Tony Ortega: The wealthy donors keeping Scientology afloat

Discussion in 'Media' started by The Wrong Guy, May 3, 2015.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Whale watching: The wealthy donors keeping Scientology afloat, 2015 edition

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, May 3, 2015

    Karen de la Carriere let us know that the new Impact magazine is out, and this is the one with photographs from the October gala held by the International Association of Scientologists.

    After breaking tradition and holding its 2013 gala in Clearwater, Florida, the IAS returned this year to its usual place at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, England, which was formerly the home of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

    The IAS was started as a special fund in the 1980s when Scientology was fighting some costly lawsuits. It was seen as a way to build up a defense fund which, over time, became a slush fund for a myriad of initiatives the church runs around the world. In 2012, former church executive Debbie Cook estimated that Miscavige had more than a billion dollars just in the IAS fund. Scientologists are under intense pressure to become lifetime members of the IAS ($5,000) and then “up their status” by giving even larger donations.

    “Celebrities are important to Scientology. But what’s really keeping it going are the whales, the big, big spenders,” Karen tells us. “When you look at the photographs of these donors, page after page, it sure looks like they still have a solid core of people they can hit on to suck in millions.”

    And just as Scientology “gamifies” everything else, it tries to make giving money to the IAS a kind of contest where you unlock new “statuses” the higher and higher you go. To become a “Patron” or “Patron with Honors” was once a big deal, and each came with a special plaque. But as wealthier Scientologists gave more and more money, the IAS had to come up with more and more status names — as well as gaudy trophies — and we’ve had a lot of fun watching them do it.

    This October, the wealthiest donors of all, the Duggan family, once again busted through the top of the status scheme, and David Miscavige had to come up with yet another status name and trophy to recognize them for it.


    If we’re right, then the Duggan family has turned over about $60 million — and again, that’s just to the IAS. (But don’t worry about Bob’s wallet. He recently sold his cancer drug company, Pharmacyclics, for $22 billion, and Forbes estimates his current wealth as $3.5 billion.)

    Also, only the Duggans were again rewarded by having David Miscavige in the photo with them. The rest of the millionaires had to go it alone. Here’s a sampling of them.

    The Dohring family reached Diamond Meritorious with Honors (approx. $7 million). Doug Dohring founded Neopets, and now runs the company, which is racking up jillions of dollars from American kids across the country, one mouse click at a time.

    The Cummins family reached Diamond Meritorious ($5 million). Tom Cummins runs Consumer Sales Solutions, which is a telemarketing firm in Dunedin, Florida that represents energy companies in deregulated markets. Which sounds totally legit.

    Diamond Meritorious ($5 million): Pablo Comparetto and Freedom Medal winner Audrey Carera, of Miami

    Platinum Meritorious with Honors (approx. $4 million): Benedetto and Carolina Lombardo, and children, from Venezuela

    Platinum Meritorious with Honors (approx. $4 million): Ricardo and Thamaro Demori with daughter Isabela, from Venezuela

    Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million): “Representing a new generation of Muscovites, this team is on an Ideal Org Crusade on behalf of Saint Petersburg.” Tatiana Alekseeva, Dmitry Fedorov, and Tatiana Leskova

    Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million): Carol Kingsley, auditor, co-founder of the Mace-Kingsley Family Center, which urges Scientologist parents to get their children auditing even as infants.

    Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million): Federico Lorente, Catalina Banchero, and their daughter Silvana, from Venezuela, now living in Clearwater

    Platinum Meritorious ($2.5 million): Pedro Chacon, from Venezuela

    There's more here:

    Here are the previous threads about the Duggan family:

    2011: Robert Duggan

    2011: Scientology Donor Bob Duggan's Company Makes $975 Million Deal With Johnson & Johnson/Janssen

    2013: Scientology Donor Robert Duggan Becomes a Billionaire With Cancer Drug

    2014: Bob and Trish Duggan propping up South Africa Scientology Ideal Orgs
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  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    Bob Duggan, the richest Scientologist in the world, is going to love our nifty new drawings!

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, May 6, 2015

    In October, we uncorked our big investigative story of 2014. It was the result of months of research and Skype calls to South Africa and lots and lots of lawyering.

