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

Volume 7, Issue 32 - November 10 2002

The Profit

The St. Petersburg Times reported on November 9th that Bob Minton has sued the producers of the film The Profit in order to see the financial books. "Church of Scientology critic Robert S. Minton put up $2.44-million to produce a film called The Profit, a thinly disguised movie about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. But after the movie's limited release to one Pinellas theater in 2001, Minton went from being Scientology's archenemy to a cooperating witness who wanted out of an expensive fight against the church. Now Minton wants a look at the movie's financial books. "Minton filed a lawsuit Nov. 1 against the movie's writer and director, Peter Alexander, demanding a financial accounting of the $2.44-million Minton said he invested in The Profit. Minton's investment in the movie, and the company formed to shepherd it into production, provided the project's entire budget, save $100 invested by Alexander, according to the suit. "'We want to know where the money went,' said McGowan. 'We don't think it all went to make the movie.' Alexander's attorney, Luke Lirot, said his client did not misappropriate the money. He accused Minton of doing the church's bidding by attacking Alexander and a movie that could be interpreted as being critical of Scientology. "Lirot said Scientology lawyers have been barred by a Pinellas judge from seeking information about the film. The judge's order is part of a wrongful death suit against Scientology by a lawyer for the estate of Lisa McPherson, who died in 1995 after 17 days in the care of Scientology staffers in Clearwater. Through that protective order, Minton also would be prohibited from seeking a financial accounting of a film, even if he funded its production. He can get the accounting, Lirot said, when the wrongful death case goes to trial, perhaps by next year. "But McGowan said the order doesn't apply to Minton. 'This is a whole different issue,' McGowan said. McGowan said his client began considering legal action after Courage Productions, the company Minton formed with Alexander to make The Profit, sued to stop Minton and the Lisa McPherson Trust from showing film clips on a Web site. "He said Minton wants to see whether any of his money was misappropriated or remains in the bank after production of the movie. If any of the cash remains, Minton wants it back, McGowan said." From the complaint filed in Florida: "The respondent has misappropriated company assets inter alia by bringing a Federal Lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida without the consent of the petitioner; by retaining counsel to do so without the consent of the petitioner; on information and belief by using company assets to pay counsel to engage in this activity; and on information and belief to pay himself and third parties money in excess of what is permitted by the agreement or otherwise misappropriated company assets for other purposes. "On June 5, 2002, the undersigned as counsel for the petitioner sent a certified letter to the respondent requesting a time for a review of the books and records of the company. On June 11, 2002, Luke Lirot, Esquire ('Mr. Lirot'), who is counsel for the company, advised the undersigned that further communication to the respondent should be made through him and that he would make arrangements for an inspection of the books and records within a reasonable time. When no written response was forthcoming, the undersigned again contacted Mr. Lirot, who thereafter advised the undersigned that the respondent was 'out of town' until the beginning of July 2002, and that the books and records were located in California with an accountant of some sort whom the respondent had presumably engaged. "Mr. Lirot further advised the undersigned that the aforesaid 'accountant' did not have an office, that he 'works out of his house,' and that he would not be available even to send the records back to Florida until July 16, 2002. Between July 2002, and the date of this petition, Petitioner has consistently been rebuffed in his efforts to obtain the books and records of Courage Productions. "The petitioner has cause to believe that if an injunction does not issue these assets will be disbursed, concealed, or otherwise made unavailable to him by the time this action is concluded. It is in the interest of equity and justice that the court order the immediate disclosure of the whereabouts and the value of all company assets by the respondent and the disposition by the respondent of all $2,448,211.00 of capital provided by the petitioner. It is also in the interest of equity and justice that these assets be enjoined from any kind of alienation whatsoever by the respondent, directly or indirectly, or by the respondent through any third party." Message-ID: Mz8z9.232$ Message-ID:


