Scientology's Florida kingdom like something out of a Stephen King novel - 2017-03-09

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F94.png Scientology's Florida kingdom like something out of a Stephen King novel March 9, 2017, Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star

In this down-on-its-heels resort town, one thing is for sure: It's an occupying power and avaricious property-gobbling enterprise.

Since arriving in Clearwater in 1975 — founder L. Ron Hubbard, a sci-fi shlock writer, had earlier been commanding his made-up religion from four ships wandering the oceans, forbidden to dock at port after port — and establishing here its international spiritual headquarters, the "Church" has acquired more than $260 million in property, essentially commandeering the city's downtown area as a nonincorporated Dianetics township.

Its real estate kingdom, most of which is tax exempt for religious purposes, includes the signature Fort Harrison, a hotel turned into housing for visiting Scientology adherents; the Super Powers Building (church HQ, formally called The Flag Building, Clearwater's largest structure with a construction cost of $50 million (U.S.) when it opened four years ago); Clearwater Academy, an exclusive school for the children of Sea Org (top tier, see naval fleet original) members; The Coachman (largest Scientology library in the world, the city's first highrise building, built in 1916); the former Clearwater Bank Building (administration offices and staff dining); Station Square (146-unit condominium); a drug rehab facility (actually a 10-minute drive from downtown, and drug-rehab means not professionally recognized counselling, mostly just mind-numbing immersion in Hubbard doorstoppers); and a colonnaded information centre where those aforementioned books and DVDs are stacked tall on tables.


{{cite news | first = Rosie | last = DiManno | title = Scientology's Florida kingdom like something out of a Stephen King novel | url = https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/03/09/scientologys-florida-kingdom-like-something-out-of-a-stephen-king-novel-dimanno.html | work = Toronto Star | date = March 9, 2017 | accessdate = March 9, 2017 }}