    We revealed that the richest Scientologists in the world, Bob and Trish Duggan, had a strange secret. We established that at the same time the California couple had been propping up Scientology in South Africa with huge donations, two of their adopted sons, one of whom was only 11, suddenly relocated there in the care of Scientology families.

    At the time, Bob was worth a billion and a half dollars, and so we didn’t really expect any of the news organizations that keep a tab on the Underground Bunker to pick up the story, and we were right. This was odd and unseemly stuff, and writing about billionaires carries a measure of risk. It would have been nice if Bob had answered our emails and explained what was going on. Why, we would have loved to ask him, did his adopted sons get sent to a country where he was also sending piles of cash?

    Well, since then, Bob’s only gotten more like Croesus as he sold his cancer drug company, Pharmacyclics, for $22 billion, and Forbes now estimates his worth at $3.5 billion, making him the 810th richest person on the planet (#284 in the US), and a special favorite of Scientology leader David Miscavige.

    You might be wondering, why are you bringing this up now? Well, one of our astute readers pointed out to us that just a couple of weeks ago, Duggan, through an agent, made a complaint to Google about our story.

    We can understand why Bob is feeling flummoxed. We find that if you type Bob’s name into Google, our story comes up as the first or second result. Ouch. That’s gotta raise some eyebrows in the business community.
    So what did Bob complain about? Our reporting? The way we described things? Our numbers and dollar amounts listed in the story?

    No, he complained about the photographs. Specifically, Bob filed a complaint under the DMCA — a “takedown notice” — for six of the images in the story. And the funny thing is, only one of them came from Bob’s own website, a nice headshot of the man himself. Bob also complained about a photo of Trish that came from Trish’s website; a collage of photos from Scientology’s Impact magazine which featured him and Trish accepting trophies from Miscavige; a photo from Scientology’s website showing the grand opening of the Pretoria Ideal Org in 2013; a photo of Robin Hogarth from Robin’s own Facebook page; and a photo of Robin, his wife Carol, and their (formerly Bob’s) son, from Carol’s Facebook page. In each case, we had been careful to point out in our story where each image had come from. We wanted readers to know exactly where we had obtained them. (Another photo in the story, showing Carol Hogarth and the blurred-out boy, was taken by Carol’s sister Shelley Ashurst, who gave us the photo with her permission.)

    OK, so you might ask yourself, why did Bob care, for example, that we’d taken a publicity photo of the Pretoria org from the Scientology website? And why would he complain to Google rather than to the Underground Bunker itself?

    We did some research, and we learned that what Bob was up to was a classic strategy where he was complaining on behalf of other people’s photos in order to get us in trouble with Google, which could end up de-indexing the story and otherwise punishing us.

    Hey, that’s clever.

    Well, rather than wait around to see what Google was going to do about it, we got creative.

    With the help of talented cartoonist Chad Essley of Oregon, we’ve replaced most of the images in the original story with a kickass set of really cool illustrations!

    Please, go look for yourselves, and in so doing, get that story’s rank on Google even higher! Because all of Bob’s friends and neighbors and business associates deserve to see it!

    Continued here:
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

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  4. The Wrong Guy Member

    L. Ron Hubbard Envoy Extraordinaire | Mike Rinder

    While they keep the pressure on Ideal Org begging to hand out humanitarianisms, the IAS vultures circle offering up patronisms and the Planetary Dissemination hyenas are trying to scrape together some crumbs in exchange for heroisms, the old reliable vampires at the Mecca of Technical Imperfection are reviving the heat on the L. Ron Hubbard Hall.

    The old hands who sucked so much out of Flag’s public for their SP building are patterning their new pitch on another superhero concept, but instead of the Legion of Doom they have the Legion of Honor. No longer will cornerstones suffice.

    And rather than certifying the members as “Lex Luthor” or “Giganta” from the Legion of Doom they have taken their own path with a brand new title that is going to be coveted by the status junkies inside the scientology bubble: L. Ron Hubbard Envoy Extraordinaire.

    Now that is something worth turning over some big bucks for. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to be known as an Envoy Extraordinaire for the long-since deceased L. Ron Hubbard?

    Can you imagine the gaudy trophy, pleather jacket and gold lettered certificate hanging on your office wall for everyone to see and ask you “WTF is that?”

    It seems alliteration is Hubbard Hall’s paramount criteria for selecting statuses.

    But even funnier is the first sentence of Laurie’s letter.

