Almost a year after elected officials abruptly backed out of a deal with the Church of Scientology to trade a cluster of low-profile downtown properties, negotiations are now back on the table.
The City Council is scheduled on April 16 to discuss swapping three small city-owned properties for a vacant lot Scientology owns just east of downtown to be used for retail parking, City Attorney Pam Akin confirmed.
The deal is being revisited after a rocky history. The city staff began discussing the land swap with Scientology officials in late 2016 when it became clear the new Nolen apartment complex at 949 Cleveland St. would need the adjacent lot to attract retail tenants.
An 81-year-old former Catholic priest, Australia-born but today living in France, contacted us yesterday to tell us about his blog.
Frank O'Meara spent ten years teaching theology in American dioceses and a Catholic university in Vermont before giving up the priesthood and then ten years later, at the age of 41, Catholicism itself. His embrace of atheism is what his blog is about, and it might interest some of our readers, or it might not that's not why we're telling you about it.
The reason O'Meara reached out to us was that he had just seen Alex Gibney's 2015HBO documentary, Going Clear, which your proprietor appears in. He wanted us to know how much he enjoyed it and how much it had taught him about Scientology. And most of all, what it had made him realize about the big difference between what he has experienced in contrast to what many Scientologists have experienced after they had a change of mind.
2018-04-06, Mikhail Telekhov, Russian Legal Information Agency
A criminal case on money laundering has been opened against one of the leaders of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg, the press service of the Federal Security Service's (FSB) regional directorate has told RAPSI.
According to investigators, a group of people including one of the religious organization's leaders laundered 17 million rubles ($294,000) out of 140 million rubles (about $2.5 million) received from illegal business activities.
In late March, searches were conducted at the premises of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg. The raids were directed to identifying more items and documents confirming the criminality of the religious organization leaders' actions, the FSB press-service said.
CLEARWATER The Church of Scientology has offered the Clearwater Marine Aquarium nearly four times what the city is preparing to pay for a vacant downtown property.
The church offered the aquarium $15 million for the 1.4-acre lot, Scientology spokesman Ben Shaw confirmed, far exceeding the $4.25 million deal the City Council will vote to close on April 20.
It is the second time in three weeks Scientology leader David Miscavige has tried to outbid the city aquarium officials passed on a $12.5 million offer the church made March 11, opting not to sell before the city has a chance to vote.
We heard unexpectedly from Brian Sheen yesterday, who told us why today was a grim anniversary for him.
Recently, we added a feature here at the Underground Bunker. Near the bottom of each post, we're keeping a running tally of how long some of the people we've written about here have been separated from their loved ones because of the Church of Scientology's policy of "disconnection." One of those is Brian Sheen, who as of today has not seen his daughter Spring in 876 days.
But Brian's message reminded us that for people who have been affected by disconnection, there are many other reminders about their missing family members that come up again and again. Today, he says, is two years since he least received a phone call from Spring. It was the same day he had been informed by the church that he had been declared a "suppressive person" Scientology's version of the death penalty even though he had been away from the church without any kind of difficulty for many years. (See our lengthy story about Brian's history in Scientology and how he was separated from his daughter.) After he was declared, anyone associated with the church would have to cut off all contact with him if they wanted to remain in good standing. And that same day, he received a call from his daughter, telling him that she was disconnecting from him.
Brian thanked us for keeping a focus on disconnection, and we asked him for his thoughts on this unhappy anniversary.
Scientology Media Productions is going to start showing TV on Spectrum TV this summer. Are we ready for this? Do they know what they are doing? Is this going to flood new people in to Scientology orgs and turn the tide of negative media in their direction? All of this and more as I talk about SuMP and do some compare & contrast with Mormon TV by talking to ex-Mormon Jon Streeter about it.
Jonathan's YouTube channel: https://goo.gl/wOjqap
CRITICAL MERCHANDISE AVAILABLE AT:
2017-04-06, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Scientology Media Productions is going to start showing television programs on Spectrum TV this summer. Are we ready for this? Do they know what they are doing? Is this going to flood new people in to Scientology orgs and turn the tide of negative media in their direction? All of this and more as I talk about SuMP and do some compare & contrast with Mormon TV by talking to ex-Mormon Jon Streeter about it.
