Timeline of Scientology's Harassment of Robert S. Minton and Colleagues  


January 5, 2000: Mr. Minton signed the closing papers on the property at 33 North Fort Harrison Avenue. The owner, Scott Brauer, told Mr. Minton that over the weekend he had repeatedly received telephone calls from Ben Shaw, the head of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs in Clearwater, trying to convince him to pull out of the deal with Mr. Minton. Mr. Brauer said Shaw offered him twice the money Mr. Minton was paying and also offered to indemnify him against litigation should Mr. Minton sue him for breach of contract. Fortunately, Mr. Brauer was an ethical man and refused Shaw's offers. "I have to look at myself in the mirror every morning," he said.

January 5, 2000: Scott Brauer received a telephone call from Mike Roberto, then Clearwater's City Manager. Roberto told him that he was calling because he had heard about the property deal with Mr. Minton and wondered if Mr. Brauer realized how much trouble it would bring to downtown Clearwater if the deal with Minton went through. Mr. Brauer said that he felt that Roberto was trying to strong-arm him, and he said it seemed to him that Roberto was calling to put pressure on him to back out of the sale. Mr. Brauer told him the didn't need to have the conversation because Mr. Minton already owned the building, as of 3:45 that afternoon.

January 6, 2000: The owners of Ottavio's, an Italian restaurant two doors down the street from 33 North Fort Harrison Avenue, brought wine and bruschetta to the celebration party at the Lisa McPherson Trust after the closing. The next day, Scientologists came to the restaurant and warned them not to do business with Mr. Minton or the Lisa McPherson Trust. The owner refused to be intimidated and told the Scientologists he was "running a business, not a nursery school playground." Soon thereafter, a restaurant patron let the owners know that word had gone out to Scientologists to boycott Ottavio's until they agreed to stop doing business with the LMT.

January 6, 2000: High-level Scientology spokesperson Marty Rathbun made several statements about Mr. Minton and the Lisa McPherson Trust that were quoted in article in the St. Petersburg Times entitled "Scientology foe sets up office close to church." When asked how he felt about the Lisa McPherson Trust opening its doors so close to Scientology, Rathbun said, "These guys are nobodies. They bring absolutely nothing to this community." He compared the situation to the Ku Klux Klan opening an office on North Greenwood, a Clearwater neighborhood with mostly black residents. "The reason they're here is to harass people," Rathbun said. "They know better than anyone that any existing Scientologist isn't interested in their information." On Tuesday, the church had offered to buy the building out from under Minton, but the seller, CPA Scott Brauer, declined. Rathbun said that some of Minton's followers, including Stacy Brooks, were no longer in Scientology because they could not measure up to Scientology's level of ethics. Rathbun also accused Minton and his staff of being in Clearwater to violently "deprogram" Scientologists.

January 12, 2000: Three Scientologists have letters published in the St. Petersburg Times. The letters attack Bob Minton and the LMT.

January 13-16, 2000: Scientologists picketed the Minton house in Boston for three days in a row.

January 16, 2000: In a letter to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times titled, "Scientology has helped family, friends, business," Scientologist Patrick J. Clouden of Largo, Florida, wrote:

"I would never ask Minton for help or advice on ethics. That would be like asking Hitler about the Jewish religion."

January 25, 2000: Mark Bunker, the LMT's multi-Media coordinator, was arrested in Chicago for criminal trespassing as he stood on a public sidewalk to film two dentists who were requesting their money back from the Scientology organization in downtown Chicago. Mr. Bunker was filming the dentists outside the entrance when two off-duty Chicago police officers hired by Scientology burst out of the building, grabbed his camera from him and handcuffed him. Mr. Bunker was taken to jail, booked, and charged with criminal trespassing despite two eyewitnesses who swore he was standing on the public sidewalk. Mr. Bunker would later be acquitted, but not before Scientology passed his mug shot around his neighborhood in Clearwater, Florida and posted information on the Internet describing him as a criminal.

January 30, 2000: The Atlanta Journal/Constitution published an article by Jean Marbella titled "A Private War: Millionaire spends big bucks in battle against Scientology" (a reprint from a Baltimore Sun article of January 19, 2000). Scientology spokesperson Mike Rinder was quoted as saying the following regarding the LMT:

"They're here for only one purpose, to harass Scientology" and "Minton's Lisa McPherson center can only hurt relations between the city and the church."

