While doing a search on PR Newswire through Nexis
for Scientology-related articles, Diane Richardson and Keith Spurgeon, two
Scientology critics, came upon an affidavit signed by Paulette Cooper that made
no sense at all. In it, Cooper denounced her former counsel, Michael Flynn,
right when he was in the best position to take the CoS down altogether. Her
sudden settlement with the CoS was already a serious blow to Flynn's case and
set a bad precedent, but her declaration made litigation against the CoS even
more difficult for others and was potentially damaging for their cases.
Asked for the reason she made it on ARS, Paulette
became very defensive and pretended that the clause of her settlement prevented
her from discussing it, even though she said in another occasion that the clause
of her settlement didn't include a gag order. Shortly later, she supposedly
"unsubscribed" from ARS, and rather than address the issue publicly,
engaged in a smear campaign against Diane through her mailing list. The reasons
for Cooper's settlement and affidavit only started to make more sense for Diane
and Keith when they ran into the Bast tapes.
Usenet post from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.
>In article <email@example.com>,
>>I haven't see Paulette Cooper betraying
or implicating anyone.
Dave Bird---St Hippo of Augustine
>No, I think all the clams got out of her was a statement that her book "wasn't first-hand experience". They then misrepresented this as saying it "wasn't true", which is something else altogther. That's as far as it went.
No, that's NOT as far as it went. You're referring to the original
lawsuit the "Church" of Scientology[tm] filed against Paulette Cooper.
Much later, after the FBI had seized documents from the CoS and made
them publicly available, Paulette Cooper took on Michael Flynn as her
attorney and *she* sued the "Church" of Scientology[tm]. She
certainly had a valid case and had documents seized from the "Church"
by the FBI as proof of her accusations.
Michael Flynn had taken on a number of ex-Scns as clients. Lavenda
Van Schaick was the first of these, but the number grew to somewhere
around 50 all told. Among those clients was Gerry Armstrong, along
with Paulette Cooper.
It sure does seem to me, looking back on it, that Michael Flynn had
the golden opportunity to "utterly destroy" the "Church" of
Scientology[tm] at that point. Between Paulette Cooper's
documentation and Gerry Armstrong's collection of LRH documents,
it would appear that Flynn had Hubbard and his organization nailed.
From the CoS viewpoint, it's no wonder that they made Flynn's life a
living hell. He had, to all intents and purposes, the stuff that
could blow apart the entire CoS web of lies, deceit, and dirty tricks.
But then things started unravelling. People started bailing out of
Flynn's campaign, firing him as their attorney and reaching private
settlements with the CoS. I'm interested in finding out who started
that stampede for the exits.
As an aside, I believe that Gerry Armstrong was one of the last of
Flynn's clients to abandon ship. By that time, it would appear that
Flynn's "big guns" had already left and Flynn realized he no longer
had an open and shut case against the cult. Flynn himself reached a
settlement with the "Church" and he convinced Gerry Armstrong to do
the same. Armstrong, of course, later regretted the settlement
agreement he reached with the CoS and is still battling over the terms
of the agreement.
Usenet post from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.
I should point out that the declaration Paulette Cooper swore out for
the "Church" of Scientology[tm] was done *years* (perhaps as much as a
decade) after the harassment ceased.
We may choose to excuse Kim Baker's activity on insufferable pressure,
but that certainly can't be Paulette Cooper's excuse. She settled out
of court with the cult, signed over (for a second time) the rights to
"The Scandal of Scientology," and most likely shafted a number of
other litigants involved in the lawsuit at the time.
I doubt if we'll ever hear the facts behind *that* story, however.
Let me know if you'd like to see Paulette Cooper's declaration
reposted here. I'll be glad to oblige.
AFFIDAVIT OF PAULETTE COOPER
(State of New York, County of New York)
Paulette Cooper, being first duly sworn according to law, deposes and says:
-- I am Paulette Cooper, a resident of the City of New York, State of New York.
-- I have a long history of conflict with the Church of Scientology, and I have
been involved in substantial litigation against the church between 1971 and
earlier this year. All litigation between the church and me has been settled and
-- In 1978, one such lawsuit commenced between me
and the Church of Scientology in the United States District Court for the
Central District of California sitting in Los Angeles, Church of Scientology of
California Inc. v. Paulette Cooper, Case No. 78-2053-RMT. While the church
claimed that I had breached a prior settlement agreement with it, the principle
focus of the lawsuit soon became my counterclaim for personal injuries against
the church. I was represented in that case by Attorney John McNicholas. During
the year 1980, Boston Attorney Michael J. Flynn convinced me that he should file
on my behalf a lawsuit in Boston, Mass., against Scientology, alleging some of
the matters that were the subject of my lawsuit pending in Los Angeles. I
retained Attorney Flynn to file such a lawsuit in my behalf in the United States
District Court for the District of Massachusetts, captioned Paulette Cooper v.
Church of Scientology of Boston, et al., Civil Action No. 81-681-MC.
