DECLARATION OF MICHAEL J. FLYNN1
I, Michael J. Flynn, hereby depose and state under the pains and penalties of perjury that I have personal knowledge or information and belief as to the following:
1. The purpose of this affidavit is to respond to charges made by the Church of Scientology and its counsel against me and my colleagues in connection with our activities and conduct in Scientology-related litigation. An additional purpose of the affidavit is to place in perspective our role in the commencement, prosecution and defense of Scientology cases, particularly in the context of (1) alleged personal harassment of ourselves and our clients, (2) the alleged tactics of the Church of Scientology to inundate various courts with massive docket filings, (3) the filing of allegedly frivolous and malicious lawsuits, bar complaints, and distribution of defamatory publications on the streets and in the media, (4) allegedly engaging in a systematic pattern to infiltrate our law offices, steal documents therefrom, disrupt our law practice, and (5) generally engaging in an assortment of abusive and unlawful conduct to deprive our clients of their legal rights and access to the courts. The affidavit will demonstrate to the court that in light of the facts, we have acted with professional restraint, diligence and within the bounds of the canons of ethics in seeking to prosecute the claims of our clients in the face of extensive, malicious, personal harassment as well as legal harassment through the filing of frivolous lawsuits, bar complaints, etc. Although Scientology and its counsel have, to some degree, succeeded in creating the impression in various courts throughout the United States that Scientology litigation in general is the product of a personal campaign between the lawyers on both sides to use the judicial system to vindicate personal animosities, it has always been our intention to obtain legal redress for our clients. We submit that the Church of Scientology is engaged in an elaborate and concerted plan to
create that impression by besieging each of the courts with such a massive amount of paperwork together with incessant charges against me that a true and just adjudication of the rights of the victims have become secondary. An examination of the dockets in virtually every case will reveal that we have been required to continually respond to personal attacks which have cluttered the docket entries. These continued personal attacks, such as motions for disqualification, depositions of counsel, lawsuits against counsel, contempt proceedings against counsel, bar complaints against counsel, and personal harassment of counsel, have resulted in a cluttering of the court dockets and the misdirection of the subject cases. The foregoing approach adopted by the Church pursuant to its written policies has been designed to confuse and obfuscate the legitimate factual and legal issues in the subject litigation. The attack by the Church of Scientology has been uncalled for, distorted, and unlawful.
2. In late June or early July, 1979, La Venda Van Schaick engaged me to obtain a refund of funds paid by her to the Church of Scientology in the amount of approximately $12,800.00. At that time, I knew nothing about the Church of Scientology, and was reluctant to undertake Van Schaick’s request because she informed me about the operating practices of the Church towards its so called “enemies”. However, at the request of several individuals and after preliminary investigation, I sent a letter to the Church dated July 17, 1979 requesting a refund of all funds paid by Van Schaick. (Exhibit 1 attached.) After sending Exhibit 1, I received a letter from the Church stating that no refund would be paid. (Exhibit 2 attached.) During the pendency of the aforestated correspondence, an individual holding himself out to be one “Chuck North” contacted me and asked to be engaged as a private investigator/
consultant in connection with “researching and investigating cults.” North specifically asked and requested to have access to any “cult files” in my office for the purpose of assisting
his research and investigation. I became suspicious about the coincidental mailing of the Van Schaick correspondence and the solicitations of North. As it later turned out, North was in
fact an agent of the Church seeking to infiltrate our offices. (Exhibit 3, Affidavit of Warren Friske, attached.)
3. During the period between July to September, 1979 when the correspondence concerning Van Schaick refund was being exchanged, I began to receive telephone calls from clients,
relatives, and friends stating that they had received strange telephone calls from various individuals requesting information about me. During the same period of time, in connection with numerous telephone calls and correspondence involving non-Scientology related clients and cases, many strange and suspicious incidents occurred which suggested that my telephone calls and office affairs were either being monitored, intercepted, or knowledge about them otherwise obtained. For example, an individual called one of my clients and told her that I should be reported to the bar because I had not turned over all of the funds I had received in the trial of a case. In fact, the client was present at the trial, received a trial judgment upon a jury verdict, and was paid in full. During the same period of time, namely between July and September, 1979, Van Schaick alleges that she began to be followed, her apartment kept under surveillance, her employment activities monitored, and numerous strange and suspicious circumstances occurred in connection with her daily life, too numerous for purposes of this affidavit. The only activity of mine involving the Church at that point in time had been to send one letter requesting a refund!
4. After receiving the letter denying the request for a refund, I received a letter dated September 11, 1979 from the “Church of Scientology of Boston”. (Exhibit 4 attached) This letter, together with the other prior strange occurrences, together with the allegations made to me by Van Schaick as to the nature and operating practices of the Church, resulted in the decision by me to initiate an investigation into the entire matter. The September 11 letter stated that the Church would be willing to pay approximately 50% of the funds paid to the Church by Van Schaick and at the same time suggested that Van Schaick should not sue the Church for the balance of the funds because she had an extensive drug history, had “three abortions”, had “attempted suicide”, had severe marital problems, and had signed an agreement never to sue the Church or the Hubbards. I had been informed by Van Schaick that all of the foregoing information came from her confidential, “auditing” or “confessional files” and that it was a regular practice of the Church to send such a letter to any person claiming refunds or to their counsel. Van Schaick stated that the auditing information had been given in strict confidence but that the Church, pursuant to written policy, regularly utilized such information to block legal recourse and for other purposes including blackmail and extortion even though it also had a written policy covering refunds.
5. Shortly after the receipt of the foregoing letter, I received several anonymous telephone calls suggesting that representation of Van Schaick was a dangerous matter, that no one “messes with the Church”, that if I had any doubts about this issue, to contact other people who had sought to “interfere” with the Church. During September and early October, 1979, I, as a result of all of the foregoing, was involved in an active and extensive investigation of the allegations made by Van Schaick in order to determine the propriety of a lawsuit against the Church. Because of the many strange events that occurred during this period of time in connection with this investigation, I concluded that the Church or its agents were monitoring my activities, telephone calls, and my investigation. Among the numerous incidents that confirmed this were several occasions when I observed individuals following me, defamatory calls were made to various clients shortly after I had called these clients on the phone, and an employee at the small airport where I maintained any airplane observed unidentified individuals viewing the airplane and seeking information about it.
6. Between that date and the ensuing several months, Van Schaick, was allegedly subjected to numerous incidents of personal harassment involving the surveillance of her home and her child, being run off the road in her car, numerous telephone calls to her neighbors suggesting that she was an unfit mother, calls to her employer resulting in the loss of her job as a
waitress, attempts to convince her that I was engaging in harassive conduct against her, attempts to separate her from her husband, and other forms of harassment. In one instance, she
states that the Church sent an agent from Los Angeles to convince Van Schaick that the “harassive things” being done to her were initiated by me! (A copy of that agent’s note is attached as Exhibit 5.)
7. In November 1979, nine of the highest officers of the Church of Scientology were convicted of a variety of crimes, and approximately 30,000 documents seized by the F.B.I. from the
Church were released to the general public. I sent an employee to the Federal Court in Washington to copy thousands of these documents. These documents in large part verified the
allegations of Van Schaick and validated my belief that the Church was responsible for the numerous inexplicable and harassive incidents that had occurred in the prior several months.
The documents revealed a 15-year pattern of infiltration, burglary, bugging, harassment, and elaborate policies and operations to commit the foregoing pursuant to specific and detailed training manuals. The documents also contained hundreds of documents pertaining to the use of auditing information by the Church against individuals such as Van Schaick for the purpose of blocking and frustrating their legal rights, even specifying the use of extortion and blackmail. In fact, the specific written operations authorized by Mary Sue Hubbard to conduct this type of operation were among these documents.