I discuss how Scientology feels it's more "prosurvival" for old people to simply die when they start to become a burden to the organization or begin taking up Scientologists' time and money that could be going to the Church.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. David Jolly tells The Buzz that he had no idea that one of his campaign aides had taken it upon him or herself to edit his Wikepedia page and remove references to his meeting with Scientologists, his background as a lobbyist,and his acceptance of same sex marriage. Buzzfeed reported the changes Tuesday, and we highlighted their report.
You really would think people would know better by now when it comes to trying to surrepticiously edit Wikipedia pages to hide information, but they don't. There is a long history of people and companies trying to disappear or edit potentially embarrassing facts from Wikipedia, only to have it backfire directly in their faces via a little thing we call The Streisand Effect. And yet they still try.
The latest example of this is the Florida Senate Campaign for David Jolly attempting to simply delete his ties to the Church of Scientology from his Wikipedia page.
Sarah Bascom, Jolly's spokesperson, confirmed that the campaign removed references to Jolly's past career as a lobbyist, his association with the Church of Scientology, his support for same sex marriage, and political contributions he made to Democratic candidates. Bascom accused a unspecified rival campaign of adding what she described as "campaign propaganda" in the first place. Two edits were made one on March 15 and one on April 4 by a user named "Bascomcomm". Bascom is the president of Bascom Communications & Consulting, a political firm in Florida.
A campaign spokesperson for Rep. David Jolly, a Republican Senate candidate in Florida, admitted to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that the campaign has edited Jolly's Wikipedia page to remove unflattering information.
Sarah Bascom, Jolly's spokesperson, confirmed that the campaign removed references to Jolly's past career as a lobbyist, his association with the Church of Scientology, his support for same sex marriage, and political contributions he made to Democratic candidates. Bascom accused a unspecified rival campaign of adding what she described as "campaign propaganda" in the first place.
Florida Rep. David Jolly wants to take Marco Rubio's seat in the Senate. Unfortunately for him, he also has a long history of ties to the Church of Scientology. Which is why his campaign has been hard at work scrubbing Jolly's Wikipedia page of any mention to the elaborate pyramid scheme of a religion, it recently confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
Jolly's current district in Florida includes the Flag Service Organization, which is the "spiritual headquarters of Scientologists planetwide" and the group's largest church. And the candidate for Senate has been happy to make full use of Scientology's ample funds, accepting donations from "an infamous Scientologist doctor" as well as attending "rallies and fundraisers thrown by the church," according to The Daily Beast.
None of this is particularly conducive to a national election, however, and speaking to BuzzFeed, a spokesperson for Jolly admitted that "the campaign removed references to Jolly's past career as a lobbyist, his association with the Church of Scientology, his support for same sex marriage, and political contributions he made to Democratic candidates."
(Lucia was featured this week in a film at W magazine's website)
Scientology has been battered and bruised by numerous high-profile defections in recent years, including the loss of some its coveted celebrities. But one defection occurred recently in such a quiet manner and yet in plain sight that it went by without making any news of any kind. Until now.
Last May, Lucia Santina Ribisi, the daughter of Avatar actor Giovanni Ribisi, talked openly about what it was like to become disaffected and leave Scientology, even though she grew up in one of the most well known, loyal Scientology families in the entire organization.
With two hand-carved stone lions majestically guarding the huge entrance, this sprawling 100-acre country estate is fit for a king.
But Daily Mail Online can reveal this is the new home of Hollywood megastar Tom Cruise as he oversees a bid to turn his beloved religion of Scientology into a European superpower.
The actor wants to make the controversial religion's headquarters in East Grinstead, Sussex, a major landmark, and has been dipping into his own vast personal fortune to make it happen, sources claim.
2015-04-06, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The fourth installment of my question-and-answer video show, where I take up questions subscribers and commenters have asked me in my videos and answer them as best I can. Questions in this video:
(1) I'm guessing that you're YouTube blog has exploded in popularity after the Going Clear documentary appeared on HBO this week, kudos to you for keeping this conversation going. I'm becoming obsessed, this unraveling is and will continue to be super fascinating! Question: The comment has been made online that Cults don't often "end well". Do you fear, or suspect that as this "Church aka Cult" goes over the cliff, that members will drink the proverbial Kool Aid, take up arms or (fill in the bad ending blank here).