January 2000: A flier was distributed in Mr. Minton's Boston neighborhood with the headline: "New revelations in secret debt buy back scheme by Boston resident Robert S. Minton." The text of the flier included a quote from an article in a British magazine called "Business Age," as follows:

"Between 1987 and 1993, a complex fraud was carried out by a clique of international debt traders in cahoots with corrupt Nigerian officials and was conducted under the pretense of executing the official Nigerian debt conversion program so as to fill their own pockets at the expense of unsuspected debt holders, financial institutions and Nigerian creditors. Documents show that a Mr. Rasheed was the key CBN official who worked directly with Mr. Minton and the Abacha family in both BuyBack schemes now under investigation." The flier had photographs of Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, Mr. Rasheed, and Mr. Minton. It concluded by saying, "The British Financial Services Authority and the Home Office are now launching their own investigations into the actions of the London banks and financial institutions. And the U.S. Authorities? Minton: Return our money now!"

Designed to appear to be from a group of Nigerian freedom fighters, the flier ended by inviting readers to "Visit our website."

January 2000: Jesse Prince, in Clearwater to find a place to live so that he could work for the Lisa McPherson Trust, was followed by a man who was later identified as a Scientology private investigator. The man made lewd gestures at Mr. Prince when Mr. Prince pulled up next to him in his car. The man then got behind Mr. Prince and began to follow him in his car, speeding up and slowing down, in a threatening way. Mr. Prince went to the Largo, Florida, police department and filed a complaint with Officer Des Jardins. Officer Jardins was able to identify the man as a private investigator working for Scientology, although he would not give Mr. Prince the man's name. The man's car was rented from Enterprise, where all of Scientology's private investigators rent their cars.

February 2000: Therese Minton was being sponsored by another Beacon Hill couple for membership in the Longwood Tennis Club. Scientology sent a package of discrediting material not only to the couple who was sponsoring her, but also to each member of the membership committee. As a result, she was turned down for membership.

February 1, 2000: A German documentary filmmaker and his cameraman came to Clearwater to interview German Scientologist Gottfried Helmwein. They asked LMT Producer Mark Bunker to film them arriving at Helmwein's house and knocking on his door. Mr. Bunker, standing on a public sidewalk, was in the process of shooting this footage when a man who would later be identified as Richard Bernard ran out of Helmwein's house and attacked him with a hammer. Mr. Bunker was able to capture the incident on camera. Immediately after the incident, Bernard ran back into the house and Mr. Bunker called the police. Two police officers arrived shortly, and became hostile to Mr. Bunker after he identified himself as an employee of the Lisa McPherson Trust. Both officers refused to view the footage of the hammer assault. One of the officers indicated that he intended to arrest Mr. Bunker for recording the assault without getting the assailant's permission. Neither officer made any attempt to locate the assailant, Bernard. It was only when a police sergeant arrived that the officers agreed not to arrest Mr. Bunker and located Bernard. However, Bernard gave a false name and date of birth and was never asked for any identification by the officer. No charges were ever brought against him for the hammer incident. It was later discovered that at the time of the assault against Mr. Bunker, Bernard was in violation of his probation on a cocaine trafficking charge. He was apprehended and served a year in prison.

February 6, 2000: The St. Petersburg Times published a story titled "How much oddity can one town take?" written by Tom Tobin. Marty Rathbun, a high-level Scientology spokesman, made the following statements regarding Mr. Minton:

"I worry about this guy because he is deranged"; "Frankly, I'm afraid for people's lives"; "It seems the more he is ignored, the more that he flies off the handle."

February 20, 2000: A Scientologist, using the pseudonym Michael Wallace, wrote an e-mail to Mark Bunker who at that time used the email address benwog@flash.net. Mark posted it to the newsgroup, alt.religion.scientology:

"LOL Hey Fat Man. LMT business hours are said to start at 9 oclock AM that is. You have no business showing up 3 hours late for work. Does Minton know you are that late? And if you are really an employee of the LMT, then get yourself an email like vp@lisatrust.net".

Mr. Bunker had, in fact, arrived at work that day three hours late after working extended hours the night before. After the first post, the "Michael Wallace" wrote again and admitted that he was being briefed on Mark's arrival time. The message was intended to let Mr. Bunker know he was being watched.

February 2000: LMT staff member Jesse Prince met a man in a pool hall where Jesse and his fiance had gone to play pool. He introduced himself as Rinsey Trinidad and invited Mr. Prince to go outside with him to smoke marijuana. What Mr. Prince did not know at the time was that the man, whose real name was Barry Gaston, was a private investigator hired by Scientology to befriend Jesse and set him up on drug-buying charges.