-- I allowed Mr. Flynn to file the Boston case, and replaced my counsel in Los
Angeles with an attorney selected by Mr. Flynn, because Mr. Flynn explained to
me that he had devised a strategy for quickly and easily winning my litigation
against Scientology and collecting money on a judgment. He explained that his
whole strategy was based upon conducting an attack against Scientology founder
L. Ron Hubbard by naming Mr. Hubbard as a defendant in my lawsuits. Mr. Flynn
said that he believed that Mr. Hubbard would never appear in any of the lawsuits
in which he was named, for any one of a number of possible reasons. Mr. Flynn
told me that it was his belief that by approximately 1979, Mr. Hubbard had
severed his ties with the church. The litigation, said Mr. Flynn, would be
quickly terminated, either by obtaining a default judgment against Mr. Hubbard,
or by having the Church of Scientology settle the litigation in order to protect
-- In pursuit of this strategy of winning by seeking default judgments, my
attorney filed in my lawsuits sworn statements alleging that Mr. Hubbard was in
control of Scientology's activities, and that he directed a campaign against me.
However, I never had any real evidence or reason (other than the word of my
lawyers) to believe that Mr. Hubbard was in control of the activities of the
Church of Scientology, and my attorneys never presented me with any evidence
that such was the case. It is clear to me, on the basis of my conversation with
Mr. Flynn on this subject, that the allegations concerning Mr. Hubbard's control
over day-to-day Scientology activities had no basis in fact, but were being made
solely for strategic reasons in pursuit of a default judgment.
Sworn to before me this 4th day of March, 1985.
Alda N. Boyrie, Notary Public
Usenet post from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.
No, Diane you are wrong on several points. Although the Scientologists
have recently released some alleged affidavit, while I don't remember
signing that specific document, the statements were indeed made by me *in
1984* when a bar association complaint was filed against Michael Flynn,
which believe me, I was all for. If I did indeed sign that affidavit,
then I did it more than a decade ago as part of the final settlement and
I'm not supposed to discuss that.
And I don't know how you can say that Kim had "insufferable pressure"
against her to sign affidavits but that I didn't have that excuse (in
1984). I am not aware that Kim spent most of 15 years as SP#1 with a full
contingent of B1 people constantly plotting to get her, and with daily
dirty tricks against her; nor am I aware that Scientology ever had her
arrested and indicted and that she had to spend 8 months and $28,000
fighting those charges alone; nor am I aware that she was deposed for 50
days, that 50 of her friends were deposed, that her elderly parents were
repeatedly harassed, and that she had to defend 19 frivolous lawsuits
against her all over the world on her own money. If I temporarily
in 1984, what should be surprising was not that I did but that it didn't
I also found your statement interesting that I turned over the rights to
"The Scandal of Scientology" twice. That certainly is news to me. If I
did it twice, that means that the second time wasn't valid. Hmmm. :-)
And I resent your statement that I "most likely shafted a number of other
litigants involved in"my lawsuits. I was the only one involved in my
suit, and I believe that my settlement helped those on other suits who
And no you will never hear the whole story of the settlement, as you well
know, because I signed an agreement not to discuss it, as you well know.
I am not going to get into a public spitting match with you or any other
enemy of Scientology because I think if we're truly concerned about what
Scientology is still doing to its critics, then we should avoid acting
like the Scientologists and DAing and demeaning these critics ourselves.
It would be best legally if this is the last I have to say about his whole
issue, and those who truly want me to avoid going back to court with
Scientology will respect this by ending this whole discussion, so I don't
feel I have to defend myself by breaking the secrecy of the settlement
agreement--to defend myself from someone on "our side" no less!
Usenet post from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.
>No, Diane you are wrong on several points. Although the Scientologists have recently released some alleged affidavit, while I don't remember signing that specific document, the statements were indeed made by me *in 1984* when a bar association complaint was filed against Michael Flynn,
The affidavit wasn't released recently. It was located in a database
search. I've never seen any Scientologists[tm] either post or mention
>which believe me, I was all for. If I did indeed sign that affidavit, then I
did it more than a decade ago as part of the final settlement and I'm not
supposed to discuss that.
Are you claiming that you *didn't* sign such an affidavit? If you did
not, you certainly have cause to sue the CoS for libel, since at the
time of your settlement, they issued it to newspapers across the
country by means of the PR Newswire. It's still quite accessible,
independent of the "Church," by accessing Nexis.
>And I don't know how you can say that Kim had "insufferable pressure" put
against her to sign affidavits but that I didn't have that excuse (in >1984). I
am not aware that Kim spent most of 15 years as SP#1 with a full >contingent of
B1 people constantly plotting to get her, and with daily dirty tricks against
her; nor am I aware that Scientology ever had her arrested and indicted and that
she had to spend 8 months and $28,000 fighting those charges alone; nor am I
aware that she was deposed for 50 days, that 50 of her friends were deposed,
that her elderly parents were repeatedly harassed, and that she had to defend 19
frivolous lawsuits against her all over the world on her own money. If I
temporarily "broke"in 1984, what should be surprising was not that I did but
that it didn't happen earlier.
Was the CoS "constantly plotting to get" you at the time you
that affidavit? It appears that their dirty tricks against you ended
*years* before you signed that affidavit.
I'm still incredibly curious to find out why you never bothered to
file charges against CoS operatives for the dirty tricks they pulled
against you. You had incontestable proof that such tricks were pulled
from the files seized during the FBI raid. Why didn't you prosecute?
