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Author Topic: The Ideal Org scam  (Read 20499 times)
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« Reply #75 on: February 01, 2015, 06:18:22 AM »

                                              Scientology Ideal Orgs (i.e, Churches) Africa Update

https://backincomm.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/ideal-org-africa-update/
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« Reply #76 on: April 23, 2015, 08:23:48 PM »

           City records show Scientology is barely doing any renovation work at 1801 Grand (or they may be doing it without a permit)

http://www.pitch.com/FastPitch/archives/2015/04/22/city-records-show-scientology-is-barely-doing-any-renovation-work-at-1801-grand-or-they-may-be-doing-it-without-a-permit
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« Reply #77 on: May 07, 2015, 07:47:13 AM »

                                            Montreal Church of Scientology in financial difficulty

by Jeff Yates and Matthieu Charest                        TRANSLATION
May 6, 2015
Les Affaires

Montreal Church of Scientology in financial difficulty

by Jeff Yates and Matthieu Charest
May 6, 2015
Les Affaires

Click image for larger version.

Name:   La Patrie building Montreal 2015-05-06.jpg
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Size:   58.2 KB
ID:   10334

In 2007, the Church of Scientology of Montreal bought the La Patrie building, which at that time belonged to the University of Quebec in Montreal, for 4.25 million dollars. Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, the building is slated to be transformed into an "ideal org" (ideal organization), a religious facility combined with an ultra-modern service center.

But nearly eight years later, no renovation has yet been undertaken. And though the Church says it is RAISING MONEY from its members to carry out this project, it has been unable to pay property taxes of about $125,000 a year (for 2015). According to information gathered by newspapers Les Affaires and Métro, the organization has accumulated overdue payments of nearly $120,000.

When asked about the future of the building, Jean Larivière of the Montreal branch of the Church of Scientology, reiterates that "[the project] is still on track and continues to generate enthusiasm in our religious community. [...] We are in the process of holding FUNDRAISERS to fund the renovations."

Floating deadlines

Regarding the expected deadline for completing this new church, Mr. Larivière adds that there is "no precise date for the commencement of construction, which we would like to begin before or during next year [2016]."

Back in 2009, one daily newspaper quoted the same spokesman, who said the project was "still in the preliminary stages and in the process of FUNDRAISING." The project had already been postponed from 2008 to 2009.

In 2010, according to another newspaper, construction had still not yet begun. Work was then postponed until 2011.

Today, in 2015, nothing has been done. Only a temporary art gallery occupied a part of the building. But according to the City, nothing – no renovation work – has been done on the inside.

Erratic modus operandi

So why is a group that is struggling to pay its property taxes and perform the renovations stubbornly buying property?

"Some people assume that it's a REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT scheme," says American journalist Tony Ortega, who has been investigating the Church since 1995. "[But] some experts are telling me that they're not very good investments. These are old buildings that require a lot of maintenance and renovations, and there is no guarantee that they will be resold at a profit. "

According to Mr. Ortega, this is more a public relations strategy. "[The leader of the Church] believes that if he opens these luxurious buildings in the downtown area of the largest cities in the world, then people will think that Scientology is growing, even if it's the opposite."

Mystery surrounds building's future

Mystery continues to surround the future of the 6-story La Patrie building in Montreal. There are expenses (taxes) that are difficult to justify, an unknown purpose, and a constantly postponed timeline. "It doesn't surprise me that Scientologists aren't acting very logically with this building," says Izhar Perlman, an independent Scientologist and author of the "Idle Orgs" blog, which documents and catalogues Scientology's real estate holdings throughout the world.

"[...] They extort money from their members, and they spend it by purchasing large, expensive buildings." Regarding the idea of asking for tax exemptions: "It wouldn't be of any use to them," he believes. "Their bank ACCOUNTS are full and they aren't using them."

Exemption

However, the Church could apply for exemption from these taxes. To do this, it simply has to fill out a form and pay $205. There is no guarantee that the application would be approved. The building must first be occupied and used for religious purposes.

But if the past is any indication of the future, the probability of such an outcome seems good. The current location on Papineau Avenue (near Jacques-Cartier Bridge) is already exempt from municipal taxes. In Toronto, only a portion of the municipal taxes are levied on one of their buildings. There too, the building is unoccupied and has fallen into disuse.