March 18, 2000: Mr. Minton delivered a speech at the Leo J. Ryan's Education Foundation conference in which he gave a brief overview of the history of Scientology in Clearwater from the beginning in 1975 up until the present time.

April 2000: John Fashanu, a retired British soccer player from Nigeria, released an investigative report that contained allegations that Mr. Minton was involved in the theft of billions of dollars from the Nigerian government and that he was involved in a massive money-laundering scheme. Several articles appeared in England and Nigeria in which the Media quoted from this so-called Fashanu Report. Although Fashanu claimed it had taken him three years to compile the information, in fact it later came out that Scientology private investigators had provided Fashanu with the completed report. Most of the documents appeared to have come from a break-in of the office of Mr. Minton's former partner, Jeff Schmidt.

May 23, 2000: After a two-day jury trial, Mr. Minton was found not guilty of battery in the criminal misdemeanor case of Howd v. Minton. Mr. Minton's attorney, Denis deVlaming, was able to show the jury that Mr. Minton had been set up for the arrest and that Richard Howd had been following Scientology's "fair game" directives which require that anyone who is critical of Scientology must be labeled a criminal, even if the evidence must be manufactured. A juror was quoted in the paper the next day saying that the reason they had found Mr. Minton not guilty was that "It was a set-up."

June 2, 2000: Customs officials detained Jesse Prince and Mark Bunker as they arrived at the Leipzig, Germany, airport. Mr. Prince and Mr. Bunker were there to attend a ceremony at which Mr. Minton was to receive an award (see entry for June 3 below). The customs officials thoroughly searched Mr. Bunker's luggage, even going so far as to open up every blank video cassette that Mr. Bunker had brought to film the ceremony. Mr. Bunker was then allowed to go, but Mr. Prince was detained for much longer while agents minutely searched all of his luggage and his person. As they informed Mr. Prince that he was free to go, one of the agents explained that they had received an anonymous tip that Mr. Prince and possibly Mr. Bunker were carrying illegal drugs. Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks were at the airport to meet Mr. Prince and Mr. Bunker. Mr. Minton saw a man videotaping Ms. Brooks and him. He approached the man, who admitted that had been hired by Scientology to videotape them. He suggested that Mr. Minton could also obtain a copy of the videotape for the right price.

June 3, 2000: Mr. Minton went to Leipzig, Germany, to receive the Alternative Charlemagne Award from the European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom. The committee honored Mr. Minton with the award in appreciation "of his involvement, led by his courage and sense of civil duty, on behalf of the victims of Scientology; of his efforts towards human rights and freedom of expression in the USA; and as an expression of our support for the American people in putting human rights violations by the totalitarian Scientology to an end." Mr. Minton delivered a moving acceptance speech for this award, and an interpreter delivered it in German for the German audience. Scientology operatives followed Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks throughout their stay in Leipzig and later when they visited Ursula Caberta in Hamburg. Ms. Caberta was the head of a task force on Scientology that was part of the Hamburg government. The police had to be called after one Scientology private investigator followed Mr. Minton, Ms. Brooks and Ms. Caberta in a harassing manner. During dinner at a restaurant in Hamburg, Hamburg police officers identified the people at a table next to Mr. Minton, Ms. Brooks and Ms. Caberta as Scientology operatives sent to listen in on their conversation.

June 8, 2000: Scientology private investigator Eugene Ingram visited LMT staffer Jeff Jacobsen's former neighbor in Scottsdale, Arizona. Ingram inquired about the sources of Mr. Jacobsen's income and other personal information. Ingram also visited the tenants of a rental house in Scottsdale owned by Mr. Jacobsen.

June 11, 2000: Mr. Minton participated in a debate at Howard University in Washington, D.C., concerning the accusations made against him in the Fashanu Report. The Nigerian Democratic Movement requested this debate. Minton explained the debt buyback in detail and answered in-depth questions from the public and media regarding his dealings with Nigeria. John Fashanu, the supposed author of the report accusing Minton of money laundering, did not show up for the debate.