>I also found your statement interesting that I turned over the rights to "The
Scandal of Scientology" twice. That certainly is news to me. If I did it twice,
that means that the second time wasn't valid. Hmmm. :-)
Ron Newman was the source of this information. If it is incorrect, it
is because he misinformed me. He was telling me what you had told
him. Perhaps you and he should clear up that misunderstanding.
>And I resent your statement that I "most likely shafted a number of other
litigants involved in"my lawsuits. I was the only one involved in my suit, and I
believe that my settlement helped those on other suits who settled later.
Really? Like Lavenda Van Schaick? David Mayo?
>And no you will never hear the whole story of the settlement, as you well know,
because I signed an agreement not to discuss it, as you well know.
No, I do *not* well know. You have informed us *in public* that you
never signed a nondisclosure agreement with the cult. Perhaps you'd
like to check out the FAQ you wrote and posted to this newsgroup.
>I am not going to get into a public spitting match with you or any other enemy
of Scientology because I think if we're truly concerned about what Scientology
is still doing to its critics, then we should avoid acting like the
Scientologists and DAing and demeaning these critics ourselves.
I'm just trying to get to the bottom of what's going on here. There
certainly appears to be critics amongst us who do not share the same fsdesire to learn what *really* happened in past events.
The "Church" of Scientology[tm] has learned that sugar-coating a
version of the "truth" does not work well on alt.religion.scientology.
Perhaps it's time that a few critics learn the same lesson.
>It would be best legally if this is the last I have to
say about his whole issue, and those who truly want me to avoid going back to court with Scientology will respect this by ending this whole discussion, so I don't feel I have to defend myself by breaking the secrecy of the settlement agreement--to defend myself from someone on "our side" no less!
I have signed no legal agreements with either the "Church" of
Scientology[tm] or you, Ms. Cooper, so don't expect my questions to
disappear. I'm just doing what I've always done here -- trying to
learn the truth behind the lies.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Diane Richardson)
Sun, 09 Jun 1996 05:08:28 GMT
We all know that L. Ron Hubbard was running the church back then.
Paulette Cooper knew that. Michael Flynn knew that as well. It would
appear to me that Paulette Cooper was willing to falsely swear under
oath to something that she knew was a lie.
email@example.com (Diane Richardson)
13 Jul 1996 00:00:00 GMT
Subject: Re: Hubbard as Managing Agent of the CoS
>In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Sister Clara <email@example.com> writes
>>But one thing I continue to find interesting. It has been put forward as
a proposition that Paulette's affidavit blew away the cases of her fellow litigants. I still do not understand why this one document should have
the power to do that.
Sherilyn <Sherilyn@sidaway.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>I agree with you completely on this point. I do not believe that the document
had the power to do anything of the sort, as it is completely at odds with the
evidence that Diane has just posted.
>It reads like a simple bit of PR, aimed mainly at the publics. If it was
material in overturning cases against the cult, I'd be surprised.
Actually, the document was solicited for a very specific purpose,
although it was used along with other CoS-manufactured evidence in
later cases as well.
Paulette Cooper swore out her declaration on 4 March 1985. The
"Church" of Scientology[tm] filed the declaration, along with an
accompanying press release, on 21 March of the same year. Let's look
at events surrounding the declaration.
In 1983, the CoS filed a $2-million defamation lawsuit against Michael
Flynn for statements he allegedly made implying that "a large
organization" had tried to murder him by placing water in the fuel
tanks of his private airplane. [PR Newswire, Friday, 5 August 1983]
The lawsuit was initially dismissed by Judge Manuel Real of the U.S.
District Court for the Central District of California. The "Church"
appealed, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision in
October 1984 and ordered Judge Real to rehear the case.
[United Press International, Wednesday, 3 October 1984]
Pretrial hearings began in early 1985. Flynn's lawyers included L.
Ron Hubbard on their deposition list. "Church" lawyers stated that
Hubbard would "not be available" for deposition. The matter went
before Judge Real on March 11, 1985.
Judge Real ordered Hubbard to appear in Los Angeles for deposition on
March 20. ["Scientology Founder's Appearance Ordered," Los Angeles
Times, Tuesday, 12 March 1985] Hubbard, of course, failed to appear.
Flynn's attorneys then asked Judge Real to dismiss the lawsuit because
of Hubbard's failure to show. ["Reclusive Scientology Founder L. Ron
Hubbard Fails to Appear for Questions," Associated Press, Wednesday,
20 March 1985]
On March 21, John Peterson, the CoS lawyer handling the case, filed
Paulette Cooper's declaration, claiming it "revealed for the first
time a sordid billion-dollar plot of extortion and perjury aimed at
the Church of Scientology." Flynn's attorneys filed a declaration by
Joseph M. Flanagan (who appeared as one of Paulette Cooper's
co-defendants in another CoS lawsuit), implying that she had been paid
$50,000 for the statement. [United Press International, Saturday, 23
The trial proper began and ended on Monday, April 1, 1985. Judge Real
dismissed the lawsuit because of Hubbard's failure to appear for the
20 March deposition. The evidence that convinced Judge Real to
dismiss the suit was neither Cooper's declaration nor Flanagan's
I quote from The Los Angeles Tmes, Tuesday, 2 April, 1985, "Hubbard's
Absence Leads to Dismissal of Scientology Suit":
"Chief U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real, in dismissing the
libel suit against Boston attorney Michael J. Flynn, challenged the
claims that Hubbard cannot be contacted as he waved a
Scientology advertising supplement from The Times at the
The Scientology advertisement, which Real said he noticed in his
Sunday newspaper, proclaimed, 'You can always write to L. Ron
Hubbard,' and quoted Hubbard as saying:
'I am always willing to help. . . . Any message addressed to me and
sent to the address of the nearest Scientology Church or Mission
listed in the back of this booklet shall be given prompt and full
attention in accordance with my wishes.'
