They put out these notices fairly regularly.
A few weeks ago they were trying to cast Allen Ginsberg and L. Ron Hubbard for $200-$300/day. Seems they are having some problems getting takers as they have raised the price now to $935/day.
I can imagine that in this day and age being identified as a “face” of WTH or Narconon is not a good career choice. And apparently the only applicants they had are english as a second language speakers. They even have to offer “gas reimbursement” which means this is being shot at Gold, not at SuMP. Apparently SuMP does absolutely nothing.
Prediction: They will come to the conclusion that the only possible answer is to use voiceovers like they do for their commercials. No “face” that can then become persona non grata for any other jobs as nobody wants a “scientology spokesperson” to be cast in THEIR commercials in case they get tainted by association.
John, ‘happy ending’ Travolta channeling David Miscavige for his new TV role…
… still channeling the diminutive punching pope of scientology
Mystery property buyer in downtown Clearwater brings questions about Scientology’s involvement
CLEARWATER — An Ybor City real estate broker has been snapping up downtown property on behalf of a buyer working very hard to remain secret.
This month, a newly former LLC called 601 Cleveland registered to Fred Edmister, acting as the broker, paid $13 million for the city’s largest office tower, the nine-story, all-glass Atrium building, in the center of downtown.
On Jan. 13, a business called 715 Laura LLC, also registered to Edmister, bought an auto garage at that street address, less than a block from the Atrium, for $1.7 million, according to property records.
And on Nov. 18, Edmister registered a business with the state called 700 Cleveland Street LLC, although the Clearwater Mortgage building at that address, directly behind the auto garage, has not been sold, according to public records.
It’s not an uncommon arrangement for real estate investors to buy property through a broker to keep their names out of public records. But with the anonymity of the owner, and the potential acquisition of three properties within a block of one another, speculation has turned again to the default assumption whenever downtown property changes hands — that the Church of Scientology is somehow involved.
“I’ve heard that people associated with the church have bought the (Atrium) property, but I do not know for sure,” Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos said.
Scientology spokesman Ben Shaw did not respond to requests for comment this week. But he told the Tampa Bay Times earlier this month that the church “has no further plans to expand our campus downtown.”
That statement hasn’t prevented downtown watchers from speculating that the church is secretly working to expand its real estate footprint in the city.
“Everybody was saying it was Scientology,” said Tom O’Brien, who has rented space in the Atrium for his Tiger Real Estate Opportunity Fund for 12 years but does not know who now owns his building.
Since first arriving in Clearwater in 1975, the Church of Scientology has accumulated more than $260 million in real estate, 75 percent of which is tax exempt for religious purposes. It occupies whole blocks of downtown and has its worldwide spiritual headquarters steps from City Hall.
The church was also pursuing the 1.4-acre vacant lot across the street from City Hall and offered the owner, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, $4.25 million for it in 2014. But on Tuesday, City Attorney Pam Akin said staffers were drafting a purchase contract with the aquarium for the city to buy the property in March.
Edmister did not respond to repeated calls for comment or a letter hand-delivered to his National Realty Commercial’s office.
But he has a history of representing confidential buyers in large transactions. In 2006, he bought five properties for $28,165, put them in two land trusts whose beneficiaries were secret and then flipped them to the Hillsborough County School District for nearly $124,000 — a 340 percent markup.
On Tuesday, Clearwater Mortgage owner Scott Chinchar told a Times reporter to leave when asked about the sale of his building. A man who identified himself as the owner of All Around Repairs, which sold on Jan. 13 to Edmister’s LLC, also told a Times reporter to leave when asked if the Church of Scientology was the true buyer of his building.
Wendy Eckert, who spent the past eight years working for the Atrium’s previous owner, Maurice Wilder, said she was hired by the new property management company, Avison Young, after the Feb. 1 sale to continue managing the building. She said leases of the tenants are being renewed.
But even Eckert doesn’t know whom she is really working for.
“None of us have been given his name,” Eckert said. “He obviously wants to be kept confidential.”
Seth Taylor, director of the Community Redevelopment Agency, a special downtown taxing district that includes the Atrium property, said he had no idea who now really owns the high-rise.
Atrium tenants were told at the end of January to begin sending their rent payments to Avison Young’s Fort Lauderdale office.
Antje Victore said the lease for her Cars2Go auto rental business office on the fifth floor is up in March and she has not been notified she would not be able to renew.
Victore moved into the Atrium in 2005 after her former office at 41 N Fort Harrison was bought by Scientology and turned into the church’s Foundation for a Drug Free World.
“I’m wondering now, should I be concerned?” she said.
