Book Value

DOX: Scientology’s pricey Florida ‘spiritual mecca’ keeps up its value in latest tax records

(This piece was published on Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker on 12.2.2017. It is republished here for archival purposes)

Jeffrey Augustine is once again keeping us up to date on Scientology’s financial documents. In this case, he has new figures on how much just one of many Scientology’s entities is worth, according to newly available tax documents.

In 2006, a change in the law required all non-profit organizations — even churches — to submit tax returns known as 990-T forms if they generated what is known as “unrelated business income.” A few years ago, I began finding and turning over to the Underground Bunker the 990-Ts for Scientology’s various entities.

Often, that income is fairly modest. But what’s more important for our purposes is that on each 990-T form there’s a box to fill out for “book value.” In other words, these organizations are asked to estimate their value in assets.

That requirement has led to a rare window into Scientology’s riches, and we like to keep up on the latest changes in those values.

In this case, I’ve found new documents related to the Flag Service Organization (FSO), the entity that runs Scientology’s Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. This is where wealthy Scientologists from around the world come for expensive high-level auditing and other services. And keep in mind, FSO is just one of many entities that make up the Scientology movement, but it’s one of the more important ones.

So let’s see how the value of FSO has changed:

2008: $234.8 million
2009: $246.5 million
2010: $251.9 million
2011: $210.1 million
2012: $290.7 million
2013: $218.2 million
2014: $241.1 million
2015: $257.5 million

And here’s what that change in value looks like…

FSO is not the most valuable entity in the Scientology orbit. When we first began gathering these tax returns, for the year 2011, the Church of Scientology International was worth $790.8 million and the Church of Spiritual Technology listed a value of $434.4 million, for a total of $1.2 billion just for those two entities.

But even if it’s a distant third, the Flag Service Organization is steadily increasing in value.

This is consistent with what the newest defector from Flag told the Bunker recently. Peter Nyiri, who made a dramatic escape to freedom several months ago, said that the Flag Land Base is still bringing in huge income, of $2 million to $4 million a week — by starving the “outer orgs” and pressuring Scientology’s shrinking membership to come to Flag as often as they can for services.

Looking more carefully at recent returns by the FSO with the help of financial expert Dr. Jeff Wasel, we found a few noteworthy items…

In Part V of Flag’s 990-T returns filed in the period 2008-2013, FSO checked “Yes” on question 1 to indicate that it had an “interest in or other authority over a financial account (bank, securities, or other) in a foreign country.” Flag filled in the line to inform the IRS that it has financial interests in the United Kingdom and Australia. What are Flag’s financial interests in the United Kingdom and Australia? More importantly, how are they moving this money, and declaring these movements to the appropriate authorities, given these movements are between foreign entities?

In Part V of Flag’s 2014 and 2015, Flag checked “No,” indicating that it no longer had an “interest in or other authority over a financial account (bank, securities, or other) in a foreign country.” What happened to Flag’s financial interests in the United Kingdom and Australia?

In examining the 2013-2015 990-T’s, my personal view is that Flag’s stated costs for building improvements are either padded or excessive. For example, NOVA HRC is the firm that does the actual renovations on Scientology’s buildings (as well as many other clients). In the NOVA portfolio we have two hard data points:

1. Nova gives a project cost of $18,000,000 to renovate 393 guest rooms at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California. This is $45,801 per guest room.

2. Nova gives a project cost of $27,000,000 to renovate 220 guest rooms Flag’s Fort Harrison hotel. This is $122,727 per guest room. This seems utterly absurd and suggests, in my opinion, that the IRS should open an inquiry into why Scientology spends so lavishly on parishioner guest rooms. Scientology orders its parishioners to stay at Flag hotels and does not have to compete with secular hotels, so why the excessive spending?

In the Flag tax returns we see approximately $80,000 spent on exercise equipment for two properties. Additionally, their 2013 990-T form states that they spent some $14,296,680 on “improving” the Sandcastle Restaurant, used for public dining. For this money, it better be “Nobu” quality in food and atmosphere! The price mark-up on restaurant fixtures, as well as the same convoluted permitting process as that of the construction industry, are rife with the same potential for what seems to be excessive spending. What exactly is going on inside of Scientology and Nova that seems to be driving up renovation costs as compared to lower costs in the secular marketplace?

On a final note, even with the opening of the Super Power building on November 17, 2013 the Flag Land Base does not appear to have “boomed” whatsoever as a result of this edifice. Valued at $80,000,000, the Church of Scientology raised $145,000,000 for the project. Where did all the extra money go?