(2) I'm a never-in and have a question for you. Some time ago I was contacted by Scientology trying to update their mailing list. I politely told the woman she had the wrong person and good bye. Then the harassment started. Calls at all hours, texts, etc. I scoured the blogs for information and advice. I finally just blocked numbers and didn't answer any unknown calls. I also turned my phone off at night. Here's the thing: I went from someone who didn't have an opinion about Scientology (sure Tom Cruise is weird, but he's also an actor and you expect a bit of oddity) to someone who now is working to eliminate a dangerous cult. So here is my question: Why didn't Scientology go away when they had confirmation that they had the wrong person? By their own admission the person they were looking for was in another city.
Addiction Canada, a national firm that runs private addiction treatment facilities, has failed to pay thousands of dollars owed to ex-employees, despite orders to do so from government.
Ex-employees say they don't understand why the Ontario government hasn't forced Addiction Canada and its CEO and director John Haines to pay, given the company is still in business and growing. The company runs three facilities in Ontario and has just opened two new centres in Alberta, where it is advertising new jobs.
Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige has a fear of children and a willingness to abuse members of the Church that is shared by Going Clear interview subject, Tom DeVocht. The strange control they hold over their members, and the reason they fear the negative thetans attached to so-called 'suppressive' people is aired in this excerpt from the uncensored Media Mayhem with DeVocht.
Watch the full Media Mayhem interview:
"I haven't experienced anything that the hearsay has (claimed), so why would I communicate something that wasn't true for me?" Travolta said. "It wouldn't make sense, nor would it for Tom, I imagine."
Travolta called Going Clear a product of "people who were disgruntled with their experiences" with Scientology, while the church "has been nothing but brilliant for me."
"I've been so happy with my (Scientology) experience in the last 40 years," he said, "that I really don't have anything to say that would shed light on (a documentary) so decidedly negative.
On Sunday night Mike Rowe, the former Dirty Jobs host and current star of CNN's Somebody's Gotta Do It, used his Facebook page to vent over the treatment of Spanky Taylor that's described in Alex Gibney's documentary about Scientology, Going Clear. Spanky was one of eight former Church of Scientology members who appeared in the film to talk about how they got into the church but later broke away, and Spanky's story about being assigned to the Sea Org's prison detail and having to save her young child from a filthy group nursery is one of the most shocking parts of the movie.
"Going Clear made me angry," Rowe wrote after explaining that he employed Spanky and knew her story, but was still stunned by what he saw in the movie. "And if you're offended by bullies and opportunists who take advantage of people at their most vulnerable, and an IRS that seems both craven and manipulable, it'll make you angry too."
As we explained in a piece about Spanky that appeared a few days before Going Clear first aired on HBO on March 29, she has spent decades working with famous clients, helping them manage their interactions with fans. But she never discloses who her clients are, and we didn't know she's done work for Rowe.
Scientology: Enough is Enough http://exscientologistsireland.org/
Ex-members of the Cult of Scientology speak out against its fraud and abuse at a Dublin conference.
Russell Miller is an award-winning journalist based in Britain whose work has appeared throughout the world. He is the author of 15 acclaimed books, including "Bare-faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard". He has only been sued once by the Church of Scientology. While researching the book in the United States, Miller was spied upon. His friends and business associates also received visits from Scientologists and private detectives. Attempts were made to frame him for the murder of a London private detective, the murder of American singer Dean Reed in East Berlin and a fire in an aircraft factory.
This took Place:
Friday February 6th 2015 from 6:30 p.m. and Saturday February 7th 2015 from 12 noon at Filmbase, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin.
Speakers from Ireland and abroad will share their experiences. The information and testimony shared at the conference will be freely available on this website.