    This hall is vital to swiftly bring about planetary clearing.

    I would love to hear Ms. Webster explain this. Why this hall will accomplish anything more than Ruth Eckerd Hall for planetary clearing? Or given the shrinking number of attendees at the milestone events, why it will accomplish anything beyond the Ft Harrison auditorium?

    And how does it rate with ideal orgs — also vital for planetary clearing; the scientology media productions which is an urgent necessity for planetary clearing; and the IAS which are guaranteeing planetary clearing with your donations?

    Scientology is like a bloodmobile that keeps recycling the same few shriveling donors until they are completely sucked dry. Every day they tell them their blood is absolutely vital to save someone dying from a different disease. The blood that is collected is being stored in a massive tank under the bloodmobile and never going anywhere.

    Continued here, with open comments:
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  5. The Wrong Guy Member

    Duggan and Cardone really laying it on thick

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, August 14, 2015

    We told you recently that it strikes us as odd the way the bromance between Scientology’s wealthiest donor, Bob Duggan, and its most obnoxious ham hock, Grant Cardone, is becoming a roadshow like Crosby and Hope. The two richies were convinced, on only a few weeks’ notice, to take part in a Scientology seminar aboard the church’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds. And now, that seminar has a hastily-assembled website that we think you might find slightly amusing.

    I've removed the link to the cult site, but it's in Tony's post, here:
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  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Passion of the Heist: The Scientology hucksters who have made this summer unforgettable

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, August 16, 2015

    While Bob Duggan and Grant Cardone continue their epic journey — Summer of ’15, the Bromance — we’re busy here in the Underground Bunker chasing down a dozen new leads that came in while we were traveling in Europe.

    We have some big stories coming down the pike, including some big announcements, but for now we’re researching and making phone calls and sending out emails so you’ll have plenty to read in the coming weeks and months.

    While we’re deep in the weeds in some very complex new Scientology documents, we learned yesterday that Bob Duggan’s summer reading fare is a bit lighter, as his bro Grant Cardone explained to a fan who sent in this question:


    So billionaire Bob, 40 years after he first became a Scientologist, is rocking the Student Hat! Enjoy those dictionaries and clay, Bob.

    Continued here:
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  7. RightOn Member

    they both should be wearing dunce hats
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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

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  9. RightOn Member

    The waste of money enrages me to no end while children are going to bed hungry
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  10. The Wrong Guy Member

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  11. RightOn Member

    I can't stand this dork
    If only people knew the abuses she was really disseminating.
  12. The Wrong Guy Member

  13. The Wrong Guy Member

    Whale watching, 2016 edition: Who’s keeping Scientology afloat?

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, January 23, 2016


    Each October, the International Association of Scientologists holds its annual gala under a big tent in East Grinstead, England (usually, although in 2013 they held it in Clearwater, Florida), and besides sitting for a three-hour stemwinder by church leader David Miscavige, the year’s big donors are also celebrated.

    A few months later, photos from the event show up in Impact, and we get to learn which of the super-rich Scientology families “upped their status” in the past year.

    Since it’s this pod of generous whales that largely keep Scientology going, Miscavige encourages them by awarding them with giant trophies that signify how much they’ve given. And he has to keep coming up with new names for those trophies because one family in particular keeps forking over bigger and bigger amounts to the IAS war chest (along with a lot of other Scientology projects they prop up).

    We’re talking, of course, of Bob and Trish Duggan and their children, the richest Scientologists in the world, and a family we’ve written about extensively in the past.

    Once again, the Duggans upped their status in 2015, and Miscavige had to invent yet another name for the level of giving they had achieved. And once again, the Duggans were the only ones who had the honor of having Miscavige actually pose with them and their trophy for a photo. So, behold, the Duggan family, and their new trophy for achieving Diamond Invictus status!


    OK, so now the Duggan family has done it again, extending the top of the status list with “Diamond Invictus.” So what does that mean? We’re going to remain conservative and keep with the current progression. By which we mean, we’re going to assume that the Duggan family received Diamond Invictus status for donating another $10 million in 2015 to reach a total of $70 million to the IAS. The actual amount could be far higher, and we also believe that the Duggans have given millions more for specific Scientology building programs around the world. (But don’t fear for their finances. Bob Duggan sold his pharmaceutical company, Pharmacyclics, for about $22 billion last year, and his personal wealth, according to Forbes, is $3 billion.)

