Scientologists play hardball … to be exact!
St. Petersburg Times, published January 28, 1998
When prosecutors filed charges in the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson, the Clearwater-based Church of Scientology — the defendant — had one clear response:
The litigation will be “complex” and “voluminous” and will require “a significant number of hearings and significant hearing time.”
Those words should echo ominously for Pinellas County prosecutors.
In a 14-month, worldwide survey, the St. Petersburg Times has documented a consistent pattern of church officials relentlessly pursuing its critics in legal actions that some charge are designed as much to harass as to achieve legal victory. In one year alone, the Times has found, Scientology spent more than $30-million on legal and professional fees.
And Scientology has had the financial power to pursue cases that have taken literally decades to resolve. According to documents submitted to IRS by Scientology, the church spent $30-million in 1988 alone on legal and professional fees. Scientology’s leaders point with pride to the virtual swarm of suits, countersuits and appeals against the Internal Revenue Service that ended in 1993 when the IRS recognized Scientology’s status as a tax-exempt church. In return Scientology paid $12-million in back taxes and dropped more than 2,000 lawsuits filed against the IRS by individual Scientologists.
Now that’s a really wonderful way for a “religious” organization to spend the money it rips off from its consituency. Seems like that would feed a lot of homeless folks, or provide health care to those whose very lives are at risk.