June 14, 2000: Stacy Brooks and another board member of the Lisa McPherson Trust, Duncan Pierce, attended a hearing before the House International Relations Committee in Washington, D.C. The hearing was orchestrated entirely by Scientology. The audience was composed entirely of Scientologists except for the members of the LMT, who were surrounded by OSA operatives during the hearing. The panel of witnesses included several people known to be apologists for Scientology and two Scientologists. The purpose of the hearing was to convince the committee that the U.S. Congress should bring economic sanctions against France, Germany, Belgium and Austria for the position those countries had taken against Scientology. Scientology was portrayed as being victimized by religious discrimination in these countries. No testimony was presented to counter these charges. The Lisa McPherson Trust had contacted Rep. Gilman's office prior to the hearing to offer additional witnesses, but the offer was denied. Out of approximately fifty committee members, only about fifteen attended. The hearing did not result in sanctions against the European countries.

June 23, 2000: An English translation of a letter from the Nigerian High Commissioner in London, Prince Bola Ajibola, to a prosecutor in Geneva, Switzerland, General Bernard Bertossa, appeared anonymously on the Internet. In it, Prince Ajibola accused Mr. Minton of money-laundering and fraud against the Nigerian government and asked Bertossa to press criminal charges against Mr. Minton. Clearly, Prince Ajibola's complaint was based on the Fashanu Report.

June 2000: While Therese Minton was on vacation in England with the children, they were followed by Scientology private investigators wherever they went.

July 7, 2000: Long-time Scientologist and former top-management-level staff member Dan Feeley came into the Lisa McPherson Trust and demanded to have an appointment with the president, Stacy Brooks. They had worked together and been friends when she was still in Scientology.

July 8, 2000: Long-time Scientologist and head of its front group, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), Dennis Clarke came to the back door of the Lisa McPherson Trust and made harassing comments to the staff of the Lisa McPherson Trust.

July 8, 2000: Richard Hurst, a Scientologist active in working with OSA, came in to harass the members of the Lisa McPherson Trust.

July 9, 2000: Long-time Scientologist and former Guardian's Office staff member Steve Sigal came to the front door of the Lisa McPherson Trust and said he wanted to talk to the president, Stacy Brooks. He and Stacy had worked together in the Guardian's Office and had been good friends. She spoke to him long enough to ascertain that he was there to harass her, at which point she called the police and had a trespass warning issued against him. He did not return.

July 13, 2000: Several Scientologists, including T. C. Applebaum, Mary DeMoss, Herb Zerden and Cat Jordan, came into the reception of the Lisa McPherson Trust and began to create a disturbance, yelling obscenities at the staff and refusing to leave despite repeated requests by the president, Stacy Brooks, to do so. When she informed them that she was going to call the police, they left the building but remained on the sidewalk, continuing to hurl insults at the staff.

July 18, 2000: Thirty-year Scientologist Tory Bezazian contacted Stacy Brooks at the Lisa McPherson Trust and asked for help in escaping from Scientology. She called from Los Angeles, very distraught about leaving Scientology and afraid that Scientology operatives would harass her once they learned that she had decided to leave. Ms. Brooks invited her to come to Clearwater where the Lisa McPherson Trust would be able to offer her some protection from the Scientologists while she collected her thoughts. Ms. Bezazian agreed to fly to Clearwater. When she arrived at the airport she was met by Janet Weiland, a high-level Scientology operative in the Office of Special Affairs International. Weiland followed Ms. Bezazian through the airport, holding onto her suitcase and refusing to return it. Ms. Bezazian was frightened but spoke to Ms. Brooks via cell phone until she was able to get into her seat on the plane, where Weiland was unable to reach her. Ms. Bezazian was met at the Chicago airport by her husband Harold Bezazian, also a long-time Scientologist, who begged her not to go to Clearwater and not to leave Scientology. Ms. Bezazian told her husband that she wanted to speak to the people at the Lisa McPherson Trust and got on her plane to Tampa.

Ms. Brooks, Mr. Minton and Jesse Prince went to the airport to meet Ms. Bezazian. It was nearly two in the morning, but when they arrived at Ms. Bezazian's gate they found four Scientology operatives there waiting for the plane. One of the Scientologists was Dennis Clarke, a long-time Scientology operative who was also head of Scientology's anti-psychiatry front group, Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Another was Charlie Earls, a long-time member of the intelligence branch of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs. A woman named Cathy True was also there. True was also in the Office of Special Affairs. She was known to Ms. Brooks as the person sent by Scientology to threaten people who no longer want to be in Scientology, particularly those who want money refunded. The fourth Scientologist was a woman named Penny Jones. She had been a friend of Ms. Bezazian's. When Ms. Bezazian came into the terminal Jones imMediately pulled her aside and insisted on speaking to her.