    But the Duggan family isn’t the only one forking over huge amounts to David Miscavige. This year, three families reached the lofty giving level of “Patron Laureate,” reaching $10 million in donations. (Last year, there were none.) And who are these profligate spenders?

    Here’s Doug and Laurie Dohring and their family, happily posing with their Patron Laureate trophy. And how did the Dohrings come to donate $10 million to Scientology? Well, Doug runs Age of Learning, the company that brings you ABCmouse. Yes, parents, as you have your toddlers clicking away to learn their alphabet, the Dohrings are raking it in and sharing it with David Miscavige!


    David and Monica Agami have certainly been busy. Two years ago they made Platinum Meritorious, so in order to reach Patron Laureate, they must have donated $7.5 million in that time. Business in Mexico City must be brisk.


    And look who else has made the Patron Laureate club! Grant and Elena Cardone have really come on strong in the last couple of years, doing Super Power and hobnobbing with the Duggans. And they’ve had to send a lot of money Miscavige’s way in order to come up to $10 million this year.


    Last year Miami’s Pablo Comparetto made Diamond Meritorious ($5 million), and this year he’s added “with Honors,” so we assume he’s up to about $7 million at this point. He’s posing here with his son, Gianpaolo Comparetto.


    It’s the same for Tom and Victoria Cummins and their clan, coming up to about $7 million and “Diamond Meritorious with Honors.” That deregulated electricity market in Florida must be thriving.


    Alessandro and Luana Baggio have not only reached $5 million and Diamond Meritorious, they also gave at least $1 million to help complete the Super Power Building.


    Diamond Meritorious giver Pilar Saldarriaga is from a wealthy Colombian family and was once a member of the Sea Organization. As far as we know, the Colombian Saldarriagas have no connection to Eric Saldarriaga, the New York private investigator who recently went to federal prison for trying to hack us on behalf of Scientology.


    Emilio and Maria Eugenia Lorente round out the $5 million Diamond Meritorious givers. Can anyone tell us about them and how they made their money?

    There's lots more here:
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  14. anon8109 Member

    Adding up all those huge donations for 2015 the scientology corporation raked in ...
  15. The Internet Member

    This is why we need what Bush called, "the death tax," aka estate taxes.

    People can get rich without understanding reality in a broad way. Once they get rich, they start living in a bubble that reinforces their wrong ideas. So when they die, we want to get as much of their loot back into circulation as we can get. Otherwise the next generation, which usually is like the first but worse, will carry on screwing up society.
  16. anon8109 Member

    Estate taxes are vital in an egalitarian society. Without them you have what happens in Europe, the formation of elite upper classes whose social status gets passed down indefinitely generation after generation, leading to social instability and an entrenchment of poverty.
  17. The fuckers have racked billions. WTF? How can they make so much fucking money!

    I wonder how many lawyers they can pay to fight any of our lawsuits :(
  18. Many billions, per Tony Ortega and Jeffrey Augustine's articles.
  19. JohnnyRUClear Member

    That's a popular and intuitive expectation, but not as accurate as it may seem at first. Kids who are handed a silver spoon created by their productive, hard-working parents often turn out to be lazy and squander what they inherited, which brings about the churning effect you seek. Besides, all taxes are theft and thus inherently immoral, so "we" don't "need" them. "We" need to respect ourselves and one another. What you earn, and whatever you purchase with that, is yours, not mine. And since it's yours now, it's also yours to give away if you choose to do so.

    I advocate for freedom-based solutions to the ills you mention. If you're free to choose your own associations with others, and free to exchange information with others, you can "vote with your wallet" and encourage others to do so as well. In a free market, misbehavior by one vendor is naturally punished by customer flight to other vendors, allowing ordinary people to enforce discipline (via collective impact, but with each acting individually) without conflict. It's only in the environment of the unchallengeable monopoly that misbehavior is preserved from correction, and that is the territory of the state.

    What's interesting to me about what you said is your assertion that "people can get rich without understanding reality in a broad way". This implies that you "understand reality in a broad way", by which I assume you mean that you understand it, in some sense, better than at least some of those who are rich. But if that's so, why don't you go use that understanding to get rich yourself instead of being envious and advocating mass thievery?