The rumor mill

"It's not usual for this group [Scientologists] not to ask for recognition as a church," explains Marie-Ève Garand, executive director of the Centre d'écoute et d'interprétation des nouvelles recherches du croire, which specializes in the study of new religions. "According to some sources, the most likely assumption is that the group might want to open a Narconon drug rehabilitation center in the region, or an office of the Citizens Commission for Human Rights (an antipsychiatric organization)."

Impressive real estate holdings

According to information reported by Fortune magazine, the organization has assets of about 1.75 billion U.S. dollars. Of this amount, 1.5 billion is INVESTED in real estate holdings worldwide.

And the property portfolio is impressive. Just in Canada, the Church owns buildings in Toronto, Quebec, Vancouver, Montreal and Winnipeg, among others. Although an "ideal org" has already appeared in Quebec City, the story being repeated elsewhere is the same as in Montreal. In Toronto, the building on Yonge Street is valued at 4 million dollars, at least, while the value of the building in Winnipeg is close to 900,000 dollars. In both cases, the buildings serve absolutely no purpose.

Name:   La Patrie building Montreal 2015-05-06.jpg
Views:   2
Size:   58.2 KB
ID:   10334

In 2007, the Church of Scientology of Montreal bought the La Patrie building, which at that time belonged to the University of Quebec in Montreal, for 4.25 million dollars. Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, the building is slated to be transformed into an "ideal org" (ideal organization), a religious facility combined with an ultra-modern service center.

But nearly eight years later, no renovation has yet been undertaken. And though the Church says it is RAISING MONEY from its members to carry out this project, it has been unable to pay property taxes of about $125,000 a year (for 2015). According to information gathered by newspapers Les Affaires and Métro, the organization has accumulated overdue payments of nearly $120,000.

When asked about the future of the building, Jean Larivière of the Montreal branch of the Church of Scientology, reiterates that "[the project] is still on track and continues to generate enthusiasm in our religious community. [...] We are in the process of holding FUNDRAISERS to fund the renovations."

Floating deadlines

Regarding the expected deadline for completing this new church, Mr. Larivière adds that there is "no precise date for the commencement of construction, which we would like to begin before or during next year [2016]."

Back in 2009, one daily newspaper quoted the same spokesman, who said the project was "still in the preliminary stages and in the process of FUNDRAISING." The project had already been postponed from 2008 to 2009.

In 2010, according to another newspaper, construction had still not yet begun. Work was then postponed until 2011.

Today, in 2015, nothing has been done. Only a temporary art gallery occupied a part of the building. But according to the City, nothing – no renovation work – has been done on the inside.

Erratic modus operandi

So why is a group that is struggling to pay its property taxes and perform the renovations stubbornly buying property?

"Some people assume that it's a REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT scheme," says American journalist Tony Ortega, who has been investigating the Church since 1995. "[But] some experts are telling me that they're not very good investments. These are old buildings that require a lot of maintenance and renovations, and there is no guarantee that they will be resold at a profit. "

According to Mr. Ortega, this is more a public relations strategy. "[The leader of the Church] believes that if he opens these luxurious buildings in the downtown area of the largest cities in the world, then people will think that Scientology is growing, even if it's the opposite."

Mystery surrounds building's future

Mystery continues to surround the future of the 6-story La Patrie building in Montreal. There are expenses (taxes) that are difficult to justify, an unknown purpose, and a constantly postponed timeline. "It doesn't surprise me that Scientologists aren't acting very logically with this building," says Izhar Perlman, an independent Scientologist and author of the "Idle Orgs" blog, which documents and catalogues Scientology's real estate holdings throughout the world.

"[...] They extort money from their members, and they spend it by purchasing large, expensive buildings." Regarding the idea of asking for tax exemptions: "It wouldn't be of any use to them," he believes. "Their bank ACCOUNTS are full and they aren't using them."

Exemption

However, the Church could apply for exemption from these taxes. To do this, it simply has to fill out a form and pay $205. There is no guarantee that the application would be approved. The building must first be occupied and used for religious purposes.

