The Scientology Money Project

Why Did Scientology’s “ABLE” Front Group Spend 13.75% of Its Revenues on Legal Expenses?

Scientology’s Lawyers are the only actual winners in the Church of Scientology. Everyone else loses except for the 60-year old Maniacal Cult Leader David Miscavige.

IRS 990’s always lag several years before they can be found in publicly available databases.

When we last checked in on the Church of Scientology’s Association for Better Living and Education International (ABLE) front group, their 2012 IRS 990 filing showed gross receipts of $3,767,910.

We just located ABLE’s 2015 IRS 990 and saw an astonishing increase in gross receipts to $13,284,541.  (Scroll down to see the PDF).

What jumped out to us was ABLE’s enormous 2015 legal expenses of $1,818,028. This is a whopping 13.75% of revenues. Why did ABLE have such enormous legal expenses?

ABLE’s mission statement is typical of Scientology. Grandiose, bloviating, and delusional:

Ridding the world of its most devastating social ills apparently requires exorbitant legal fees!

There are other hefty fees incurred in ridding the world of its most vexing problems:

  • $807,239 spent on advertising and promotion. One never actually sees ABLE advertisements though.
  • $389,568 for staff salaries and benefits.
  • $326,874 spent on staff training fees.
  • $352,218 on office expenses.
  • $ 70,686 in royalties to the Church of Scientology to use LRH copyrights.
  • $304,432 in occupancy fees paid to the Church of Scientology to use its building.
  • $204,661 in travel costs.

ABLE licenses and manages the Scientology Cult’s secular “social betterment groups:  Narconon, Criminon, The Way to Happiness Foundation, and Applied Scholastics International.

Above everything else, however, ABLE pays its lawyers gigantic sums of money for whatever it is the lawyers do. Why did ABLE spend $1.8 million on lawyers in 2015? The most likely answer is that Narconon was being successfully sued into near oblivion by Ryan Hamilton and other fearless attorneys not afraid to take on Scientology. Tony Ortega covered Hamilton in a series of articles. Here’s one of Tony’s articles reporting on what was going on at the time: Ryan Hamilton files 20th lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network.

The 2015 ABLE 990:

2 replies »

  1. Given all the other figures, the expenditures for staff (other than lawyers) are STAGGERINGLY low! About the same as office expenses and rent paid to the mother cult.

    It’s hard to believe that they would have a tiny staff; after all, they are the ones providing the value through their services. So the logical conclusion is that they are paying them squat.

  2. I’m certain that most of these fees were to defend itself in the many lawsuits files against them along with Narconons from Oklahoma and Southern California ( and in some cases other related entities) during the years 2013-2015. Here is a link to the many lawsuits against ABLE that we uploaded to Narconon Reviews. Some but not all were filed in 2015, but many often continued into 2015 & beyond. Some went to appeals, thus requiring different attorneys skilled in appellate law.

    I also suspect that ABLE may have stepped in to help cover staff & FSM legal fees when they were sued sued along with itself in the NAFC cases. If you recall, Narconon WUS stopped being in charge of the management of NNs in CA, with NNI having troubles defending itself in the cases across the country besides NAFC. Someone had to cover the fees. Most of the individual facilities’ 990s don’t show much in legal fees compared to the amount and serious complaints in lawsuits against them, however I’ve not done an analysis on this. Just my observations in reading the 990s and knowledge of all the lawsuits.

    Aditionally,I also believe that ABLE paid legal fees for cases in Georgia that were related to the Desmond case because Narconon Georgia had limited coverage, and Narconon EUS had no money to speak of when that very large settlement happened during the Narconon Int was sued in so many , starting with the Desmond case, that ABLE may have stepped in to take over covering legal fees while insurance companies sued NNGA and NNI for filing false statements in coverage applications. There was also a lawsuit by Western World Insurance Company, who sued sued GA & NNI as well as Narconon Fresh Start and both cases went to appeals court. Just some examples.

    There maybe other lawsuits we at Narconon Reviews are not aware of from that time period, but its unlikely.

    Here’s the link on lawsuits involving ABLE

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