Some of the special guests at the conference include:
John Sweeney (author of Church of Fear)
Russell Miller (author of Bare-faced Messiah)
Jon Atack (author of A Piece of Blue Sky)
Nancy Many (author of My Billion Year Contract)
Stephen Jones (ex-Sea Org)
Dee Findlay (ex-Guardian's Office volunteer)
2015-04-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Should scientology be tax exempt?
At the outset I am not a lawyer. I am certain those more knowledgeable than I can find fault with some imprecise terminology or descriptions I use. But I doubt they would disagree with the general picture I am trying to paint.
Of course, the answer about scientology's tax exempt status for many people (myself included) is "No, they should NOT be entitled to special exemption from taxation."
As I've already written, for 16 years he and his wife Betty directed the leading juvenile drug rehab business in America, STRAIGHT Inc., which prosecutors closed in 1993 after reports of sexual abuse, beatings, prisoner-of-war-style torture and unrelenting cover-ups. Despite the six-figure settlements that sucked the business dry, the 40-plus client suicides, the clinic licenses state health officials yanked, Sembler not only found a way to escape punishment, but he defends his program to this day.
In fact, the program legally changed its identity to the Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF). Director Calvina Fay denies it's the same organization, but the name change is listed in corporate filings. DFAFno longer treats clients, but it's still a major player in shaping domestic and international drug policy.
Please don't think the case against STRAIGHT is just rumor, or political nonsense. Floridas Bureau of Criminal Justice Planning and Assistance found that most cases of child abuse at Straight had been substantiated; that even though STRAIGHT received federal grants, it had "disguised" client fees as "donations"; that in its first 18 months of operation STRAIGHT had enrolled 450 teens but only one had been black; that Sembler had violated federal conflict-of-interest regulations because federal grant money was to be used for "salaries only," but STRAIGHT had put the money in a single bank account along with other STRAIGHT funds at First Bank of Treasure Island. Worse still, Mel Sembler was on the bank's board of directors.
2014-04-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
These random hushmails arrive down the chimney and I dont always have time to even read them. But eventually I publish them as a matter of record as they contain a useful history of the shrinking of the bubble.
The panic has really set in at Flag he is at the OTC meeting handing out lists of local BUSINESSES and the OTC members are responsible for getting them to get their staff in and onto courses or auditing. This email needs to be preserved if only for this reason as evidence in the next lawsuit filed by an employee of a business that is forced to do Scientology as a condition of employment.
How stupid can you get? But this is a manifestation of living in a bubble. Good old Captain FSO is probably oblivious to the fact that this could even be a problem. After all, he has stats to get up and the heat is getting really intense as he is being told now that he is "CI to COB" as he and his entire crew are blocking the success of Super Power/Running Pgm/GAG II. There is no question about this the planning is perfect. These are the greatest innovations in history. COB worked so hard on them. If they are not going right it is because people are making them NOT go right....
It's time for Sunday Funnies, when we take a look at the Scientology mailers and fliers that our tipsters send us from around the world.
As Scientology withers (see yesterday's dire news about that if you haven't already), we can't help being very curious about which poor souls are still taking part and putting on a good face about all of the pressure to donate money.
As always, we'd love to hear more about the people you see in these fliers. If you recognize someone, let us know.
2013-04-06, Miss Fortune, Glistening, Quivering Underbelly
That sound you heard this fine morning was Larry Hagman turning over (and over and over) in his grave.
The Ventura County Star reports that a Scientology-linked non profit has bought the late actor Larry Hagman's Ojai estate -- dubbed "Heaven" by Hagman -- for $5 million cash.
According to the VC Star, the 32-acre property atop Sulphur Mountain sold for $5 million cash to Social Betterment Properties International, a nonprofit that states its mission is to "develop and maintain buildings and other real estate utilized by social betterment organizations carrying out programs that utilize technology and methods developed by L. Ron Hubbard and that are associated with and supported by the Scientology religion."
2013-04-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Chris, Berlin Special Correspondent just chimed in with two VERY relevant and important comments concerning the state of the Berlin "Ideal Org" and how Gold goes about shooting videos based on his personal experience in Berlin.
The information seemed too important not to be made more broadly know with its own Posting.
Thanks Chris we look forward to more excellent, factual information from you.
