[Scientology attorney Eric Lieberman]
(Originally published at Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker, my article is reposted here for archival purposes).
Contributor Jeffrey Augustine has taken another close look at Scientology’s over-the-top attacks on Ron Miscavige for this piece today. Once again, he’s found some really interesting stuff!
The website that smears Ron Miscavige — presumably hosted by the Church of Scientology to distract from Ron’s book, Ruthless — is a gift that just keeps on giving. Previously, we pointed out that in an attempt to defend Scientology leader David Miscavige against allegations in the book, the website includes statements by church officials about David that directly contradict what he swore to the IRS when it gave Scientology tax exempt status in 1993.
This time, we’re looking at another claim made at the smear website — that it was Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s intention for David Miscavige to take over leadership of the church after Hubbard’s death.
This is such an important claim, it’s made by one of Scientology’s most important (and rarely seen) attorneys, Eric Lieberman, who says in a video at the smear site…
We have documented statements by L. Ron Hubbard, tapes by L. Ron Hubbard, affidavits by L. Ron Hubbard say…saying, “David Miscavige has assumed an essential position of leadership in this Church. He is my good friend and I call upon all of you to… to trust him because he is the person who has taken over the mantle and will continue to do so.”
We challenge Mr. Lieberman to produce, and post online, the documentation proving this assertion, that Hubbard appointed David Miscavige as his successor. To the best of my knowledge, the only public statement the Church has ever posted to assert David Miscavige’s anointing as the successor to Hubbard, which appears in a biography of Miscavige at the official church website, contains a fatal plural/singular problem…
In 1983, L. Ron Hubbard described a heroic Church executive who cleaned the ranks of rogue staff attempting to seize control of Scientology while Mr. Hubbard was engaged in intensive research and absent from the Church. As Mr. Hubbard himself phrased it:
“So forgive me for not managing the Church when it almost fell into hostile hands. It all came out all right. Why? Because real Scientologists made sure it did. My faith was justified.”
That real Scientologist L. Ron Hubbard spoke of was David Miscavige.
Note that in his statement, Hubbard thanks “real Scientologists,” plural, but the church website says that the “real Scientologist,” singular, was Miscavige. That’s so clumsy, you can’t even call it sleight of hand.
And Miscavige’s claim that he was anointed by Hubbard is even less convincing when you take into account what he said in a sworn affidavit he signed on February 17, 1994…
45. Mr. Hubbard took no part in the disbanding of the GO [Guardian’s Office] or removal of Mary Sue Hubbard. In fact, the first he heard of it was five months after the initial purge, in July of 1981. While he had been out of communication and uninvolved in Church activities for the previous two years, he had engaged in further researches on Dianetics and Scientology.
Here we have David Miscavige stating under oath in 1994 that Hubbard was “out of communication and uninvolved in Church activities” from July 1979 to July 1981.
Miscavige further states:
50. Upon the dismissal of the probate action, DeWolfe’s attorney announced that his “real” purpose in bringing the probate action had been to force Mr. Hubbard out of seclusion so he could be served in the civil damages cases filed by DeWolfe’s lawyer. The idea was simple. Aware that Mr. Hubbard wanted to maintain his privacy and seclusion, the lawyer would notice Mr. Hubbard’s deposition as both an individual and as a “managing agent” of the Church. Default or settlement then would follow a managing agent finding and non-appearance. This ploy was particularly effective since Mr. Hubbard went completely out of touch with any and all Church entities from May of 1984, until he passed away in January of 1986.
If we take David Miscavige’s two statements in his affidavit at face value – and we must for he was speaking under oath and surely was not committing perjury – then the timeline for L. Ron Hubbard from July 1979 until his death in January 1986 is as follows…
— Hubbard was “out of communication and uninvolved in Church activities” from July 1979 to July 1981.
— Hubbard went completely out of touch with any and all Church entities from May of 1984 until he passed away in January of 1986. This means that from May 1984 forward, Hubbard had absolutely no contact with David Miscavige or anyone else in the Church.
According to David Miscavige, then, L. Ron Hubbard was only available to the Church from July 1981 until May 1984 – a period of 36 months. During this time what happens? We return to Miscavige’s declaration:
NOVEMBER 1, 1981: The Church of Scientology International was founded, signaling a new era of Scientology management. A strong standardized corporate structure was required to facilitate the rapid expansion of Scientology and maintain high ethical standards in a widespread international network of churches.
David Miscavige was in the Church of Scientology International (CSI) in November 1981. Specifically, he was in the Commodore’s Messenger’s Organization (CMO) until the end of 1981. In the beginning of 1982, however, L. Ron Hubbard transferred David Miscavige and appointed him CEO of the for-profit Author Services, Inc. David Miscavige remained at ASI until March 1987 – a full fourteen months after Hubbard’s death.
