THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE (RIVERSIDE, CA.)
April 13, 1980
Excerpt from below: "In one instance, one of Hubbard's
messengers, Diana Voegeding (Diana Hubbard) ordered a young woman to
clean out a septic tank pool for three days straight
because she wrote a note criticizing Voegeding,"
"Scientology at Gilman: Hubbard said at ex-resort"
by Terry Colvin, Press Enterprise Staff Writer
April 13, 1980 (Page B-1)
The Church of Scientology first moved into Riverside County when
it opened a mission in Riverside in 1972. Later, it was revealed that the
church had a secret operation at La Quinta, near Indio. Now documents
in court records claim the church has established its worldwide command
center at Gilman Hot Springs, near Hemet. Here is the first of a two-part
series on the Gilman operation.
A disillusioned former official of the Church of Scientology says the
church's reclusive leader L. Ron Hubbard has been secretly living
in the Hemet area, running Scientology's worldwide activities from
Gilman Hot Springs.
In a sworn statement in federal court, the defector, Sylvana Garritano,
25, said she spent nine months, from March to Christmas last year,
working under Hubbard at Gilman, a former resort. She claimed that
some 200 Scientologists at Gilman labor throughout the night under
Hubbard's direction, sending telegraph messages to their churches
and missions throughout the world.
The church has consistently denied any involvement at the site
eight miles north of Hemet despite strong suspicions of Scientology
activity there. The church also has maintained that Hubbard retired
12 years ago. Hubbard could not be reached for comment.
Garritano's description of the bizarre life at Gilman Hot Springs was
revealed in a federal court affidavit filed March 7 in Boston as part
of a $200 million class action lawsuit against the Church of Scientology.
Ten other church defectors have joined in the lawsuit brought by
Massachusetts attorney Michael Flynn.
She said Hubbard is surrounded by a cadre of good-looking teenagers,
many of who are at the former resort without the knowledge of their
parents. Serving as his personal staff, the teenagers have authority
over most of the adults at the encampment, she said.
In an interview last week, Garritano added that many Scientologists
at Gilman are armed and some members of the cult have been kept
prisoner on the premises locked in a shack.
Garritano said the story told to the community that condominiums
were going to be built there was a "fraud."
Much of what Garritano reported has been supported by other
accounts and by observation. But in at least one case a person
whom she reported as being punished has denied it.
Scientology was developed by Hubbard after the success of a
best-selling book he wrote in the 1950s titled "Dianetics, the
Modern Science of Mental Health." Claiming to be a blend of
Eastern religions, the stated goal of Scientology is to free man
from painful experiences in this life and in previous lives the
practitioners believe they have had.
The Garritano document is the first indication Hubbard has moved
the church's command post from Clearwater, Florida, to the
San Jacinto Valley. When the church initially moved to Clearwater
several years ago, Scientologists sought to cover up their identity
Operating under the name "United Churches of Florida," they
denied repeatedly that a Clearwater landmark, the Fort Harrison
Hotel, had been purchased by the Church of Scientology.
From Clearwater, Hubbard moved his command post three years
ago to a secret ramshackle desert ranch near La Quinta, according
to several former Scientologists. Hubbard's activities at the desert
site were initially reported earlier this year by a Las Vegas couple,
Adell and Ernest Hartwell, who said they helped him make
training films at La Quinta in 1978.
Garritano's sworn statement contradicts church claims that
Hubbard, 69, has retired from active direction of church business.
"Although Hubbard resigned as figurehead of Scientology, he
actively controls the operation from Gilman Hot Springs,"
Garritano's affidavit said.
The Rev. Heber Jentzsch, a spokesman for Scientology's
headquarters church in Los Angeles, said he did not know where
Hubbard was. "I can't speak for Mr. Hubbard,” he said, "Mr. Hubbard
speaks for himself. He has a right to his own personal privacy."
Jentzsch maintained the church position that Hubbard retired
as head of the church more than 10 years ago. "The Church of
Scientology is run by the board of directors with consultation
from Mr. Hubbard," Jentzsch said.
Besides concealing ownership of the resort, Garritano said the
Scientologists invented a story to cover their activities, claiming
they had formed a development company which was going to
Garritano said high-ranking church officers at the hot springs
changed names, switched license plates to conceal automotive
ownership, and erected phony signs to hide their operations.
In the past months, two different signs have been posted at
entrances to the property. Last fall, there was one which read:
"Western States Scientific Communications Association."
Tuesday a new sign was unveiled. It reads: "Massacre Canyon
Development Co. -- Future sites condominiums and homes."
Garritano said that during the day, Hubbard retreats to a house
somewhere in the Hemet-San Jacinto area. Occasionally, he
directs Scientology training films from a sound stage
constructed on the resort's rundown golf course, she added.