But if the past is any indication of the future, the probability of such an outcome seems good. The current location on Papineau Avenue (near Jacques-Cartier Bridge) is already exempt from municipal taxes. In Toronto, only a portion of the municipal taxes are levied on one of their buildings. There too, the building is unoccupied and has fallen into disuse.

The rumor mill

"It's not usual for this group [Scientologists] not to ask for recognition as a church," explains Marie-Ève Garand, executive director of the Centre d'écoute et d'interprétation des nouvelles recherches du croire, which specializes in the study of new religions. "According to some sources, the most likely assumption is that the group might want to open a Narconon drug rehabilitation center in the region, or an office of the Citizens Commission for Human Rights (an antipsychiatric organization)."

Impressive real estate holdings

According to information reported by Fortune magazine, the organization has assets of about 1.75 billion U.S. dollars. Of this amount, 1.5 billion is INVESTED in real estate holdings worldwide.

And the property portfolio is impressive. Just in Canada, the Church owns buildings in Toronto, Quebec, Vancouver, Montreal and Winnipeg, among others. Although an "ideal org" has already appeared in Quebec City, the story being repeated elsewhere is the same as in Montreal. In Toronto, the building on Yonge Street is valued at 4 million dollars, at least, while the value of the building in Winnipeg is close to 900,000 dollars. In both cases, the buildings serve absolutely no purpose.
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« Reply #78 on: May 17, 2015, 08:11:59 PM »

                                         Church of Scientology making moves in Detroit

DETROIT, MI - The Church of Scientology is working to get a foothold in downtown Detroit.

Curbed Detroit reports that the organization recently revealed plans for the Standard Savings Building in downtown Detroit at a Detroit Historic District Commission meeting earlier this week.

The church bought the historic building for $3.5 million in 2008. The 1 Griswold building would be used as Scientology's regional headquarters.

In the plans unveiled Wednesday, Gensler Architects proposed plans to redevelop the building.

Curbed reports the changes include a new rooftop Scientology sign, and another vertical Scientology sign on the corner of the building. They also want to add air conditioning to the building, a rooftop deck and a cross above the entrance of the building.

The HDC did not approve the plan, according to Curbed. The plans for the 49,947-square-foot 1930 building were pushed to a meeting next month.

Detroit is one of 13 U.S. cities listed on the church's website as a location for a future church. There are no other Michigan cities listed.

The Detroit News reports that representatives of the Los Angeles-based church said in an email that "Several more of our Churches are scheduled to be opened within the coming months as they have construction schedules well in progress.

"This is a moment of great anticipation and tremendous excitement for the staff, volunteers and parishioners. The Church in Detroit is on this same launch pad. And in fact designs for this building are well in progress now."

The Church of Scientology was founded in the early 1950s by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard based on a metaphysics book he wrote. Its teachings, beliefs and systems of operations have been widely and harshly criticized in recent years.

The secretive organization has a tax-exempt status in multiple countries, including the U.S.

Multiple Hollywood stars are members of the religion, including Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

According to the organization's website, there are over 10,000 Scientology-related groups or organizations around the world.

http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2015/05/church_of_scientology_making_m.html
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« Reply #79 on: May 19, 2015, 11:24:56 PM »