2013-04-06, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
If folks want to know why there was so much noise in the independent field about my scary, heretical views all the sudden recently, it would behoove you to do as Ron advises in auditing technology and look a little bit earlier.
'Elephant in the room: An English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.'- Wikipedia
The book What Is Wrong With Scientology? Healing Through Understanding marched a veritable herd of elephants into the independent Scientology house. I am going to identify one of those elephants today.
2013-04-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I wrote this for Marty's blog in January 2010.
I had occasion to pull it out for someone to read and I re-read it myself.
Probably many of you saw this when it was originally published, but there are new readers here and I think it worth putting out again. One thing I noted was how little I addressed the subject of identification with MEST [they are] close to MEST and have a very solid agreement with MEST. I have subsequently come to realize just how pervasive Miscavige's agreement with, in fact worship of, MEST is. You can also see more about David Miscavige obsessions here.
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He now has a new edition of the book out, and on Saturdays he's helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
[ALSO TODAY: Another new lawsuit against Narconon Arrowhead; Scientology buys Larry Hagman's Ojai palace; a big victory for blogging in Austria; and more!]
Jon, we know that Scientology relies on its celebrities to burnish its image. But in at least one case, there's someone very famous whose involvement the church would rather keep under wraps. We're talking about Charles Manson, diminutive cult leader and ward of the state of California. What do we know about Charlie's time in Scientology?
Rachel Petersen As we mentioned this morning, yet another lawsuit was filed yesterday against Narconon Arrowhead, Scientology's flagship drug rehab facility in eastern Oklahoma which was featured last night on NBC's Rock Center for its many controversies.
We have the complaint now, which we've posted below, and we'll run down some of the interesting details. This makes the eleventh lawsuit filed recently against Narconon Arrowhead, but what makes this one somewhat unique is that it was filed by a local newspaper reporter who says she was harmed when she went through the program in 2009 and 2010.
And like others, she says she saw employees of Narconon trading drugs for sex.
Johnson had asked Vikki Williams, the outgoing operations director, for help learning the books. But when they sat down together, Williams couldn't explain why the accounts and the school's QuickBooks accounting software suddenly couldn't be accessed.
"Huh. Someone changed the password," Johnson recalled Williams saying. "At that point, I knew it was a game."
That hasn't been the only surprise in the last few weeks at Life Force, a publicly funded charter elementary school that teachers say was overrun by Scientology influence.
2012-04-06, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Now, with a little more than a week to go before Writers of the Future throws its big annual gala on April 15, Scientology is pulling out the big guns, adding surprising names to this year's party. And someone who ran the contest for many years tells us that can mean only one thing: the contest is in big trouble.
As we reported on March 12, we discovered troubling ties between the prestigious contest -- which brings together some of the biggest names in science fiction and fantasy to honor up and coming new writers -- and the startling allegations of abuse at Scientology's international headquarters ("Int Base") about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
With its finances in disarray and its students at a daily risk of falling behind, the ineptly administered and bankrupt Life Force Arts and Technology Academy charter school in Dunedin has become a community embarrassment that cannot be shut down soon enough. It should serve as a clarion call to Florida lawmakers to tighten up oversight of privately run schools that receive public money.
Parents from Clearwater's low-income North Greenwood neighborhood had enrolled their children in the kindergarten-through-fourth grade school on the promise that students would receive a good education and specialized classes in the arts and computer training. Instead, students were subjected to a curriculum with ties to the Church of Scientology, while administrators apparently padded their pockets and doled out sweetheart contracts to cronies.
As the Tampa Bay Times' Drew Harwell reported, while classrooms lacked basic supplies, recently sacked school manager Hanan Islam paid her own management company $70,000 between August 2011 and January of this year. Islam also spent nearly $3,000 on a mystery California accountant only known as "Pauline," who has never been seen at the school. And $30,000 of the school's $800,000 in public money was spent with Islam's World Literacy Crusade, a group that promotes Scientology's "study tech."
2011-04-06, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I am posting Miscavige's immediate knee-jerk response to my post last night, Human Rights Cover Up. This is being issued on all OSA Indy Ops Unit lines. I could write a five page analysis, but I am confident that due to the intelligence level of the participants here its signficance requires no explanation.
