27th August 2011, 05:38 AM
So there is no press on someone involved in a court case with Scientology in Italy, such as that elderly rich Italian woman who's name eludes me right now, Giardini or some such?
Maria Pia Gardini? The lady who once was rich and lost gave it all to the cult? Her story must be somewhere here on ESMB, and there's a video IIRC
27th August 2011, 05:56 AM
In answer to above queries ~~
Maria explains how Scientology used high pressure
tactics to defraud her out of $2 million.
Declaration: Maria Pia Gardini
I, Maria Pia Gardini declare as follows:
1. I am over the age of 18 years.
2. The statements herein are of my own personal knowledge
and if called upon as a witness, I can testify competently
3. My name is Maria Pia Gardini. I am an Italian citizen. The
Flag Service Organization defrauded me of $1,000,000
while I was working on their staff as a highly trained Class
4. On the 21st of December, 1991, Tito Mazza, who was the
Flag Service I/C [in charge] in Italy, and Marco Puggelli,
who was a Flag FSM [field staff member], came to my home
in Italy seeking a donation for a Class VIII project at Flag.
Shortly after they arrived, Debbie Cook, the Commanding
Officer for the Flag Service Organization in Clearwater,
Florida, called on the telephone concerning this same project.
She told me the cost of executing the program was 2 million
dollars U.S. and she wanted me to finance the entire project.
I told her I would never give them 2 million dollars whereupon
she said she knew I would inherit a large sum of money from
my mother's death just 10 days before and felt I should give
them the money. I continued to say no and asked them to
leave. They would not but stayed and continued badgering
me. Finally, one of them took me into a side room and told
me if I just gave them a check to prove to the Captain of Flag
that I was a good scientologist they would leave. They
repeatedly told me I should be a good scientologist and give
them the money. I was also at this time very vulnerable. My
daughter had died one year before and my mother had now
died 10 days before. I was alone in the world. I finally gave
them a check for $30,000 and they left. At that point I told
them not to return asking me for money.
5. The morning after, my maid came into my bedroom and
told me there were two people sleeping in a car in my
garden. I got dressed and went to see who it was. There I
found two sea org members whom I recognized as working
for Flag and the Flag Ship Service Org. When I approached
the car to tell them they could not come into my garden in
the middle of the night, they got out of the car and asked
me for coffee. I took them into the house and gave them
coffee. They then fell asleep in my home. Around ten o'clock,
I received a phone call from Debbie Cook, who told me I
had not given enough money and I needed to give more to
the two staff members at my home. She went on and on
about the project needing my help, that Italy was really
down and it could be the first Clear country etc. Finally, I
gave another $50,000.
6. In Spring of 1992, I returned to Flag. The day after I
arrived, I went back to work as an auditor in the Sand
Castle hotel. That afternoon, at 2:00 p.m., I was called by
Captain Debbie Cook to go to the registrar area in the Fort
Harrison hotel. I am sure this day was Wednesday. When I
arrived Captain Cook was sitting in a small, back room
accompanied by Piers Almquist and a CMO messenger. I was
directed to go into the room and the door was closed behind
7. After the door was closed, Debbie Cook said to me "We
want to know how we can help you in your inheritance cycle."
This was to speed up my receiving the inheritance. I told her
I had my family lawyer and other professionals taking care of
things and that I needed Italian professionals taking care of
it, not Americans. She said they knew I had a beautiful villa
and other nice things and that I really needed to help with the
Italian Class VIIII project. I told her I could not give any
more money; my money was in Italy and my banker would
need my signature. She told me they would arrange for
scientologists in America and Italy to loan me money, then I
could return to Italy later and get the money to pay them
back. She also wanted me to call my banker right then and
find out how much money I could take out of Italy at that
8. At this point, I didn't know what to do. I told her it was too
late in Italy for me to call the bank and I would call in the
morning and talk to my banker to see how much money I
had in my accounts. Upon this promise of mine to call my
banker in Italy, they let me leave the room. I then returned
9. The next morning at 8:00 a.m. I was preparing for work
when I was told not to start working but to return to the Fort
Harrison. I did this, and when I arrived at the Fort Harrison
I was directed to the same little room. Inside waiting for me
were the following people:
Debbie Cook -- Captain FSO
Piers Almquist - a registrar
David Foster - a registrar
Pilar Saldiariagga - Commodores Messenger
John Lundeen -- Supervisor of the registrars
Chiara Staples - my FSM
10. Chiara had been called in and asked to lend me money.
She had $50,000 in cash in a bag and told me she would
loan me the money if I promised to pay her back as soon as
I returned to Italy and received my inheritance. Under
pressure, I agreed to do this. Almost immediately, Dave
Foster told me that this amount was not enough.