Real introduced the Scientology advertising supplement into the court
record after John G. Peterson, an attorney for the church, had
repeated his position that Hubbard was not available to be deposed by
Flynn's attorneys in connection with the libel suit.
'Then why do you advertise that he can be reached?' Real asked."
As the American Lawyer noted in its 15 April 1985 report on the case,
"Sometimes it doesn't pay to advertise."
The litigation, of course, did not end there. The CoS lawyers were
back in Judge Real's courtroom on 9 September 1985, arguing to have
the lawsuit reinstated.
During the proceedings, Ken Hoden, the CoS Los Angeles president, rose
from his seat and demanded to speak. He called Judge Real a liar,
upon which Judge Real held Hoden in contempt and had U.S. marshals
forcibly remove Hoden from the courtroom. This incident occurred just
a couple of weeks after Judge Real had ordered CoS lawyer John
Randolph jailed for contempt in another cult case he was hearing -- a
lawsuit the CoS had filed against Laurel Sullivan.
That's another story entirely, however. :)
In the end, the specific purpose for which Paulette Cooper's
declaration was solicited by cult lawyers was not aided by the
document. That did not, however, keep "Church" lawyers from using the
same document in other cases, and with better effect.
I will do my best to present these cases in future posts. I was made
aware of the continued use of Paulette Cooper's declaration by David
Mayo, whose own case was adversely affected by the "Church's" use
of that document. It appears that Larry Wollersheim's original
lawsuit was unnecessarily delayed and made more complex because
this declaration was entered as evidence as well.
I do not claim that Paulette Cooper's declaration alone was damning
enough to alter the outcome of later litigation. I believe, however,
that it was utilized successfully by "Church" attorneys to extend
litigation and to make the litigation more expensive for their
opponents. The declaration was only one of several "dirty tricks"
that "Church" attorneys used. The secret videotape made by Gene
Ingram of Gerry Armstrong's purported revelation of a conspiracy
between Michael Flynn and government officials to take control of the
"Church" was another. I will present these events as I find time to
>Does this show any evidence that Michael Flynn still knew whether Hubbard was
in control of Scientology at that time or not? Do your other press clippings
show any evidence?
The court records of the time provide ample evidence that Hubbard was
legally considered the "managing agent" of the Scientology[tm]
organization. In an accompanying post, I will provide the text of a
similar case, in which the courts found L. Ron Hubbard to be the
managing agent of the CoS.
Flynn was neither the first nor the only lawyer to sue L. Ron Hubbard
as the managing agent of the Scientology[tm] organization. To my
knowledge, the first instance of this occurred in an Oregon lawsuit
filed by Martin Samuels, the franchise holder of the Portland mission,
against L. Ron Hubbard personally.
Samuels' lawsuit was similar to those filed by Flynn on behalf of his
clients. He alleged that Hubbard directed and controlled others to
commit torts against him -- conversion, outrageous conduct, defamation
and fraud. Hubbard failed to appear and was found in default. The
CoS appealed the decision, asking to be allowed to stand in for
Hubbard. The Oregon Court of Appeals did not allow the intervention
of the CoS and upheld the lower court's decision requiring Hubbard to
appear in person. (71 Or. App. 481; 692 P.2d 700 1984).
As to what is meant by Hubbard's "directing and controlling" others,
this is defined in a legal, rather than in a practical, sense.
Whether or not Hubbard was still running the Scientology[tm]
organization, it was being run under the authority of Hubbard's name
as Founder of the religion. That made Hubbard responsible for the
activities of Scientology[tm] subordinates.
The complaint Flynn filed as his own lawsuit against Hubbard is
available at http://www.sky.net/~sloth/flynn.cmplnt. Section IV, Statement of the Claim, details Flynn's reasons for suing Hubbard as
managing agent of the CoS. They include:
Defendant is the founder, controller, principal and absolute
authority over the Scientology organizations and individuals.
The Scientology organizations, as well as various individuals,
acting as agents of defendant within the scope of the authority
granted to them by and upon his express orders, engaged in
the conspiracy to perpetrate the torts alleged herein.
Hubbard ordered that the directors and officers of each of the
Scientology organizations enumerated above sign written
resignations in advance of their appointment as Directors and
Officers and this was done. Hubbard held these "resignations"
and over a period of years whenever any of said Directors
contested his orders or authority, he removed them from their
capacity in said corporations, and appointed new individuals who
complied with his orders and policies.
Hubbard was a required signatory on every bank account over
$5,000 of each said Scientology organization.
Hubbard established, supervised and controlled an organization
called the "Guardian's Office" ("G.O.") which he placed in
the Scientology corporations for purposes of enforcing his express
daily orders. He routinely called these orders the "daily battle
At all times material hereto, the G.O. employed individuals under
Hubbard's direction to operate in California, Las Vegas, Nevada,
Boston, Massachusetts, Clearwater, Florida, and diverse other
places. Plaintiff has possession of the written policy of Hubbard
establishing and directing the G.O., together with the "training
materials" of the G.O., written by Hubbard, all of which were used to
commit the torts alleged herein.