With its all-glass walls and prominence in downtown, the Atrium has been a longtime landmark anchored by SunTrust Bank and filled with more than 30 other businesses like Morgan Stanley, World Financial Group and Merrill Lynch.
Its former owner paid $123,449 in property taxes on the Atrium in 2016. The building would be tax exempt if used for religious purposes.
The city bought the 158,000-square-foot high-rise in the 1993 with intentions of turning it into a new City Hall but sold it months later when the makeup of the City Council, and opinions, changed.
The city is currently implementing a 10-year, potentially $55 million revitalization plan to stimulate the downtown core and waterfront, and Bill Sturtevant, former chair of the nonprofit Clearwater Downtown Partnership, said maintaining high-end office space and businesses that are open to the public is essential to economic development.
With the buyer, and fate, of these properties unknown, Sturtevant said he hopes the uses stay in the public interest.
“Office space is critical to the redevelopment of downtown,” he said. “The most important thing for us to grow is there needs to be available space for the public.”
Times staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Tracey McManus at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. Follow @TroMcManus.
Many people wonder how people in this day and age are recruited into the Sea Org. If you have Google, I think the chances are that you might check it out before you sign a billion year contract for anything.
And that is part of the answer as to who the few are that join the SO today.
SO recruits come from two buckets:
A. People in less fortunate countries in Eastern Europe and Venezuela who are offered a visa to the US, room, board and a job.
B. Children of scientologists.
The first category are pretty easy to understand. If you lived in Ukraine and had someone tell you you could get a job in the US, would be provided a visa, flown there and would be given guaranteed housing and food it would be an attractive proposition. A certain number of people without marital/child commitments could agree to join up. Some may be deterred by Google searches, but most would no doubt figure it could not be worse than their current circumstances.
Children of scientologists are a little less understandable until you realize that scientologists indoctrinate their children from the earliest age that any bad news about scientology is simply lies — stories told by a handful of bitter apostates trying to make money Off the good reputation of LRH and Scn. And on the other hand, they have been indoctrinated from toddlerhood to believe that scientology has the answers to everything. But even then, how do you persuade a teenager to leave the comforts of home and family and give it all up to join the SO?
By appealing to the following “buttons”:
There is nothing more important on earth/this is the highest purpose in the universe
LRH was in the Sea Org and devoted his life to it, so therefore you should not be so selfish
“Wog” education and the “wog world” are not saving mankind and are contributing to the “downward spiral”
You will not have to deal with the distractions of the “wog” world – no mortgage, car payments, commute to work etc
And then dishing up lies about what things are like in the Sea Org:
You get a day off every two weeks – many Sea Org members don’t get a day off once a year, let alone every 2 weeks.
You will live in a fully renovated apartment – typically you will end up in a dorm with bunk beds piled 3 high and one bathroom fr 12 people.
Three great meals a day — except for when the food allocation is less than $1/day per person or the org (or you) is assigned rice and beans. Which is often.
You get $50/week pay — except when you don’t, which in most orgs other than the FSO, is often. W2’s of SO Members at Gold for an entire YEAR have often been just a few hundred dollars. For a year.
You will get the best medical and dental treatment “we even have our own medical and dental staff in the Sea Org.” A couple of SO bases have dentists, but only the top of the org board generally gets any treatment. The SO provides medical “care” on a “need” basis. You will be taken to an emergency room if you break your leg or sever and artery. But could wait months to get abdominal pain checked into depending on whether anything can be allocated in FP (and if there is one staff member who requires serious medical attention they may use up the entire allocation). The Sea Org operates on the theory of being “self-insured” as it is “cheaper”. But money is NOT set aside for routine medical costs.
All Sea Org members get 3 weeks leave a year – virtually unheard of these days. You are considered a dilettante if you take time off to do “wog” things.
You get free auditing and training – the only thing you will likely get is courses for your post. Other training is rare. Auditing even rarer. The datum “there is no case on post” becomes the senior operating policy of the SO. And any services you do get will be added to your eventual freeloader bill.
You will get 2.5 hours a day of “enhancement” (auditing or training). Rarely happens. Every now and then there is a push to get people to “go to study” and that lasts for a week or two and then falls out. Most Sea Org members do not get enough sleep each night to be sessionable/studentable.
You will go up the bridge to OT as LRH expects every SO member to be OT VIII, Class 8 and OEC – never happen Show me a single OT VIII, Class 8, OEC SO member after 60 years. There is not ONE.