8. During the same period of time, I conducted an extensive legal analysis and case research involving the Church of Scientology and learned that the publications of the Church of Scientology had been declared fraudulent in the case of United States v. Article or Device, 333 F.Supp. 357 (D.D.C., 1971) and that the Church had never complied with the decree in said case. Further, I learned that the Church had brought in excess of 100 cases against a variety of individuals and entities for the purposes of frustrating the legal rights of those parties and for the purpose of harassing them pursuant to a specific written policy of the Church which calls for the use of the judicial system to harass and destroy critics.
9. Finally, after approximately six months of research and investigation at a cost in excess of $20,000.00, we decided to bring a class action suit against the Church of Scientology to recover not only for the damages inflicted on Van Schaick, but also to seek relief for the class as a whole, for the failure of the Church to comply with the Article or Device decree. That suit was initiated on December 13, 1979, resulting in unsolicited contact by the news media to Van Schaick and me. After the news relative to the class action suit was disseminated in the press, the floodgates unexpectedly and surprisingly opened. My office was literally swamped in a period of weeks with hundreds of telephone calls by a variety of individuals and organizations including parents whose children had committed suicide while in the Church, individuals who had been hospitalized as a result of Church involvement, authors, reporters, individuals who had been allegedly defrauded by the Church, various law enforcement agencies, and other assorted contacts.
10. After the commencement of the Van Schaick action, the Church immediately attempted to infiltrate the class with an agent posing as a prospective client (see affidavit of Garrity attached as Exhibit 6), intensified its harassment of individuals associated with me, attempted to disrupt non-Scientology cases I was involved in, and generally initiated a campaign of
unrelenting personal and legal harassment. This campaign included the following:
a) Approximately three weeks after the commencement of the Van Schaick case, without filing a counter-claim in that action, and without filing a Motion to Dismiss within the time allowed by the rules, the Church initiated a lawsuit in the Federal District Court in Nevada against Van Schaick, Kevin Flynn, (my brother and an employee of my office), Thomas Hoffman, Esq., (a colleague), and Edward Walters, (a client). That suit alleged a conspiracy by these individuals to deprive the Church of its First Amendment rights. The suit was
dismissed by the Federal Court within 120 days.
b) At the same time as the filing of this action, the Church filed in succession four separate bar complaints against me alleging a variety of things including conspiracy to violate the Church’s First Amendment rights, the unlicensed practice of law by Kevin Flynn, and a variety of other charges. The first three complaints were filed on January 15, 1980, February 7, 1980 and April 3, 1980, all of which were dismissed on April 10, 1980 by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers. (See Exhibit 7 attached.) On November 19, 1980, the Church filed yet another complaint which was dismissed on May 4, 1981. (See Exhibit 8 attached.)
c) After the dismissal of the Federal Nevada action, the Church then commenced an action against Van Schaick, Kevin Flynn, Edward Walters, and other clients of mine in the state court in Nevada, which was nearly identical to the federal action. As to Van Schaick and Kevin Flynn, this suit was also dismissed.
d) The Church also filed an action against me and four of my clients in the Massachusetts Suffolk Superior Court alleging that the clients had stolen materials from the Church of Scientology of Boston and turned them over to me. These materials primarily included the auditing files of the four clients who had left the Boston Church and taken their auditing files with them because they were aware the Church used them for purposes of blackmail. Also allegedly taken were some financial graphs and some Sea Org organizations. I stipulated in open court to filing the voluminous auditing files under seal with the court, returning the financial graphs, and maintaining possession of the Sea Org communications. The court adopted this offer and issued an injunction based upon it. In subsequent litigation around the United States, particularly in the recent case of the Church of Scientology v. Gerald Armstrong, California Superior Court, Los Angeles, C420153, the Church has attempted to use this litigation and the stipulated injunction to misinform and mislead the court into the belief that I had behaved unethically as reflected by the injunction, when in fact, I stipulated to the injunction, and the suit was prosecuted for the purpose of harassing me pursuant to the written policy of the Church.
e) Subsequently, the Church filed an additional action against me in the Las Vegas state court alleging essentially that I was engaged in a conspiracy against the Church and abusing judicial process. Church counsel attempted to procure a false affidavit from an ex-member to support the case. (See Exhibit 6 at page 8.) The court granted my Motion Judgment in that action.
f) Between January and May, 1980, for Summary I was subjected to hundreds of instances of personal harassment, which I believe, based upon the Friske and Garrity affidavits and other information, to have been conducted by the Church. These included inter alia, contacting my insurance agent and informing the agent that I had murdered the husband of one of my clients, making a bomb threat to my building resulting in its evacuation, throwing rocks at my building, sending a post card threatening to poison me, harassive telephone calls at and night to me, my wife, and my children, phone calls to neighbors and suggesting in all hours of the day making obscene telephone calls to neighbours and suggesting in these calls that I was making them, and process servers arriving at my home at all hours disturbing my wife and children. (See generally, Exhibit 9.)
g) Between approximately November, 1979 and up to and including at least May, 1982, the Church allegedly stole approximately 20,000 documents either directly from my office or from a trash dumpster in my private office condominium compound. This theft is established by the following evidence. Kevin Tighe formerly of the Guardian’s Office has testified under oath that he stole documents from my law office garbage. (Exhibit 10.) Warren Friske, former head of B-2 in Boston, admits he sorted the stolen documents and sent the materials to the U.S.G.O. and to CSC’s attorneys. (Exhibit 11.) Joe Lisa, former head of the U.S.G.O., has admitted in a sworn deposition that he ordered the document theft operation. (Exhibit 12.)
11. Between January and May, 1980, hundreds of former Church members contacted my office seeking legal recourse against the Church. One of these individuals, Tonja Burden, had
worked directly for L. Ron Hubbard, who had ultimate and absolute control over all Church activities. Burden, between the ages of 13 and 17, worked for the Church without receiving any education, essentially served for a long period as Hubbard’s personal slave, dressing and undressing him, and was involved in coding and de-coding telexes in double and triple codes regarding operations against the United States government, state agencies, and numerous individuals. She was defrauded of approximately five years of labor, a high school education, was made to sign promissory notes in the thousands cf dollars, she was tendered a bill in the amount of approximately $61,000.00, was subsequently kidnapped, harassed and taken over state lines when she left the Church, and was generally tortiously injured by the Church without receiving the benefits promised to her and based upon false representations made to her. With co-counsel in Tampa, Florida, we commenced an action in the Federal District Court on or about April 25, 1980 on behalf of Ms. Burden. This was only the second suit initiated by my office in connection with Scientology litigation. Yet, most of the items referred to in paragraph 10 against my office were either in process, completed, or being planned. The Church proceeded to literally swamp the court docket with motions, pleadings, and discovery, the great bulk of which motions have been denied,
resulting in a massive amount of paper that stands approximately two feet high to date. Although ex-Scientologists have come forward and acknowledged a consistent pattern of abuses against individuals such as Van Schaick and Burden with regard to the wrongful dissemination of auditing information, fraudulent and deceptive recruitment and sales practices, campaigns of harassment pursuant to the “Fair Game Doctrine” and other such operations, and thousands of documents exist to support such allegations, the Church and its counsel have engaged in a pattern of litigation designed to wear down the plaintiffs, their counsel, and the court system rather than attempt to resolve the injury claims in a judicious and good faith approach based upon specific and extensive evidence. The latter strategy is reflected by the activities of the Church and its correspondence to me prior to the commencement of the Van Schaick action as well as the aforesaid dismissed lawsuits, bar complaints, and harassment techniques.