— Jeffrey Augustine

Flag Service Organization IRS 990-T forms 2008-2015

FSO Book Value 2015 $257,506,278

FSO Book Value 2014 $241,134,104

FSO Book Value 2013 $218,154,319

FSO Book Value 2012 $290,655,686

FSO Book Value 2011 $210,075,914

FSO Book Value 2010 $251,896,300

FSO Book Value 2009 $246,516,017

FSO Book Value 2008 $234,764,273

Jeffrey Augustine’s Illustrated Guide to the Church of Scientology

 Notes:

1. CSI = Church of Scientology International.

2.  This chart is a follow on to my previous post: The Church of Scientology International Has No Members.

3. As CSI has no employees and no members, it can only be managed and operated by Sea Org members. Therefore, Captain Miscavige demonstrably controls CSI via the Sea Org.

4. Said another way, the only legally authorized agency through which CSI can operate as a religion is the Sea Org — and the Sea Org is an unincorporated religious order whose personnel are not CSI members. Therefore, the Sea Org is the operating arm of the Church of Scientology. However, as the Sea Org does not legally exist, Scientology is engaging a deliberately evasive style of operation. This is done on purpose and makes it virtually impossible for Scientology to be sued or held legally accountable for its actions. Of course, this is fraud on its face and yet another reason the IRS needs to revoke Scientology’s ill-gotten 1993 tax exemption.

5. Thus, the situation in CSI is this: Members of a legally non-existent religious order deliver Scientology religious services to IAS members in CSI facilities. No one in this equation – Sea Org, Staff, or IAS members — are members of CSI.

7. Conclusion: CSI exists for three reasons only:

* To own and hold property inside of which Scientology religious services take place between non-CSI parties, i.e. IAS public members and Sea Org members.

* To collect the monies paid by IAS public members for these services.

* To electronically record the religious services, especially the confessionals, that occur in its buildings. CSI maintains custody and ownership of these permanent recordings along with the actual paper pc folders. However, as Sea Org administers CSI, numerous Sea Org members have open access to these records. OSA Sea Org members may cull both the video files and written pc folders at any time for the purposes of obtaining damaging or incriminating information on IAS public members or on other Sea Org members.

Bottom Line: Per the Founder’s design, CSI is extraordinarily stingy and cruel. Nevertheless, CSI is forced to begrudgingly provide Sea Org members a subsistence-level existence only because it needs people in its money-making business. The Sea Org will be eliminated when RTC is able to purchase cheap ecclesiastical robots to replace humans. Robots don’t blow — and that is one of the key product features RTC finds most desirable about robots.

 

Scientology, its wealth and assets and its TAX documents ~~ Truth revealed

This video discusses the recently revealed Church of Scientology 990-T’s. (*Tax documents) In essence, the Church is wealthy and has no financial emergency. The Church’s endless fundraising will never stop because the very structure of the Church of Scientology is based on the greedy grab for money each and every week. Stats are due at 2:00 PM on Thursday and the money had better be there or else! The Church of Scientology is all about the endless accumulation of money for its own sake. How is this endless fundraising in any way in the public interest?
See the tax forms here ~~

http://tonyortega.org/2014/04/07/shoc…

http://scientologymoneyproject.com/

IRS Overview of Inurement and Private Benefit Issues in 501(c)3 Organizations

Time to “13909” the Church of Scientology!

13909.A

Know Your Legal Rights: IRS Form 13909 can and should be used to make a formal complaint to the IRS each and every time the Church of Scientology steps out of line with abusive, harassive, and illegal behavior. Scroll down for Form 13909 in PDF form.

Threats, stalking, and all other forms of Scientology Fair Game are not allowed and should never be tolerated. 13909 the Church using the form. Document everything: names, dates, places, and details. Include photos or videos.


Helpful Tips:

A. Line 1 asks for “NAME OF REFERRED ORGANIZATION.” The correct legal name and address to use when referring to the Church of Scientology is:

Church of Scientology International
6331 Hollywood Blvd. Suite 1200
Hollywood, CA 90028

B.  Line 2 asks for an EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (EIN). The correct EIN for the Church of Scientology International is 59-2153393.

C. Warning: Do not send this form to the Church of Scientology by accident! The form states that you can mail, fax, or e-mail the completed form to:

addressD. Download the form below and fill it out. The form is self-explanatory.

SOMETHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT!

* Deceptive fundraising practices by the Church of Scientology can be reported using the 13909

* Each and every instance of Scientology misbehavior, lies in its PR or fundraising, and any other form of misbehavior needs to be reported. Use Form 13909.

* Tweet this post and help educate the public and those with family and friends still in the Church.