    On a less rhetorical note, how did you arrive at your perception that you understand reality better than rich people do? Is it possible that you are mistaken about that?
    • Like Like x 2
  20. The Internet Member

    I am thinking of the Koch brothers pimping the quacky Cancer Treatment Centers of America, for one.

    One person is not going to know everything. This is why we need science.

    Taxes are not theft. They are services. The dream of a society without taxes remains a dream.
  21. If evolution of humans would have had only this in it's set of tools, we would not exist. Nobody knows the relation of altruistic vs. egoistic behaviour, but since humans survived and developed in groups, a high degree of sharing can be expected. Since the costs of death of group members was high, it is also assumed the standard strategy in conflicts with rivaling groups was flight, not fight.
    So by implementing a non-social economic structure we probably work against thousands of years of evolution.
    I know, there is violence all over our history. But there is no rational argument to prefer an egoistic over an sharing society structure. Mostly, egoists will not argue for the latter ...
  22. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology pampered some of its big donors with a trip back in time to Phoenix in 1954

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, March 29, 2016

    As former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder has pointed out numerous times, church leader David Miscavige can’t let up for one moment on the new projects and fundraising appeals.

    Scientologists have been under intense pressure to donate large sums for plenty of projects that are now open and standing largely empty — Ideal Orgs around the world, the Super Power Building that took 15 years to construct, and of course initiatives like the Basics and the Golden Age of Tech Phase 2. As soon as one of these projects is funded and comes to fruition, Miscavige has to have something waiting in the wings so the membership can never rest. To do so would invite reflection on how all of these pricey projects are utter failures as membership dwindles more rapidly than ever.

    And so, as soon as the Super Power Building, renamed the Flag Building, was opened in November 2013, there was another funding opportunity right next door: L. Ron Hubbard Hall.

    For years, Scientology has held its events in Clearwater at Ruth Eckerd Hall, which has a capacity of 2,180. But we can understand why Miscavige wants his own hall right in the Flag Land Base itself — increasingly, he’s had security concerns at Scientology events. L. Ron Hubbard Hall would give him tighter control over every aspect of the place, including its schedule.

    So, for the last couple of years, Scientologists who have already been hit up for Ideal Orgs and book campaigns and volunteer minister operations and their own courses and counseling have a new opportunity to fork over even more money.

    One of our readers recently received a brochure from Scientology about how it’s rewarding its wealthy members who have donated to the Hall — with a trip to Phoenix! We thought you’d like to see what a swell time they had, as well as a list of all the donors. (And we’re very curious what was in that “holiday dinner, as would have been served in 1954.”)

    Naturally, the top givers are, of course, Bob and Trish Duggan, Scientology’s wealthiest couple.

    Continued here:
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  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    Whale watching update: Your 2016 mid-year guide to who’s propping up Scientology

    By Tony Ortega, August 8, 2016


    Our thanks to Artoo45, who procured the newest Impact magazine and let us know what was in it. We love Impact, the official publication of the International Association of Scientologists, because it reveals who has been lavished with praise for increasing their donations and propping up Scientology in its latter days.

    Now, normally we’re most interested in the issue of Impact that comes out early in the year, because it shows us who was celebrated at the IAS Patrons Ball held in October, usually at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, England. This is the year’s really big party for Scientology’s whales — the biggest donors — and even Tom Cruise is known to show up wearing his Freedom Medal of Valor as a special prize for the wealthy folks who turn over truly prodigious sums.

    But there’s also an IAS Patron’s Ball held in honor of Maiden Voyage, the set of summer events that commemorate the 1988 launching of Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds. So this most recent issue of Impact shows us the richies who made the scene during one of the Maiden Voyage events, probably at the Fort Harrison Hotel (if you know differently, please message us).

    We don’t think this event has quite the prestige of the October party — none of these folks rates high enough to pose with church leader David Miscavige, for example — but we’re always happy to learn about the people getting trophies for their giving.

    Continued here:
  24. RightOn Member

    Such a waste of moolah
    These "donations" really need a real gander by the IRS to see where it all goes...
    oh yeah, wait, thats right, not going to happen. :mad:
    • Like Like x 1
  25. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology’s richest couple buys ‘Holy City,’ a California ghost town and former cult site

    By Tony Ortega, August 10, 2016


    Bob and Trish Duggan are the proud new owners of a pretty spectacular 142-acre parcel in California near Los Gatos, and we can’t wait to find out what they plan to do with it.