11. Debbie Cook then had an idea. She suggested that
"Teresa", the wife of Gerald Bloom, who was a Class V C/S,
could also lend me money. Teresa was called in and asked
to loan me money. She also said she did not have money
in the USA. Teresa was asked to call her mother in
Switzerland to arrange to loan me $100,000. The money was
eventually transferred from Switzerland to the Flag Accounts.
I was praised and told to go back to work, which I did.
12. On the following Thursday morning, I was again called by
Captain Cook and told to go to her office in the Coachman
building. When I arrived she and John Lundeen and another
staff member who was an MAA and was also Italian were
waiting for me. It was before 9:00 a.m. and they wanted
more money. They pushed and pushed me saying I must
help Italy get the LRH materials. They asked me to call my
bank in Italy and talk to the director to see how much money
was available to me. I could not lie to him because they put
the phone call on speakerphone and of course the other
Italian staff member could understand what was being said.
The bank director told me that I had just received money
into my account from selling a large piece of real estate. I
tried to tell the director that I needed that money for
inheritance tax, but he told me I had more than enough to
cover it. So they now knew I had money in my account. The
Captain told me to ask how much I could have sent to the
United States without my signature. He said if I faxed him
my signature and a copy of my ID, I could have all the
money I wanted. I wanted to kill this bank director, but of
course he didn't know what was going on.
13. At this point, I ended up transferring $300,000 to the Flag
Land Base. I was very upset by this transaction and by the
fact that I was then highly commended at the staff meeting
for having donated so much. The whole staff clapped for me,
however I felt terrible and promised myself that this was it.
I would give no more money. I was also given other benefits
due to this contribution. For example I had been asking for
a lighter schedule for months due to a heart condition. Regular
Flag staff hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. It was not
until after I had made this contribution that a lighter schedule
was finally approved for me.
14. I then asked to return to Italy in order to see my attorneys
and finalize my inheritance and to visit my granddaughter. I
requested a leave of absence. I was told that it was okay to
leave, but before I left they wanted me to make my total
donation one million dollars and asked for the balance to
add to the previous donations. This was all for the Italian
Class VIII translation of materials and to pay for people to
come from Italy to Flag to train. Throughout the day I spoke
with my seniors in the organization and begged to go back
to Italy. I tried very hard to avoid the issue of money. This
was in September.
15. One Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m., High Levy showed
up at my home. He told me that I had to come right away
to the Fort Harrison because they needed me. I arrived at
the Fort Harrison and was taken downstairs. In a room
awaiting me were Captain Cook and Dave Foster.
16. They told me that Tito Mazza (who was one of the first
two men who came to my home in Italy) was on the phone
from Italy. Tito told me that the Italian statistics were down
and they really needed my money. He told me he had found
someone who could lend me $200,000. He said he would go
to the person in Italy and the two of them would call me back
in America and we would do a conference call. He did this,
going to the house of Franco Baggio, who happened to be
one of my pcs. Mr. Baggio told me he could loan the $200,000,
however, he needed to get it from the bank. He also told me
he needed the loan paid off in one month. I did not agree to
do this and the Captain and Dave Foster badgered and
harassed me until I finally just hung up the phone.
17. At this point, somebody called the Captain out of the
room, leaving just Dave Foster and me in the room. Mr.
Foster started yelling at me, becoming as red as a lobster
and getting so upset I thought he was going to have a heart
attack. He wanted me to give the money. He told me I was
not a good Scientologist; that my money was Wog money
and needed to go to scientology; and that I was unethical.
I kept refusing to give any more money. Finally, Dave Foster
slapped me in the face. I began to cry.