12. Between May, 1980 and December, 1980, my office continued to be besieged with contacts from former members, parents, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the news media, etc. with regard to the activities of the Church. During that period of time, my office brought several additional actions in the Massachusetts Superior Court on behalf of former
members who sought to obtain legal redress against the Church. During the same period of time, the continuous theft of documents from my office and compound took place and the general campaign of harassment continued. The hundreds of instances involved in this harassment are too extensive to set forth in this affidavit but they consisted of a general pattern of what has been previously described including contacts with non-Scientology clients. (See several statements of clients attached hereto as Exhibit 9.) Throughout this period of time
the Church continually attempted to take my deposition and depositions of my employees and colleagues on numerous occasions in different cases.
13. In January, 1981, after living through a year and a half of the activities and conduct previously described, I flew to Los Angeles, California, together with my colleagues, for the purpose of discussing settlement of the Scientology litigation with Church counsel. During these settlement discussions, the Church agreed to repay all of the monies paid by two claimants, Donald and Peggy Bear, in the amount of approximately $107,000.00. Although releases were signed and the Church represented to numerous courts that it had a policy to
refund monies paid to it, the Church failed to deliver a check for the proceeds, the settlement negotiations fell through, and a suit was later commenced on behalf of the Bears. (See Exhibit 14 attached.) At the time of the preparation for these settlement negotiations, my office prepared an extensive analysis of approximately 50 cases that it was considering filing on behalf of former members, which analysis related to the costs of such litigation for both sides, the factual issues involved in the various cases, peripheral issues such as probate matters, media problems, etc., That analysis was prepared specifically for these settlement negotiations. The analysis was subsequently stolen from our offices and later became the subject of an additional bar complaint and a suit brought by the Church against my colleagues and I in the Los Angeles District Court, discussed infra.
14. After the settlement negotiations failed, and after spending several weeks in Los Angeles, we returned to Boston and prepared to conduct a conference in May 1981, for the purpose of meeting with several lawyers in connection with the proposed commencement of some of the 50 cases included in the settlement analysis. Portions of the settlement analysis were included in a packet of information given to the lawyers who attended the May conference. Those documents were also subsequently stolen by the Church of Scientology from our offices or our trash dumpster. At the conference, attended by approximately eight attorneys, the nature of Scientology litigation was explained, fee relationships were discussed involving the traditional contingent fee type relationship and a sharing of the fees between the attorneys based upon the amount of work done on each case. Other peripheral issues set forth above in the settlement analysis were discussed. This meeting was infiltrated by an agent of the Church posing as a client, Ford Schwartz, on behalf of the Church. (See attached Exhibit 15.) The Church, therefore, was aware of the nature of the meeting, what was discussed, and the fee relationships that existed between the clients and the attorneys.
15. Between May, 1981 and July, 1981, Kevin Flynn, who had ceased being an employee of mine in mid-1980 and who had commenced working as an independent contractor, submitted a proposal to me and my colleagues whereby Kevin Flynn’s corporation, Flynn Associates Management Corporation, would perform services on behalf of the various attorneys as a researcher and investigator in consideration of receiving a percentage of the funds recovered in the cases. After research by me and my colleagues, the proposal was rejected, although ethical opinions of several states indicated that such a proposal was not improper. This proposal was also stolen from the offices of mine and/or the trash dumpster in the private office compound.
16. During the summer of 1981, as a result of the ongoing theft of documents from my office and compound, most of which constituted attorney-client communication and/or work-
product, the Church knew that I and counsel from various other states were considering the commencement of various actions in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles. It also knew that Flynn Associates Management Corporation played no role in connection with these suits, that the May meeting among counsel was ethically proper, and that I was still seeking to resolve the cases without litigation.
17. In June, 1981, Church counsel again initiated settlement discussions, this time with my co-counsel in the Burden case in Tampa, which resulted in a series of correspondence between me and Church counsel. (See attached Exhibit 16.) In fact, the Church offered 1.6 million dollars to resolve all existing and impending litigation, and I accepted their
offer on behalf of the various clients involved, in a good faith effort to resolve the entire matter. My motivation in accepting this settlement offer of the Church on behalf of my clients
involved numerous considerations including: a) the desire of clients and counsel to end the torrent of legal and personal harassment; b) the expense and time consumption inherent in the litigation for all parties; c) the promised efforts of the Church to reform and discontinue many of its unlawful practices; and, d) the financial remuneration of clients and counsel.
18. Between approximately April and June, 1981, I was contacted by the City of Clearwater to prepare a report relative to the Church of Scientology and the tax-exempt aspects of organizations such as the Church. Because of the continued theft of materials from my office, the Church was fully aware of the fact that various City officials had contacted me during that period of time. The Church therefore knew, through the acquisition of illegally obtained information, when it made its 1.6 million dollar offer to settle all Scientology-related litigation matters, that hundreds of individuals had contacted our office, that several counsel in various areas of the U.S. had agreed to undertake litigation on behalf of injured clients, that the City of Clearwater was commencing an investigation into the Church, that it had been engaged in a two-year campaign of legal and personal harassment against me and my office, that it had been engaged in at least a ten-year pattern of burglary, larceny, obstruction of justice, etc., of which its highest leaders had been convicted, and that there were thousands of people across the United States who were seeking refunds from the Church. Because of the close monitoring and surveillance of my office, the Church also knew that my colleagues and I were willing to resolve the litigation primarily because of our desire to terminate the persistent harassment of us and our clients. At this point in connection with the litigation, I had personally expended in excess of $200,000.00.
19. Upon information and belief provided by recently defected members of the Church, in the summer of 1981, when all of these matters were occurring, an internal power struggle took
place within the Church resulting in the purge of several highly-placed members and the resulting take-over of the Church by several young members of the “Commodore’s Messenger Org,” who had served personally for L. Ron Hubbard throughout their teen-age years, who were then approximately 21 or 22 years of age, and who were fanatical adherents of Hubbard. These individuals who took over the Church adopted a plan in the summer of 1981 to conduct an all-out campaign against me and my clients pursuant to the “technology” of the Church doctrine, to wit, the Fair Game Doctrine, to destroy me and all opposition to the Church. Upon information and belief, the foregoing involved a highly secretive written plan adopted by the highest members of the Church to revoke the offer of settlement, revert to “Hubbard technology,” and to attack and destroy me pursuant to the following Hubbard policies:
Don’t ever defend. Always attack. Find or manufacture enough threat against them to sue for peace. Originate a black PR campaign to destroy the person’s repute and to discredit them so thoroughly they will be ostracized. Be very alert to sue for slander at the slightest chance so as to discourage the public presses from mentioning Scientology. The purpose of this suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win.
(Level 0 Checksheet attached as Exhibit 17.)
Pursuant to this plan, the Church then embarked on a campaign beginning in August, 1981, and continuing up to the present date, to “attack”, “sue”, and “destroy” me. This campaign has included the following:
a. In August, 1981, the Church, through its counsel, Harvey Silverglate, filed a bar complaint against me and my colleagues attaching numerous documents that had been stolen from my office and compound. The thrust of this complaint was that I was unlawfully selling shares of Flynn Associates Management Corporation to finance prospective lawsuits against the Church. Although the Church knew that this allegation was false, the Church and its counsel wove together the settlement analysis prepared in January, 1931, the materials assembled for the May conference, and the proposal of Kevin Flynn, then attempted to create a false and deceptive impression with the Board of Bar Overseers and subsequently in the courts. The Church knew at the time of this bar complaint that the allegations of its counsel, Silverglate, were false, because it had agents who had attended the May conference, it had stolen the settlement analysis at the time it was prepared in January, 1981, and the Church had stolen the Kevin Flynn proposal when it had been prepared
and rejected in June, 1981.
b. In addition to this bar complaint, the Church and its counsel then proceeded to file an additional three bar complaints against myself and my colleagues, including, inter alia, the allegation that I improperly attempted to avoid service of process by one of the many process servers in connection with suits and depositions that the Church was attempting to initiate against our office. These bar complaints were filed through-out the period from August to December, 1981. Notwithstanding the foregoing complaints, I have received a letter from the Board stating that it does not consider that I have any “Complaints” presently against me. (See Exhibit 18.)
