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Subject: The Clients of Michael Flynn
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Date: 25 Feb 2003 04:54:21 +0100
Organization: Happy Lobster & Partners / LE Mail2News
The lists following have been excerpted from a study of the civil cases
of attorney Michael Flynn against Scientology organizations and
individuals. The study is being conducted pro bono publico by an
independent and impartial group of researchers.
Although our study is incomplete, it has been requested that we publish
a list of the Flynn clients. This is an attempt to be responsive to that
request, but does not pretend to contain a final list of the clients.
Part of the reason is that, so far, records cannot be found to support
claims made to the press by Michael Flynn concerning the number of cases
he filed and clients he had. Another reason is that some of the suits
became combined, further complicating the analysis of available records
and making an accurate count of clients, per se, difficult.
Additionally, there is evidence, some of it included below, showing that
Flynn himself engaged in fraudulent practices to inflate and cloud the
record concerning the number of clients and cases he had.
In addition to clients, Michael Flynn also gathered to himself a cadre
of witnesses who testified in various trials and in hearings
orchestrated by Flynn and his law associates. Some of these witnesses
became his clients. The ones who are not known to have become clients
are being listed separately herein.
It should be noted at least in passing that some of Flynn's clients
became important witnesses in at least two other civil suits: the Julie
Christofferson (Julie Titchbourne) case and the Lawrence (Larry)
Wollersheim case. One of Flynn's witnesses, Scott Mayer, was also a paid
consultant to Commissioner of IRS in litigation against Scientology
organizations, and at least one litigant against Scientology
organizations who was represented by attorneys in Florida apparently was
referred to those Florida attorneys by "an attorney in Boston" who
almost certainly was Flynn. These interconnections are part of an
ancillary study that has arisen from our Flynn study and will be
published with it or separately.
Many of the Flynn clients and witnesses gave interviews to the press and
became important sources for books, or even wrote their own works, all
extremely condemnatory of L. Ron Hubbard and the organizations and
practices of Scientology. It was the volume, the stridency, and the
repetitive similarity of the often ghastly and sensationalistic stories
originating from these individuals that first drew attention to them,
not as Flynn clients, but as themselves. Each was taken up as a line of
inquiry, and only with further study did it emerge that each of these
lines radiated out from a single central Boston attorney, Michael Flynn.
It was initially puzzling that so many people could appear to rise up in
such concerted and vocal and similar complaint against Hubbard and
Scientology, all within just a few years
It became more puzzling still to learn that they all had been engaged in
some way in litigation against Hubbard and Scientology, and that all
were connected with the same attorney. Surely, it was reasoned, if there
actually existed such fecund cause of action, then there should be some
statistically rational scatter graph distribution of cases and attorneys
around the country, and, indeed, around the world.
But such was not the case. Only in the United States did this feverish
rash of litigation break out, all of it centered on and revolving around
one Boston attorney.
The next step was an inspection of the backgrounds and places of origin
of some of the people who could be confirmed as having been Flynn's
clients. Although there was some greater statistical distribution of
background and origin, a very curious concentration of clients from
Nevada emerged, making for a still more contorted and surreal picture.
Further tracing of the paths and histories of these individuals began to
draw such a statistically unlikely network of past connections amongst
so many of them, that a good portion of the findings of our study is
devoted to documenting these remarkable coincidences of prior location
and activity, all preceding their apparently discrete and independent
later association with Flynn.
We also sought precedent that might explain or predict such an aberrant
legal phenomenon as was found in the Flynn cases, but could find none
anywhere in the history of law, let alone in respect to Scientology
itself. In fact, civil litigation against Hubbard and Scientology
organizations prior to 1979 seems to have been so rare as to be
considered, for our practical and comparative purposes, non-existent.
Although we have made no exhaustive study, cursory examination found a
29-year history of Dianetic and Scientology practice worldwide that had
produced very few civil cases at all filed against the organizations and
Yet in less than two and a half years, from 13 December 1979 to April
1982, Michael Flynn had filed perhaps as many as 27 law suits against
Scientology organizations and principals, at least according to his own
claims. (United Press International, Regional News, Florida, 27 April
1982). In January 1983, though, Flynn told People magazine that he had
filed 22 separate cases for 32 clients against Scientology organizations
and officials. (People magazine, 24 January 1983.)
So far, we have not found evidence to support these numbers.
Quite in addition to the suits Flynn had filed, whatever the actual
number might have been, numerous claims and counterclaims were filed by
various Scientology organizations and individuals against more than a
few of the Flynn clients, as well as against Flynn himself, and even
against other attorneys connected with his firm. These claims and
counterclaims against Flynn and his clients were filed in several
different jurisdictions, from Massachusetts to Florida to Nevada and
California. This has significantly complicated the process of counting
and cataloguing the cases involving or surrounding Flynn, creating a
confounding maze of claims and counterclaims from both sides that is
still being charted. It is an enormously complex undertaking.
With all that said, one thing is certain regarding Flynn and his
anti-Scientology clients: on either 5 or 6 December 1986 (or continuing
over both days), not quite a year after the reported death of L. Ron
Hubbard, a "global settlement" was arranged with Flynn and his clients
by attorney Lawrence E. Heller. At the time, Heller was a partner in the
law firm of Lenske, Lenske & Heller. Along with his two law partners,
brothers Sherman and Stephen Lenske, Heller was a Special Director of
the Church of Spiritual Technology (CST), which had been named as
primary beneficiary of the estate of L. Ron Hubbard. The principals of
the Lenske, Lenske & Heller partnership also were the consultants to the
Executor of L. Ron Hubbard's estate, Norman F. Starkey, and were Trust
Protectors of the Hubbard trusts.
There are many perplexing things about the media accounts of the global
settlement. One is that the first reporting of the settlement did not
appear until eleven days after the fact, on 17 December 1986.
What is more perplexing in the newspaper accounts is the uniformly vague
reference to the number of Flynn cases settled. In numerous newspaper
stories from various locations that have been collected and studied, all
of them, with only one exception, used the exact phrase "at least 10"
describe the number of Flynn suits settled. Only one media source, the
New York Times, deviated, inflating the number to "at least 15 suits."
The one thing that emerges very clearly, and one of the most difficult
things to understand, is that neither side in the settlement wanted to
provide the press with an accurate report of the number of suits that
had been settled with Flynn.
This hazy equivocation was one more extremely frustrating and baffling
anomaly, one more perfect roadblock to the very thing researchers were
trying to determine: the actual number of Flynn suits and clients. Only
later did the explanation for such evasiveness from both sides present
itself, and when it arrived, it became perhaps the most troubling aspect
It came relatively recently in the form of court testimony given by
William Wagner Franks, a.k.a. Bill Franks, one of the people who has
been counted by some sources as having been one of Flynn's "clients."
Franks's testimony was in a case completely unrelated to the Flynn
cases. With irrelevant chatter removed, here is what Franks said during
questioning by a professional associate of the Lenskes and Lawrence
Heller, attorney Morris Weinberg:
WEINBERG: Do you remember you and a number of other
ex-Scientologists entered into a global settlement
WEINBERG: And do you remember when that was?
FRANKS: Mmm, I believe that--it was December 5, wasn't it,
WEINBERG: Okay. And do you remember that as a result of that
settlement, you were paid some money?
FRANKS: $50,000. Yes.
WEINBERG: And what kind of claim did you have against the
Church of Scientology that entitled you to $50,000?
FRANKS: I had no claim against the Church of Scientology.
I never have had any claim against the Church of
WEINBERG: But the-- But you still got $50,000?
FRANKS: To me, it was like found money. In fact, actually,
that is how [Michael] Flynn presented it to me, "Come
out to California and get $50,000."
WEINBERG: So the lawyer did a global settlement for, what, ten,
fifteen, twenty people, of which you were one?
FRANKS: Yes, the number eighteen, eighteen people, seems to
be in my head somewhere.
WEINBERG: So Mr. Flynn was your lawyer?
FRANKS: No. I didn't have an attorney. He just said, "Come
out and I'll give you $50,000."