Two Tampa police officers were there to ensure that Ms. Bezazian was not forced to go with the Scientologists against her will. Ms. Brooks asked one of the officers to assist Ms. Bezazian, but he informed her that he could do nothing unless Ms. Bezazian stated that she did not want to go with Jones. Jones spent several minutes trying to talk Ms. Bezazian into leaving with her. While this conversation was occurring, Charlie Earls approached the police officers and began to give them false information about Mr. Minton, Ms. Brooks and Mr. Prince, saying they were wanted by the police. The police officer ordered Earls to show him copies of arrest warrants or be quiet. Finally Ms. Bezazian said in a loud voice, "Penny, I want to talk to these people. I want to go with them." The two police officers imMediately ordered the Scientologists to back away and moved in close to Ms. Bezazian and Ms. Brooks, flanking them on both sides. They announced loudly, "This is police business! Everyone stay out of the way!" and escorted Ms. Bezazian, Mr. Minton, Mr. Prince and Ms. Brooks out of the airport and to their car.

That night Ms. Bezazian stayed in a room at the Hyatt Westshore, a hotel near the airport. Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks also stayed at the hotel so that Ms. Bezazian would not be alone. They were up all night, because Ms. Bezazian wanted to talk to them. Early the next morning, Scientologists began knocking on her door, trying to convince her to leave with them. She felt harassed by them and it was necessary to have staff of the Lisa McPherson Trust at the hotel all day the next day to protect her.

July 22, 2000: Ursula Caberta, head of the Hamburg government's task force on Scientology, came to Clearwater on vacation to visit her friends, Mr. Minton, Ms. Brooks, and others at the Lisa McPherson Trust. Upon her arrival at Tampa International Airport, approximately forty Scientologists materialized as Ms. Caberta entered the terminal and began shouting at her, "Nazi go home!" The Scientologists surrounded Ms. Caberta and Ms. Brooks, who guided Ms. Caberta through the hostile crowd and protected her until the airport police arrived and forced the Scientologists away. The police then escorted Ms. Caberta, Ms. Brooks and Mr. Minton through the airport and into the adjoining police station. The police stayed with Ms. Caberta and Ms. Brooks while Mr. Minton got the car, and the police then escorted the two women to the car to make sure they would be safe. Ms. Brooks had intended that Ms. Caberta would be a guest at her home during her vacation. However, Tory Bezazian, a thirty-year Scientologist, had just left Scientology and was under the care of the Lisa McPherson Trust to protect her from being harassed by Scientologists. She had been staying at a hotel in Tampa, but there was so much harassment from Scientology at the hotel that it was decided she would safer at the home of Ms. Brooks. As a Scientologist, Ms. Bezazian had been indoctrinated to believe that Ms. Caberta was an evil, dangerous person, so Ms. Bezazian was afraid to be in the same house with her. Therefore, a hotel had been reserved for Ms. Caberta. When she was taken to her hotel to check in, however, it was discovered that someone had canceled her reservation and another hotel had to be found late that night.

July 23, 2000: Dennis Clarke, a long-time Scientologist and the head of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a Scientology front group, assaulted several individuals while they were peacefully protesting in Clearwater. Several battery complaints were filed against Clark with the Clearwater Police, but no charges were ever brought against him.

July 25, 2000: Ms. Caberta had asked if she could have a chance to speak to U.S. Media about the situation with Scientology in Germany. Scientology was harassing her in Germany and trying to get her government superiors to fire her, and she wanted the truth to be known in the United States. The LMT invited the local Media to talk to Ms. Caberta, and a few came to meet her for an informal discussion. Ms. Caberta spoke about the criminal activities of individual Scientologists in Germany, including a woman named Antje Victore who had obtained asylum in the United States after presenting false documents to a federal judge in Tampa. She also discussed the fact that Scientology was viewed as a fraudulent commercial enterprise in Germany, not as a religion.

During the reception, Scientologists were outside trying to disrupt the gathering. Numerous Scientologists were videotaping all the people coming and going into the Lisa McPherson Trust. Michael Krotz, a licensed private investigator handling security for the LMT, went to the parking garage across the street to investigate a report of a disturbance. Upon entering the third floor of the parking garage, Krotz encountered Scientologist Dennis Clark. Clark assaulted Krotz and Krotz caught this incident on videotape. Clark then departed the area. Officers at the scene refused to take a report of the incident so Krotz later went to the Clearwater Police Department, accompanied by a witness to the incident, and filed a battery complaint. Despite videotaped evidence of assault, the State Attorney refused to prosecute Clark.