c. At the same time that the bar complaints were being filed, the Church was engaged in operations to steal documents from the trash of at least one of the members of the Board of Bar Overseers. (See affidavit of Warren Friske attached as Exhibit 3.)
d. In August, 1981, the Church commenced an action in the Los Angeles Federal District Court through one of its members, Steven Miller, against me, my brother, Kevin, a medical doctor, and several others, on the theory that the defendants had “deprogrammed” Miller and violated his civil rights. At the time of the filing of the suit, I had never heard of Steven Miller and had never had any contact with him before. The attorneys’ fees in connection with the defense of that case, upon information and belief, are currently in excess of $200,000.00, which have been paid by the parents of Steven Miller, I have also sustained attorneys’ fees and expenses in connection with the defense of that case and other litigation initiated by the Church of Scientology.
e. In August, 1981, the Church commenced an action in the Boston Federal District Court through its members, Ellen and Chris Garrison, on the same theory of deprogramming. This suit was brought against Kevin Flynn and Paulette Cooper after specific planning and meetings were held by the Church to bring this suit against these individuals for the purpose of harassing them and my office. (See Affidavit of Warren Friske attached as Exhibit 3.)
f. During the same period of time, and in the ensuing months, the Church filed motions to disqualify me in the cases of Garrity, et al. v. The Church of Scientology, Los Angeles Federal District Court, Burden v. Church of Scientology, District Court in Tampa, and in the Van Schaick case. These Motions for Disqualification were all part of the plan to personally and legally harass me and my colleagues.
g. Between August, 1981 and December, 1981, the Church literally swamped the court dockets in every case that it was involved in, including both those it had initiated and those that had been brought by claimants, with hundreds of pleadings, motions, discovery requests, etc. An examination of the dockets in almost any of the pending cases will illustrate the intense campaign of legal harassment specifically adopted by the Church during this period of time to destroy me, my office, and my clients.
h. My office utilized a long distance telephone code which unauthorized individuals, allegedly the Church, intercepted and thereafter used to charge in excess of $1,000.00 in telephone calls to our code. In a similar “operation,” it has been alleged that the Church intercepted the code of a third party in California and made telephone calls to our clients charging the calls to the third party’s code. All of these matters and many others have been turned over to the F.B.I.
i. After we spent in excess of one hundred hours defending the Motions to Disqualify filed in the Garrity, Van Schaick, and Burden cases, the Church dropped these Motions and instead undertook a new round of lawsuits against my office. The Church commenced an abuse of process action in the Los Angeles Federal District Court in connection with the Garrity, et al. case and also brought another civil rights action against me and the City of Clearwater in the Tampa Federal District Court.
20. The Church timed commencement of the abuse of process action in the Los Angeles Federal District Court to coincide with certain hearings being conducted by the City of Clearwater involving the Church of Scientology in which our office was involved. In connection with these hearings, the Church adopted a specific operation to harass me as follows:
In the second week in March, 1982, the Clearwater hearings were scheduled to begin on April 21, 1982. On March 25, Church counsel in the case of Cazares v. Church of
Scientology, Circuit Court in Daytona, sent a letter to me scheduling my deposition for April 23, 1982 in Tampa during the middle of the hearings. Although the hearings were
subsequently continued until May 5, 1982, on April 19, 1982, while appearing in the Burden case in Tampa, I was served with a deposition subpoena. I filed a Verified Motion to Quash the Subpoena stating that the demands of my law practice prevented me from remaining in Florida throughout the “time” required for the deposition, 2:00 p.m. on Friday, April 23, to continue from day-to-day over the week-end and the following Monday, as required by the deposition subpoena. I sent a letter on two occasions to Church counsel indicating that I could not appear for the deposition, that I had no personal knowledge of the subject matter of the case in which the deposition was to be taken, but that I would be willing to schedule another date when I would voluntarily appear. Subsequently, after the Church learned that the hearings would be continued to May 5, 1982, it issued a second subpoena, from the Los Angeles Federal Court in the case of Church of Scientology v. F.B.I. I had no personal knowledge relevant to this case but the Church sought to take my deposition, again during the middle of the hearings. I communicated to counsel in that case that I would be unable to appear on that date. Subsequently, during the middle of the Clearwater hearings, the Church filed motions to hold me in contempt in the Los Angeles Federal District Court and in the Daytona Circuit Court because of my failure to appear at the depositions. In connection with the Daytona contempt proceeding, I informed the Court of the foregoing, informed the Court that under Florida law I was immune from service in Florida, under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure my deposition had to be taken in Massachusetts, but that I was still willing to appear without need of going forward with the contempt matter. Notwithstanding the foregoing, and after the Church counsel specifically misrepresented the facts, without a trial, without any witnesses being called at the contempt matter, and without complying with Florida rules with regard to “indirect criminal contempts,” Church counsel procured a contempt finding against me from the Court. The matter was appealed and the appellate court reversed and vacated the finding of contempt by the trial court. The trial court judge has since left the bench after being implicated in an unrelated bribery scheme.
21. In the face of this harassment and abuse, the intention of our office throughout the subject litigation has been to obtain redress on behalf of our clients for alleged fraud in the taking of their money and labor and for outrageous conduct in blocking their access to judicial relief. We submit that the Church of Scientology operates based on policies such as “Fair Game” and “Attack the Attacker” because it must use such means to perpetuate its fraudulent sales and recruitment practices. These operating policies of the Church carry over to its activities and conduct in dealing with the judicial system and attorneys, such as ourselves who represent clients against the Church. We are among many attorneys and judges who have been attacked by the Church through motions for disqualification, lawsuits, bar complaints, and personal harassment. The Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Washington criminal cases, several federal judges, and the attorney for the F.D.A. are such examples. (See attached Exhibit 19.) While utilizing the operational policies such as Fair Game, the Church presents a religious front to the Court in order to frustrate legitimate claims for tortious injury and to create the appearance of a personal conflict amongst the lawyers in the swamping of the dockets with every conceivable filing. Abuse of the legal system is reflected by the massive litigation instituted by Scientology in courts throughout the United States. (See Lexis scan attached as Exhibit 20.)
22. My colleagues and I have never before been subjected to the legal harassment which has occurred in the subject litigation. Our background is not one of using the judicial system abusively or without just cause. I was ranked first in my class in law school, served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, served as a law clerk to a Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, have been married for 16 years with 3 children, and I have always endeavored to practice law with discretion, professional restraint and within the bounds of the canons of ethics. In contrast, the highest officials of the Church have served time in Federal Prison, there are literally thousands of individuals and families seeking legal redress, and the fraudulent, tortious, and often times criminal activities and policies of the Church are becoming increasingly evident. These victims have come to us in the hundreds, often with substantial financial claims and evidence of overt physical and mental abuse. As a result of my assistance to these people, I have been “declared” an “enemy” by the Church and appear on its enemies list.” (See Exhibit 21 attached.)
23. It has always been the policy of my office to resolve claims against the Church of Scientology without litigation. The efforts at settlement between January and July, 1981 were such an example. The Church is now using those confidential settlement negotiations to further attack me, although the Church insisted in writing on their confidentiality, and
accepted, but later reneged upon, the settlement.
24. It is the intent of my office and clients to obtain legal redress for legitimate claims in the context of substantial supporting evidence. It is not my intent to use the judicial process to harass the Church. The fact that the Church has a written policy mandating such judicial abuse, together with a 20-year history of employing it, is evidence of the fact that the Church, not myself or my clients, is intent upon creating a distorted and false perception of the nature and purposes of each of the Scientology related cases.