They will promise you can go onto a specific post like the TTC. Or become a musician. Those promises are forgotten once you are done with the EPF indoctrination and know the group is everything and you are just a small cog honored with the opportunity to save the planet by washing dishes. And if you DO complain or protest, you will treated as an “ethics particle” and be put in for sec checks to find out why you are “critical” and “CI.”
And when it comes to the final close, SO Recruiters often tell people that there is confidential information from LRH that the world is ending soon. To support this they will put out public writings like “there is not an eternity of time on this planet” blah blah. This is the ultimate “scare close”.
I am sure I have missed plenty of things from the list. I would be happy to hear from readers who know of other things that should be added (which I will do). I would like to make this a document that could be used by people seeking to help provide information to anyone who might be considering signing a billion year contract.
Times are changing, says Reza Aslan. The endless tick-tock of New York Times news alerts and disorienting tweets from the president have reminded Americans that our collective identity as a people and nation is continually being redefined.
“It creates more fertile ground for larger conversations about American identity,” Aslan, the religious scholar and public intellectual, said of America’s present political and cultural turmoil. “Instead of dealing with these issues on an issue-by-issue basis, I think it’s easier now to draw larger conclusions.”
Enter Aslan’s new CNN show, Believer. Aslan and his production teams embarked on a grueling, worldwide tour of religious rituals. Each episode, filmed over the span of seven to ten days, focuses on a particular religious group and its adherents. Aslan walks the local walk and offers his reflections on the experience.
Believer has been described—including by Aslan himself—as something akin to Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. And Aslan’s show does evoke a few aspects of Bourdain’s epicurean travelogue. Both shows ask the viewer to experience a culture through the host’s eyes and actions. Both hosts explicitly delineate the lessons they learn from each experience; where Bourdain might wax poetic about what tapas reveal about Spanish culture, Aslan divines broader conclusions by examining the purpose and context of each religion or sect.
And both Aslan and Bourdain are true believers. Aslan, an Iranian-American, is a devoted scholar of religions. He throws himself into the cultures highlighted on his show with not just a scholarly curiosity, but a spiritual one. It’s clear that he is willing to give the various religions he studies—from Scientology in the United States (and Israel) to a the Aghori Hindu of Varnasi—the benefit of faith, and, in some episodes, he seems to yearn to believe.
The show features a range of rituals, and their effects on Aslan, and therefore the audience, are equally diverse. The viewer gets the sense that the Scientology episode, which focuses on devout believers who continue to practice after leaving or being excommunicated from the Church of Scientology, left less of an imprint on Aslan than his visit with a death cult in Haiti, his experience amid the cremation beds of Varanasi, and an episode focused on Santa Muerte, a rapidly growing religion in Mexico.
After witnessing a Mexican ritual that brought together the “poor, rich people who were gang members and narco-traffickers, transvestite prostitutes,” Aslan said it was “hard for me not to just start weeping like a baby.”
“Death does not play favorites, right?” Aslan said. “Death doesn’t say, ‘Are you rich or poor? Are you gay or straight? Are you a sinner or a saint?’ Death doesn’t care. Death treats everybody the same.”
At the end of the day, Aslan hopes the show not only entertains, but also demystifies that which the audience might assume is simply odd.
“Look, my entire career has been built upon trying to break down the walls that separate us into different religions, ethnicities, different nationalities, different races and cultures,” Aslan said. “What I wanted to do with this show is to kind of express that in a visual way. I wanted people to come to an episode of Believer, and to see something at first glance looks weird and scary and foreign and exotic and unfamiliar and even frightening. But, throughout the hour as you’re watching me immerse myself in this community, to sort of learn from them, understand them, to experience what they experience.”
Landing a CNN show has not cooled Aslan’s fiery progressive politics, which he metes out in ripostes on his Twitter feed, as well as on news programs, where he is often called upon to discuss radical Islam. I asked Aslan if having a broad understanding of religion, and fanaticism, provides him with any tools for understanding America’s current chaos.
“We are in the midst of a crisis of identity in which we are trying to figure out who we are as a nation,” Aslan replied, arguing that Americans “who feel as though their privileged position in society had been shaken” are “reacting to the natural progress of human society.”
“That’s what fundamentalism is: it’s a reactionary phenomenon,” he said. “The problem, however, is that we have an administration that is not just feeding into that reaction, but now deliberately ignoring the most extreme versions of it.”
He cites as an example the White House’s apparent unwillingness to comment on the actions of violent, “anti-government, white nationalist groups,” who, even when they plan to kill Americans, are not referred to as terrorists.
“What does a white man have to do,” Aslan asks, “in order to be accused of terrorism in this country?”
Believer premieres Sunday, March 5, at 10:00 P.M. on CNN.