The Scientology Money Project

IRS Form 990’s 2016-2019: Scientology’s Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida

Scientology’s Flag Land Base a/k/a Flag Service Organization a/k/a FSO showed a 2019 Book Value of $298,856,945 USD.

Book value is not income. It is a statement of the value of FSO’s real estate and land less depreciation.

Prior year 990’s show these FSO book values:

2018 IRS Form 990 Book Value: $191,474,208 USD

2017 IRS Form 990 Book Value: $250,036,037 USD.

2016 IRS Form 990 Book Value: $211,648,177 USD.

Our observations: 
Tracey McManus’ highly-detailed story in the Tampa Bay Times documented $102 million cash purchases for Downtown Clearwater real estate made by Scientology straw buyers. Some of these purchases were made by LLC’s controlled by the shadowy Israeli agent Itzhak Zano. McManus wrote:

All together, 32 companies bought 92 downtown properties since 2017. Of the $103 million spent, $99 million was paid in cash.

Many of the real estate purchases were made at prices well over market. Prices as much as 5x over market were paid. These real estate acquisitions allowed the Church of Scientology to effectively control Downtown Clearwater.

We have alleged, and explained why, we think the $102 million came from GPB Capital Holdings, a Ponzi-like scheme whose Scientologist owner David Gentile was arrested by the FBI in February 2021 on several felony charges.

We linked the cancellation of Scientologist Larry Feldman’s ambitious Riverwalk project to GPB Capital’s commitment to invest $105 million in the project. This $105 million was never sent. We asked if the GPB funds were diverted to purchasing the $102 in overpriced Downtown Clearwater real estate. Alternately, we asked if the $102 million came from Russian mobster Michael Chernaya who daughters provided the seed money for GPB Capital in 2012.

Bottom Line: If Flag Land Base real estate holdings were valued at the same inflated prices made by the Scientology straw buyers in 2017-2019, then the 2019 book value of Flag Land Base should approach $1 billion USD rather than $298.8 million.

Itzhak Zano and the entities to which he is connected including Zano Team LLC:

FSO 990’s 2016-2019





3 replies »

  1. A book value of $200 m in one place alone should forever lay to rest the cult’s claim that it needs to extort exorbitant “donations” because it’s a poor “new religion.” Many churches have not even 1% of this book value and operate prolific charities–bona fide ones where the highest expense item is NOT for the video crew. They certainly don’t charge their members, or even the non-affiliated public who’ll never contribute a dime, for their religious services.

    I am curious what to make of Line 1, gross receipts, hovering at around $200k over the years. Obviously, this is a number way out of line with a $200m book value. Tax exemption has been good to the cult!

    Criminally, unlike real churches, the cult is allowed to trade services for tax-exempt income. So what IS left that is not tax-exempt? Maybe the scn gift shop where you can buy an LRH bobble head or a t-shirt “My parents took my college fund to Clearwater, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

  2. Tax loop holes and “tax free status,” this is crime right in front of our eyes and nothing is done about it nothing! I know and you know that this is a criminal organization that lawyers protect and the law
    waits for some strong evidence that will be very hard to procure. Come on IRS don’t let this Church get away with this. DO YOUR JOB!

  3. Clearwater is not the only place where these shadowy ghost towns that have Israeli linked money pouring into them are cropping up or in Clearwater’s case being unnecessarily perpetuated/made worse. But they’re typically by areas with high Jewish populations. An example might be some of the development in the city of Lakewood, New Jersey, where there is a large Hasidic community and massive corporate parks springing up with no real tenants. It could be being done for the simple purpose of continuity in the event of political instability in the Middle East, but it makes one wonder exactly how Scientology fits into this.

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