Downtown Clearwater board election could bring majority Scientology representation - 2017-10-06
CLEARWATER — For what appears to be the first time ever, an elected city board could be made up by a majority of people associated with the Church of Scientology, downtown's largest and most influential property owner.
The Downtown Development Board, which oversees a special taxing district tasked with marketing downtown and promoting events, has three of its seven seats up for grabs in an election that will be counted Tuesday. Four of the nine candidates, who are required to live, work or own a business downtown, are Scientology parishioners.
Two of the seven current board members are also parishioners and business owners, setting up the potential for the board to be represented by a clear majority of officials associated with the Church of Scientology, which owns $207 million worth of property under its name and at least another $27 million under anonymous LLCs.