Church Of Scientology Of Clearwater, Inc. is a Florida Domestic Non-Profit Corporation filed on December 21, 1982. Clearwater council struggles to address Scientology’s impact on downtown, © DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD/Times/Tampa Bay Times/TNS. Many have walked these streets over the years, and many more will as the years go by. “The situation there sounds as if it’s not at all a financial constraint. RELATED: ClearTakeover: How Scientology doubled its downtown Clearwater footprint in 3 years. The city should not invest $64 million on Imagine Clearwater if Scientology is unilaterally dictating the downtown’s future. CLEARWATER, Fla. — A newspaper report says the Church of Scientology and companies run by its members spent more than $100 million over the past three years buying up … Clearwater … “If there is wrongdoing that’s uncovered on a scale like the RICO Act, then definitely the IRS should reconsider the tax exempt status and stripping Scientology of that would bring money back into the city and show that the city is willing to not just sit back and continue to be stabbed in the back.". “Well what do you suggest I do? It is one of nearly 100 downtown retail properties bought by companies tied to Scientology since 2017 - many of which remain vacant. Council member Hoyt Hamilton also said the city doesn’t “have the time or the resources to even worry” about whether a federal agency will investigate Scientology’s behavior. The premise, he said, is that widespread vacancies cause economic harm to a city and hinder redevelopment. But in such a unique circumstance, he said it might be possible to craft an ordinance requiring efforts be made to list properties on the market or identify a contact for interested tenants. “If you have documented evidence, that needs to go to an attorney or a police department or whatever those venues are, it’s not a City Council venue for that," Beckman said. Because most of these new owners have not done that, he proposed the city contact them to find out. Officials did not acknowledge that even if the project is built out as planned, the purchases of commercial property around the waterfront give the church significant control over whether retail and restaurants follow. CLEARWATER — The new City Council on Monday conducted its first public discussion on an issue voters raised as a top concern in the recent election: The Church of Scientology… In addition to the recent purchases by church-connected companies, there are 43 properties that companies and individuals tied to Scientology have owned prior to 2017. History. Gabe Cazares, who was the mayor of Clearwater at the time, used the term "the occupation of Clearwater.". Allbritton said instead of calling the FBI or holding public hearings about the church’s impact, the city should be sharing positive stories about the people and businesses downtown. Community Redevelopment Agency director Amanda Thompson told the council last month that the greatest barrier to reviving the private market is perception. The Church of Scientology and its members are rapidly buying up a vast downtown neighborhood in a Florida city, according to a major investigation by the Tampa Bay Times. Accommodations, restaurants, course rooms and counseling rooms are available at the Fort Harrison and Oak Cove building after extensive renovations. Of the 92 properties those companies bought between 2017 and 2019, 35 storefronts and buildings sit empty today. Clearwater, Florida. Moreover, tens of thousands of Scientologists travel to the city each year from around the world to participate in religious services at the Church’s spiritual home. Akin said Thursday she is still researching. “I don’t know why we couldn’t reach to the FBI and say 'Look at what is happening here, look at these red flags,” Bunker said. Thompson notes the individual bright spots within downtown: the success of ClearSky on Cleveland restaurant that opened in 2017, the full capacity Nolen apartment complex, the temporary closing of the 400 and 500 blocks of Cleveland Street to vehicles that has boosted activity to the 20 businesses clustered there. Additionally, they report that there are 22 Church of Scientology facilities in downtown Clearwater and 8.2 percent of Clearwater… Un haut responsable scientologue, Moises Agami, vient de faire l’acquisition d’une propriété au coeur de Clearwater (Floride) pour la somme de 16 millions de dollars. It bought a hotel and wrote plans to take control of the city. Since 2017, at least 15 businesses that got new landlords tied to Scientology moved out and were not replaced. CHURCH-SUPPORTED HUMANITARIAN INITIATIVES. Bunker received no support for his proposal that the city ask the FBI to investigate Scientology for alleged racketeering related to the real estate purchases. We came here on a lie, and the City Commissioner, Richard Tinney, now running for Mayor, is running a program against us: “SAVE SPARKLING CLEARWATER, STAMP OUT SCIENTOLOGY… Learn more about Flag located in Clearwater, FL, religious retreat, spiritual headquarters and Mecca of the Scientology Religion. The church acquired three others in a land swap. That includes ongoing work to break ground on Imagine Clearwater, the plan to turn the downtown waterfront into a vibrant park with a garden, concert venue, bluff walk and plaza surrounded by mixed use projects. A single City Council member can not request an agency act on the city’s behalf, but they can share information, which Bunker said he intends to do next. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]. Project Normandy was a top secret Church of Scientology operation wherein the church planned to take over the city of Clearwater, Florida, by infiltrating government offices and media centers. A company managed by a Church of Scientology secretary bought the building in January 2017 but has left it vacant. A source, which the tabloid said has close ties with the Scientology bosses, … In March, three new members were elected to the five-member council, bringing a majority of new officials in to steer the city’s revitalization efforts. The Flag Building, also referred to as the Super Power Building, is the largest building in Clearwater, Florida. Penalties may be counterproductive for landlords with financial hardships or who are victims of the surrounding retail climate. What did he tell you?”