At all times material hereto, Hubbard has controlled said Scientology
organizations and issued express daily orders to them through
several individuals. These agents include his wife, Mary Sue
Hubbard, Jane Kember (the head of the G.O.), Arthur Maren (an
employee of the G.O.), David Miscavige (the current liaison of
express orders between Hubbard and the G.O. and all Scientology
organizations), Norman Starkey (an employee of the G.O.), Joseph
Lisa (an employee of the G.O.) and Lyman Spurlock (in charge of ASI
and all financial affairs of Hubbard and the Scientology
organizations). Plaintiff is in possession of a 286 page
"Stipulation of Evidence" filed in United States v. Mary Sue Hubbard
Crim. #78-401 (D.C.D.C. 1978), and executed by Mary Sue Hubbard and
eight (8) of the highest officials of the G.O., all as agents of
Hubbard, in which said individuals stipulate that Hubbard is the
"overall supervisor" of the G.O. Said "Stipulation of
Evidence" is a
detailed stipulation of the "operation" of the G.O. to
of the "enemies" of Hubbard, one of which was the plaintiff.
At all times material hereto Hubbard used the Scientology
organizations and the above-named individuals and others to
implement and enforce both his policies and his daily orders.
Some of the policies were written and copyrighted by Hubbard and
his agents and used by his agents as overall policy directives to
carry out his orders. Some of the written policies that were
specifically implemented against the plaintiff as hereinafter
described are set forth below . . . .
[Fair Game and other policies are then quoted.]
Hubbard, of course, was found in default when he failed to appear in
court to defend himself against Flynn's lawsuit. This time, Mary Sue
Hubbard appealed, asking to be allowed to intervene in the lawsuit,
since her interests would be jeopardized by an adverse judgment
against her husband.
The appeal was heard by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which
would not permit Mary Sue to intervene for her husband and upheld
Hubbard's default. The decision was issued February 6, 1986 at
782 F.2d; 4 Fed R. Serv.3d (Callaghan) 18.
Interestingly, the Federal Government also successfully employed the
same tactic in its court battles with the Scientology[tm]
organizations, which may well explain Hubbard's reticence to appear in
*any* courtroom during that time period. I will post a lengthy
excerpt from the decision of the Appeals Court which details the
evidence for holding Hubbard responsible as the managing agent of the
Scientology[tm] organizations up until the time of his death.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Diane Richardson)
08 Jul 1996 00:00:00 GMT
In 1978, the "Church" of Scientology[tm] filed suit against the United
States government and a number of Federal Government officials (FBI
director, Attorney General, CIA director, NSA director, etc.),
alleging an extensive campaign of government harassment. The lawsuit
never got beyond the pretrial discovery stage. The defendants (the
Federal Government) issued a notice to depose L. Ron Hubbard on August
24, 1984. Hubbard, of course, refused to appear. The government then
moved to either dismiss the case or compel Hubbard's deposition. The
Court agreed, ordering the defendants to issue another deposition
notice along with a factual statement as to why Hubbard's deposition
Hubbard, of course, failed to appear again. The CoS submitted
numerous declarations by offcials of individual Scientology[tm]
churches and high officials in the central Scientology[tm]
organization, denying not only Hubbard's status as managing agent, but
any capability of contacting him. The Government responded with
additional declarations and other evidence in support of Hubbard's
status as managing agent.
On March 13, 1985, the District Court found that the Government had
established "at least a prima facie case" that Hubbard was managing
agent as of November 19, 1984. Yet another deposition notice was
issued for Hubbard to appear. Once again, Hubbard didn't show. The
CoS lawsuit was then dismissed because of Hubbard's failure to appear.
The "Church" of Scientology[tm] appealed the dismissal to the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The Appeals Court
decision, although reached after Hubbard's death, settled the matter
Below is an extended excerpt from the Appeals Court decision.
802 F.2d 1448; 5 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 1169;
256 U.S. App. D.C. 54
FOUNDING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF WASHINGTON, D.C., INC.,
APPELLANT v. WILLIAM H. WEBSTER, DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
