Because of various problems with Blogger, I've copied everything as of November 26, 2012 over to WordPress. The new location is Ask the Scientologist. I am not deleting this blog and will still accept comments and answer questions here too, but any new articles will appear at the WordPress location. I apologize if this causes any problems.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Scientology's New Buildings

You have undoubtedly heard the Church of Scientology bragging about their various "new buildings" around the world. There haven't actually been very many, but the few that there have been get pointed to by the church as "evidence" of Scientology's tremendous expansion.

That's the spin they put on it.

One look inside the new buildings is enough to disprove the "expansion" story. The buildings are empty, or nearly so. The old quarters were empty before all the hoopla, so the new ones were obviously not the result of a demand for more space. So why is the church working so hard, buying all these new, larger buildings?

The obvious explanation is that the church is doing it so they can give the apparency of expansion. Of course this is one reason and is certainly a benefit from the scheme. But, like all things related to the church, the story behind it is much more twisted, much darker. It is actually brilliant, in a dark, twisted way.

It's all about money.

First, of course, is the PR benefit of being able to point to these buildings and say, "See, expansion!"

Second, it is yet another, clever way to suck even more money from their parishioners. These buildings are purchased using only parishioner's donations, no church funds are used. Yet another urgent "project" needing their every last nickel and dime.

Third, as pure donations, no one can ask for their money back. You see, when Scientology services are paid for in advance, the church is supposed to return the money, if asked. With these donations, however, there is no return possible.
Aside: In actual fact, the Church of Scientology spent all the "advance payments"! Yes, indeed, if a majority of Scientologists asked for only their advance payments back, which the church is legally required to return, it wouldn't be able to! It is violating the law, right now, and is in deep trouble. This is the reason they concentrate on "pure donations" for their money now. That's all money in, with none of those pesky legal requirements not to spend it all!

So far so good, as far as the church is concerned, but the "best" is yet to come.

The local parishioners think they are buying the building for their local branch of the church. But they're not. No one tells them this. They think the local church will own the new building and never have to pay rent again.

And they are very, very wrong. They have been intentionally misled.

The building, purchased with parishioner's funds, becomes owned by the International Management, or, essentially, David Miscavige. International Management, in turn, leases the buildings back to the local church at (we assume) inflated rates. And the local church continues to pay rent forever.

You see the beauty of this scam? International Management gets the valuable property for nothing, purchased and fully renovated using parishioner's funds, parishioner's volunteer hours and the church's RPF slave labor and, on top of that, they collect nice fat monthly rent checks on the same property from, essentially, the same people. Double bonus!

[EDIT] I have been informed that this practice of buying the building, transferring ownership to the Int. Landlord who turns around and charges rent has ceased after the big stink at the San Francisco Church of Scientology. Mind you, it was done, it just isn't done now.

Now, the buildings must be paid in full, no mortgage, no lease, no rental, and then fully renovated before the local church is allowed to move in. This may explain why so many "Ideal Orgs" are stalled so badly. It's a massive cost that sucks every penny from the local church's field, but at least they won't have to pay rent after they've bought the building.

Now really, in what universe does sucking all available money from your customers for a building result in the local church having more business? To put it very simply, how does less available money equal more business?

[EDIT-2] It appears that this practice has started back up. With the LRH Birthday Event of 2009, David Miscavige has announced he will be partially funding many of the "new buildings". This is very significant. Never before has Miscavige offered to pay for anything -- once money went into his church's accounts, it never came back. Now this has suddenly changed! Of course, over the coming years, he will get all that back and much more because of the expensive leases, but still, what's up?

This change of fundamental operating procedure means one very significant thing: The "Ideal Org" campaign has been an abysmal failure. We've all seen it, the struggling churches, the huge empty buildings, it has been, as we predicted, a total failure. A very visible total failure. Miscavige hopes, with this infusion of money, to make his plan succeed. Indeed, more buildings will undoubtedly be purchased. Indeed, some of those will open. Then what? Miscavige has the preposterous idea that all he has to do is create this pretty fa├žade, and people will forget what the Church of Scientology really is, forget what the church is really doing.