. The Church of Scientology and its parishioners now own a lot of real estate in Clearwater, Fla., as reported by the Tampa Bay Times. Clearwater, Florida, is used to having Scientology’s Sea Organization members in suits walking around all day, along Cleveland Street toward Fort Harrison Avenue, because this is where the Church of Scientology is located. Leah Remini has joined forces with a political campaign that threatens the power of the Church of Scientology in Clearwater, Florida — exclusive details Clearwater, Florida – Global Headquarters of Scientology July 11, 2020 / Liesbet / 43 Comments A walk through Clearwater, FL reveals fancy signs, magnificent buildings, and a certain amount of secrecy. Alan Mallach, senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress, said a municipality cannot compel private property owners to occupy their buildings. So the idea of some sort of additional tax having an influence on behavior feels unlikely.”. Learn more about Flag located in Clearwater, FL, religious retreat, spiritual headquarters and Mecca of the Scientology Religion. Scientology spokesman Ben Shaw this week did not respond to requests for comment and has ignored repeated requests to interview Scientology leader David Miscavige. In 1979 I moved to Brandon, Fl and then Largo, Fl with my then husband and son. Others are speculative and may sit on properties for other reasons. Council members talked briefly about their shared reluctance to involve the FBI, dwelling more on their opposition to Bunker’s secondary proposal: that the city hold hearings for the public to air concerns about alleged fraud and abuse in the church. 500 Cleveland St, Clearwater, FL 33755-4006. In two years, the church has become a major landowner downtown, threatening a waterfront redevelopment project … Of the 60 properties Scientology owns under its name in Pinellas County, most of which are downtown, 73 percent are tax exempt for religious purposes. Only two individuals responded for the Times investigation about the purchases published in October 2019, and they denied their activities were dictated by the church. FREEDOM MAGAZINE CLEARWATER EDITION I Am a Citizen of Clearwater. Youngman said it is important to identify what is causing the vacancies in the first place. The Times last year contacted all of the roughly two dozen members of Scientology involved in the 100 purchases through email, phone, certified letters and door knocks. “They would really have to buttress it and be very careful it wasn’t something singling out church-owned properties.”. However, over the past … Clearwater Scientology Volunteer Ministers Center. I don’t know what turnout for municipal elections is like in Florida, … A company managed by a Church of Scientology secretary bought the building in January 2017 but has left it vacant. The 100 properties bought by companies tied to Scientology are in the blocks within walking distance of the waterfront and the church’s international spiritual headquarters — the footprint where city officials hope investors will bring businesses as a result of the revived waterfront park. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with … Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. The mayor of Clearwater, Florida, has slammed Leah Remini’s A&E Show Scientology and the Aftermath by remarking to the Tampa Bay Times that the town is “more than the Church of Scientology” after the January 22 episode of Remini’s series — which she hosts with fellow former Scientologist Mike Rinder — investigated the area. Scientology came to downtown Clearwater in 1975. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with reporter Tracey … In October, the Tampa Bay Times reported that over the previous three years, limited liability companies tied to Scientology bought about 100 properties around the center of downtown, the same depressed footprint where the city is trying to lure retail, restaurants and entertainment. Clearwater chief inspects Scientology for coronavirus compliance By Tracey McManus, Tampa Bay Times 4/1/2020 California Democrats urged … The city should not invest $64 million on Imagine Clearwater if Scientology is unilaterally dictating the downtown’s future. “We haven’t had any answers,” Bunker said. But he said the city must continue working to build something for residents to enjoy and take ownership of what it can control. I would not say I live amongst the Scientologists but that they keep to themselves and visibly occupy a great deal of Clearwater's downtown district. 899 views Dozens of downtown business owners are watching how the city’s $64 million plan to redevelop the downtown waterfront may impact the retail area. Flag ministers the most advanced levels of Scientology… Amber S, … Although companies tied to Scientology have brought uncertainty by buying most of downtown retail property, Beckman said the public should still enjoy the existing businesses and public waterfront. Scientology spokesman Ben Shaw did not respond to a request for comment about the discussion. Remini accuses Clearwater police of being used by Scientology. “It is conceivable but I don’t doubt it would be litigated and I don’t know there has ever been a case explicitly on whether such an ordinance would be legal,” Mallach said. The Council asked the city attorney to research ways to address vacant buildings. The Church of Scientology and its parishioners now own a lot of real estate in Clearwater, Fla., as reported by the Tampa Bay Times. Welcome to the Church of Scientology of Florida. Her two-year work plan includes a strategy that leads with sharing positive stories about downtown. RELATED: How Scientology doubled its downtown Clearwater footprint in 3 years. Planned to ensure the most important Scientology … Clear Sky on Cleveland (197) 1 min ... One thing that may not be know is the Scientology … Accommodations, restaurants, course rooms and counseling rooms are available at the Fort Harrison and Oak Cove building after extensive renovations. January 6, 2020 at 7:28 pm. But they did not press Miscavige about his involvement with the newly acquired properties, and the council on Monday did not urge them to seek those answers. “If they’ve legally acquired those properties — whether they sit on them or not, or whether they paid cash or paid four times as much — I totally agree it’s a red flag" Beckman said. If the city held public hearings, he said “it’s going to do nothing for telling a positive story about downtown.”