Residents at the facility had claimed the sound stage was a
The purpose of Hubbard's passion for secrecy is not clear.
He is not being sought by law enforcement agencies although
attorney Flynn said several lawyers handling multi-million dollar
civil suits against the church would like to subpoena Hubbard
for court appearances.
Garritano, who is now in hiding because she fears church
retaliation, said her odyssey in Scientology began in 1977 when
she was recruited in New York City. A short time later she quit
her job as a hat designer and dropped out of school at the
New York Fashion Institute of Technology.
She signed a "billion year contract" to work for the "Sea Org,"
a Scientology organization whose members live communally
and take vows of eternal service to Hubbard and the church.
In the 1960's, Sea Org ran the international church operations
with Hubbard aboard his ocean-going yacht, Apollo. Later
Sea Org beached its operation in Clearwater, Florida.
In January 1979, Garritano said she was sent to Hubbard's
hideout in La Quinta which was called the "Special Unit,"
a code name for wherever Hubbard was residing. Hubbard
called himself "Mr. Blake" while he was living at the desert
Garritano said she first underwent a three-week "indoctrination
process" at La Quinta, where for 10 hours each day she was
drilled on the details of the "shore story," the phony explanation
for their activities provided to anyone outside the organization.
"We took something called 'reporter drills.' We learned how to
double-talk our way out of anything. If the double talk failed,
we were told to become upset and hostile, especially when the
questions got too close to home," she said.
As Hubbard's "marketing secretary," Garritano said she
reviewed all messages sent to Hubbard, including "every
proposed policy, program or project involving every phase
of Scientology management and operations."
Two months after her arrival at the desert base, she said,
Hubbard abruptly ordered everyone to move to Gilman, a
former resort center that had fallen on bad times and gone
through a bankruptcy.
"Everyone was assembled at midnight inside a big barn"
she said. "We were told to pack up. No one was allowed to
sleep or eat until the desert base was packed up. This took
Hubbard, they were told, had already left for the new base.
But his children, Suzette, 23, and Arthur, 20, were left behind
to supervise. The base, including several large telex transmitters,
was loaded into large van trucks, which were disguised to
look like commercial vans," Garritano said.
The reason for the move, she said, was that two men were seen
one day watching the desert base through binoculars. "We
were told they were FBI agents," she said.
Gilman was 75 miles from La Quinta, but Garritano said, the
van drivers went hundreds of miles out of their way to conceal
their route. "It took us all day and night to get there. When
we arrived very few of us (about 200 persons) knew where
we were," Garritano said.
County records show Gilman Hot Springs, the adjoining
Massacre Canyon Inn and a 27-hole golf course are owned
by a secret private land trust called the "November 1, 1978
Private Trust." The trustee is listed as Palm Springs real
estate broker George Hoag.
At times the owners have called themselves the "Scottish
Highland Quietude Club" and "Western States Scientific
Communications Association." Hoag's son, Richard, a
Los Angeles attorney, said later he purchased the bankrupt
resort for a condominium project.
In February, Richard Hoag filed a fictitious business name
statement with the County Clerk's office, stating he was
doing business under the name "Massacre Canyon
Garritano, in her affidavit, said the Hoag project was a hoax.
"The idea was to convince local businessmen that a lawyer,
Hoag, owned the place and that he conducted a program
to help young people learn trades and skills. Hubbard's
purpose was to conceal from public scrutiny the management
level of Scientology," she said.
Hoag, informed Friday of the Garritano document, stuck to his
claim that the property would be developed. "My job is to
market the property and create the highest resale value for
the parcel of land," he said.
He denied that Hubbard was running the church from there.
But he acknowledged for the first time, despite repeated
questions over the last several months, the presence
of Scientologists, saying some "were brought in to
rehabilitate the property."
Several times in the past year a man who identified himself
as "Dan Cook" met with civic groups in Hemet and San Jacinto
to explain the condominium project.
Last month, Cook offered to lease for two years part of the
golf course to the Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District.
Cook said that Massacre Canyon Developers had filed a plan
with the county for the construction of 300 lots for
condominiums, mobile homes and single-family residences.
The district has made no decision on Cook's offer.
But Garritano said the plan no more exists than does a
She said Cook was actually Ronald Pook, Hubbard's
"port captain" at Gilman, the man in charge of public
relations and dissemination of the "shore," or cover
story. She said he has an office behind the old hotel
A check with the County Planning Commission showed
no subdivision maps for the Gilman property on file,
according to County Planner Keith Downs. A subdivision
map must be filed before the county approves land
In a telephone interview Thursday, Cook, or Pook,
denied telling the Park District that the map had been
Asked if he knew Harritano, if his real name was Pook,
and if his title was port captain, he replied "I'm not going
to talk to the Press-Enterprise because you printed all that
crap about us." He then hung up.