Frank Magazine reported that Scientology has invited members of the Canadian Parliament to visit their UK headquarters to discuss alleged discrimination against Scientologists in Europe. "This week's award for most dubious parliamentary junket goes to Colleen Beaumier (Lib-Brampton West-Mississauga) who is trying to round up collegues for a week-long tot later this month to England to attend the international AGM of the charmingly offbeat Church of Scientology. According to Colleen, she hatched the idea for the UK odyssey with Al Buttnor, Scientology's chief Canadian spokesthingy. "'Mr Buttnor shared with me an interesting idea that he has to take several parliamentarians to Europe to demonstrate to them first hand the discrimination and prejudice experienced by members of the Church of Scientology. I thought the idea had merit and I agreed to forward the information to Members of Parliament who I thought might be sympathetic to their cause as well as interested in a trip of this nature.' "Among the subjects the Scientologists can be expected to raise with their guests are the constant concerns about 'suppressive' behaviour by governments around the world, some of which regard them as a dangerous cult, and plain old matters of the pocketbook (Revenue Canada kiboshed the Scientologists' last bid for tax free status in 1999). The parliamentary freeloaders are scheduled to leave for England October 17. On the 21st, after the AGM wraps up at Scientology world headquarters in Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, the Scientologists propose to whisk their guests off on a fun-filled tour of France and Germany, two governments with rigorous anti-cult laws the Sci-Fi's find particularly onerous before touching back down in Toronto, Planet Earth, October 23." Message-ID:


The St. Petersburg Times reported on November 7th that three people were arrested for attempting to take a Scientologist to the doctor by force. "A man was arrested Tuesday and accused of enlisting two friends to help him tie up his wife so he could take her to the doctor. Largo police arrested Terry Ray Hemphill, 54, on charges of felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor domestic battery. Jamie J. Popa, 33, and Laurie Lynn Miller, 32, also were arrested on false imprisonment charges. "Hemphill's wife said it wasn't the first time her husband had physically abused her. She told Ross she did not report the previous abuse to police, but reported it to the Church of Scientology, of which the Hemphills are members. Ross said Mrs. Hemphill told him a Scientology counselor had been assigned to help the couple." The St. Petersburg Times reported on November 9th that a Scientologist died in Clearwater following a collision between a bicycle and a motorcycle. "A woman killed in a collision between a motorcycle and a bicycle Thursday night has been identified as Josianne Bergstrom, a parishioner of the Church of Scientology. Bergstrom, 53, was pedaling a bicycle southeaster across Drew Street about 9:40 p.m. when her bike collided with a westbound motorcycle driven by Joseph F. Beck, 39, of Clearwater, police said. Bergstrom was pronounced dead at the scene, which was on Drew Street west of Osceola Avenue. "Church spokesman Ben Shaw said Bergstrom was from Zurich, Switzerland, but he declined to say whether she was visiting the area or living here and working as a church staffer. The police report lists her address as the Fort Harrison Hotel, but it was not clear Friday whether that was a temporary or a permanent address." Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: bB8z9.233$

Delphi Schools

The Fall, 2002 issue of The Delphi Forum reported news about Scientology's private school system. "Delphi San Diego, with its original school in the seaside town of La Jolla, now has a second campus in San Marcos, the fastest growing city in the country. The new San Marcos school opened its doors for summer session in June and now has close to 30 students enrolled in the kindergarten through 3rd grade program. "Located on a hilltop with four and a half acres of beautifully landscaped terrain all around, the schoolhouse itself (built in the late 1800s) is one of the oldest original buildings in the area. Before she opened the doors to the school, Chris had to obtain a conditional use permit to operate as a school once again. This required giving a presentation to the city council and planning commission for San Marcos. She decided to use the results of the Delphi Program to help 'sell' the idea at her presentation. The council and commissioners were so impressed with the program and students' test scores that they asked at the end of the presentation, 'When do you plan to do another one?' Needless to say, the permit was approved, and the school is doing very well. "A founding committee has been formed and is actively searching the west Los Angeles area-specifically, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades - for an ideal site for the next Delphi Academy. The School would begin with a kindergarten through 3rd grade program, with the possibility of expanding to 6th grade (Form 4) at some later point. More than $2 million is currently pledged from parents and other interested parties to cover the land purchase and building construction of the school. "The efforts of parents have been indispensable in launching Delphi Academy of Los Angeles' new campus construction this past May. The facility is in Lake View Terrace, just north of the current site. The LA Parent Committee played a big part in the site search, and helped raise over $325,000 toward the land purchase and campus construction. Another $195,000 has been pledged and will come in during the next few months. By December, Phase One - all classrooms, administration areas, the parking lot, sports fields and landscaping-will be complete, paving the way for the school to move in over the holidays! "BENEFACTOR WITH HONORS ($100,000+): Craig & Sally Jensen BENEFACTORS ($50,000+): Delphi LA Student Government FUTURE BUILDERS ($25,000+): Alan & Sheila Atkinson-Baker, Michael & Elizabeth Baybak SUPPORTERS ($10,000): Kelly & Lisa Black, Brisker & Farr Families, Chris & Kate Davis, Alan & Karen Morrissett, Bobby & Susie Rounds" Message-ID: 7JV5CRDI37568.4433796296@anonymous.poster