. 27 Restaurants within 0.3 miles. This weekend, the chief released a video on Facebook defending his agency, saying Scientology does not influence his department. Give me a positive thing that I can do to really help this situation.”. But there are few options for empty properties that stay up to code, experts say. Bunker, who has been advocating against what he calls fraud and abuse in Scientology for decades, said he considered pursuing accountability for potential crimes a positive step. Fifty-eight are in the city of Clearwater and 49 are downtown. But these downtown buildings don’t have glaring code violations. The new owners have 28 vacant lots. The council on Monday advocated focusing on Imagine Clearwater to give residents and visitors a reason to come downtown. Of those, 11 storefronts sit vacant and six lots are undeveloped. “If all we get is, ‘Well I don’t really know what I want to do with it,’ then I want to ask the question: ‘Then why the hell did you buy it?’”. Since arriving in Clearwater in 1975, the Church of Scientology has purchased 60 properties in Pinellas County under its name. “I can’t worry about what hasn’t worked,” Hibbard said. “We have one or two of those success stories and most investors are looking for more examples of that,” Thompson said. Clearwater said no to Church of Scientology, yes to affordable housing But the proposed complex on land controlled by the city will need to win $17 million in tax credits to become a reality. Clearwater is the permanent home to more than 10,000 Scientology parishioners. Mike Rinder says. City manager Bill Horne, city attorney Pam Akin and assistant city manager Michael Delk met with Miscavige in November and January to begin communication after three years of silence. Flag ministers the most advanced levels of Scientology, including OT VII Website +1 727-467-6966. The former Sage venue at 22 N Ft Harrison Ave, Clearwater. The church’s campus grew slowly over decades. The Historic bank of Clearwater is now the home of the Church Of Scientology. According to New Idea, the actress' sudden departure from Scientology came as a huge shock to everyone in the church as she has been known to be one of its most devoted members for years. Read More . Cet investissement va permettre à la Scientologie de prendre le contrôle d’un emplacement stratégique dans la ville. Council members last month asked City Attorney Pam Akin to bring them guidance on what the city could do to address property owners who leave their buildings vacant. Cities can address dilapidated and unsafe buildings through code enforcement liens. Akin said that’s not possible in Clearwater since cities in Florida don’t have authority to create new taxes. The city is preparing to put out to bid three city-owned sites bordering the 22-acre waterfront park for developers to build residential, retail and hotel projects. These are questions people want answers to and the questions need to be asked.”. The shell of a former Walgreens across the street has stayed vacant for two years, ever since a company managed by two members of Scientology bought it for $4.5 million in cash, twice the appraised value. “Our single most important work is to shift that perception to one that aligns with that vision of live, work, shop, play,” she said. But other than a general desire for a downtown rebirth, the council concluded its hour-long dialogue with no plan to seek answers on Scientology’s involvement in significant amounts of property acquired over the past three years by companies tied to the church. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Feuds flare along Trump’s border wall as construction ramps up during his final days in office, PG&E's household customers facing 8% increase in power bills. The Church takes seriously its responsibility and interest in the future of the area. “I guess my next step is to turn to the FBI myself.”, ©2020 the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Visit the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.) at Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. CLEARWATER — A newspaper report says the Church of Scientology and companies run by its members spent more than $100 million over the past three years buying up huge sections of downtown Clearwater. A tabloid claimed Alley has decided to leave Scientology because of the "dirty methods" that it uses to control people. Nowhere is the growth of the Scientology religion more in evidence than at Flag, its spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. On Friday, Shaw sent the city copies of various studies and church materials, including a 2014 study the church commissioned about its economic impact and a 2014 city consultant study that urged the church and city to work together on revitalizing downtown. Now it appears that the Church’s plan has come to fruition. Clearwater is a hometown, the site of a happy family vacation, it’s a religious retreat, a place away from harsh winters, a place to see Spring Training baseball, a place to retire to and a place to do business. The Tampa Bay Times reports that members of the church have spent $103 million on property in the city of Clearwater — known as "The first Scientology city" — since 2016.
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