802 F.2d 1448; 5 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 1169; 256 U.S.
App. D.C. 54
June 3, 1986, Argued
September 26, 1986
L. Ron Hubbard resigned from his official position as Executive
Director of Scientology Churches in 1966, after serving for more than
a decade. He continued thereafter in the ostensibly nominal position
of "Founder." The Government offered abundant evidence in the District
Court, however, that Hubbard played a uniquely prominent role within
Scientology and various affiliated organizations from 1966 until the
early 1980's. As founder of Scientology and the sole source of its
scriptures, Hubbard enjoyed authority difficult for the founder and
owner of a garden-variety private business to attain. Private,
secular concerns may advance beyond the vision of its founder;
new talents may need to be secured as the cycles of the organization's
development unfold. It is not at all an unfamiliar situation for the
entrepreneur -- the visionary -- to find inhospitable the
administration of the vast enterprise spawned by his experimentation
in the laboratory or workshop. But an organization claiming to be a
religion that is built upon the word of a single individual venerated
by the flock of the faithful is, it scarcely needs to be said, a
rather different sort of entity. It is not disputed that, in the
spiritual or ecclesiastical matters asserted to be the high mission of
Scientology organizations, the word of L. Ron Hubbard has remained
From evidence adduced below, Hubbard appears to have maintained
control in administrative matters through high positions in such
entities as the Sea Organization, "an elite fraternity of
Scientologists." Church of Scientology of California v. Comm'r, 83
T.C. 381, 389 (1984). n6 Indeed, uncontested declarations before the
District Court leave little doubt about either the ecclesiastical or
administrative dimensions of Hubbard's authority during the
period from 1966 to 1982. The declarations of Diana Sue
Reisdor-Voegeding and John Nelson, associates of Hubbard until 1982,
describe the mechanisms by which Hubbard controlled operations of
Scientology and its related organizations, passed on orders to
subordinates, and sought to avoid prosecution for his ties
to the Church. J.A. at 395-403. Beyond these declarations
specifically cited by the District Court (J.A. at 429), the Government
submitted other declarations bearing on the question of Hubbard's
control. Laurel Sullivan, an officer in the Scientology organizations
from 1973 to 1981, asserted that public pronouncements to the effect
that Hubbard had at that time disassociated himself from the [*1454]
Scientology organizations were "completely untrue," and that he in
fact issued orders that were immediately obeyed. J.A. at 208. Kima
Douglas, who worked at the Church from 1968 through 1980, declared
that Hubbard exercised "complete control over the entire (Church)
organization." J.A. at 216. Gerald Armstrong, another associate, told
of a 1980 meeting to make plans to conceal Hubbard's acknowledged
control over "all aspects of" the Church of Scientology of California.
J.A. at 222. The Tax Court decision to which we just alluded, in
denying the California Church of Scientology tax-exempt status
for the years 1970, 1971 and 1972, set forth detailed findings about
Hubbard's relation to that organization along with the numerous other
Scientology organizations. Church of Scientology v. Comm'r, supra.
The Tax Court harbored no doubt that Hubbard "kept control over" the
policies, actions, and even the finances of the California Church.
Id. at 389; n7 see also n.6, supra.
n6 The Tax Court found that although Hubbard had officially
resigned from his position as Executive Director of Scientology in
1966, he remained in the "top position." Through the Hubbard
Communications Office Policy Letters, he controlled the basic
administrative policy of the California Church, the "Mother
Church" of all Churches of Scientology in the United States, 81 T.C.
at 389, 401. Through various types of policy directives, including
"Flag Orders," "L. Ron Hubbard Executive Directives," and
the Day," Hubbard directed operations in Scientology's subsidiary
organizations. Id. at 389.
Hubbard also retained control over Scientology's financial affairs.
He was a signatory on all Scientology bank accounts. His approval was
required for all financial planning. He was the sole trustee of a
major Scientology fund. He controlled Operation Transport Corp.,
Ltd., a sham corporation which purportedly performed banking services
for "Flag," Scientology's administrative center. Id. at 389, 399,
Further, Hubbard supervised "auditing," the process through which
Scientologists help an individual gain "spiritual competence." He also
continued to develop Scientology doctrine, id. at 385, 389, as our
subsequent discussion in the text will show.
n7 To be sure, the findings by various courts which have found
themselves immersed in Scientology-related litigation have not been
entirely uniform in this respect. See Church of Scientology of
California & Founding Churches of Scientology of Washington, D.C. v.
Siegelman, No. 79 Civ. 1166 (S.D.N.Y. order dated Oct. 27, 1980)
("absence of any official connection" to Churches on the basis of
evidence before the court prohibits compulsion of Hubbard as a
witness), J.A. at 271-73.
Beyond the overall dominance that he exercised over the Scientology
organizations during this earlier period, Hubbard was closely linked
to, if not in charge of, the activities for which appellees initially
sought his deposition. The primary evidence about these activities
emerges from the criminal prosecution in which seven members of the
church, including Hubbard's wife, were found guilty of conspiracy to
obstruct justice. In that trial, one defendant was found guilty of
conspiring illegally to obtain government documents, and another was
found guilty of theft of government property. See United States v.
Hubbard, 208 U.S. App. D.C. 399, 650 F.2d 293, 301 (D.C. Cir.
1980). In a Stipulation of Evidence submitted in that case, the
defendants recounted a full-fledged campaign mounted by the Church of
Scientology and its affiliated organizations against the United States
Government, particularly the Internal Revenue Service. See
Stipulation of Evidence, supra. The conspiracy, involving all levels
of the Church hierarchy, encompassed theft of government
documents for use in litigation against the United States,
falsification of government identification cards, wiretapping,
infiltration and perjury. See id. The Stipulation indicated that
Hubbard "was, by virtue of his role as the founder and leader of
Scientology, overall supervisor of the Guardian's Office,"
a Scientology entity which carried out these illicit activities. Id.
at 7. Indeed, the grand jury named Hubbard as an unindicted
co-conspirator in that case. Those indicted and convicted included not
only Hubbard's wife, who "as the second person in the hierarchy of
Scientology, had duties which included supervision of the Guardian's
Office," id. at 8, but several other officials occupying high posts in
the Scientology hierarchy.