Here are the two central problems with David Miscavige’s claim to be L. Ron Hubbard’s successor as the leader of the Church of Scientology:
1. ASI is not a part of the Church of Scientology. ASI is a private for-profit California corporation whose sole business is the management of L. Ron Hubbard’s personal and business affairs.
2. While at ASI, David Miscavige denies all involvement in the Church of Scientology. At ASI, Miscavige himself stated that he was L. Ron Hubbard’s business manager, again this according to Miscavige’s 1994 declaration:
Accordingly, in 1982, Author Services was formed to manage the personal affairs of L. Ron Hubbard including his literary, financial and legal matters. As I was held in some regard by Mr. Hubbard, I was given the opportunity to be part of this new endeavor. Beginning in 1982, I devoted my full time and attention to Mr. Hubbard’s personal affairs from my position as Chief Executive Officer of Author Services. [Robert Vaughn] Young’s contention that I was somehow managing all Scientology Churches internationally at the same time that I was supervising Mr. Hubbard’s affairs is preposterous…From the beginning of 1982 until March of 1987, I was Chief Executive Officer and later Chairman of the Board of Author Services, Inc. (“ASI”), a California corporation which managed the personal, business, and literary affairs of L. Ron Hubbard.
Miscavige’s statement does not square with Lieberman’s claim that L. Ron Hubbard wanted Miscavige to inherit the mantle. In 1982 L. Ron Hubbard intentionally transferred David Miscavige off Church lines altogether by removing him from CMO INT and placing him into ASI.
Miscavige makes it quite clear that the Mother Church – the Church of Scientology International – was founded on November 1, 1981. However, Miscavige also makes it clear that he was transferred to ASI in the beginning of 1982. This raises the question: If Hubbard wanted Miscavige to lead the Church, then why did Hubbard place Miscavige in the for-profit ASI and away from everything to do with the Church?
To reiterate what Miscavige himself said under oath:
Beginning in 1982, I devoted my full time and attention to Mr. Hubbard’s personal affairs from my position as Chief Executive Officer of Author Services. Young’s contention that I was somehow managing all Scientology Churches internationally at the same time that I was supervising Mr. Hubbard’s affairs is preposterous.
David Miscavige cannot have it both ways: He cannot place himself in ASI in 1982 where he protests, “Young’s contention that I was somehow managing all Scientology Churches internationally at the same time that I was supervising Mr. Hubbard’s affairs is preposterous,” while also having his attorney Eric Lieberman claim that David Miscavige ascended to the leadership of the Church.
When L. Ron Hubbard died on January 24, 1986, David Miscavige remained in ASI for an additional fourteen months until he went to the Religious Technology Center (RTC), where he remains today. Why the delay? It stands to reason that if Hubbard had wanted Miscavige to be in charge of the entire Church of Scientology then Miscavige could have very easily produced a written order by Hubbard naming him successor. But this did not happen.
There is no evidence that Hubbard appointed David Miscavige to be his successor. Quite the contrary, the available legal evidence from the mouth of David Miscavige is crystal clear: Hubbard placed David Miscavige at ASI. By doing so, Hubbard kept Miscavige out of CSI, RTC, and CST, the ruling entities of the church itself.
It’s not clear that Hubbard ever appointed anyone to take over after his death. He did, near the end, announce that a young couple, Pat and Annie Broeker, who had been taking care of him in hiding, were to be considered “loyal officers,” a term out of Hubbard’s space opera fiction. But it’s very unclear that this meant Hubbard intended for the Broekers to succeed him based on that document. But David Miscavige took no chances — after he took over and pushed Pat Broeker out, he had two private investigators stalk Broeker for the next 24 years, at a cost of about $12 million.)
That L. Ron Hubbard parked Miscavige at ASI in 1982, left him there, and had absolutely no communication with him, or anyone else in the Church after May 1984 (if we believe the church), argues that Hubbard did not want David Miscavige to handle or lead the Scientology movement. What Hubbard wanted is quite clear: He wanted David Miscavige to handle his private business affairs.
Instead, in the days after Hubbard died on January 24, 1986, David Miscavige maneuvered to push others out of the way so he could take control of Scientology, just as Ron Miscavige describes it in his book.
But that account contradicts the story that David told the IRS and continues to tell the public today — that he’s an “ecclesiastical” leader who is not involved in church management. And maybe that’s why he’s so sensitive about how he got to where he is today: If the IRS ever showed any interest, it wouldn’t be hard to demonstrate that Miscavige has done nothing by lie about his role in the church and how he took it over after Hubbard departed for the galaxy’s greener pastures.
Can you begin to understand why David Miscavige will do anything to avoid being deposed under oath?
— Jeffrey Augustine