July 26, 2000: After Ms. Caberta spoke to the media in Clearwater, she was besieged in her hotel, the Belleview Biltmore, by Scientologists. While having dinner with Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks in the hotel dining room, two Scientologists interrupted them and began to harass Ms. Caberta, telling her that she should go back to Germany. Scientologists stationed themselves outside her hotel room door so that she could not leave her room without running a gauntlet of harassive Scientologists. The next day, two people presented themselves as off-duty plain-clothes police officers to the desk clerks of the hotel. In fact, these two men were Daniel Otero, a Scientology private investigator, and Robert Bossard, a process server working for Scientology. Believing them to be police officers, the hotel clerk directed them to Ms. Caberta's room. There, Otero, Bossard and several Scientologists began to harass Caberta, yelling and pounding on her hotel door, demanding that she let them in. One of them finally slid a subpoena for deposition in the Lisa McPherson wrongful death case under the door, although Ms. Caberta had no involvement with that case whatsoever.

July 2000: While Ms. Caberta was in Florida with Mr. Minton and the LMT, Scientologists in Hamburg staged protests against the Hamburg government calculated to cause Ms. Caberta to lose her job. Scientologists passed out fliers in front of the building where Ms. Caberta's superiors had their offices. The headline of the flier was, "Down with official camaraderie with white-collar criminals!" The text of the flier said, among other things,

"For weeks Caberta, with the approval of her employers and under the label of the Interior Agency, has been openly fraternizing with big-time American swindler, Bob Minton. Joint appearances before the television cameras publicly honoring and paying homage to the international criminal (with the full seal of approval of Caberta's office as a department director of the Hamburg Interior Agency - of course) are only facets of a marriage carried out in public between the international money Mafia and the Hamburg office."

The flier went on to libel Mr. Minton regarding his business dealings in Nigeria, stating,

"The Republic of Nigeria, having suffered losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars, has just at the end of June, had the Attorney General's office charge Minton with fraud, falsifications of records and money-laundering, with the Nigerian people as victims. There are demands for his bank accounts to be confiscated and for Minton's Mafia system of fraud spread across Europe in covert companies, middlemen and criminals to be exposed."

This was all false, but at the time Mr. Minton could not determine the truth of the situation. The flier was signed, "Legally responsible person ("V.I.S.D.P."): Frank Busch, c/o Scientology Church Hamburg, Inc."

August 2000: Mr. Minton had invested in a film based on a screenplay by former Scientologist Peter Alexander. The film was about a con artist who started a cult to make money. Although there was no mention of Scientology in the film, Scientology began handing out inflammatory fliers about Mr. Minton in Tampa, Florida, where the film was being made. One flier had a photograph of a malnourished Nigerian child in the arms of a nurse. Underneath the photograph was a quote attributed to "Robert Minton, rogue financier" that said: "I've never been to Nigeria… It was just a business deal." The text of the flier charged that

"If Robert Minton is providing money that is financing this film, that money comes from the mouths of starving Nigerian children. The government of Nigeria brought criminal charges against Minton on June 23rd for fraud, forgery of financial documents, and the laundering of money. Minton is charged with skimming millions of dollars off financial transactions in dealing with the former dictatorship of Nigeria which led to the loss of some $6 billion to the Nigerian economy. The new democratic government of Nigeria is taking steps to recover this money and deal with the perpetrators of this fraud against their people…. Blood Money is financing this propaganda."

At the bottom of the flier was the following statement: "For the facts, contact the Foundation for Religious Tolerance (727) 448-1960."

August 11, 2000: At 8:00 in the morning a SWAT team of 12 Largo police officers burst into LMT staffer Jesse Prince's house with instructions to search for drugs and drug paraphernalia, clearly expecting to find evidence that Jesse was a major drug dealer. They found no drugs and no paraphernalia in the house; however, they did find one small marijuana plant growing out of the dead roots of another plant in the back yard. Based on this Jesse was arrested for felony drug cultivation and spent the day in jail. (The charge was later downgraded to misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Mr. Prince stood trial on this charge in March 2001. Three Scientology private investigators testified under oath that they were hired to set Mr. Prince up on drug charges. The trial resulted in a hung jury, 5-1 for acquittal. The jurors were quoted in the media saying they felt Mr. Prince was set up. The judge called a mistrial, and the prosecutor dropped the charges against him.)