The Copenhagen Post reported on November 7th that a former East German Stasi officer has testified against Scientology in a libel case. "Onetime leader of the East German foreign intelligence service Stasi, Markus Wolf, testified under oath in a civil court case involving the Church of Scientology and a Danish journalist. "Wolf testified on behalf of filmmaker Walter Heynowski, whom the Church of Scientology in Denmark had accused to working under Wolf's spy racket, the HVA. The filmmaker, together with Danish journalist Joergen Pedersen, filed suit against the Scientologists on grounds of libelous fraud, demanding DKK 250,000 plus punitive damages against the editor-in-chief of the Scientology-affiliated journal Frihed after a 1999 special edition of the journal that appeared in 1999. "The special edition was produced after the Church of Scientology tried, without success, to block the rebroadcast of a Pedersen-produced documentary that was openly critical of the sect. The Scientologists struck back at the Danish journalist, alleging in the 1999 edition that Pedersen had enjoyed a close-crony relationship throughout the Cold War with Walter Heynowski, described by the magazine as 'the DDR master of film propaganda and misinformation' and a favourite of Markus Wolf. The Danish magazine also alleged that Heynowski had actually worked for the HVA. "Wolf refuted the allegation during Tuesday's testimony, maintaining that he never knew Heynowski particularly well, so he could never have been one of the enigmatic spy chief's favourites. Wolf told daily newspaper Politiken that he considered it his 'duty' to testify in the case. The Pedersen-Heynowski libel trial is expected to carry on for four more sessions." Message-ID:

Front Sight

Internet magazine Light of Reason reported this week that Front Sight, a gun training company, is filing suit against a former attendee who claims the company is associated with Scientology. "Diana Hsieh and her husband Paul first became acquainted with Front Sight Management in April 2002. For many months, they had nothing but the highest regard for Front Sight, where they had attended a four-day defensive handgun training course. Then, in October of this year, Diana began hearing certain stories about the alleged connections between Ignatius Piazza, the head of Front Sight, and Scientology. "Diana sent Piazza an email about these matters. 'Your association with Scientology may well pose a grave danger to the gun rights movement as a whole. As you succeed in 'changing hearts and minds' about guns, the anti-gun lobby and media will look for any convenient smear tactic to advance their cause. Your association with Scientology would be the perfect fodder for such folks. Gun enthusiasts would no longer be thought of as uneducated, paranoid rednecks, but rather brainwashed cult members.' "Front Sight filed a complaint naming Diana as a defendant on October 29. Even though Diana still does not know the contents of the lawsuit, or the nature of the claims against her, word has quickly spread throughout the guns rights community. Not surprisingly, people on various discussion threads are very upset at what they perceive to be Front Sight's high-handed, strong-arming tactics. For example, at The Firing Line, people said: 'I agree this is classic Scientology material. They use the legal system to intimidate people with the threat of a lawsuit. Unfortunately, it often works because most people prize their money above their autonomy and sovereignty.' "[Internet site] Glock Talk was threatened by Front Sight: 'Hi folks. I recently received a certified letter from Front Sight Firearms Training Institute's lawyer concerning negative posts made on Glock Talk. In addition to wanting me to ban an individual that made allegations against them, the message threatened legal action against this site if I didn't 'Carefully check posts in the future concerning Front Site'.' "If there were only questions before about possible ties among Piazza, Front Sight and Scientology, many of those questions have become much more serious - and appear to have perhaps been answered - by Front Sight's speed in deciding to sue Diana." Message-ID:

Nicole Kidman

Australian newspaper The Courier Mail reported on November 7th that Nicole Kidman says she was never a Scientologist. "She also wants it known she is not gay, was never a Scientologist and that she's pretty happy with life. Kidman also explained that she never became a Scientologist during their marriage. 'I was introduced to it by him [Tom Cruise], and I explored it. But I'm not a Scientologist.'" Message-ID:

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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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