Too late. A very pretty scam is still a scam. People know that the Church of Scientology is a scam. They won't be fooled by Miscavige's movie-set fakery.
The local parishioners have been conned out of millions of dollars under the misapprehension they were helping their local church. Instead, they've greatly increased Miscavige's wealth, while burdening their local church with more expenses--the new buildings cost substantially more to maintain! The end result of all the parishioner's hard work is that the local church's struggle for survival becomes much harder.

But that's not all! Understand the magnitude of this betrayal: International Management can sell the building right out from under the local church, take the money and run, and the local church, and the parishioners who paid for that building could do nothing to stop them.

And the Church of Scientology has the unmitigated gall to point to this twisted bit of double-dealing as a "sign of expansion"! Yeah, expansion of Miscavige's bank account!

I point to these new buildings as a perfect example of what kind of evil, twisted machinations this "church" goes through to chivvy every last penny from their trusting marks parishioners. Instead of "expansion", these new buildings are just one more nail in the coffin of the Church of Scientology.
-

22 comments:

  1. I pre-paid for some services and then did a lot of research online which was enough to open my eyes to the GREED of Scientology. I went through all the paperwork and interviews to get my money back and I still haven't seen it. That was back in December. That they are legally required to return money doesn't mean they will unless forced in a legal way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is true. You can get a lawyer to send a demand letter for a quite small fee. Google "Scientology repayment" for information and ideas.

    You do NOT have to jump through the Scientology hoops, those are unnecessary and are NOT there for YOUR benefit.

    Just demand your money back.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This scam - if real - is the most diabolical thing I have ever read. Do you have any documentation people can read or that could be sent to the press?

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is an amazing scam. The details of it are not hidden. City or county records list property owners. The other details are not secret, but I don't know of any place where it's all put together in one document, other than this post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have one little thing to add here. The Fluffy Little Tail, in addition to making real estate investments, might be trying to 'pull in' actual expansion.

    Its the same concept as when OSA sends their little Black Knights(always triumph!) to pose as disinterested third parties who support Scientology. They're trying to create an 'apparency' of expansion, to sway wog 'agreement' which then creates that 'reality.'

    Its alot like 'The Secret.'

    http://www.thesecret.tv/

    -Red Pill on Topix

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hmmm. That is the gimmick that Miscavige uses to raise the money. Once David Miscavige has the new buildings and the sooper-dooper video display for the public -- and has moved all the Suppressive staff members off the lines, people, he is certain, will flood in. In his mind, the "new buildings" with the "auto-brainwash videos" will, as you put it, "pull in" everybody.

    It's a way to raise money, but this exact concept, already in place in many orgs, just doesn't work. Just like every other Miscavige idea.

    And, like every other Miscavige failure, it's not his fault! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Kim & Randy -- I got my money back. It took 6+ months of persistence and never losing my temper. I kept meticulous records of every single interaction - date, time, person & details interaction. This came in handy at time to point out contradictions. I called the Claims Verification Board in California, threatened (politely) to "escalate" the matter, etc. You MUST keep pushing. Do your research with Google. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I searched the King County Records online regarding the building for the Seattle Org. I was unable to pull up the documents because they either weren't scanned or because there were errors.

    But I found five different documents. Three documents (release or satisfaction of lien, warranty deed and deed of trust) were under the name "Church of Scientology" and the other two documents (appointment of successor trustee and full reconveyance) were under the name "Church of Scientology Washington State."

    ReplyDelete
  9. I looked at the Statutory Warranty Deed online. It's to the Church of Scientology of Washington State, not to International Management. It doesn't look like Int owns the new building.

    Here's the link to the PDF file.

    http://146.129.54.93:8193/imgcache/OPR20050217001150-1-3.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hmmm. Interesting bit of research.

    I don't know the legal details, but I do know that, when buildings are purchased, they are considered "owned by Int. Landlord" and the local churches pay rent to Int. Landlord. This has been verified by people who were directly involved.

    Now, if this is wrapped in some legal fiction, I don't know. It may be like the "signed, undated resignations" that Miscavige requires all upper execs to sign when they take post. It may be that the Int. Landlord has all the papers for the property transfer all signed but undated. Or it may be something else.