August 17, 2000: At a Clearwater City Commission meeting, Mary DeMoss announced that the "Foundation for Religious Tolerance" was opening a branch in Clearwater. This "foundation" was in fact a front group for Scientology. Mary DeMoss claimed that the purpose of the organization was to bring all the religions in Clearwater together. In fact, the organization consisted of one person, Mary DeMoss, and her orders were to carry out projects calculated to destroy the reputation of the Lisa McPherson Trust and cause the people of Clearwater not to want to have anything to do with it. The Foundation for Religious Tolerance has also created a web site called Bigot Watch on which defamatory information about members of the LMT is displayed.

August 27, 2000: Nigeria Today, an on-line newsletter, reported that the Nigerian government had "gone cold" in its acceptance of the Fashanu Report and the charges filed against Mr. Minton. The article stated that a detailed inspection of the report revealed no evidence that Mr. Minton committed any crime at all. In fact, the article disclosed, the true author of the report was likely Scientology private investigator David Lee.

August 29, 2000: Mary DeMoss and two male Scientologists burst into the Lisa McPherson Trust reception area and began speaking loudly to the staff in a harassing manner. After being asked to leave repeatedly, they refused to leave the premises until they were physically pushed out of the door. They continued to yell outside of the building. It was so disruptive that Ms. Brooks called the police. By the time the police arrived, the Scientologists had left. Ms. Brooks explained to the officers what had happened and asked if they would like to see the security video of what had happened in reception. Neither officer was interested. One of them, Officer Connelly, was extremely rude and made it clear that he had nothing but contempt for the Lisa McPherson Trust. She again asked him to watch the videotape and he snapped, "No, I don't want to see it." Both officers left, having refused to make an information report on the incident.

August 31, 2000: Richard Hurst, a Scientologist who worked with Mary DeMoss to harass the Lisa McPherson Trust, appeared on the movie set of "The Profit," a film that Mr. Minton had financed, to hand out a 27-page packet of discrediting materials on Mr. Minton.

Tab A stated:

"Robert Minton of the Lisa McPherson Trust and a financier has had a penal complaint brought against him by Nigerian authorities for money laundering, forgery of financial documents and fraud."

Tab B stated:

"Minton has previously been arrested for assault against Scientologists and has fired a shotgun at them."

Tab C stated:

"Minton along with members of his group has been restrained from coming within ten feet of Church properties in Clearwater."

Tab D stated:

"Jesse Prince, vice president of the Lisa McPherson Trust, was recently arrested for cultivating marijuana at his home."

Tab E stated:

"Prince has previous arrests for driving under the influence, disorderly conduct, and contributing to the sexual delinquency of a child."

Tab F stated:

"Mark Bunker of the Lisa McPherson Trust was arrested in Chicago earlier this year for criminal trespass at the Church of Scientology of Chicago."

September 2000: Fliers featuring the mug shot from Mr. Minton's Clearwater battery arrest were stuffed into local mailboxes near the Lisa McPherson Trust. Several items were listed under the photograph:

"Twice arrested for assault; Penal complaint filed by the government of Nigeria for charges of fraud, the laundering of money and forgery of financial documents; Finances harassment of members of the Church of Scientology; Profiled by NBC Dateline as potentially violent."

The flier also featured a mug shot of Jesse Prince from his August 2000 arrest. Several items were listed under his photograph as well:

"Arrested for cultivation of marijuana in Clearwater; Outstanding arrest warrant in Colorado for violating probation; Multiple arrests for a variety of criminal activity - indecent exposure, contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor, drunk driving."

Underneath a photograph of Stacy Brooks were the following items:

"President of an organization that was enjoined from approaching Church property in Clearwater; Abandoned her husband for Bob Minton; Has attempted to extort the Church of Scientology."

Under a photograph of Mark Bunker was the following information:

"Arrested for criminal trespass; Was enjoined by a Pinellas County judge to stay away from Church properties in Clearwater; Harasses individuals by videotaping them and placing the tape on the Internet."

At the bottom of the flier was the following statement:

"These individual and their criminal behavior have no business in front of a Church or harassing decent people for their religious faith. THEY ARE ALL BEING PAID BY MINTON TO DO THIS!!"

September 15, 2000: As Mr. Minton began a peaceful protest in front of the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, long-time OSA operative Joe Neal ran out of the hotel and rammed Mr. Minton in the chest with a camera, knocking Mr. Minton to the ground. Several other protesters had to pull Neal off of Mr. Minton to keep him from being further assaulted. Mr. Minton was injured so badly that he had to go to the emergency room of Morton Plant Hospital to receive oxygen. His ribs were badly bruised and his injuries made it impossible for him to attend a scheduled deposition the following Monday. Scientology tried to get the court to find Mr. Minton in contempt for not appearing for his deposition.