* It is high time to step up pressure on the Church of Scientology using the exact IRS technology to confront and shatter Scientology suppression and the SP’s in OSA!

*Let’s use the law to create a snowstorm of complaints about the Church of Scientology in the IRS!

* If you fear retaliation or retribution from OSA, please check the box in section 5 of the form as shown below:

RED.X11

The IRS will acknowledge your complaint in 2-4 weeks. Form 13909 is online here and is also in the Scribd document below:

CCI: Celebrity Centre International IRS 990-T 2009-2012

CCI 2012 Book Value $39,392,879

CCI 2011 Book Value $39,973,458

CCI 2010 Book Value $39,148,631

CCI 2009 Book Value $37,325,434

Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood represents only a small part of the larger financial picture Church.

The big Scientology celebrities can ask for “room service” which means auditors and other Church staffers go to their homes or their film locations. Some celebs who have dabbled in Scientology do not want to be seen entering or leaving Celebrity Centre and so they get room service.

Mike Rinder’s Comments on the Church of Scientology Inc. 990-T’s

When Tony Ortega posted the “Shock Dox” on April 7, 2014, he asked Mike Rinder for his thoughts on the documents.

Mike Rinder gave Tony Ortega this statement:

“I suspect the figures listed as “book value” are the lowest valuations of assets they think they can get away with. But these are fascinating documents despite not listing income (other than ‘unrelated business income’).

“The accumulation of assets is a problem with respect to exemption. The underlying theory of granting exemption is that the organization provides a public benefit, and things that benefit the public should not be taxed. But if instead of benefiting anyone it is accumulated by the organization, it violates IRS guidelines. Certainly a lot of this is property — and that is trickier to prove. Miscavige and his numerous lawyers will claim that the property is for the public benefit, because without it the church cannot provide that public benefit consisting of training and auditing. This is of course a lie, as most of the buildings are palaces that sit empty and are way beyond what is needed to deliver the alleged public benefit. As I have said before, this is one of the main reasons for the “Ideal Org” program (and for purchasing absolutely superfluous properties like KCET when there is a massive studio at Gold). While those assets could be liquidated relatively easily (if they needed to be liquidated the inevitable losses would not be relevant as most of them were from “found money” obtained through heavy handed fundraising), they make it very difficult for the IRS to go after. In effect, for purposes of the church, buildings are a tax shelter. It is why you see the obsession with buildings.

“But of course these forms provide only a glimpse of part of the picture. Of course there is no weekly income included. And there is no International Association of Scientologists (IAS).

“Even if there was a 990 for IAS Administrations, the money they collect is deposited into accounts nominally controlled by a “trust” (US IAS Members Trust). That is screened from any public scrutiny.

“Similarly, assets are held in accounts nominally controlled by CSRT (Church of Scientology Religious Trust). I do not know which buildings may be in their name. Super Power could be, even though it is the main FSO delivery building…. It is possible that CSI has to include CSRT assets on its 990 book value as it is really “wholly owned” by Church of Scientology International.

“This is all deliberately made confusing and opaque as there are other trusts and entities established to shield liability and keep the total wealth obscured.

“What is not confusing is that these figures do not include the IAS, the single biggest repository of liquid funds in the Scientology hierarchy, known to have well in excess of a billion dollars, probably in excess of two billion by now. These documents also don’t include any of the organizations outside the US, nor even a lot in the US, including C of S NY, Wsahington DC, SFO, etc.

“This confirms what many have said: Scientology Inc. is an astonishingly wealthy organization. It also confirms that given its assets, Scientology spends virtually nothing on its much ballyhooed “social betterment” and “human rights” programs. With this sort of money they could be doing more for disaster relief than the Red Cross. They claim they are, but in truth they spend a few thousands dollars to make it possible to shoot videos. They could have provided food and shelter for every victim of the Philippines hurricane and not made a dent in their accumulated wealth. Instead they flew in four people in yellow t-shirts to do photo ops.

“Jeff has done a great job getting this information and making it available. It is a window into the haunted house of Scientology.”

*****

We invite you to post your comments on the 990-T’s.

SBPI: Social Betterment Properties International

Social Betterment Properties International is a Church of Scientology entity that holds properties for the Church’s so-called “social betterment” groups.

No 990-T’s are available at present. However, the stated 2008 asset value stated for Social Betterment Properties International was $39,647,311.

This increased by at least $5,000,000 when Tony Ortega reported that SBPI had purchased the late actor Larry Hagman’s Ojai, California estate for $5,000,000 in cash.

From Wikipedia:

“Founded in 1989, the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) is an umbrella organization that administers six of Scientology’s social programs: