The settlement negotiations between Robert Minton and the Church of Scientology mark the end of a confrontation between an individual and an organization in which both parties have committed different crimes at different times.
While the Church of Scientology with the use of its "Office of Special Affairs" and its private investigators violated the civil rights of Robert Minton and several innocent bystanders, including his wife and his children, Minton himself committed perjury in connection with his dubious financial transactions in order to hide his secret overseas funds from the Church of Scientology and the courts.
In its efforts to silence Robert Minton and to discourage him from further financially supporting its critics, the Church of Scientology harassed him over a period of almost four years. It engaged in extensive surveillance and investigation operations of Minton and his immediate family members. It held countless pickets in front of Minton's home and in front of the home of his wife and his children. It distributed leaflets with scurrilous contents in the residential areas of Minton's and his wife's homes.
The Church of Scientology claims to be a "charitable organization." By no means can the above-mentioned activities be called "charitable." Robert Minton is an individual and he pursued his self-proclaimed "crusade" against the Church of Scientology as a private citizen. Scientology cannot justify that it had to defend itself through the execution of such a harassment campaign against one private citizen and his social environment because Minton was allegedly about "to destroy its religion."
Robert Minton's "crusade" was at various points ill founded. He often picketed in a highly provocative manner. On the Internet he ridiculed the beliefs of Scientologists. Nevertheless these questionable activities do not deprive him of his civil rights of free speech and free association. And they do not deprive Minton's wife and his daughters of their respective rights either.
During one of the settlement meetings in Samuel Rosen's office, the Church of Scientology representatives revealed that they had spent $ 3,500,000 in "security" measures for which they ultimately made Minton responsible. An expenditure of millions of dollars to hire private investigators and to keep an individual and a few others under constant surveillance for a period of more than four years can hardly be justified as appropriate "security measures" or, even less, as a "charitable activity" of a "charitable" tax-exempt organization.
Minton himself had millions of dollars at his disposal to finance civil cases and to support individuals who had been victimized by the Church of Scientology. Had he just done that, he would not be in the highly awkward situation he finds himself now in. But Minton wanted to become a hero, and to a certain extent and for a certain period of time he enjoyed the attention he received by becoming a nationally known "crusader." At the end he was desperate and he consequently engaged in desperate acts, which eventually were criminal.
Minton's "crusade" was based on lies. While he openly criticized the tax-exempt status of the Church of Scientology, he himself had evidently hidden away from millions of dollars in overseas bank accounts, which he had not disclosed to the Internal Revenue Service. When he finally decided to use that money directly for his cause and for himself as well he engaged in obscure, criminal schemes that would finally seal his legal fate.
It is ironic that in the moment when Minton's illegalities became a public record the former fierce opponent of Scientology joined sides with the organization. It is also very remarkable how the tax-exempt and self-proclaimed "charitable" religious organization, the Church of Scientology, almost immediately tried to capitalize on Minton's legal situation and on his finances, which, I believe, were at least partially created through a tax evasion scheme.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the aforementioned facts set forth are true and correct.
_____________________ Martin Ottmann
Paris, France on July 22nd, 2002
On 1 Jan 2003 15:12:16 -0800, [email protected] (Martin Ottmann) wrote:
>Minton's "crusade" was based on lies. While he openly criticized the
>tax-exempt status of the Church of Scientology, he himself had
>evidently hidden away from millions of dollars in overseas bank
>accounts, which he had not disclosed to the Internal Revenue Service.
>When he finally decided to use that money directly for his cause and
>for himself as well he engaged in obscure, criminal schemes that would
>finally seal his legal fate.
Though I don't claim inside knowledge, I kind of doubt this is the case. The reason is that there are many entirely legal ways Bob could have held money overseas and it would be amazing to me to find he had done anything illegal when there are so many legal ways to accomplish the same thing.
Just as an example, money paid into an overseas corporation you control does not have to be reported as income. In fact, it *can't* be since the corporation is a separate legal entity.
Now, if the corporation makes a distribution of money to the people who control it, *that* has to be reported as income. But if the corporation *loans* money to a third party it not reported as income. In fact, corporations can loan money to those who control them, and though it is a bit more questionable, chances are low that anyone will ever even ask about it (unless the corporation is Enron).
Control of a corporation with money is different from money you can use to buy groceries.
In any case, friend or foe of scientology, nobody is going to investigate a citizen complaint close to this mess.
Nice job though.