Cazares has been an active, community-minded man his entire
life. It was his actions as mayor of Clearwater, however,
that forever entwined Gabe with the Church of Scientology.
served in World War II, receiving the bronze star; was in the Air
Force for 23 years; received a Masters degree in Business
Management; was a stock broker; and from 1975 to 1978 was mayor
of Clearwater Florida.
later was Pinellas County commissioner, and served on countless
state, county and city commissions, boards, and civic groups. He
helped found the Pinellas
County Habitat for Humanity chapter. Gabe has received many
community service awards, including the Cult Awareness Networks
Leo J. Ryan Award in 1986.
year Gabe became mayor of Clearwater, Scientology purchased
the Ft. Harrison
hotel and the old bank building in downtown. They disguised
themselves as United Churches of Florida
secretiveness and bizarre behavior, such as their abundance
of guards surrounding their properties, aroused Gabes
suspicions. No one had ever heard of United Churches of Florida
January 26, 1976 Gabe, host Bob Snyder, and Sorrell Allen and Milton
Wolfe representing United Churches appeared
on WDCL radio.
had promised that on this program he would finally answer
who United Churches was. Instead he read a prepared statement
stating who they were not:
are not connected to gambling interests, we are not the
Mafia, nor are we Rockefeller-financed. We do not represent
New York bankers nor do we represent the Queen of England,
nor Lord Thompson of Canada.
stated simply that the people of Clearwater want to know whats
up and complained again about the abundance of security guards
with Mace and billy clubs protecting the Ft. Harrison Hotel.
January 28 the Church of Scientology, after much public scrutiny
and pressure, announced that it was behind United Churches
of Florida. Cazares was incensed:
Fort Harrison has been there for half a century and
now, for the first time, it is actually a fort
incredulously to guards on the roof, he added:
no doubt about it. Those are armed guards on regular
was not amused. On January 30, new Scientology spokesman
Arthur Maren struck hard at Cazares reputation in
a press conference.
February 6 Scientology filed a $1 million lawsuit against
Cazares, claiming libel, slander, and violation of civil
About Gabe Cazares