18. The Captain FSO then returned to the room. I told her
Dave Foster had slapped me. Dave Foster denied it. Captain
FSO then immediately began asking me again for more
money. They kept badgering me, insinuating that if I wanted
to go home to Italy, I had better give the money. Soon, I was
an emotional mess. I wanted out of that room and to go home
to Italy. It was apparent to me that neither would happen if I
did not agree: so, I finally agreed to give them whatever money
they wanted. At that point they again called Franco Baggio and
I told him to give the money. Franco then wrote a check and gave
it to Tito Mazza, who took the check to Luxembourg and put it
into a Flag account there. Only after this did they let me out of
the room. I then returned to work.
19. I now wanted to leave for Italy, but OSA was holding my
passport and though I had asked for its return every night for
twenty days, they would not give it to me. I finally went to the
Captain FSO at the end of October. I begged to be able to
return to Italy so I could get the money to pay everybody
back. Also during this time I was sick with worry because they
had told me they wanted one million dollars and they hadn't
yet gotten that out of me. So every Thursday I was terrified
that I would again be called in and forced to give more money.
20. The Captain finally ok'd the return of my passport. Soon
after getting it, I was again called into a meeting in the
Captain's Office in the Coachman building. The Captain told
me to write a CSW to go to Italy and get it signed by all of my
seniors and bring it back to Snr. Staff HCO and then to her.
This was the end of October. At this time she asked me if I
had any more money in the bank. I admitted that I did (lying
to the Captain is an overt). She told me the stats were down
and I needed to again contribute money. I was so anxious to
get my CSW signed so I could leave, I again wrote a check for
Flag. This was for $25,000 written on my account at 1st
National Bank (Amsouth) in Clearwater.
21. After this, I tried and tried to get everyone to approve
my CSW to go home to Italy. Towards the end of November,
I received all necessary approvals. I finally left for Italy in
22. When I arrived in Italy, my attorney told me that before
the 12th of December I had to pay the inheritance taxes.
I paid the taxes and then found that nothing was left in the
bank. I decided I had to sell some property, as I was now
23. I then called Mr. Baggio and told him that I was not able
to repay his loan immediately. He was furious. I explained
that I had given all of my money to Flag. He didn't care.
24. In January of 1993, I called Flag and told them that I
couldn't return as I was broke and was trying to sell property.
I spoke with Debbie Cook. Her suggestion was that I put the
property in the name of Scientology America, and they would
sell the property and pay back all of the loans I had taken to
pay FSO. I told her this was not possible as the property was
not fully in my name, but also in the name of my
granddaughter, who was a minor, and another relative.
Because my granddaughter was a minor, the court would
represent her in any sale and put the money aside for her use.
25. Debbie then directed me to stay in Italy to sell the property,
and while I was there to continue working for Flag as a
"missionaire." She said I should audit people from my home.
She would send the clients to me. She said there were a lot
of Italian people in disagreement with Scientology who would
not go into an org but would come to my home or I could go
to theirs. So the people would pay Flag and I would audit
them in Italy. Of course, I got paid nothing to do this work.
26. I now began to sell my art and antiques just to survive
until I finally sold the property. I was then able to repay all
the money borrowed on my behalf. Franco Baggio charged
me 22% interest on the money. This had never been
discussed or agreed to between us.
27. As soon as I paid Mr. Baggio, I received a call from
Captain FSO. She said she knew I had sold my property.
She called me directly because I had previously screamed
into the phone at another staff member, saying I was sick
of getting calls from Flag and to leave me alone. Debbie
Cook asked me at this time to pay the balance of the $1
million she wanted. I refused. She then told me I had to
return to Flag. I said I could not. I reminded her I was doing
all sorts of auditing in Italy. She insisted I return to Flag. I
28. About two weeks later I was in Milano to audit some OT
VII's. At this time I was mentally a mess. My mother had
died, my daughter had died, my cousin had committed suicide,
I had given all of my money to Flag and my families business
had lost all of its assets. While I was in Milano, Tito Mazza
and John Lundeen bothered me about making further
donations. I finally broke down and wrote a check for the
balance to make up $1 million. At this point, I had paid a
total of one million dollars to Flag and $40,000 to Franco
Baggio for interest.
29. Debbie Cook then called again to tell me I had not yet
made one million dollars. Per their account it was only
$960,000. I told her by my count it was one million forty
thousand. That was it. I refused to give any more.
30. At this time, my family began expressing concern for
my mental state, saying they believed I was crazy for
throwing away all of my money to Scientology. One relative
was trying to convince my attorneys that I was completely
insane. This created a great deal of difficulty for me. At this
time I decided to never return to work at Flag. My life was
a living hell.
