Scientology invited local business owners to its Clearwater celeb party. Well, except one. - 2017-04-14
On Tuesday, Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige invited the business and property owners of Clearwater, Florida's Cleveland Street for an unusual private presentation at the Fort Harrison Hotel, centerpiece of the church's Flag Land Base that takes up much of Clearwater's downtown area.
Tracey McManus of the Tampa Bay Times revealed that Miscavige had invited the Cleveland Street "stakeholders" to pitch them on his plans for a revitalized downtown, and he'd even brought along top Scientology celebrities John Travolta, Kelly Preston, and Kirstie Alley to bolster his pitch. (And we spotted Scientology billionaire Bob Duggan in photos of the event as well.)
Miscavige is trying to throw a wrench into the city's $55 million, 10-year redevelopment plan it calls "Imagine Clearwater," the city's latest attempt to resuscitate a town that was invaded by the church (operating under a fake name) in 1975, and that has been strangled of life in the decades since by Scientology's presence. One of the elements of that plan is a 1.4-acre parcel that an aquarium company has committed to sell to the city for $4.25 million, pending a vote by the city council next week. But Miscavige wants to derail that transaction, offering not only $15 million for the parcel, but also promising to spend some $8 million for new facades on the buildings along Cleveland Street.