                                                         Church of Scientology owes city over $100,000 as Yonge-Bloor site languishes

Organization funds Yonge Street reno with member donations

As the Church of Scientology touts a plan to convert its prominent Yonge St. location into a flagship facility, the city says its owes over $100,000 in property taxes and penalties.
Critics of the controversial organization say similar renovation projects have languished in other cities.
The Church of Scientology of Toronto, which owns 696 Yonge St., owes more than $61,000 in property taxes and penalties for 2014, out of a total of just under $112,000. The organization made only partial payments of its 2014 property taxes, according to Supervisor of Collections Stephen Franceschini.
It also owes $57,348.15 in taxes and penalties on the interim 2015 property tax bill, according to Franceschini.
Property owners receive an interim tax bill near the beginning of each year, and typically a final bill in May. Payments on the 2015 interim bill were due March 2, April 1 and May 1, according to the city’s website.
“We have contacted the local Church in Toronto and they intend to get this paid forthwith,” Scientology spokesperson Linda Wieland said in an email.
The news comes as the organization says it still plans to convert the Yonge St. building into one of Scientology’s “Ideal Orgs,” which it first announced in early 2013. Scientology describes these facilities as “cathedrals” in desirable locations, “intended to meet increasing demand worldwide for Scientology services and initiatives.”
Scientology claims to have opened 41 Ideal Orgs in recent years.
The organization boarded up the Yonge St. building and submitted an application to the city for interior demolition work in 2013. At the time, Scientology spokesperson Erin Banks said the building’s interior would be remodeled.
Mario Angelucci, Toronto’s deputy chief building official, said a subsequent application submitted last December expands on changes the organization sought two years ago.
Renderings compiled by the Church of Scientology International show red and black banners and a large cross displayed on the building’s Yonge St. façade.
The application to the city says the organization plans “to remove all interior walls on all floors, remove all exterior walls ... and construct new exterior and interior alterations to all floors.”
Critics describe the Ideal Orgs initiative as a vanity project of Scientology leader David Miscavige, intended to attract converts and divert attention from the organization’s waning membership.
“He’s now playing the ‘field of dreams’ game, where you build it and they will come,” said Mark Rathbun, who spent 27 years in the church and served as the organization’s inspector general.
Miscavige also hoped the new Ideal Orgs would be more attractive to celebrities and other prominent figures than the organization’s other facilities, Rathbun said.
“He would say, you know, ‘The orgs are s---holes, and there’s no place you could take somebody who’s, you know, a leader in society,’” Rathbun said.
Wieland said in an email that the Toronto project is being funded through member donations. To date, workers have completed “demolition and site cleanup” at the building.
According to Wieland, “most, but not all [Ideal Orgs] are funded locally.”
Christabelle Crichlow took two Scientology courses before leaving the organization last year. She donated $500 to the Toronto Ideal Org.
Church members were asked repeatedly to donate to the project, said Crichlow, who believes that while Scientology members enthusiastically support it, some people may simply be tapped out.
“There’s only so much people can give,” Crichlow said.
Tony Ortega, a journalist who has reported on Scientology since 1995, said the church lacks the membership necessary to fund ambitious renovations and maintain large properties.
“The idea that they would open these gleaming new buildings and it would create this rush of new people is pure fantasy,” Ortega said.
And because the organization cannot fund the renovations at some locations, Ortega said, they remain in a state of limbo.
Wieland denied this and all claims made by Ortega and Rathbun.
“The facts speak otherwise,” Wieland wrote, responding to the suggestion that some Ideal Orgs do not open promptly because of a lack of donations. Wieland then listed a number of facilities the organization has acquired, expanded or opened.
Metro and Les Affaires recently reported that the organization owes the City of Montreal $117,000 in taxes, plus fines and interest on its downtown location.
The organization purchased the site in 2007 with plans to convert it into an Ideal Org.
The site has remained empty since then, according to the report. A Montreal spokesperson told the paper the organization has not raised sufficient funds for the renovation.
“You [can] probably count, you know, enthusiastic, engaged members on two hands,” Rathbun said of Montreal. “And yet they’re going to build this $50-million palace.”
Wieland would not say if the church has reached its fundraising goals for the Toronto renovation.
The application is currently under review by the city, which has already granted Scientology some zoning bylaw variances.
Wieland said construction documents are still being revised. The organization believes the renovations will be completed in 2015.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/05/18/church-of-scientology-owes-city-over-100000-as-yonge-bloor-site-languishes.html
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« Reply #80 on: July 14, 2015, 03:18:54 PM »

                                                   Scientologists in a bind over sale of South End building

                                                                      The Boston Globe

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/07/12/scientologists-not-yet-ready-sell-historic-south-end-building/VAMj54nLyMrYrvTxhoSIfO/story.html#
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« Reply #81 on: July 23, 2015, 11:42:20 PM »

                                          New Scientology headquarters opens in Sussex

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/13494108.New_Scientology_headquarters_opens_in_Sussex/
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« Reply #82 on: May 03, 2016, 07:15:23 PM »

                Some type of construction work is being done at the Scientology building in the Crossroads. But for what, who knows?


