The Best of “The Village Voice Blog,” Part Six. Deaths and Shame. Many dimes for Wollersheim.

Death of a Scientologist: Why Annie Broeker, Famous in the Church, Had to Die in Secret

by Tony Ortega, 1-30-12

This story is about a woman who had spent most of her life in Scientology coming in as a teen.  During that time she saw a lot of dirty laundry being washed out in one manner or another.  Her and her husband Pat were in one load.  He was given the Order of the Boot when the Philidelphia-born tough David Miscavidge took over Scientology ousting her husband and her as the heirs apparent of Scientology.  As a loyal bot of Hubbard she remained true to the cause ditching Pat.  There were a number of people who could have taken over Scientology at the death of Hubbard; all were insufficiently ruthless to grab the glittering prize.  The winner of the coup could never let her walk freely in the world again, not even among the sheep that comprise the everyday Scientologists.  No, he kept her close at hand.  Being close to DM means being treated like a convict in a rural Arkansaw jail at the turn of the twentieth century.  All the power players of Scientology knew her yet her death was kept quiet for months before it was announced leading to all sorts of speculation and conjecture about just what happened at the end of her life.

For the entire story go here:

Annie in her younger days aboard the “Apollo” at a recording session with Hubbard. The “Apollo All-Stars” sounded like they had just listened to OTIII and were unhappy about it.

Scientology’s Shame: Lisa McPherson, 16 Years After Her Death

by Tony Ortega 12-5-11.

Not one person went to jail for the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson although there were many charges that could have been filed such as negligent homicide, practicing medicine without a license, abuse of a handicapped person. destroying evidence, lying to the police, kidnapping, and obstruction of justice among others.  Yet Scientology suffered greatly from this PR fiasco.  No event since the sentencing of Mary Sue Hubbard, the wife of L. Ron Hubbard, to federal prison has shaken the cult like this.  Years have passed since this woman’s untimely death and although Scientology settled with Lisa’s estate in the wrongful death suit the cult itself has never admitted any wrong doing.  For Tony’s take on this go here for the story:

Scientology’s Crushing Defeat

A previously unpublished saga of an $8 million check

by Tony Ortega 1-24-08

This concerns the case of former Scientologist Larry Wollershiem who sued the cult and won only to have the verdict contested for the next 16 years.  This case offers some interesting insights into the crazy world of Hubbard Bots.

Here is what Tony had to say as a preface to the story.

Six years ago, when I was a reporter atNew Times LA, I’d written several stories about Scientology (Los Angeles is one of its headquarters), and I was about to uncork the longest one yet—a 7,000 word piece about an embarrassing, $8 million defeat Scientology had just suffered, when the weekly paper suddenly folded. That unpublished story has been sitting in storage ever since. Fast forward to 2008, and the world of reporting on Scientology has changed radically, thanks in part to the lunacy of Tom Cruise, but also in part to a worldwide, leaderless movement that calls itself Anonymous. Ravenous for any information about L. Ron Hubbard’s strange organization, Anonymous scours the world for the least tidbit about Scientology. Well, here was a pretty meaty morsel just sitting in my hard drive. It’s still a substantial bit of reporting, and it fills in some gaps in the historical record of one of the most humiliating court losses Scientology has ever suffered. Originally scheduled to be printed in October 2002, the piece follows. (It’s unchanged except for updates in[brackets].) This material may come as a revelation to some readers, but even for the know-it-alls at Anonymous, there are juicy bites.—Tony Ortega.

To read the rest of this story go here:

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