Think we might have struck a nerve?
Think we might be missing some withholds?
The Archbishop said the matter called for serious review on the part of the Civil Leadership of the nation.
Good, healthy, drug free living in a crime free society is what we all want but not at the price of compromising our faith and Christian values, he put forward. The fundamental teachings of Scientology are in conflict with the teachings of the Christian faith. As Catholic Christians if we are going to critique Scientology we need to have a good grasp of our own faith. This is a challenge to all Catholics to be better grounded and educated in their faith.
Robert Rivas went on to say the Freewinds had already been banned from entry in St Vincent. He said now was the time, to come out of our comfort zones, rise from our complacency and witness to our faith with greater conviction, deeper commitment and clearer identity.
2010-04-06, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Boston Globe columnist James Carroll had an interesting column yesterday about the current crisis in the Catholic Church. It could have just as well been written about the current crisis in the Church of Scientology.
In his column, entitled "Rescue Catholicism from Vatican," Carroll makes the point that the current crisis is not about the collapse of Catholicism, but the collapse of Catholic fundamentalism, which he describes as "the raising of religious barricades against tides of change." Where Protestant fundamentalists fall back on the authority of the Bible, Catholic fundamentalists fall back on the authority of the Pope.
"Today's Vatican," he continues, "presides as center of a command society with global reach, attempting to exert absolute control over all aspects of Catholic life."
A federal judge dismissed part of a lawsuit brought against the Church of Scientology by a woman who alleged she worked 100-hour weeks for almost no pay for years while a member of Scientology's elite inner corps. U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer issued a written order that dismissed the wage claims portion of Claire Headley's lawsuit. He did not address allegations the church coerces members of the inner corps to get abortions and engages in forced labor. The church denies all the allegations.
A state-funded study wasn't able to find a link between meth exposure and officer illness, but that didn't stop the Utah Legislature from funding treatment.
Senate Republicans allotted $100,000 toward a Scientology-based program.
Moscow, April 6, Interfax - Moscow's South District office of public procurator instituted legal proceedings against the headship of the Narconon-Standard narcological clinic that bases its methods on Scientology, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reports on Friday.
According to the daily, this ideology is disallowed to be practiced in Russian medical institutions. However parents are often ready to use any chance to save their children from drug addiction.
Have you ever wanted to rub shoulders with Tom Cruise and learn about Scientology's detox treatment for 9/11 workers? Then you"ll be excited to learn that the superstar will be in town for an April 19 fund-raiser. The Post reports that while the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project hasn't been approved by the NYPD or FDNY, some swear by it. However, even those involved with the fund-raiser are conflicted.
Scientology superstar Tom Cruise is coming here to promote his controversial "detox" project to 9/11 workers, and will host a mega-fund-raising gala for it.
Tickets for the April 19 fund-raiser, which will star Cruise and benefit the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, run as high as $100,000 for a table for eight.
Attorneys for Scientologists say a medical examiner's report exonerates them in Lisa McPherson's death.
Pinellas prosecutors are standing by their allegation that Lisa McPherson suffered severe dehydration before she died in the care of Church of Scientology staffers in Clearwater.
That alone is enough to allege "great bodily harm" and sustain a charge that the church abused McPherson, prosecutors said at an all- day hearing Wednesday that demonstrated why lawyers for both sides are calling this case one of the more unusual they"ve seen.
"They're trying to shift the emphasis primarily off of them and onto somebody or anybody else," Newkirk Herald-Journal publisher Robert Lobsinger said of the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center.
"They have a tradition of trying to assassinate the reputation of their critics."
The president of a drug treatment center ordered closed by the state claims an apparent conspiracy is behind the Narconon center's inability to get certification.
"There's a lot of different players in this but they're all kind of hooked together," says Narconon Chilocco New Life Center president Gary Smith.
But a local newspaper publisher and a state legislator, both highly critical of the center, said they will continue their scrutiny despite what they called efforts to silence them.
"They're trying to shift the emphasis primarily off of them and onto somebody or anybody else," Newkirk Herald-Journal publisher Robert Lobsinger said of the center.
"They have a tradition of trying to assassinate the reputation of their critics."