                                                                            KANSAS

http://www.pitch.com/news/blog/20630522/some-type-of-construction-work-is-being-done-at-the-scientology-building-in-the-crossroads-but-for-what-who-knows
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« Reply #83 on: May 19, 2016, 11:35:48 PM »

                                                      KANSAS

                              Scientology speaks! Church indicates it doesn't plan to sell its building on Grand Boulevard

Last week I got a tip about how the Church of Scientology was planning to sell the building it bought in 2007 at 1801 Grand.

It was a tantalizing piece of news because this newspaper for years has wondered when Scientology was going to get around to doing something with the City National Bank building. Since buying the building — one in which UMB Bank got its start— in 2007, there have been few, if any, signs of activity at the building. Meanwhile, it pays no property taxes — an exception being taxes earmarked for the streetcar — because it's supposedly being used for religious purposes.

It's a cool building in a prime area of real estate. I've heard there's a neat bank vault in the basement and that the bank lobby on the ground floor makes for a beautiful entrance.

I called around to see if anyone else had heard the same information and learned that some knowledgable people were aware of the rumor.

Efforts over the years to get Scientology to provide detail about what they plan to do with 1801 Grand have been met with silence.

Until Tuesday! I reached out to the public affairs operation at the Church of Scientology once again to relay the tip I'd gotten and to see if it would confirm. Their response was vague and suggested that Scientology doesn't plan to put the building on the market.

"The local Church is still engaged in fundraising for the completion of its new Ideal Church of Scientology and the expansion of the Church’s activities Kansas City," reads an e-mail response to The Pitch from Scientology's media relations department.

OK. That's been going on for nearly nine years. Does the church have a timeline for wrapping things up?

"We are not prepared to make a statement on that yet, but we will let you and the other media know when we do," reads a followup response.

So there you have it. Scientology says it's still in fundraising mode in Kansas City.

It's worth remembering that Scientology isn't always too forthright about itself. The church's account of the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard is riddled with questionable and unverifiable claims. The church was also famously caught by investigative journalist Lawrence Wright fabricating evidence to support Hubbard's military records in a lengthy story published in the New Yorker in 2011. (Wright would later publish a book about Scientology called Going Clear, which was later adapted into an HBO documentary by the same name.)

So one could accept Scientology's claims about its plans for 1801 Grand at face value. But one also shouldn't be surprised if a "for sale" sign pops up on the building later on.

http://www.pitch.com/news/blog/20780564/scientology-speaks-church-indicates-it-doesnt-plan-to-sell-their-building-on-grand-boulevard
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« Reply #84 on: May 21, 2016, 09:31:54 AM »

          Church of Scientology faces calls for compulsory purchase orders on historic English properties in danger of going to 'rack and ruin'

    *  Millions of pounds of Scientology-owned property languishing across England.
    *  Growing frustration at lack of redevelopment of important historic buildings.
    *  MP calls it 'money-making cult' and says he would 'support compulsory purchase'.
    *  Church says it is a legitimate religion and property development plans are progressing.



http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/church-scientology-faces-calls-compulsory-purchase-orders-historic-english-properties-danger-1560927



                                Scientology and its languishing English property: Pitmaston House, Birmingham

.... Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for the constituency in which Pitmaston House sits, said he is "not a fan of the Church of Scientology, which is essentially a money-making cult"......

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/scientology-its-languishing-english-property-pitmaston-house-birmingham-1560951
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« Reply #85 on: January 30, 2017, 08:26:04 AM »

    Gateshead Scientology building lies empty and derelict 10 years on - so what is happening with it?


The Church of Scientology bought Windmill Hills a decade ago but it is still empty, and locals say it is attracting drug users

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/gateshead-scientology-building-lies-empty-12522000
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« Reply #86 on: May 06, 2018, 11:18:54 PM »

             Down Under's 'City of Lights' Welcomes Newest Church of Scientology

http://chicagoeveningpost.com/2018/05/05/down-unders-city-of-lights-welcomes-newest-church-of-scientology/
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« Reply #87 on: May 08, 2018, 07:09:58 PM »

                Church of Scientology chief David Miscavige in WA to open new $9.3m Rivervale home

https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/church-of-scientology-chief-david-miscavige-in-wa-to-open-new-93m-rivervale-home-ng-b88827374z
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