The criminal case does not stand alone. The Tax Court decision to
which we previously referred denied the Church tax exempt status in
part because of this conspiracy by the Scientology organizations,
"beginning in 1969 and continuing at least until July 7, 1977." Church
of Scientology of California v. Comm'r, supra, 83 T.C. at 505. Finding
that the Church of Scientology of California "filed false tax returns,
burglarized IRS offices, stole IRS documents, and harassed, delayed,
and obstructed IRS agents who tried to audit the Church's
records," id., the Tax Court held that the California Church had
violated public policy and thereby lost entitlement to any exemption
which it might otherwise have enjoyed. 83 T.C. at 506-09.
Abundant evidence supports the proposition that Hubbard continued
in his de facto position as head of the Church. n8 Based on [*1455]
the evidence in the record, the District Court rightly concluded that
Hubbard was in a position to provide information about the conspiracy
on behalf of the Scientology organizations for this purpose.
n8 We observe that other courts have reached inconsistent results
in related cases concerning the managing-agent status of Hubbard in
more recent years. Three decisions, relying on many of the same
declarations and documentary evidence presented in this case, found
that Hubbard could be deposed as a managing agent. Church of
Scientology of California v. Armstrong, No. C420153 (Cal. Super. Ct.
July 20, 1984), J.A. at 165-93; Church of Scientology of California v.
Flynn, No. CV 83-5052R (C.D. Cal. Mar. 20, 1985), finding Hubbard
a managing agent through March 4, 1985), Supplemental Appendix
("S.A.") at 729-30; Church of Scientology Int'l v. Elmira Mission of
the Church of Scientology, No. CV 85-412T (W.D.N.Y. order dated Nov.
26, l985), J.A. at 732-49. A fourth court, upholding the finding of a
United States Magistrate, concluded that Hubbard could not be
considered a managing agent for purposes of Fed. R. Civ. P. 30 after
December 9, 1983. Religious Technology Center v. Scott, No. CV
85-711-MRP (C.D. Cal. order dated Jan. 24, 1986), J.A. at 773-75;
see also n.4, supra.
To designate Hubbard as, at least prima facie, a managing agent,
the District Court had to find it probable that he remained a managing
agent for the Scientology organizations at the time his deposition was
sought. Fed. R. Civ. P. 32(a)(2). 4A J. Moore, supra, para. 32.04.
For the first scheduled deposition, Hubbard must have been, prima
facie, managing agent as of November 1984; for the second, as of April
1985. Faced with overwhelming evidence of Hubbard's continuing control
over Scientology as of 1982, appellants have sought to raise doubt
whether Hubbard remained as managing agent after that time and
specifically at the critical, later dates of the aborted depositions.
First, they emphasize that the declarants upon whose statements the
Government relies held no positions in Scientology organizations after
1982. Second, Scientology submitted numerous statements by its high
officials to the effect that Hubbard had engaged in communications
with Scientology's official organs only intermittently since 1982 and
that he had not communicated with the Scientology apparatus since May
1984. See, e.g., Declaration of Marc Yager, J.A. at 437-39;
Declaration of Guillaume Lesevre, J.A. at 446-47. Third, Scientology
points to indications of organizational rearrangements around 1981-82,
when Hubbard hired a law firm and a professional management agency
separate from the Scientology network to handle his personal affairs. See Declaration of Lyman Spurlock, J.A. at 457-58; Declaration of
Lawrence E. Heller, J.A. at 461-64.
The narrow question to be explored is whether the District Court
erred in holding it probable that Hubbard continued to exercise the
authority of a managing agent for Scientology insofar as he retained
authority to determine whether to govern authoritatively in either
administrative or ecclesiastical affairs. As noted above, Hubbard's
role as managing agent up to approximately
1982 is well established in the record. A "general principle" in the
law of evidence in such matters is that "a prior or subsequent
existence is evidential of a later or earlier one." 2 Wigmore on
Evidence @ 437, at 514 (emphasis in original). n9 In addition, the
declarations of the church officials themselves, while denying
Hubbard's role, n10 in fact implicitly confirmed that Hubbard,
even after 1982, remained free at all relevant times to communicate to
them whatever and whenever he wanted. Indeed, the two times they
agree that he did communicate with the entire Scientology apparatus,
in December 1983 and January 1984, Scientology dutifully issued his
[*1456] statements to its members, n11 exactly as if he remained in
his undisputed position of authority. Lesevre Declaration at J.A.
446; Yager Declaration at J.A. 438-39. As the District Court
concluded, it appears without question that had Hubbard attempted to
reassert his authority in other ways, Scientology officials would have
accepted that exercise of dominion over the flock. So far as we can
discern, the record reveals no evidence that Hubbard intended to end
his relationship with Scientology, but only that he wanted, in his unfettered discretion, to determine whether and how to continue that
relationship. Ultimate control, we have no doubt, he possessed until
his death. n12
n9 We recognize that a presumption of continuity in time may not
hold as an absolute rule for relations of authority, see 9 Wigmore on
Evidence @ 2530 (Chadbourn ed. 1981). "The rulings merely declare
that certain facts are admissible, or that they are sufficient
evidence for the jury's finding . . . on such issues. . . . ." Id.
n10 It cannot go unnoticed that these declarations were provided by
individuals who owe their allegiance to an organization whose
officials in the past have employed a number of devices, including
deception and falsification, to achieve the organization's goals. But
needless to say, we are not in a position to weigh the veracity of the
numerous declarants whose statements came before the District Court.
n11 Rons Journal 38, as the later communication was known, took the
form of a tape recording distributed to local Scientology Churches and
Missions. See Transcript, transcribed December 18, 1984, J.A. at
355-93. In this message, apparently recorded on New Year's Day 1984,
Hubbard reported that he was making available "the first accurate
briefing I have had on scientology organizations in several years."