    If this is the new "Ideal" building, they may be waiting until renovations are complete.

    I do know that the local church pays rent on "their" building to Int Management, and they have no control over its sale. If Int Landlord decided to sell it, it would sell and Int Landlord would get the money.

    If anyone has more information about the legal trickery involved, I'd appreciate more insight.

    ReplyDelete
  11. All the smaller curches are under control of RTC.

    Wollersheims suite was finally settled suddenly when docs came out showing thatt the Sea Org at any time can take over any of the churches or any other scientology organization. MsCavvige is the Top Sea org commander, and there fore can take over anything with the Sea Org. The deal with the IRS was that all these Scientology entities are seperate, non-profit entites.

    Obviously if one man can direct the Sea Org to come in and take over they are not seperate entities. They buy a building, go bankrupt keeping it up, Sea Org takes over and sells the building, sending the money to RTC.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It gets far worse. In Clearwater the 170,000 square foot Super Power building (or aptly named "SP building) is still unfinished and empty after ten years of construction. It was to be completed in 2003, then 2007 at around three times it's projected 24 million dollar cost.

    This monstrosity sits in prime real estate right in the middle of downtown Clearwater. It's a living monument to the greed and corruption of the leaders of Scientology and the duplicity of it's members. Like the organization itself. It is a blank facade, impressive on the outside, hollow on the inside.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I heard the Valley Org recently acquired the money for an Ideal Org, but the lease back provisions will be in place.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The church (if you can call it that) is so messed up. I think most of the people who are on staff are nice caring people who want to do good. However they are so brainwashed they can not see one foot ahead themselves. It the hire ups ( COB) who are the really evil ones.
    What I would like to see happen is Travolta come out & denounce the CO$. I do not think he's that involved anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Re: Travolta

    Yes, most people who are on staff are good, caring people -- but, as you said, brainwashed. While they know things are wrong, they are not allowed to look and figure it out.

    As for Travolta, I'm not sure you'll ever hear him say anything publicly. The church has so many ways of controlling its parishioners, including "handlers" for their celebrities, family and friend disconnection, disclosure of their confessional secrets and so on, it is usually that the person just stops participating, but says nothing. And I think that describes Travolta.

    By the way, Miscavige really hates Travolta.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am very happy that I discovered your site. Two days ago I decided, with the help of a staff member at FCDC, that I am finished with the cos.

    I definitely need to get my "funds on account back" on prindiple.

    Thanks for the advice.

    I am wondering, what is the reason for annonomous names. Is there something to fear?

    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
  17. Speaking of "new buildings" back when this post was new (2008), Scientology of San Diego bought the old Coleman College complex in La Mesa (one of the towns that borders SD to the East.) They did so to move from their 4th Street digs in SD to a more private area on Fairlane Dr. Since then NOTHING has happened; the La Mesa building rots while the Co$ still has a for sale sign on their SD building. They have a guy living illegally (?) on the property in an `80s trailer, but otherwise it's plywood on the windows and the occasional paint blob on the wall to cover graffiti. Only a goof like Hubbard could design a cult that has become a negative version of a holding company; all their properties lose value and are sold at a loss.

    - mr. mike

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Just Bill

    Re: Miscavige really hates Travolta

    How do you know this? Any particular reason why he would hate him? I thought he was poster boy just like Tom Cruise.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Re: Travolta

    Oh, yes. Miscavige hates Travolta, has nothing good to say about him. Reasons? Does Miscavige need any reasons? Travolta doesn't jump when Miscavige says so. Travolta doesn't spout the party line when ordered.

    Miscavige knows John is valuable to church PR, so he "makes nice" to his face, but behind his back... it's very, very bad.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Re: Travolta

    Just to make this clear. Miscavige would watch Cruise's "Top Gun" and "Mission Impossible" movies, again and again, and just ache to be Tom Cruise.

    Miscavige would not watch "Hairspray". Nor has he any desire to be John Travolta.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for clearing that up for me :)

    ReplyDelete

Comments will be moderated. Have patience, I get around to it pretty quick. As a rule of thumb, I won't approve spam, off-topic, trolling or abusive stuff. The rest is usually OK. Yes, you can disagree with me.