Scientology's trophy problem: Did David Miscavige lie, or did the IAS? - 2015-07-06
In November, we told you the saga of Richie Acunto. He was the once high-flying Scientologist who owned Survival Insurance in California, but then whose bankruptcy resulted not only in unhappy investors, but also the stunning auctioning off of his Scientology trophies.
Scientologists are under intense pressure to donate ever bigger sums to the International Association of Scientologists (IAS), the organization's slush fund, and in order to encourage them to do so, the IAS hands out increasing "statuses," like in a video game, and they come with plaques or increasingly ridiculous trophies. At his most successful, five years ago, Acunto had given so much to the IAS, he was named a "Patron Laureate" and was given an especially gaudy knickknack.
He had already been given trophies for reaching "Silver Meritorious" with donations totaling $750,000, and "Gold Meritorious" for donating $1 million, then "Platinum Meritorious" for giving $2.5 million, and then "Diamond Meritorious" for donating $5 million. But it was for reaching the cumulative total of $10 million that Acunto unlocked the "Patron Laureate" trophy in 2010. Here's what it looked like…