25. I am not collaborating with forces who are trying to destroy freedom of religion and churches in America.
26. I am not collaborating with anyone using brutal “deprogramming” and “depersonalizing” techniques. I have never deprogrammed or depersonalized anyone.
27. I have exercised my First Amendment rights to speak out and oppose an organization whose top leaders have gone to prison. However, I have never sought to manipulate the media or use libel, forgery, or other improper means in connection with any of the litigation.
28. I have made no fraudulent representations of any nature or description but have merely sought to expose the misrepresentations made by the Church of Scientology.
29. Dr. John Clark has never been part of any operations of FAMCO of any nature or description, nor has Kevin Flynn through FAMCO or otherwise, attempted to involuntarily kidnap or brutalize anyone.
30. The charge that I have solicited an individual named “Jim Gray” to enlist him to sell shares in FAMCO is totally false. Gray was never offered any position, no shares were ever offered to him, and I have no idea why he would make such allegations in a so-called “sworn affidavit.”
31. The charge that I have solicited clients in connection with the Church of Scientology is absurd. Indeed, the reverse is true. There are thousands of Scientologists throughout the United States seeking to obtain legal counsel to obtain redress against the Church. The problem is that it is very difficult to get lawyers to take on such cases. I have been unfortunately refusing clients, not soliciting them. Although my law firm has endeavored to help all of these people, and has never solicited any of them, we are, in fact, incapable of representing the thousands of people who desperately need representation.
32. The Church of Scientology claims that I “resorted to the use of force and coercion in the form of psychiatric…not unlike the insidious, painful brainwashing techniques on American servicemen by Chinese Communists during the Korean War.” First of all, I have never advocated nor would I ever participate in any such activity. Second, “brainwashing” is a technique used and taught by the Church in its G.O. intelligence courses. (Exhibit 22.) Third, as explained above, I never met nor even heard of Steven Miller prior to his filing a Church sponsored lawsuit against me which has since been dismissed.
33. The probate case relating to Ronald DeWolf and the “missing person status” of L. Ron Hubbard was brought for the simple reason that L. Ron Hubbard’s own attorney, Alan Goldfarb, stated that L. Ron Hubbard was missing, and that he could not appear in one of the many suits that had been brought against him because no one knew where he was and no one from the Church of Scientology had communicated with him since February 1980. It was the conduct of Hubbard’s own lawyers and the group that now run the RTC (Religious Technology Center) and the failure of Hubbard to appear and defend himself in Court or even to appear and defend or assist his wife for that matter, which resulted in the
Hubbard filed a to be appointed Ron Hubbard was probate case being brought. It was only after legal declaration, the day before a trustee was in the probate case, that the Court held that L. Ron Hubbard was not a missing person.
34. The finding of contempt against me was one of the numerous legal proceedings brought against me at the same time. The Church of Scientology fails to state that I did not even appear and defend the contempt proceeding because of the onslaught of other harassment brought against me by the Church, and, later when I moved to vacate the order, the judge stated that no bad faith or misconduct was involved, but merely a technical violation of one of the court orders regarding disclosure of information about Hubbard.
35. The allegations contained in Paulette Cooper’s affidavit are perhaps the most absurd portion of the Church of Scientology’s charges. Since I was Ms. Cooper’s attorney, I feel ethically bound to hold inviolate the communications we had regarding L. Ron Hubbard, other than to say that Ms. Cooper’s declaration is totally false. The accompanying declaration of Joseph Flanagan2 explains how Ms. Cooper came to testify for CSC.
36. The idea that Kevin Flynn, Thomas Hoffman, or I, or anyone associated with us, had anything to do with the forgery of one of L. Ron Hubbard’s checks, is simply too fanciful to warrant extensive discussion. Suffice it to say that I brought to the attention of the public and the courts the fact that one of L. Ron Hubbard’s checks, in the possession of individuals controlling the RTC, was forged and an attempt to pass it was made at the time in May-June, 1982 when Hubbard wrote a will and in the will turned over control of Scientology to the RTC. It was at the same time that the RTC began to assert total dictatorial control throughout the Church of Scientology. Any intelligent observer can put two and two together to conclude that I would not participate in the forgery of a two-million dollar check and then do everything in my power to investigate it.
37. Recently, I received a letter and telegram from Mr. Tamimi, whose sworn declaration was procured by Eugene Ingram, an investigator employed by Church of Scientology, who has been removed from the L. A. Police Force for his purported involvement in assisting narcotic dealers, pimping, and other criminal activities. In the note and telegram Tamini states that the declaration procured by Ingram is false and that he is now prepared to tell the truth. Tamini’s declaration, attached to Peterson’s declaration, should be viewed with great scepticism in light of Tamini’s letter and telegram. (A copy of this letter and telegram is attached as Exhibit 23.) This letter has been turned over to law enforcement authorities to permit further investigation. This letter was the first communication of any type which I have ever had with Mr. Tamini.
Signed under the pains and penalties of perjury this ____ day of July, 1985 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Michael J. Flynn
Boston lawyer, Scientology locked in battle since 1979
Second of two articles / By Ben Bradlee Jr. / Globe Staff
Boston attorney Michael J. Flynn concedes that the Church of Scientology has become an obsession with him, and, for its part, the church at times has treated Flynn like a demon.
The two sides have fought in and out of court for four years – since Flynn and three associates at his small waterfront law firm began spending nearly all their time representing Scientology defectors in civil lawsuits against the church.
The torrent of vituperation between the parties has tended to blur the legal claims made in 22 suits Flynn has filed around the country since 1979. In the suits, all still pending, Flynn generally asserts that the church has engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract and infliction of emotional distress, and that it should repay to the 32 defectors he represents the money they donated to the church, plus damages. The church categorically denies the charges.
Flynn’s most notable Scientology case is the one brought in California last year on behalf of Ronald DeWolf, the estranged son of church founder L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard has not been seen publicly for seven years. DeWolf
contends his father is either dead or missing, though the judge in the case said recently he believes that Hubbard is alive. DeWolf also alleges that his father’s personal assets, estimated at $500 million, are being
plundered by church leaders, and he is asking to be appointed trustee of his father’s estate.
Each side has accused the other of using ugly, underhanded tactics. The church, calling Flynn a “shyster” and an “extortionist, ” contends he is “the ringmaster of a national media and litigation campaign against
Flynn, meanwhile, likens the church to a group of “Nazis.” He charges it has carried out numerous dirty tricks and acts of harassment against him. Affidavits in support of his contention are on file in US District Court in
Boston in connection with pending litigation involving four defectors.
To support its claims against Flynn, the church often cites what it calls “the Michael Flynn extortion letter.” In the midst of settlement negotiations with the church in 1981, Flynn offered in writing to drop all the litigation filed up to that time and return to Scientology officials thousands of pages of FBI-seized church documents if the church would pay the defectors he then represented “not less” than $1.6 million. If the church did not accept in 14 days, Flynn added, he would proceed with plans to file an additional 8 to 10 suits on behalf of defectors in New York, Washington and Los Angeles. Although at one point the church told Flynn in a letter that it accepted his offer “in principle,” negotiations on details broke down.
Foremost among Flynn’s complaints is the rifling of the trash inside his office compound on Union Wharf for 18 months from 1979 – 1981 by Scientologists to gain information about him and his clients. The church, which contends the trash was “publicly available,” has used documents it found as the basis for nine lawsuits and nine bar complaints against Flynn.
Affidavits by four church defectors – Carol Garrity, Ford Schwartz, Jane Peterson and Warren Friske – allege that church members have conducted numerous acts of harassment against Flynn for the ultimate purpose of
undermining him and his cases. Included in the affidavits were assertions that, in addition to rifling his trash, church members had:
- Contacted some of Flynn’s non-church clients and told them that he had cheated them out of money.
- Telephoned the Internal Revenue Service with false financial information about him, hoping to spur a tax probe.
- Monitored Flynn’s activities closely by watching and photographing visitors to his office and by calling his bank regularly to determine how much money he had deposited in his account, the number of which had been found in his trash.
- Tried repeatedly to plant operatives in his office.
The church refused to be interviewed by The Globe concerning these allegations, saying through its Boston lawyer, Harvey A. Silverglate, that the matter was under investigation.
According to the affidavit from Friske, who said he was heavily involved in anti-Flynn activity until he left the church last year, the church’s Boston mission coordinated its campaign against Flynn with national church headquarters in Los Angeles. He said the Boston organization ” conducted almost daily operations against him for a period of almost 2 1/2 years, since he first became involved in litigation . . . .”
“In connection with some of these operations,” Friske said, “hundreds of telephone calls were made to many people . . . some of which were of an investigatory nature, and many of which were to discredit and harass him
In a sworn deposition taken by Flynn last December, Kevin Tighe said he was the Boston church member who took most of the trash from Flynn’s office dumpster. In the deposition, Tighe said almost daily reports on Flynn’s
activities would be prepared after culling through his trash. The reports would then be sent to the church’s national headquarters.
In April 1982, US District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr. ordered the church to return all the papers and documents taken from Flynn’s trash. The next month, Silverglate filed a notice with the court stating the
church had complied and returned to Flynn about 20,000 pages of documents and pieces of paper.
What the church did not turn over to Flynn were partial transcriptions of 60 or so of impressions from typewriter ribbons and cartridges that had been discarded into the dumpster by Flynn’s office. Silverglate argued
that some of the transcriptions contained notes made by church members, and that they were, therefore, “work product” protected from discovery by Flynn. Garrity is now in possession of the transcripts, pending a ruling
on Flynn’s request that he be given access to them.
Another former Scientologist who has filed an affidavit concerning activities against Flynn is Jane Peterson, a member of the church’s Las Vegas mission from 1975 – 1980. In her affidavit, she said she observed operations being planned to infiltrate Flynn’s law office and said the church’s express goal was “. . . to get Michael Flynn disbarred.”
Flynn says the church and its attorney have filed nine complaints with the state Board of Bar Overseers, which monitors the conduct of lawyers in the state. Reading from the various complaints, Flynn said they alleged a
range of misconduct including: solicitation of clients, engaging in “religious bigotry,” engaging in threats against the church and its members, and failing to list on his bar application that he once committed a traffic violation for not stopping at a stop sign.
One of the more serious complaints concerned Flynn’s formation of a company called Flynn Associates Management Corp. (FAMCO). Silverglate alleged in an August 1981 bar complaint that Flynn began FAMCO to raise money through the sale of its stock to finance his Scientology litigation.
Flynn said in an interview that he chartered the company as a proposed computer venture with one of his brothers. When the venture did not materialize, Flynn said, another brother, then an investigator for his law firm, proposed reviving the firm so he could sell his investigative services on Scientology to the law firm. Flynn said he rejected the proposal in June 1981 because it would have given “the appearance of impropriety.” He said no stock in FAMCO was ever issued or sold.
In referring the FAMCO complaint to the bar board, Silverglate and his partner, Nancy Gertner, wrote they had “just learned” that the church had been involved in trash-taking, and that it had gone on “without our authorization or prior knowledge.”
Since the FAMCO proposal was one of the items uncovered in Flynn’s trash, Silverglate and Gertner asked the board to rule if it was proper to use the documents as a basis for a bar complaint, or in litigation. Daniel Klubock, bar counsel for the board, said he advised Silverglate that as long as the documents were “legally obtained,” they could be used.
Silverglate indicated his reading of the law was that it is legal to take trash left out in public for collection. But Flynn argues that it constitutes trespassing, larceny and invasion of privacy to take trash if the receptacle is on private property and is privately disposed of, as at Union Wharf.
Flynn said Silverglate had personally filed five of the nine complaints against him. Silverglate refused to discuss them, noting that the proceedings of the Bar Board are confidential. However, he said he would be interviewed about the complaints if Flynn gave him a written waiver to do so. Flynn declined, but did provide such a waiver so bar counsel Klubock could discuss the matter.
Klubock said the church allegations of misconduct against Flynn had been dismissed, while Silverglate’s have been consolidated into one ” grievance,” pending a determination of whether it should be upgraded to a full- fledged
complaint that would be reviewed by the Bar itself.
Flynn, a resident of Boxford, is a 38-year old graduate of Holy Cross and Suffolk Law School, and a former associate in the Boston law firm of Bingham, Dana & Gould. Married with three children, he is also a pilot who
owns his own twin-engine plane.
Flynn began his Scientology litigation in mid-1979 after a church defector, LaVenda Van Schaick, then of Somerville, requested he file suit to recover the $12,800 she said she had donated to the church. Several months later,
nine high church officials were convicted in connection with a scheme to infiltrate and break into several federal agencies in Washington that were investigating Scientology.
Fortuitously for Flynn, the Justice Department made public some 30, 000 documents it had seized from the church, which formed the basis of the prosecution. Flynn said the documents, which in part detailed the church’s
plans and programs to attack its critics, confirmed for him his suspicions that he was a similar target of the Scientologists. Shortly after photocopying all of the documents, Flynn filed a $200 million class- action suit against the church on behalf of Van Schaick and other ” victims” of the church. (The counts containing the class action claims were later dismissed by Garrity).
Coming at a time when the church was receiving bad press because of the conviction of nine of its officials, Flynn’s suit attracted the attention of many Scientology defectors.
In his fourth year of litigation against the church, Flynn has become the principal source of anti-Scientology information and documents in the country.
He has also served as a contact for law enforcement officials. He cooperated with authorities in Toronto, who in March of this year raided church headquarters in that city and seized a truckload of documents as part of an investigation of alleged consumer and tax fraud. Flynn is also cooperating with pending criminal investigations of the church in Florida and Arizona.
In the DeWolf case in California, the church notes Flynn is seeking to protect Hubbard’s assets, while in other suits he is trying to seize them.
“You can’t have it both ways,” Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, said in a recent interview. “Flynn is a man who’s given new definition to the word shyster . . . The man is unconscionable. We don’t pay extortionists . . . We’ll outlast him by far . . . You don’t criticize a man’s religion in this country and get away with it.”
Responds Flynn: “They try to portray me as the ambulance- chasing, money-grubbing attorney. It’s a bunch of garbage. My office is out more than $350,000 . . . I represent regular people pursuing a group that can only be compared to the Nazis. The scope of this thing is staggering. I used to be a normal guy, but litigating against this cult has made me very careful.”
Scientology defectors charge
‘dirty tricks’ in Boston
(Boston Globe, May 31, 1983)1
By Ben Bradlee Jr. / Globe Staff
Robert Dardano and Warren Friske were trusted members of the Boston mission of the Church of Scientology in the mid-1970s when they say they were recruited to join a group of other church members intent on carrying out “dirty tricks” against critics and others deemed enemies of the church in this area.
The activities of the group included break-ins, the theft of documents, harassment and misrepresentation, according to sworn testimony by Dardano in Florida last year and affidavits from him and Friske on file as part of pending civil litigation in Suffolk Superior Court and US District Court in Boston.
In separate interviews with The Globe, Dardano and Friske – both of whom are now assisting Michael J. Flynn, a Boston lawyer who represents almost three dozen Scientology defectors around the country – expanded on those affidavits. They said their efforts were part of a nationwide church campaign to gain incriminating evidence on its critics, as well as to gather intelligence on law enforcement agencies and media outlets, both of which they said the church considered threats.
Leaders of the Church of Scientology of Boston refused to be interviewed about the allegations raised in the documents and interviews.