J.A. at 356. The transcript suggests the way he continued to
exercise such authority that amounted to control. He noted that he
had not "for a very long while . . . been connected" with the
"demanding area" of "active management of the Church or
organizations." Id. Yet, as the reason for this separation, Hubbard
contended that he needed time to "complete my researches and write
them up for you," id., an apparent reference to his pursuit of
refinements in Scientology doctrine. See also J.A. at 391-92
(announcing "new discoveries"). In the bulk of the 37-page
transcript, Hubbard recounted in great detail the latest changes in
the Scientology organizations, with comprehensive statistics about the
state of finances, the growth of the organization, and efforts by "new
executives" in the organization to "rebuild global scientology in
every division and sector, get it back on policy and in tech" after an
alleged attempt by "power crazy people" to take over the
organization. J.A. at 357-58. In this communication, Hubbard alluded
to "Rev. 352," or L.R.H. Ed. 352, J.A. at 358-59. In this statement
from December 1983, Hubbard "gave an inkling" of the recent
changes in the organization that Rons Journal 38 described in detail.
n12 On January 27, 1986, over nine months after dismissal of this
suit in the trial court, the Church announced that L. Ron Hubbard had
died on January 24, 1986. See J.A. at 718 (citing account in
Washington Post). As the parties have implicitly recognized,
Hubbard's passing has no bearing on the questions before
us. We remain obligated to decide the appeal on the basis of the
record before the District Court.
The continued, undisputed possibility that Hubbard might
unilaterally reassert his authority provided adequate justification
for the trial court's holding. Courts have accorded managing agent
status to individuals who no longer exercised authority over the
actions in question (and even to individuals who no longer held any
position of authority in a corporation), so long as those individuals
retained some role in the corporation or at least maintained
interests consonant with rather than adverse to its interests. See,
e.g., Independent Production Corp. v. Loew's, Inc., supra; Fay v.
United States, 22 F.R.D. 28, 31-32 (E.D.N.Y. 1958); Curry v. States
Marine Corp., supra, 16 F.R.D. 376. But see Proseus v. Anchor Lines,
Ltd., supra, 26 F.R.D. 165.
But we are satisfied that the District Court's holding in this
respect rests on even stronger ground. Hubbard continued through 1984
not only as the potential leader of the Scientology organization but
as the actual leader. Even as Hubbard may have sought to distance
himself, for whatever reason, from administrative details and to
separate his personal business affairs from the Scientology apparatus,
the evidence before the District Court demonstrated that Hubbard
retained preeminence as spiritual or ecclesiastical head of
Scientology. The basic structure of belief for Scientology dictates
that no one can replace him in this role. n13 In this essential
sense, [*1457] Scientology remained his alter ego despite the
passive role he sought to assume. In an organization which claims to
derive its purpose from Hubbard's writings and sayings, the role that Hubbard continued to play in Scientology affairs could scarcely
be viewed in law or in practical judgment as a figure of lesser status
than that of managing agent.
n13 We are informed, without contradiction, that Scientologists uniformly agree that the writings of Hubbard comprise the sole source
of their scriptures, a status equivalent to Judeo-Christian
Scriptures. See Declaration of Heber Jentzsch, J.A. at 279; Yager
Declaration, J.A. at 435-36; Lesevre Declaration, J.A. at 444; Church
of Scientology, Scientology: A World Religion Emerges in the
Space Age 52-55, District Court Exhibit 4(a)-A. As Rons Journal 38
suggests, Hubbard viewed even his most recent "new discoveries" as
authoritative truth to be passed on as church doctrine. J.A. at
391-92. The great detail in which Hubbard recounted in Rons Journal
38 the status of the church organization and its membership also
suggests that despite the declarations of Church officials, Hubbard's
role after 1982 may have encompassed at least some sort of advisory
authority over the organization; the communications about
"dissemination and delivery of Scientology religious services,"
Lesevre Declaration at J.A. 446; Yager Declaration at J.A. 438, which
the declarants have not submitted for the record or described
We recognize that the District Court's definition of "managing
agent" imposed a greater burden on Hubbard if he truly wished to
disassociate himself from the Scientology organization that might
obtain for, say, the founder of a business enterprise. Yet, Hubbard's
status -- as founder and spiritual leader of a movement that lays
claim to the status of a religion -- presents a unique situation in
the application of traditional legal doctrines governing the
relationship of individuals to organizations or associations with
which they are or have been affiliated. While an entrepreneur might
simply terminate all connections to the enterprise that he or she had
founded, Hubbard's teachings catapulted him to the epicenter of
Scientology attention and activity. During his lifetime, Hubbard
remained an object of allegiance and veneration even if he
did not maintain regular communication with the organizational vessel.
Under these unusual circumstances, we have no hesitation in upholding
the District Court's finding that the Government had shown, prima
facie, Hubbard's status as managing agent of Scientology at the
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