October 10, 2000: Patrick Jost, a former investigator for the U.S. Treasury Department wrote an extensive affidavit in which he detailed Mr. Minton's business dealings in Nigeria. The affidavit made it clear that Mr. Minton's activities were completely legitimate and that the Fashanu Report was a compilation of lies and innuendo with no substance.

October 17, 2000: A group of rock bands scheduled a concert to benefit the Lisa McPherson Trust. After the announcement of the concert, Mary DeMoss and her Foundation for Religious
Tolerance mailed a letter and flier to residents of Clearwater and surrounding towns.

October 28, 2000: Mary DeMoss's Scientology front group, the Foundation for Religious Tolerance, left a flier outside the LMT offices and distributed it throughout Clearwater. In the flier the concert to benefit the Lisa McPherson Trust was identified as a "hate group" and the announced host, Jamie Kennedy, was characterized as an unsavory character. Jamie Kennedy, a performance artist from northern California, is the great-grandson of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and was identifying himself as such in the promotion for the concert.

November 2, 2000: The Foundation for Religious Tolerance distributed a two-page letter throughout Clearwater linking LMT President Stacy Brooks to the benefit concert in a vulgar way.

November 30, 2000: Mary DeMoss came into the Lisa McPherson Trust with color photocopies of an article from the magazine "Business Age." The article was entitled "Nigerian Nemesis" and was a libelous article about Mr. Minton and his business dealings with the Nigerian Government.

October 29, 2000: An article appeared in the London Sunday Express with a photograph of Mr. Minton next to one of Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha. The article falsely claimed that the CIA had identified Mr. Minton as being the mastermind behind a $4 billion money-laundering scheme that was being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office of the British government.

November 1, 2000: Mary DeMoss wrote a letter to the Pinellas County Department of Consumer Protection to tell the agency that people who made donations to the Lisa McPherson Trust were being defrauded because the Lisa McPherson Trust was a for-profit company.

November 1, 2000: Scientologist Robert Magness wrote a letter to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times in which he said the following about Mr. Minton:

"He really wants only to destroy a group that in verifiable fact has helped hundred of thousands, if not millions of people to live happier more ethical lives."

November 30, 2000: Judge Penick issued a second temporary injunction. Among other things, it enjoined both sides from harassing each other in any way. That evening, Mr. Minton and Ms. Brooks were having dinner at a restaurant in Tampa with Lisa McPherson's family members, who were in town to confer with Ken Dandar, the attorney for the wrongful death case. Suddenly a private investigator appeared at Ms. Brooks' side and thrust a copy of the new injunction in her face. Ms. Brooks was frightened by the way in which the man was behaving and asked him how he knew where to find her. The man replied that there were OSA operatives in the restaurant who told him where she was. He gave her a photograph of herself that he had been given by another OSA operative, Judy Ross. He then apologized to Ms. Brooks for interrupting her dinner and told her he had been ordered specifically to serve her during dinner so that it would upset her.

December 1, 2000: Scientologist Larry Byrnes wrote a letter to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times in which he said the following about Mr. Minton:

"So why does the Times give Robert Minton all this ink? Could it be that you are merely a propaganda mouthpiece for the psychiatric/pharmaceutical cartel that is turning our children into drugged zombies through their label-and-drug-children program? Since Scientology is the only effective opposition to their plans and has highly effective methods of helping children to lead drug-free lives, this cartel is inevitably found to be backing people like Minton."

December 2, 2000: Diane Stein, Director of Community Affairs for the Church of Scientology of Atlanta, wrote a reply to an article in the Baltimore Sun titled "Millionaire builds center in crusade to stop Church of Scientology." Her letter stated:

"Minton's sole purpose in being in Clearwater is to spread hate, lies and bigotry against the community of 10,000 Scientologists who live and work there."

December 22, 2000: Therese Minton received a notice from the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles. An anonymous complaint had been received that she was garaging a car with New Hampshire license plates.

December 2000: Mary DeMoss delivered copies of an obscure magazine called "Business Age" to the Lisa McPherson Trust, although she had been told previously that she would be considered to be trespassing if she came into the building again. There was an article in the magazine titled "Nigerian Nemesis," in which Mr. Minton was accused of orchestrating a billion-dollar buy-back scheme to defraud the Nigerian government. Attempts to locate the editorial offices of this magazine were unsuccessful, nor could the publisher be found.

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