    Continued here:
  26. RightOn Member

    Scientology Town?
    Oh please let it be so.
    although the lulz alone may be too intense for my wittlle heart to take
  27. Incredulicide Member

    Tony was interviewed about this on KABC 790 radio in Los Angeles by John Phillips and Jillian Barberie.
    Audio Waybacked
  28. The Wrong Guy Member

    Santa Cruz mountain estate sold for $6 million to billionaires | KSBW Monterey


    After a decade on the real estate market, Holy City, located in the Santa Cruz mountains near Los Gatos, was purchased for the bargain price of $6 million.

    Holy City's new owners are Robert Duggan and Trisha Duggan.

    Forbes estimates their worth at $3.2 billion, and they are the Church of Scientology's biggest donors.

    Neighbors are wondering what is going to happen to the 142 acres off Old Santa Cruz Highway.


    For now, neighbors can only guess as to what the Duggans have in mind for Holy City and hope the new owners will reach out and let the community in on their plans.
  29. The Wrong Guy Member

  30. Quentinanon Member

  31. The Wrong Guy Member

    Here's some more coverage, from the Daily Mail:

    Billionaire Scientologist buys $6 million 142-acre California ghost town that was founded by Nazi sympathizer who wanted to create a 'headquarters for the world's most perfect government'
    • Silicon Valley pharmaceutical billionaire Robert Duggan and his artist wife bought the town of Holy City
    • Rustic site sat on the market for a decade before the purchase
    • Couple acquired Holy City for nearly half the initial $11M asking price
    • Duggans have a net value of more than $3.2billion and are top donors of the Church of Scientology
    • Holy City was founded in 1918 by William E Riker, a Nazi sympathizer who advocated for white supremacy and communal living
  32. Quentinanon Member

    Billionaire Scientologist buys $6 million 142-acre California ghost town that was founded by Nazi sympathizer who wanted to create a 'headquarters for the world's most perfect government'

    Sounds like Duggan was attracted to the belief system that is similar to scientology.
  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology loses its best fundraiser at perhaps the worst possible time

    By Tony Ortega, December 27, 2016


    Word has gradually made its way out of Scientology’s Florida headquarters — the Flag Land Base, in Clearwater — that a key figure there has died. One of the things “Flag” is known for is that it brings in more money than all the rest of Scientology’s worldwide facilities combined. Flag is where wealthy Scientologists from around the planet come to spend huge amounts on high-level courses they can only get in Clearwater. And it’s a special kind of Scientology Sea Org officer — the “registrars,” called “regges” for short — who bring in that money by the millions, week after week.

    And none of the regges was more well known, or more recognized for bringing in the really big money from Scientology’s biggest “whales” than Charmaine Roger.

    It was Charmaine who was personally bringing in more than a million dollars a week in donations for construction of the massive “Flag Building” — better known as “Super Power,” that took Scientology 20 years to build.

    After we heard that word had leaked of Charmaine’s death, we checked her brother David Lurie’s Facebook page and found that on December 9, he had posted a notice about it. He didn’t indicate if she had died that day or earlier, or what the cause was. We sent him an email asking those questions, and we’ll add that information if he gets back to us.

    But several former Scientologists had plenty to say about Charmaine, who was, if nothing, else, an extremely dedicated Scientologist.


    In 2011, the Tampa Bay Times estimated that Super Power fundraising had brought Scientology about $145 million for a building that had cost them $100 to construct. Former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder said the amount brought in was closer to $200 million.

    Tom DeVocht, another former Scientology executive who worked with Charmaine, said she was known for how far she’d go to push her prey.

    “She was definitely considered to be on the wild side. She’d make promises that couldn’t be kept,” DeVocht says.

    But he says any perks she might have enjoyed for bringing in big money should be seen in a larger context.

    “The big fundraisers, they’re really treated like crap. They are considered ‘criminal’ and ‘crooked’ most of the time, and they’re pumped up and given some clout to feel good a few hours before they have to do a big reg deal.” But that didn’t last long, as they were soon seen as problematic again.

    “[Scientology leader] David Miscavige had to be able to claim that he was the one who brought in the money, not the registrar. They couldn’t be held up as making great money. It would take the fame away from Miscavige,” Tom explains.

    Charmaine was also known to be the only reg who was allowed to work with Scientology’s biggest whales, Bob and Trish Duggan. Bob’s a billionaire businessman who hit it big with a cancer drug, and we estimate that he’s given about $70 million just to one Scientology fund, the IAS. The Tampa Bay Times estimated that he’d given about $12 million to the Super Power project.

    Charmaine was so close to the Duggans, she and her brother were said to be involved in the strange arrangements the Duggans made with families in South Africa. Charmaine was even said to be living with the Duggans, the better to reg the church’s biggest donors, apparently.

    We told Mat Pesch that once again, it looked like the Church of Scientology would not be making any kind of public statement, let alone host a public event, after the death of one of its prominent members — and someone who had brought in literally millions of dollars over many years of exhausting work.

    “You’re so busy, when someone goes down, you just put your head down and keep pushing on your own job,” Mat says. “There won’t be a ceremony or anything. They won’t say anything about it. They’ll just keep going. Her husband, Bruce Roger, is also a reg. He’ll be expected to keep his stats up. The only thing they’ll worry about is how to replace Charmaine’s income. They won’t think about her dying at 58. They’ll just worry about what they’re going to do about the money they dropped.”

    And with Leah Remini’s newest episode hitting tonight, it’s maybe not a good time for Flag’s top fundraisers to lose their top producer.

    Full article:
  34. RightOn Member

    after all, she only dropped her body....
    she is prolly regging on another planet or in another lifetime;)
    nothing to see here, move along

    WOW 58, what did she die of? and so young?
  35. The Wrong Guy Member

    Here’s where Pinellas billionaire Robert Duggan, a top donor to Church of Scientology, is putting his investment dollars

    By Margie Manning, Tampa Bay Business Journal


    Robert Duggan, one of the most influential executives in the biopharmaceutical field, has bought a 15.4 percent stake in Pulse Biosciences Inc., a Burlingame, California medical technology company.

    Duggan, who relocated to the Tampa Bay area after selling biotech firm Pharmacyclics to AbbVie in May 2015 for $21 billion, controls nearly 2.2 million shares of Pulse Biosciences (NASDAQ: PLSE), with most of the stock purchased between Dec. 7 and Feb. 9, a Feb. 21 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said.

    He paid between $5.29 and $6.35 a share for much of the stock, or a total of $13.67 million for his holdings, the filing said. He’s already turned a tidy profit, at least on paper. Pulse shares closed Wednesday at $14.49 a share, making his Pulse holdings worth $31.5 million.

    The filings provide some insight into how one of the wealthiest people in Tampa Bay is making investment decisions.

    Duggan has a net worth of $2.6 billion, according to Forbes, which included him on the 2016 list of the 400 wealthiest people in the United States. He owns a home in Belleair Beach, according to Pinellas County property records, and he listed an address in Clearwater on the SEC filing.

    He’s also a member of the Church of Scientology, Forbes said, citing reports that Duggan has given the church nearly $360 million over his lifetime.

    Continued at
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  36. The Wrong Guy Member

    Whale watching, 2017 edition: Who’s keeping Scientology from sinking?

    By Tony Ortega, February 24, 2017


    It’s that time of year again! The new Impact magazine is out and it gives us a chance to see which of Scientology’s most wealthy donors — we call them whales — were celebrated at the annual IAS gala last October.

    We’re fortunate once again to have the help of a tipster in Italy who received the Italian-language version of Impact, and then got us these images as soon as he could.

    Continued at
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  37. The Wrong Guy Member

    After Pharmacyclics' $21 billion buyout, can surf-loving Scientologist Bob Duggan score again with medical device startup Pulse Biosciences? | San Francisco Business Times


    The former CEO of Pharmacyclics stuck with that company through ups and downs; now he and Pharmacyclics' former COO are betting on a young and growing Bay Area medical device company.

    Subscribe to get the full story.
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  38. Quentinanon Member

    While Hubbard was a master conman, Davey Miscavige has learned to milk the the 501(c)3 tax-exempt status to the maximum by recruitment of a few wealthy individuals who are willing to dump millions of dollars in the the scientology crime syndicate for tax write-offs. Even if the whales left, Davey still has quite a bit of cash and real estate to live off of for many years. But if the tax-exempt status in the U.S. went away, the organization would get into hot water in a matter of a few years.
  39. The Wrong Guy Member

    Tony Ortega published this today. Quote:

    Trish Duggan and her son David are among the wealthy Scientologists enjoying some kind of retreat in Italy this week, which our tipster noted is just about a year after a similar shindig last year.


