization, Debbie Cook, presented OT Honor Roll and Senior OT Honor Roll awards to dedicated Flag public who are changing conditions around the world through the application of LRH tech and leading the way to a new civilization." Message-ID: LHAU9.1185$ Message-ID: H751DO7I37638.3283101852@anonymous.poster


An email being sent to Scientologists in Los Angeles promotes a system of reciprocal "assists," using coupons to keep track of the balance of payments. "The LA Org Auditor Association has a real honest to goodness co-audit. When you join you pay $2 to cover printing costs. You receive 12 and a half hours worth of 'scrip.' Scrip looks like monopoly money. Each piece is worth 15 minutes of session time. "Let's say you need an assist. You may call another member or post an email to the group email address, stating the nature of what you need and where you are located. Whoever is available and wants to deliver the assist will respond to you. Then you make arrangements to meet and get your assist. You 'pay' the person in scrip. CSing is available when needed. "If you use up all your scrip, the only way to get more scrip is to deliver sessions to others. These sessions can be auditing, word clearing, ethics handlings, false data stripping, assists, CSing, anything you are qualified to deliver. Scrip can also be used to have your family audited. Even OTs have children or need assists sometimes!" Message-ID:


The Irish Times reported on January 15th and 16th that the case of a former Scientologist who is suing the org for fraud continues in a Dublin High Court. "A woman agreed at the High Court yesterday that she was pursuing a legal action for damages against the Church of Scientology partly because she felt it was her Christian duty. She would have taken the case even if she was a Muslim, Ms. Mary Johnston added. Ms. Johnston is suing the Church of Scientology mission of Dublin and three of its members - Mr. John Keane, Mr. Tom Cunningham and Mr. Gerard Ryan. She is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights. "In continuing cross-examination of Ms. Johnston yesterday, Mr. Michael Collins SC, for the defendants, suggested to the plaintiff that she considered it part of her Christian duty to pursue proceedings against the Church of Scientology. Ms. Johnston replied: 'I suppose I do ultimately.' She added that she believed in the remit of Christ and, if there was wrong, to expose it to the light. However, her main reason for taking the action was because the things perpetrated against her had damaged her." "A former member of the Church of Scientology claimed in the High Court yesterday that she had been subjected by the church to hypnosis techniques without her permission and had been upset by the procedures. Ms. Mary Johnston said that the procedures involved a countdown and prolonged staring for hours to induce a trance. "Yesterday Ms. Johnston agreed with her counsel that she was given no warning that aspects of mind control would be involved arising from her participation in the church. Earlier, cross-examined by Mr. Michael Collins SC, for the church, Ms Johnston denied that she had a close connection with a trust which attempted to persuade people to leave Scientology. She said: 'I don't work against Scientology. I simply say what happened to me. When people come to ask for help, I help them when I can.' She objected to being described by Mr. Collins as a 'deprogrammer' and said she was not in a conspiracy with anybody to do anything. Because of the length of the litigation and the stress involved in the court action, she said, she hated to see families coming near her. "The court was told that in May 1994 the plaintiff was persuaded by her family to leave Scientology. She described this as a major turning point and 'a fantastic time in her life.' Elaborating on earlier evidence on why she had not sought medical or psychiatric assistance, Ms. Johnston said she believed she had been healed through her relationship with God, which had given her a sense of peace, healing and joy." Message-ID: Message-ID:


