Scientology: still the same - 1988-12-27
Cazares should know. Few Tampa Bay residents have felt the sting of the Scientologists' venom as sharply as Cazares, who reacted with understandable concern in the mid-1970s when the secretive, California-based organization started buying up his town. To date, the group has purchased 12 parcels of property, with a taxable value of more than $21-million.
The Scientologists don't pay taxes, though. The group has ignored its Pinellas County tax bill since 1981, claiming it should share the tax exemption meant for traditional religious organizations. The bill now stands at a whopping $2.84-million, but the Church of Scientology doesn't seem worried. While the lawyers haggle, the group's various local enterprises draw an estimated $1.5-million to $2-million in revenues weekly. At that rate, the Scientologists could easily make good on seven years' worth of delinquent taxes in two weeks.