However, through its lawyer, Harvey A. Silverglate, the church said in a letter to The Globe that it is investigating the charges made by Dardano and Friske to determine if they are true, and what role, if any, others in the church might have played in the activities. But Silverglate said that from the church investigation so far “it appears quite clear” that Dardano and Friske were acting without the authorization of the church and contrary to church policy.
Silverglate wrote that if law enforcement authorities investigate and confirm the allegations, “the church stands ready and willing to cooperate with such authorities to achieve justice.”
Dardano, 32, of Dorchester, was a member of the church from 1972 to 1975, and for part of that time was involved in intelligence gathering and “dirty tricks.” Friske, a member of the church from 1972 to 1982, said he was head of internal security for the Boston church and the custodian of its most sensitive files. He is 35 and now lives in Lynn.
The activities that Dardano and Friske alleged in interviews, affidavits, depositions or other sworn testimony that they and others were involved with on behalf of the church include:
- The burglary of the Belmont office of a psychiatrist in 1975 in order to steal the doctor’s files on one of his patients, who had written a book highly critical of Scientology.
- The theft of documents from the Boston law firm of Bingham, Dana and Gould, counsel for The Boston Globe, in late 1974 as part of a plan to monitor the newspaper’s preparation of a Sunday Magazine article on the church.
- The systematic theft and destruction of books critical of the church from libraries throughout New England.
- The planting of a church member as a volunteer inside the state attorney general’s office to intercept consumer complaints about Scientology. They said the volunteer also used his position to call other law enforcement agencies around the country to elicit information the agencies had on the church.
In addition, according to Scientology documents and interviews with Friske and Dardano, some members of the church were also engaged in a campaign to discredit a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School, psychiatrist John Clark Jr., who has done extensive research into cults and who has frequently spoken out against Scientology.
Although the Boston church refused an interview with The Globe, its president, Rev. Maureen Nagles, said in a letter to the newspaper that it is “absolutely against every belief and long-standing policies of the church to be a party to any action that is illegal.”
Referring to Dardano and Friske, Rev. Nagles said, “What these two have failed to tell you about is what the rest of the church’s members were doing while they were committing their purported illegal activities. As is our standard daily routine, the rest of us were . . . counselling parishioners . . . providing training courses for ministers of the church as well as courses to help parishioners in their day-to-day living, and assisting in many worthwhile community based projects.”
Most of the Dardano-Friske allegations were given to the attorney general’s office in November 1980, after Dardano gave a statement to Flynn, the Boston lawyer who is suing the church for fraud on behalf of 32 defectors. However, according to Stephen P. Delinsky, former head of the office’s criminal division, a decision was made by the agency not to go forward with prosecution, in part because the six-year statute of limitations for prosecuting some of the alleged crimes was close to running out.
Delinsky also said he felt Flynn was trying to use a possible prosecution of Scientologists to assist his own civil litigation. “I felt that was not the proper use of the criminal justice system, and I felt uncomfortable,” Delinsky, who is now in private practice, said recently. Flynn denied his intentions were self-serving, and said it should be the responsibility of the attorney general to prosecute crimes regardless of who it benefits.
Dardano said that his role in carrying out “dirty tricks” took place in 1974 and 1975, the year he quit the church. Friske, however, said he was heavily involved in a harassment campaign against Clark in 1981, and a harassment campaign against Flynn that he said was ongoing when he left the church last year.
Their activities, according to affidavits and church documents seized by the FBI, were coordinated with the nationwide campaign by the church to combat criticism and investigations of its operations. While the assertions of Dardano and Friske involve activities in the Boston area, nine high officials of the church, including the wife of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, signed an official document in 1979 that detailed their criminal activities, during four years in the mid-1970s, against several federal agencies in Washington that had been investigating the church.
Drawn up by the US Department of Justice, the 282-page “stipulation of evidence” stated that among the acts carried out by church members were: bugging the conference room of the Internal Revenue Service’s chief counsel; breaking into private IRS offices; illegal copying of confidential files of the Justice Department, and surreptitious placing of church members in IRS and Justice Department offices in Washington. The nine were convicted on a variety of charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, lying to a grand jury and theft of government documents.
According to the Justice Department’s stipulation, the operations in Washington were spearheaded by the Information Bureau of the church’s Guardian Office, which oversees decision-making for the church. Under the church’s hierarchy, each of the major Scientology missions in the United States is run by local Guardian Offices that coordinate their activities with the national and worldwide headquarters.
In conjunction with its investigation of the church, the FBI raided church offices in Washington and Los Angeles in 1977. Among the thousands of documents seized in the two raids was one dated Sept. 18, 1973, that outlined intelligence-gathering plans by the Boston mission of the church.
While the document does not divulge any plans for break-ins, it does call for “future areas of penetration actions” to be carried out at the following agencies: Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Governor’s Office of Human Services and the United Fund.
In his sworn affidavit, Dardano said that in the summer of 1974 he became a member of the Boston Guardian Office’s “Branch 1” unit charged with gathering intelligence and carrying out operations against designated church enemies.
His first assignment, he said in the interview, was to head an “overt data collection” effort that involved supervising a small team of Scientologists who gathered information from public sources on persons and agencies who opposed or could oppose the church.
By late 1974, Dardano last year told a Clearwater, Fla., city commission, he was appointed head of “covert data collection” for the Boston church. In his sworn testimony, he said his immediate supervisor was William Foster, and both he and Foster reported to Deac Finn, then head of Branch 1 for the Boston Guardian’s Office. Clearwater is the world headquarters of the church.
In the Globe interview and in his affidavit, Dardano said his covert activities were sanctioned by his church superiors, Foster and Finn, and that the information and documents gained from the activities were sent to the church’s national headquarters, in Los Angeles.
“All of the information that we gathered, files that were stolen, were Xeroxed into weekly reports,” Dardano stated in his affidavit. “. . . As far as I know the information went to Guardian’s Worldwide in Sussex, England,” which was then the worldwide headquarters for the church.
One of his first covert efforts, Dardano said, was breaking into the office of Dr. Stanley Cath, a Belmont psychiatrist. Cath had treated Paulette Cooper, a New York writer who in 1971 wrote “The Scandal of Scientology,” a book critical of the church.
In testimony before the city commission in Clearwater, Dardano said he was one of four Scientology members involved in the burglary.
“It was just a matter of driving down to the office,” Dardano testified. “A couple of people got out of the van, went into the office. They were able to jump over a small partition wall and get into the office and look her name up in the file, pull the file, and just walk out of the building. There was no great security.”
Dardano said the file was kept for several weeks at a rented house in Tewksbury where he and six other agents for the Boston Guardian’s Office then lived. During that time, he said in the interview, the file was copied and sent “up lines” to Scientology’s national headquarters in Los Angeles. Later, a second break-in was staged at Cath’s office to return the file, he said.
According to a church document seized by the FBI in its raids of church offices in Los Angeles and Washington, another break-in of Cath’s office was planned in 1976. The document, called “Project Owl,” said the files to be gathered included other material on Cooper and the file on a Scientology defector, who had demanded a refund of money donated to the church.
In an interview, Cath said he had not missed the file because by 1975 he no longer was treating Cooper. He said he first learned of the theft when Cooper called and told him that parts of her file had been sent to her anonymously. Later, he said he was interviewed by the FBI. “I felt indignation, anger and rage,” Cath said. Cooper, for her part, has three suits pending against the church. One of them, in US District Court in Boston, lays out some of the information in the Friske and Dardano affidavits, as well as in the FBI-seized church documents.
Dardano said his first covert operation for the church took place in late 1974, and involved the Boston law firm of Bingham, Dana and Gould, which represents The Globe. At the time, a Globe reporter was preparing a Sunday Magazine article on the Scientology Church.
