173A.r.s Week in Review - 3/23/2003
- Mar 23, 2003Alt.religion.scientology
Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 50
3/23/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant
postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding
week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as
they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of
significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors,
whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a
kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some
of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles
posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original
articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to
find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles
in the newsgroup before expiring them.
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> ClearwaterThe St. Petersburg Times reported in articles on March 18th and 23rd that
a group of Scientologists have purchased one of the large office buildings
in downtown Clearwater, Florida.
"A group of international investors who frequently visit the Church of
Scientology's downtown religious retreat have purchased a nine-story
office building one block away. Despite its proximity to the church, the
building anchored by the AmSouth bank will not be leased or sold to the
church, said Tom Wright, a spokesman for the investors. The white
building, which overlooks Clearwater Harbor, sold for $8.2-million March
"Its location and position as one of downtown's largest buildings have
created a buzz about what the future holds. That buzz intensified as word
spread that the new owners are Scientologists. The church has no plans to
buy or lease any part of the building, said church spokesman Ben Shaw. 'I
can assure you, the church has no interest in it,' he said. 'These are
just businessmen, and from what I understand, very successful
"On Monday, Assistant City Manager Ralph Stone said the city is anxious to
hear what's in store for the AmSouth building. 'We certainly want to meet
with them and see what their plans are,' he said of the new owners.
'Because that's a key piece of downtown property.' Tenants said they were
assured they wouldn't have to move.
"Last week, Kevin Burke, one of the new owners, made the rounds at the
AmSouth building to introduce himself. He told Martin Richardson of
Corporate Sports Marketing Group Inc. to expect 'business as usual,'
Richardson said. 'Our first thought was, 'Do they want all
non-Scientologists out?' Richardson said. 'That doesn't seem to be the
"The other investors are Roberto Santos, Elias Jaffif and Marcos Salame,
according to corporate records. The investors bought the property from
Decade Gulfcoast Office Partners, headed by Jeffrey Keierleber. Records
from the county Property Appraiser's Office show Decade Gulfcoast bought
the property in 1996 for $3.1-million."
"Forget the nine-story AmSouth building, the real gem in the recent
purchase of 400 Cleveland St. by a group of international investors
appears to be the parking lot that came with it. On that paved lot, the
investors tentatively plan to build a high-rise, said Lee Arnold, whose
real estate firm helped broker the AmSouth purchase.
"Arnold said he met two weeks ago with Elias Jaffif, one of the four
investors, all of whom are Scientologists who noticed the property while
visiting Clearwater for Scientology services. Arnold said Jaffif told him
the investors are interested in developing some mix of uses in a
high-rise: perhaps condos and hotel rooms or offices, atop a parking
garage and street-level retail stores. Jaffif also seemed very interested
in including a movie theater, Arnold said.
"News of the prominent building's sale last week to a group of
Scientologists resulted in a range of reactions. 'There are definitely
different camps in town,' said city Commissioner Frank Hibbard. One camp,
he said, had this reaction: 'Oh, no, they (Scientologists) are buying
more.' The other camp thought it irrelevant that the buyers are
Scientologists, he said, so long as they are committed to improving the
downtown. 'I would just like to see this land stay on the tax rolls and be
around for larger overall development,' Hibbard said.
"Some downtown business owners said who bought the building, and what they
may plan to do with it, is less important than the city's commitment to
the downtown. 'To me, it (the purchase) doesn't mean anything,' said Terry
Tsafatinos, who owns five commercial properties downtown, several of which
he rents to Scientologists with small businesses. 'I don't think
Scientologists, by themselves, can save the downtown.'
"A lingering negative attitude about the Church of Scientology's large
downtown presence is one big reason some people won't invest there, he
said. 'That's why we suffer,' Tsafatinos said. 'People, they discriminate
against each other. Some people are afraid of Scientologists for no reason
at all. They have to stop that.'"
The St. Petersburg Times reported on March 22nd that a candidate for Mayor
of Clearwater was introduced to a group of Scientologists interested in
"Several weeks ago, political consultant Mary Repper told mayoral
candidate Pam Iorio that several friends wanted to meet her. But the
introduction came with a warning. Her friends included prominent members
of the Church of Scientology, Repper said. 'They were interested in my
candidacy,' Iorio said Friday, adding she doesn't ask supporters about
their religious backgrounds. 'I viewed them as individuals who lived in
Tampa and knew of my record and wanted to offer support. I truly treat all
people the same and all people with respect.'
"Years ago, Repper said, she would have never introduced a mayoral
candidate to a group of Scientologists. The church was too much of an
issue. Now, Repper said she has invited Hillsborough County commissioners,
City Council members and other elected officials to meet Scientologists.
'I work with a lot of elected officials who turn to the church,' Repper
"Repper said the Scientologists who held the fundraiser for Iorio also
helped her opponent, Frank Sanchez. Campaign finance records show the
three Scientologists gave a total of $800 to Sanchez."
> The Way to HappinessAn email sent to Dutch Scientologists urged them to collect copies of The
Way to Happiness by L. Ron Hubbard for shipment to Iraq.
"I received the following order from Int management: 'Collect 10.000 Way
to Happiness booklets from The Netherlands to send to Iraq.' The threat of
war in Iraq increases by the hour. My father and brother are at this
moment in Israel. They have sealed the houses, a gasmask lies next to
their chair. Despite the reports there is much fear that Saddam Hussein
will attack Israel with chemical weapons. The Org too has been blinded and
"There are thousands of WTH booklets in Arabic printed and lying ready to
be sent out in Copenhagen. The Netherlands has the quota of 10,000. One
booklet can prevent a wrong decision and can trigger a decision to not
commit a murder. See what you can do and mail or call me back. It's gotta
be quick! We have no time to lose. This is a 'call to arms'!
Head, Books Department
> TaiwanReuters reported on March 20th that the government of Taiwan has
recognized Scientology as a religion.
"'At this time of world peril, our recognition in Taiwan reflects a
country where diversity is celebrated rather than politicized,' Rev. Heber
C. Jentzsch, president of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology
International, said, adding that Taiwan is the 100th government
acknowledgment or recognition of Scientology internationally."