The Advertiser reported on January 18th on the competition for Hollywood celebrities between Scientology, Kabbalah and other groups. "Madonna, not content with being a pop superstar, believes she has found the way to unlock the secrets of the universe. The religious path she advocates is not entirely conventional (devotional iteMs. for sale include blessed face cream for $215 and red cotton string bracelets, said to bring good luck, for $50), but she insists that Kabbalah, a mystical offshoot of Judaism to which she has now turned in her attempt to have a third child, holds the key to fulfillment. She's not the only celebrity devotee. Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger turned to it to try to save their marriage, and Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Roseanne Barr, Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Courtney Love and Naomi Campbell are all followers and can be identified by the bands of red thread worn around the wrist. "Another recent conversion to off-beat religion is heir to the $7 billion Packer empire James Packer, who reportedly jetted to New Zealand last weekend to visit high-profile Scientologist Tom Cruise. Mr. Packer reportedly turned to the religion after the One.Tel financial disaster and breakup of his marriage to Jodhi. The pair have been friends for two years, and in the past year Mr. Packer has taken an interest in his mate's religion. "While Madonna is trying to convert Hollywood to Kabbalah, Scientology has become entrenched, winning over dozens of stars. John Travolta is a long-time member, Kirstie Alley has joined, as have Catherine Bell, Kate Ceberano, Priscilla Presley, and even the voice of Bart Simpson, just to name a few. Other fads have struggled to gain a toehold against Hollywood's more established religions. Demi Moore has linked herself with New Age guru Deepak Chopra, basketball player and actor Michael Jordan uses Zen meditation and Harrison Ford does fundraising for the Dalai Lama. "And there's more. Followers of Transcendental Meditation (TM) founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi included ex-Beatle George Harrison, Elizabeth Taylor, Laura Dern and Calvin Klein. Madonna has a lot of converting to do." Message-ID: SK_V9.1494$

Lisa McPherson

The St. Petersburg Times reported on January 14th that two orders were announced in the Lisa McPherson case. "Ending months of speculation, a circuit judge ruled Monday that the wrongful death lawsuit against the Church of Scientology should continue. Judge Susan Schaeffer also ruled that Tampa attorney Ken Dandar should remain the attorney for the estate of Lisa McPherson, which filed the lawsuit. The rulings came in response to claiMs. by the church that the lawsuit should be dismissed because of professional misconduct by Dandar. "In the end, Schaeffer said she had to decide who was lying. Was it Robert Minton, the millionaire and onetime vocal Scientology critic who gave Tampa attorney Kenneth Dandar as much as $2-million over a five-year period to fund the case against the church? Or was it Dandar, who Minton testified had urged him to lie under oath about the source of funding and the influence he exercised over the case? 'The answer is Robert Minton,' Schaeffer concluded. Schaeffer stopped short of endorsing Dandar's claim that the church found out about Minton's foreign bank account and used that to extort his testimony. "In other significant findings, Schaeffer's order stated: There was no proof to support the estate's earlier allegation that Scientology's worldwide leader, David Miscavige, decided to let McPherson die. She will turn over her order to the state attorney to investigate perjury by Minton. One of the estate's key witnesses, Jesse Prince, has extreme bias and, in her opinion, lacks credibility. She chastised the church for 'far too many cases' in which they have tried to disqualify the opposing attorney. "In a separate ruling Monday, in a case involving a countersuit by the church against the estate, Judge W. Douglas Baird filed an order in which he states that he plans to refer to the Florida Bar allegations that Dandar inappropriately co-mingled funds Minton gave him. Baird stated that there appear to have been 'serious violations' of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct because some of Minton's funds were deposited into Dandar's personal accounts or investments." From Judge Schaeffer's ruling: "The facts lead to Plaintiffs two alternative theories in two counts of the complaint: Count I, Wrongful Death, and Count V, Negligent Survival. This court has denied the motion for summary judgment as to Count II of the complaint, the Intentional and Reckless Infliction of Emotional Distress count. There is evidence sufficient to go to the jury that Lisa McPherson was fed on by insects while she was alive and conscious, and there may be other allegations in that count of the complaint that the jury may also be permitted to consider. What the court will not permit to go to the jury - at least without further proof, is that there were cockroaches at the Church property where Lisa was being attended, that bit and fed on her. "That leaves us with that part of 34 that talks about David Miscavige, the highest ecclesiastical leader of all of Scientology. Are there any facts that Mr. Miscavige decided to let Lisa McPherson die? The answer in a word is 'NO.' There was evidence presented at the Omnibus Hearing, beyond Jesse Prince's Affidavit and testimony, that Miscavige would or should have known that Lisa McPherson was at the Church, if she were undergoing an Introspection Rundown, and that he would or should have been kept informed. Regardless of whether Mr. Miscavige knew that Lisa McPherson was at the Church, undergoing an Introspection Rundown, that is a far cry from his having 'decided to let Lisa McPherson die' and instructing Mr. Kartuzinski and Ms. Johnson to carry out his decision. "As to the first issue - the Minton money, and whether it was a loan, or a donation to the Estate. If the monies received by either the Estate or Dandar from Minton are irrelevant to the wrongful death case, as determined by the Second District, there can be no perjury or subornation of perjury regarding Dandar or Minton's testimony about their ownership or purpose. That is so because perjury involves something 'material' to a case. "As to the second issue, where the $500,000 came from, whether it was from Mr. Minton or someone else, it is absolutely irrelevant to any issue in the wrongful death case. The further issue as to whether Mr. Dandar knew it came from Mr. Minton, and told him to lie about it and not tell the Church about this particular $500,000 check, is similarly irrelevant, and thus immaterial to any issues in the wrongful death case. "Was there an agreement between the Estate and Bob Minton, or between the Estate and the Lisa McPherson Trust, Inc. that the 'bulk,' or 'substantial amount,' of the proceeds obtained from the wrongful death case would be given to him, an anti-cult organization controlled by him, or to the LMT? In a word, the answer is 'NO.' This court has read every deposition of Robert Minton, Stacy Brooks, Dell Liebreich, the sisters and brother of Fannie McPherson, who, along with Dell Liebreich are the potential beneficiaries of any money received by the Estate from this case. What a witness says on one page of a deposition, in response to a question by a lawyer, may be completely different a few pages later. There was no agreement between the Estate and anyone else Whether or not they had an agreement among themselves is doubtful, but irrelevant. "This court has now determined that Mr. Dandar has not committed perjury, nor has he suborned perjury. He has not violated this and other court's discovery orders such that would disqualify Plaintiffs chosen counsel from finishing this case that he started when the first complaint was filed in 1997 - 5 years ago. He did not permit Minton to 'control' or 'interfere' with this case such that the Code was violated. He did not file a 'sham' pleading." From a Howard Troxler column in the St. Petersburg Times on January 15th: "Our own local version of the O.J. Simpson case - meaning that it is undignified, nearly out of control and taking way too long - is the civil lawsuit pending against the Church of Scientology by the estate of Lisa McPherson. Was Scientology legally at fault? Or was McPherson's death simply a terribly unfortunate outcome for which the church should not be blamed? This is why we have juries. Unfortunately, there is not much immediate prospect of a jury hearing the case, even though we just passed the seventh anniversary of McPherson's death. Instead, the two sides are spending their energy accusing each other of lying, both in and out of court. "The sideshows of the past year have been well-publicized. Bolstered by the conversion of its former critic and bankroller of the lawsuit, Robert Minton, who has now recanted, Scientology has taken the counteroffensive. Susan Schaeffer, the third judge to hear the case, spent 35 days last year hearing the church's allegations. The church said either the Tampa attorney representing McPherson's estate, Ken Dandar, should be removed, or the case dismissed. "But just this week, Schaeffer ruled that Minton's allegations against his old lawyer Dandar are not credible. The trial - which is scheduled to start next Tuesday - will go on. Scientology almost certainly will appeal, which will delay the trial again. "I asked why the church doesn't just agree to get the trial over with. Given the medical examiner's revised conclusions, and Minton's change of heart, doesn't the church think it can win? 'Absolutely, of course we can win,' Shaw replied. But he immediately turned back to the subject of Dandar, saying that the case is tangled up with various fees and judgments that Dandar and the McPherson estate owe to the church organization. "Dandar, for his part, called the church's attacks on him irrelevant to the central issue. 'They've spent more on trying to get me than the trial,' he told me, adding: 'The jury is going to decide why Lisa McPherson died.' There have been more than 200 depositions taken in this case, thousands of pages of record generated, at least seven or eight scheduled trial dates and three judges. The parties are locked in a bitter enmity that has superseded the underlying issue. Dandar said he thinks the church is trying to wear him down, to see how long he can last. How long is that, I asked? 'As long as I have breath.'" The lawsuit is now delayed because Scientology has appealed the ruling that Ken Dandar should not be disqualified. From the St. Petersburg Times on January 18th: "Schaeffer granted the delay so the church could appeal her earlier ruling that Ken Dandar should not be disqualified as attorney for the estate of Lisa McPherson, the church member who died in 1995 after 17 days in the care of Scientologists in Clearwater. The church claiMs. Dandar ought to be removed because of professional misconduct, including alleged perjury. In a 67-page order released Monday, Schaeffer disagreed. "Both sides say their efforts to follow Schaeffer's orders to try to settle the case have now reached an impasse. But in interviews this week, both camps shed light on how close they came to settling the bitterly contested lawsuit. Marty Rathbun, a top church official, said a deal was reached in a marathon mediation session the day before Thanksgiving, but Dandar reneged. 'Everything was agreed on,' Rathbun said. 'It was settled lock, stock and barrel.' Dandar backed out, Rathbun said, because he personally is motivated to continue the fight. Dandar faces countersuits by the church accusing him of abusing the legal process. He also has a stake in the ongoing legal entanglements surrounding more than $2-million that millionaire and one-time Scientology critic Robert Minton gave Dandar to help fund the case. "Dandar scoffs at that and contends that no deal was ever reached. Money wasn't the hangup in the negotiation, he said. Instead, it was other demands made by the church, which he refused to discuss. He branded Rathbun's account as an attempt to drive a wedge between him and the estate's representative, McPherson's aunt, Dell Liebreich of Texas. Dandar said he now just wants to bring the case to trial and 'expose the truth about what they did to Lisa McPherson'. "Longtime Clearwater attorney Denis deVlaming, who has represented Scientology's harshest critics, said he would be shocked if the lawsuit ever came before a jury. 'I thought the church would either get it knocked out, or they would wear Dandar out, or at the very end they'd settle,' deVlaming said. 'I don't think the church wants what Dandar is going to do in that courtroom. I think they desperately want to be legitimized. I think they desperately want to be accepted in the community.' "Dandar has said the estate is seeking about what one would expect from an average nursing home abuse case involving a death. That's about $5-million, deVlaming said. 'I'm surprised with the wealth of the church they haven't come up with it,' he said. "Rathbun and Dandar refused to discuss how much the church offered. Dandar noted, though, that in two recent cases involving deaths of nursing home patients resulting from bed sores, juries awarded $15-million and $150-million. 'It's somewhere in between,' Dandar said of what the McPherson estate seeks." Message-ID: PQTU9.1198$ Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: FacV9.1223$ Message-ID: 3JdW9.1529$


The Battle Creek Enquirer reported on January 16th that Scientology is ready to open a new Narconon facility in Michigan this month. "A drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is set to open at the end of January in Pennfield Township. All of the remodeling at the Narconon Stone Hawk Rehabilitation Center, 216 St. Mary's Lake Road, has been completed and the center's first 20 patients should begin their stay Jan. 31, said Kate Wickstrom, executive director of the rehabilitation clinic. "Despite early probleMs. getting a land-use zoning variance for the former Neuro-Rehabilitation Center and a few unexpected construction delays, seeing the finished product is worth all of the time and money Wickstrom and her husband, Per, put into it, she said. The renovation cost about $500,000. Nearly every inch of the 58,000-square-foot building has been renovated in one way or another, including the dorm areas for patients, the dining room and an activities room. The basement is being completely updated to house saunas and showers. "The Stone Hawk center will follow a strict regiment of classes, eating habits and the use of saunas as laid out by author L. Ron Hubbard in his book 'Clear Body, Clear Mind.' It will be one of about a dozen Narconon centers in the United States. Once the center is running at its peak, Wickstrom said she expects to be able to have about 100 patients in the facility at a time." Message-ID: 8fUV9.1470$


The Daily Telegraph reported on January 14th that Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise has met with new recruit and billionaire James Packer. "Media tycoon James Packer flew into the New Zealand town of Taranaki for a weekend with his Hollywood pal and spiritual mentor, Tom Cruise. Cruise is Hollywood's highest-paid actor. Mr. Packer is head of PBL and heir to $7 billion. What has brought the two close in the past year has been religion. Cruise, a highly-ranked 'Operating Thetan' within the Church of Scientology, is believed to have introduced Mr. Packer to the teachings of Ron Hubbard in the painful turmoil following the collapse of OneTel and split from wife Jodhi in June." From the New Zealand Herald on January 13th: "He was seen leaving by helicopter in the direction of the Oakura mansion Cruise is renting during filming of the Japanese period epic The Last Samurai. Airport staff and a private pilot confirmed that Mr. Packer had arrived. Cruise is believed to have introduced Mr. Packer to the Church of Scientology in the past year. Mr. Packer was seen clambering back on to the Australian-registered Falcon 200 yesterday, apparently bound for Sydney. Mr. Packer is one of several rich and famous people expected to visit Cruise during his time working in New Zealand." Message-ID: UMAU9.1186$ Message-ID: lOAU9.1187$

Reed Slatkin

The Los Angeles Times reported on January 18th that a bankruptcy judge has ruled that Scientology minister Reed Slatkin's Ponzi scheme was a fraud from the beginning. This opens up possible recovery of money from early investors, including several Scientologists, who received more than they invested. "A bankruptcy judge in Santa Barbara ruled that Slatkin's written agreement last year to plead guilty to fraud, conspiracy and money laundering establishes clearly that his investment empire was a scam from its beginning in 1986. That will make it easier to reclaim what the bankruptcy trustee contends were 'bogus profits,' funds paid to some investors at the expense of others to disguise 15 years of deception. "Slatkin's scheme took in more than $550 million during the 15 years it operated. Pilmer said the bogus profits totaled more than $180 million, with the top 75 investors coming out ahead by $151 million. Trustee R. Todd Neilson isn't seeking the return of any principal but wants to reclaim the profits and distribute them to the investors who lost money, Pilmer said. "The investors who came out ahead contended that they also had been taken in by Slatkin and argued that his investments were profitable, at least early on. It will be many months before losing investors are likely to see any funds, Pilmer said. Among other things, the court must determine whether Slatkin was acting as a stockbroker under the narrow definition of bankruptcy law. If he was, attorneys said, only payments from the last year of the fraud, instead of the last seven years, must be repaid. "U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robin Riblet said her ruling is valid only if Slatkin doesn't try to retract his plea agreement and is sentenced as anticipated. Sentencing is scheduled for April 21. Slatkin faces up to 15 years in prison. "Another defendant in the suits seeking repayment is John Coale, an anti-tobacco litigator who is the husband of CNN legal commentator Greta Van Susteren. The suit seeks $939,000 from Coale, who said he was finalizing an agreement to repay the funds over time, adding that others were working on similar settlements. However, Coale questioned the wisdom of the judge's ruling Friday, saying it relies on the word of Slatkin." Message-ID:


The Portland Tribune reported on January 17th that Scientology has joined an anti-war coalition, which protests the possible war between the U.S. and Iraq. "'We don't agree on everything, but we are all opposed to a pre-emptive attack, which is what this war will be,' said Frank Fromherz, head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland's Office of Justice and Peace. 'Everyone agrees that this is a terribly misguided policy.' The archdiocese is one of many mainstream religious organizations that are working on the larger march. So is Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, a statewide association of 17 Christian denominations, including Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Protestant, Lutheran and Orthodox bodies. "The coalition also includes such fringe religious organizations as the Church of Scientology and the Magic Activism Cluster, which describes itself as a network of witches working to reclaim the lost traditions of witchcraft. "Participants see it as one of the last chances to express their opposition to a war that could begin within the next few weeks. Thousands of troops recently have been dispatched to the Persian Gulf as part of the military buildup, including 230 U.S. Marine Corps reservists based in Portland who will head out within the next week or so." Message-ID: wz_V9.1493$

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A.r.s. Week in Review is put together by Rod Keller © This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund. Only edits done by me is replacing word encapsuled in * or _ with bold and underscore, and made links into HTML.

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