31. I called Debbie Cook and told her I was not coming
back to work. Three days later, John Lundeen arrived at
my home with Chiara. These two insisted I pay the remainder
of money to make my donation for one million. This was
insane. I could stand it no more. I told them to take any
money they wanted, I didn't care. My nerves were gone at
this point. I was totally broken. I gave them another $50,000.
32. As far as leaving staff, I wanted to do it properly per the
policies of the FSO. So I returned in January or February of
1994 to route out. I expected this to take about one week.
It took two months. This organization did a Board of
Investigation on me because I wanted to leave staff. The
result of this action was that I was not qualified for the
Sea Org. Therefore, they now kicked me out. After all
of the money I had given them and all of the auditing I had
done and my high training, I was found not qualified.
33. Also, while I was doing this routing out, I noticed that
there was not one Italian in the Class VIII classroom
studying. This is what I had paid the one million for. I had
been told that my donations were for Italians, yet in the
course room were all kinds of people but Italians. I went to
Debbie Cook and told her she had lied to me. I said right
then that I wanted all of my money back. Debbie responded
that they were at that point in time translating the material
into Italian so my money could be used to "free Italians."
Two years later, materials were still not translated into Italian.
34. When I finally returned to Italy, I found my situation
was terrible. My attorney told me to sell the family villa.
All the money was gone and I could no longer afford it. I
sold the villa and gave some of this money to my
granddaughter and about half a million to my son-in-law.
35. At the end of 1994, I returned to Clearwater to sell a
condo I owned in Island Estates. At that time I went to the
Fort Harrison to visit Chiara. When I walked in, a registrar
for the Super Power project, Charmaigne, and another
registrar for special properties grabbed me and sat me
down. They asked me for money. I said no…but they would
not let me leave. I was at this point completely unable to
deal with these demands for money, even though I knew it
was harming me. I gave $20,000 to Charmaigne for super
power project. I then went to Chiara's house and hid out.
36. After I sold my condo, I went to Amsouth bank to get
some money. When I came out of the bank two officers from
Scientology Special Properties in Los Angeles were waiting
for me. They wanted money to help put LRH materials into
titanium so it could be preserved for eternity. They asked
me to come to the top floor of the Fort Harrison to see the
new special properties. I just wanted to go to Italy, now. I
had my ticket in my pocket. I still had to empty my condo
and get out. I asked them to leave me be. I told them to
leave me alone or I would die here in America. But they
said, "Let's go" and escorted me to the Fort Harrison where
they badgered me for the money. Again, I lost my will and
just wrote them a check. I gave them $25,000 from the
37. After this, I went to the bank, emptied the account and
I left for home. While I was at the airport in Miami awaiting
my connecting flight to Milan, I sat in the VIP waiting room
having a coffee. I received a call. I was told there was
someone crying on the phone. Immediately I worried that
it was my granddaughter and something was wrong at home.
38. The person crying on the phone was Chiara at Flag.
She told me that Charmaigne had her locked in a room
and was badgering her, telling her she had to give them
$100,000 in my name for the superpower project. They
wouldn't believe Chiara when she told them I was already
gone. They told her to prove it, and thus Chiara was
calling me. I then had to verify for Charmaigne over the
phone that I was indeed in Miami.
39. Charmaigne at once told me to return to Flag. I told
her no. Finally, I was yelling into the phone. I told her I
could give her not one penny more and that if Chiara gave
her the $100,000 I would not pay it back, but Charmaigne
would have to repay it herself.
40. I returned to Italy. My life was very difficult now. I had
little money and again had to sell property to pay my
41. In early 1995, I called Debbie Cook. I told her that now
I needed help from her. I was an OT VIII class IX auditor
who had given over one million dollars to Scientology. I
never spoke to Debbie. Never once would she come on the
phone to speak to me.
42. Now, I started to write to her. I also started writing
CLO and phoning OSA in Italy and asking for my money
back. I wrote and called many times saying I wanted all
one million. I was ignored. I then decided to go to court.
43. My family attorney wrote to the CLO Italy. The response
was for Flag to send Ellen Almquist to me in Italy to audit
me. I refused to be audited. For three days she stayed at
my home and tried to get me into session. I would not go.