Even with this startling admission, both Franks and Weinberg managed to
continue the question of the actual number of Flynn clients into further
We must leave this here for the reader to ponder, noting only its
archetypal role in the greater Flynn play, providing just some
indication of the types of fraud and deception that have been placed as
stumbling blocks in the path of anyone attempting to investigate or
research these matters fully and accurately.
One other extremely confusing aspect of the Flynn "global settlement"
that must be mentioned is that Lenske, Lenske & Heller also finalized a
settlement in the Julie Christofferson case at the same time. This
Christofferson settlement was reported in the same newspaper stories
with the Flynn settlement. The newspaper accounts are ambiguous enough
to easily leave the false impression that the Christofferson suit was
one of the Flynn cases. It seems that the statements given to reporters
were crafted to give that impression, an impression reinforced and
compounded by the number of Flynn clients and witnesses who had
testified in the Christofferson case.
Finally, it must be noted that not all known clients of Michael Flynn
had cases still pending at the time of the settlement. As an example, at
least one of the known Flynn clients not involved in the settlement was
Ronald DeWolf, a.k.a. Ronald DeWolfe, a.k.a. L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., a.k.a.
Nibs. His probate case for control of his father's estate had ended in
1983 in a ruling against him.
Despite the contradictions and even flagrant fraud complicating an
accurate count of the number of anti-Scientology suits and clients Flynn
had, there unquestionably was an enormous and anomalous concentration of
litigation, and attendant scathing press, in a very compressed time
period that churned and swirled across the Scientology landscape like a
category five tornado with Flynn at its center.
Though Flynn was, indeed, at its center, it could not possibly have
reached the tornadic fury and scope that it did without the claims and
counterclaims filed by Scientology factions against Flynn and his
clients. To ignore these contrary vectors is to ignore what turned the
storm Flynn had created into a force majeure. And behind those vectors
stood Sherman Lenske, Stephen Lenske, and Lawrence E. Heller.
To graph the history of civil suits against Scientology and its
principals is to draw a virtually flat line across the bottom of the
graph from 1950 to 1979: for 29 years. At 13 December 1979, with the
filing of the Van Schaick suit by Flynn (two days before the execution
of the first Will of L. Ron Hubbard drawn up by Sherman Lenske), the
line starts upward. It climbs through the February 1980 disappearance of
L. Ron Hubbard to reach vertigo-inducing heights in the span of a few
short years, only to plummet abruptly to near zero again on 6 December
1986, and to continue from there as a nearly flat line.
No such astonishing and inexplicable hyperbolic spike in any statistic,
in any field, can be allowed to remain unremarked and uninspected, and
so began our study of Michael Flynn and his litigants. And though no
final findings have been reached, it should be plain from the "global
settlement" that not a single effective social reform or remedy for any
of the alleged causes of action was ever realized, only monetary pay-off
and gag orders, engineered by Lenske, Lenske & Heller, for all
combatants in the Flynn crusades.
Pending the completion of our study and its full findings, and
acknowledging that we have no way yet of determining for certain how
many settlement "clients" might have been mere paid mannequins like
Franks, here, in response to request, is our best effort at a list of
Flynn clients during the period from 13 December 1979 through 6 December
1986, followed by a list of other people known to have acted as
witnesses in the May 1982 Clearwater hearings conducted by Flynn, some
of whom also testified in various of the related suits:
LaVenda Van Schaick
Ed (Eddie) Walters
Adell (Adelle, Dell) Hartwell
Gerald (Gerry) Armstrong
Ronald DeWolf (a.k.a. L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. a.k.a. Nibs)
Anne Rosenblum (class action suit)
Nancy McLean (Nan McLean)
Howard D. (Homer) Schomer
Bill Franks (admitted fraudulent "client" at settlement)
Ernest (Ernie) Hartwell
Dr. John Clark
Since the list of clients above numbers twenty, and since DeWolf was not
part of the "global settlement" of the Flynn suits, and since Franks
admitted that he was not a client or actual party to the settlement,
perhaps the "number eighteen, eighteen people" that seemed to be in
head might have been correct.
It might also be pointed out that the total in our two lists comes to
32, curiously the same number that Flynn gave to People magazine as the
number of his "clients," even though so far there is no documented
evidence available to us showing any on the lower list to have been
actual clients of Flynn.