    Here’s David Duggan’s charming caption to this view from the Villa D’Este Tivoli: “Nothing like a lovely afternoon gazing over the peasants”


  40. The Wrong Guy Member

    Designer Rebecca Minkoff’s involvement in a Scientology front is pretty perfectly bad timing

    By Tony Ortega, June 6, 2017


    Yesterday, we had a pretty big scoop — a public statement from Leah Remini’s stepmother, Donna Fiore, about being harassed by Scientology operatives to turn over dirt about her stepdaughter. But we also had a secondary story, and it turned out to kick up some dust as well.

    We noted that the Fialkoffs — a Queens dentist and his daughter who work tirelessly to infiltrate New York City’s schools with Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s unscientific notions about drug abuse — had held their annual “Drug-Free Hero Awards” gala in Great Neck, New York, and that one of the people who appeared was longtime Scientologist and famous handbag designer Rebecca Minkoff.


    As for Minkoff’s involvement, we spoke with Quailynn McDaniel, who we profiled earlier this year. McDaniel was a celebrity handler for the church, and Uri Minkoff, Rebecca’s brother, was one of Quailynn’s closest friends in Scientology.

    “Rebecca’s involvement has increased over the years,” Quailynn tells us. “She wasn’t active until she got famous. Now the church has her deep in their pocket, but she didn’t start that way. Her brother Uri Minkoff came on as her CEO. He’s been a long time spy for OSA, trying to make up the damage his dad caused the church,” she says, referring to the Office of Special Affairs, the intelligence wing of the church. Quailynn had earlier produced OSA documents about her and her family submitted by Uri Minkoff, backing up her claim that he was submitting information about her. (Which, actually, all Scientologists are under pressure to do. Scientology is a snitching culture and it’s deeply embedded.)

    Rebecca and Uri’s father is Dr. David Minkoff, a physician and Church of Scientology member, who was partly implicated in Lisa McPherson’s 1995 death. Minkoff had his medical license suspended for a year after it emerged that he had prescribed a sedative for McPherson at the request of the Scientologists caring for her at the Fort Harrison Hotel, even though he never actually examined her. If he had, perhaps he might have seen how bad her condition became. When Scientologists finally rushed McPherson from the hotel when it became clear that her condition was grave, they headed to the facility where Minkoff worked, bypassing closer hospitals, when she died along the way.

    In November, our Rod Keller reminded us that David Minkoff is still in business and offering a wide variety of quack medical treatments. Uri Minkoff, meanwhile, has his own fashion line connected to his sister’s website, and Rebecca Minkoff continues to move up Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom.”

    Scientology’s Source magazine issue 231, from April 2014, indicated that Rebecca had finally gone “Clear.”

    We sent her an email through her company website, asking if she plans to continue on to Scientology’s legendary “OT” levels, and we also asked her about getting so publicly involved in a Scientology front like the Fialkoff’s anti-drug group at a time when Leah Remini is making Scientology’s controversies so well known. We’ll let you know if she gets back to us.

    As to our second question, we have pointed out in the past a couple of other businesses that are owned by wealthy Scientologists, and in those cases, we have proof that millions of dollars is going into Scientology’s coffers.

    We don’t know how much choice attorneys have when they select a court reporting service, but they should know that one of the most successful reporting firms, Atkinson-Baker, is owned by Alan and Sheila Atkinson-Baker, who just this past year reached the donor status of Diamond Laureate for giving a cumulative $15 million to the International Association of Scientologists, just one of several ways that wealthy donors give money to the church.

    And there’s another way that consumers may be giving indirectly to Scientology, and it’s maybe the most troubling of all.

    At the end of 2015, Doug Dohring and his family reached the status of “Patron Laureate” for giving $10 million to the IAS. And why is Doug so wealthy? In part because parents around the country pay him $7.95 a month so their toddlers can learn on a gradient through the immersive service

    Well, we don’t expect even with all the awareness Leah Remini is bringing to the public that these businesses will suffer much of a dent. But we at least want our readers to be forewarned.

    More at

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