Dardano told the Clearwater commissioners that a church member, David Grace, was able to gain employment as a cleaner in the Boston building where the law firm was located. Daily, Dardano testified, Grace would check the files of James A. McHugh, the newspaper’s principal litigation attorney at the firm, to “interrupt the correspondence between The Boston Globe and the attorney’s office.”
In his recent interview with The Globe, Dardano expanded on his knowledge of Grace’s activities.
“He just opened up the file, looked under ‘S’, and there was Scientology,” recalled Dardano. He said he did not remember if Grace actually took the file out of the office or copied its contents on the premises, but in any case, Dardano said he reviewed the file’s contents. Grace could not be reached for comment.
Getting a Scientologist hired as a cleaner or security guard in the building where a perceived enemy was located was a favorite intelligence- gathering tactic, according to interviews and the church documents seized by the FBI.
For example, the “Project Owl” document proposed that a church member be placed in a downtown office building as a cleaner or security guard to “obtain” the files of John M. Lynch, the Boston attorney who was then representing a former defector seeking a refund of the more than $30,000 donated to the church.
In addition, a Boston Scientologist was hired in 1974 by the private security company that guarded The Globe building in an attempt to gain information from the reporter who was preparing the article on the church.
According to Friske, another operation of the Boston church in the mid- 1970s was the theft of anti-Scientology books from libraries in New England. In his affidavit, and in a deposition taken last September by church attorney Silverglate, Friske said the book thefts were part of a national program called “Operation Hydra” to purge the country of literature that portrayed the church in a bad light.
Friske said “piles” of the stolen books were hidden behind a false wall on the fifth floor of the Boston church’s headquarters, located at the former Chandler School for Women at 448 Beacon St. in 1977, after the FBI raid. Friske said that on orders from his superiors in the church, he destroyed the books, along with scores of other sensitive files detailing church operations against Paulette Cooper and others, which had also been hidden behind the wall.
“All the GO’s (Guardian’s Offices) were on alert . . .” Friske said in his deposition to Silverglate, “and we didn’t want to get caught with the same stuff . . . as the guys . . . in D.C. and US” in Los Angeles.
One unsigned internal church document seized by the FBI spells out security procedures for files on Boston dirty tricks. It says that documents must be destroyed within one minute of a raid or the serving of a search warrant, and that shredding is not reliable because documents can be reassembled. “Fire is usually most thorough and practical,” the document says, and it advises staffers to keep on hand a metal trash can, lighter fluid and matches.
Following the 1977 FBI raid, Friske said in his affidavit, the church began to take steps to disavow its involvement in alleged illegal activities. A representative of the church’s national headquarters in Los Angeles was sent to various missions throughout the country to gather affidavits from persons involved in the activities, he said.
The affidavits, many of which Friske said he saw, also stated the church members had undertaken their alleged criminal operations on their own, without the knowledge or approval of the church, Friske said, “all of which is a total fabrication.” Dardano said he routinely signed such an affidavit to protect the church, but Friske said he did not.
Friske said in his interview that he was also involved in operations to discredit Clark, the psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School faculty member who has been outspoken against cults. Clark had helped form the Center on Destructive Cultism, a now-defunct nonprofit group that researched cults and counselled persons involved in groups like Scientology, which he considers “destructive.” Clark persuaded various persons and corporations to contribute to his group, including $6000 from the Gillette Co. and $1000 from The Globe Newspaper Co. in 1981. His group has since become part of the American Family Foundation.
According to Friske, the Scientologists went to great lengths to obtain the trash generated by Clark’s center when it was located on State Street in Boston. “We placed an empty Coke can with rocks in it in the bathroom trash barrel,” he recalled in an interview. “When the trash was cleaned from that floor, the can would be included. Our people waiting at the trash bin would shake all the bags until they discovered the one with the can in it. The one that rattled, that’s the one we took.”
In August 1981, a Scientologist posing as a courier sent by the Harvard Medical School stole Clark’s personnel file from the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center, where Clark worked from 1970 to 1973, according to Dalene Henshaw, director of the center. Henshaw, in a March 31, 1982, letter to Clark, said that several months after the incident, a Scientology representative came to her and acknowledged the theft. She quoted the Scientologist as saying that the person involved had been fired and that such tactics were “no longer endorsed.”
The fruits of these covert maneuvers, together with an exhaustive background check on Clark, were published by the church in a series of “investigation” reports, and sent to Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (with which he is associated), medical authorities, various corporations and news media.
As of the time Friske left the church in 1982, he said in an interview, Clark was being kept under regular surveillance by Scientologists. “He’s followed anywhere he goes. When he goes out of the country, Scientology missions overseas are alerted, and he is picked up. His lectures are regularly attended.”
Clark has been sued twice by Scientology for allegedly trying to conspire to deprive defectors of their civil liberties by counselling or “deprogramming” them. One of the suits was dismissed, the other is pending.
“It’s not particularly funny to be a target of a multimillion-dollar organization like Scientology,” said Clark. “They have all the advantages. I have very few. They can do what they want. They have all the lawyers.”
The intelligence-gathering apparatus of the Boston church was also used against its own members. In his capacity as head of internal security for the Boston church, Friske stated in his deposition last year, he and other members of the Guardian’s Office regularly “culled” the supposedly secret “auditing” files of other Scientologists who had been urged to confess all their past sins as part of the therapy they received.
Though persons joining the church are given assurances that their files will be kept confidential, Friske said those promises are routinely broken and the files checked for evidence of past crimes or other embarrassing material, which the church can then use as blackmail to keep would-be defectors in the fold or prevent them from suing Scientology.
According to Dardano’s testimony in Clearwater and interviews with him and Friske, the placement of Scientology church member George Bristol as a volunteer in the consumer affairs division of the attorney general’s office for several months in late 1974 and early 1975 was considered a coup. Bristol’s job was to screen consumer calls, and he would occasionally deal with someone complaining about Scientology.
“It was very difficult for a . . . person in Boston to make a complaint about the church and have it go anywhere,” Dardano said last year in his Clearwater testimony. “We had all the bases covered . . . If they called the attorney general’s office, George Bristol was sitting there . . . So, it was just, ‘Fine, ma’am, we’ll take care of it.’ and it wouldn’t go anywhere from there.”
Dardano and Friske said in their interviews that besides putting out such brush fires, Bristol used his position to call other states’ attorney general’s offices and ask what information they had on Scientology.
They said Bristol gathered considerable data and generated several written reports as a result of this activity. Then, apparently emboldened by that success, he called the Justice Department in Washington asking for its files on Scientology. But Bristol’s cover was blown when someone representing Justice called back and asked if Bristol was authorized to request such information.
Thomas Kiley, Bellotti’s first assistant, confirmed that Bristol did work in the consumer affairs division as a volunteer. “I have no idea what any volunteer did in 1975, and nobody here has any memory of any volunteer calling other AG’s,” Kiley said. “. . . We know when we take volunteers that people can come in for an ulterior motive. We therefore confine them to nonsensitive matters, and supervise their duties as closely as possible.”
Dardano added in his interview that Bristol also posed as a representative of the attorney general’s office in a meeting with a group of parents of three Boston Scientologists, including Dardano’s own mother, who were contemplating suing the church. Again saying he represented Bellotti’s office, Bristol met with Mike Taibbi, a television reporter then with Channel 5, who was contemplating doing a story on Scientology based in part on information supplied by one of the parents. Taibbi confirms this. Bristol could not be reached for comment.
In addition, Dardano testified in Clearwater that a female church member was placed as a volunteer in the Boston office of the Better Business Bureau to interrupt complaints concerning the church. Leonard Sanders, president of the Boston office, confirmed that the woman worked for the bureau during that period.
“We were a conspiracy formed by the church against The Boston Globe, the Attorney General’s office, the Better Business Bureau . . . and Paulette Cooper . . .” Dardano added in Clearwater. “We considered anyone and everyone an enemy of the church.”