She finally went away. Shortly thereafter, they sent another
auditor, one whom I was very fond of and with whom I had
previously worked. I still refused. In fact, when he prepared
a room to audit me, I took a bottle of whisky in with me and
said, "Ok. I am ready to audit." He soon left.
44. In 1994 Debbie Cook bought a new, $40,000 car. She
told me it was her FSM commission as she was the FSM on
my cycle. This is against the policies of Scientology as far as
I know. In fact, everyone who worked on this gathering of
the $1 million took commissions from this.
45. During this time, I started drinking too much, just to
forget all that I had been through. Now, the CLO wrote to my
attorney and said I had to get my money back from Flag,
not them. My attorney then told me I could sue them from
Italy. When Flag found out that I was suing, they started
looking into my financial situation. At this point, I wanted
ALL money I had given to Flag. So, I called their attorney in
Rome. They proposed a meeting with my attorney to come
to some form of agreement.
46. Their attorney set the time of the meeting one day before
a sale at my home to raise money. They had gone to a public
registry and obtained information on my financial situation.
47. At this meeting in Rome in their attorney's office was
myself, a person from CLO Italy, my attorney, the daughter
of their attorney, a woman from OSA Flag and a staff member
from Roma Org. For the whole afternoon we discussed the
situation. In the end, the woman from OSA told me they knew
I was in a terrible financial bind and she offered me a check
for 250 million lira ($180,000). She said either I agree or I will
get nothing. She spoke in English and my attorney could not
understand this. I was really at the point of losing the last of
what I had. I asked the woman if I took the money, would I
still be in good standing with the church. She said yes. I didn't
want to go back, but I also didn't want them all against me.
I felt they were dangerous people. I also told her I still had
$29,000 in my account at Flag and I wanted that returned.
She said I would still be able to get that returned per the
48. I then accepted the check. We agreed that I would then
receive two more checks in the same amount. I signed an
agreement, which was in English. I asked for a copy. They
said it had to go to Flag and they would send my copy with
the second payment. They never sent it and I have still
never received a copy.
49. When the third payment arrived, it was for 240 million,
not 250. I asked where are the other ten million liras. Their
attorney said it had been given to my attorney.
50. Now, after I had received this money for repayment of
half of what I had given for the Class VIII Italian project, I
decided to get the money left on account at Flag. I called FSO
and asked to come back. I was told that I could not return to
Flag. I was not in good standing with the church. I soon also
received a letter from the Ship saying I was a "refund."
I have never yet received a refund from the Ship Org.
51. I have been cheated by this organization. I want my
money on accounts refunded; I want my money donated
to the Super Power project returned to me. I want the
other $500,000 returned to me. I have written them and
they are not willing to help me. They in fact have told me
that am trying to extort money from them. My attorney in
Italy did say that the agreement had no legal standing in Italy.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United
States of America and the state of Florida that the foregoing
is true and correct.
Executed in Clearwater, Florida this 19th day of January 2001.
Maria Pia Gardini
28th August 2011, 03:35 PM
Posted by Maria Pia Gardini on Aug. 27, 2011 on the Italian EXSCN forum (https://groups.google.com/group/exscn/browse_thread/thread/c62b5136ee9ce621?hl=it#) (translation):
If any of you have seen the COMINCIAMO BENE ESTATE program, you will have heard that...................I was disposed of in a few words; THERE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN INTERVIEW ABOUT SCIENTOLOGY BUT IT WILL NOT BE AIRED BECAUSE SCIENTOLOGY HAS THREATENED RETALIATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But do I frighten the grouplet that much? They claimed a trial is in progress...not true, it starts in October.
And the authors of OCCULTO ITALIA, DIDN'T THEY TALK ABOUT SCIENTOLOGY? ETC. ETC.
A trial concerning Arkeon is in progress and yet............!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am not giving up and I am sure it will be aired soon!!!!!!!!
That the RAI network, a public service, doesn't apply Article 21 on freedom of speech is absurd. The producer told me they are receiving email upon email, all of them quite strong.
If you wish to write: firstname.lastname@example.org
Occulto Italia by Gianni Del Vecchio and Stefano Pitrelli is a recent book about cults in Italy. Stefano Pitrelli appeared on the program.
Arkeon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkeon) is a controversial Italian personal growth movement.
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