Tony Ortega published an article today about Scientology trying to shake down Marc and Claire Headley over a $40,000 court judgement. The Village Voice posted the letter Scientology’s lawyers sent to the Headleys which offered to forgive the judgement if Marc and Claire would turn over the rights to Marc’s book Blown for Good, keep their yaps shut in the future and cough up all the dirt they know on Marty Rathbun and others who have been speaking out against Scientology fraud and abuse.
“The Headleys agree to discuss with CSI and RTC all of their contacts with Marty Rathbun and any others involved in disparaging CSI and RTC, including any media contacts.”
The Headleys tell me they have no interest in becoming informants for Scientology in its struggles against Rathbun, who was the second-highest ranking executive in the church before his 2004 defection. Rathbun is now associated with a breakaway independence movement that is challenging David Miscavige’s leadership of Scientology. Last year, we reported that Miscavige went to surprising lengths to surveil Rathbun, planting an intimidation squad outside his house for five months. There’s little question that Scientology expends enormous resources to follow Rathbun and watch those who go to visit him in his South Texas home.
Marc Headley says that his attorney responded to the Mangels letter with another offer, asking to pay the debt in four monthly payments of about $10,000 each.
He says the church answered with a verbal offer that they would accept such a payment plan, but only if the Headleys met “some or all” of the three conditions in their letter. (I’ve sent requests for comment both to Scientology’s media office and to Robert Mangels about the letter.)
Uninterested in any of the conditions, Marc says it was obvious they would have to pay immediately. And the church was wasting no time making that point clear.
“We got a letter from the IRS today. They sent us a confirmation letter of the information we had asked for in a phone query. But we never called the IRS. We never inquired about anything. So, they’re already poking around in our companies,” Headley told me recently when I first asked him about the letter.
Headley told me he really only had one option. “We’re just going to pay it.”
The Tampa Bay Times tonight reports on how the Headleys managed to scrape together the money to pay the fine.
The Headleys asked the church to allow them to pay the fee in four monthly installments, but the church said no, they said. The church received no such proposal, Pouw said.
The couple drew down their savings and their children’s savings. They sold their 2007 Ford cargo van. They sold electronics, tools and materials Marc Headley used in his business. And they borrowed $6,000. They sent the church a cashier’s check for the full amount.
“I did everything to scrape together — down to the last six cents — that money,” Claire Headley said. “It took me four days full time doing nothing else to get it all in one place.”
On Thursday, the church shocked them again.
It mentioned them in a letter to NBC and posted on a church website. The letter challenged Vanity Fair’s report this week that Scientology auditioned actresses in 2004 to date the church’s most famous believer, Tom Cruise. Marc Headley was among the magazine’s sources.
The church said it received the Headleys’ check and posed a question: Did Vanity Fair pay Headley for participating in the story?
Ridiculous, the Headleys said.
“I don’t know how these things work, but I can’t imagine as a source making $42,000 for that article,” Marc Headley said.
Vanity Fair said it did not pay Headley. Spokeswoman Beth Kseniak said, “Vanity Fair has never paid sources and never would.”
The church said it asked the question because it had thought it curious that the Headleys’ check arrived days before the magazine published its story.
Jason Beghe told the Village Voice that he was determined to help raise the money the Headleys needed to pay.
“The Church of Scientology needs 40 grand like I need more hair on my back,” he says. “I convinced Marc that people are going to want to help out. There’s no reason he should suffer further. The rest of us should share the burden. I’m putting the first grand in that thing.”
Within hours of the Village Voice article, the defense fund had already begun to reach its goal. The total goal was met (and topped) in less than two weeks. The Headlys posted a thank you on the site.
We made it!!! Thank you so…We made it!!!
Thank you so much to everyone who has helped us!
You have helped us accomplish something we absolutely did not think possible.
We are forever thankful. It has been amazing to see people from all walks of life come together and make this happen.
In 12 days, we received 556 donations, 23,104 visits to our fundraising site, and raised a total of $50,600, 112% of our original goal. So even after fees, everyone here has helped fulfill every last penny of the legal bills! The remaining balance will sit safely and will forward to the next cause when that arises.
And more so, we hope this puts a good ending on something that would not otherwise have been possible.
Thank you so, so much to everyone who helped us in our time of need!
We’ll be in touch!
Until next time…
Claire, Marc and family