Hubbard's personal secretary, Laurel Sullivan, also has an
office inside the old hotel, Garritano said.
The affidavit reports part of Hubbard's work at Gilman
involved creating new Scientology courses. She said
Hubbard decided to divide Scientology courses into
several parts, selling each part for more than the cost of
the original course.
"Hubbard never talked about Scientology as a religion.
All Hubbard talked about was making money. I can attest
that Scientology was run as a money-making enterprise.
'Make Money' was the only order we actually received
from Hubbard," she said.
Garritano said that every Scientology church and mission
sets aside 10 percent of its gross income for a "reserve
banking account" which Hubbard controls. That reserve
account, she said, totals several million dollars each year.
Church spokesman Jentzsch said he had no information
on Hubbard's financial ties to the church.
Next, Hubbard's bizarre lifestyle.
(Article Insert: "Other Local Scientologist Hassles")
Over the last months, the Church of Scientology in
Riverside has found itself at the center of controversy.
Documents provided to the Press Enterprise showed the
Riverside mission created a federally-insured credit union
which authorities charge was designed to go broke.
The church allegedly received $700,000. in federal insurance
In October, seven Riverside Scientologists were charged
with Grand Theft and Conspiracy in a loan fraud probe.
All the charges were later dismissed in preliminary court
hearings. One Scientologist, former mission director
Bent Corydon, remains charged with assault with a deadly
weapon in two police officers in connection with the case.
The Riverside County Grand Jury began investigating
the loan fraud scheme in January. Subsequently, six
Scientologists have been charged with contempt of the
grand jury for refusing to testify.
Documents released in a criminal case against nine
Scientologists in Washington D.C., indicated the church
used trickery in dealing with the Riverside County District
Attorney's Office, in order to learn if Scientology was being
"L. Ron Hubbard likened to Howard Hughes"
by Terry Colvin, Press Enterprise Staff Writer
April 14, 1980 (Page B-1)
The Church of Scientology first moved into Riverside County
when it opened a mission in Riverside in 1972. Later, it was
revealed that the Church had a secret operation at La Quinta,
near Indio. Now, from court records, it has been learned the
church has established its worldwide command center at
Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet. Here is the second of two
parts on the Gilman operation.
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, the 69-year-old founder of the
Church of Scientology, likes to emulate Howard Hughes,
according to a high-ranking church defector who said
she worked with him at Gilman Hot Springs.
In an interview, the defector, Sylvana Garritano, described
the Scientology enclave at the former Riverside County
resort as "part insane asylum, part forced labor camp,"
ruled over by Hubbard and a dozen teen-age servants called
Garritano is one of 11 defectors who have filed a $200 million
class-action lawsuit against Scientology in Boston federal
Her story of life with Hubbard, contained in a sworn court
statement and expanded on in an interview last week,
supports other recent accounts of disillusioned
Scientologists, who have recounted their experiences.
Regarding Hubbard, they paint a picture of a reclusive
man in absolute control of the people around him, a man
who is given to violent outbursts and eccentric behavior.
Church officials rebut these descriptions of their leader.
But they decline to reveal his whereabouts.
The Rev. Heber Jentzsch, a spokesman for church
headquarters in Los Angeles, said Hubbard "has a right
to his own personal privacy."
Garritano described Hubbard as a "large man, about
6 foot 2, with dirty shoulder length hair, rotten teeth,
and a definite paunch."
"Ron Hubbard tries to act like Howard Hughes. He wants
everyone to believe he is reclusive and eccentric. He is a
Hubbard is subject to "severe temper tantrums. He has
the most foul mouth I could ever imagine. He is always
swearing," she added.
Ernest and Adelle Hartwell, a Las Vegas couple who
worked with Hubbard making movies two years ago at
a secret Scientology hideaway in La Quinta, near Indio,
(similarly) described Hubbard.
Garritano, as well as the Hartwells, said the persons
closest to Scientology's leader are the "Commodore
The messengers, whom Garritano called "little teen-aged
monsters," range in age from 13 to 19. She said they
wait on Hubbard hand and foot, mimic his voice when
delivering his orders, and have the authority to mete
out punishments and demote adult members of the
Anne Rosenblum, one of Hubbard's commodore
messengers at La Quinta and now a defector and
plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit, said "LRH was
very moody, and had a temper like a volcano.
He would yell at anybody."
Describing him in her sworn affidavit as a fanatic
about dust and laundry, Rosenblum said Hubbard
'would fly into a rage if he thought too much
laundry detergent was used to wash his clothes.
"He is also a fanatic about cleanliness. Even after
his office had just been dusted from top to bottom,
he would come in screaming about the dust and how
'you are all trying to kill me!' That was one of his
favorite lines -- like if the dinner didn't taste right --
(he would yell) 'You are trying to kill me!'"
She said at La Quinta, Hubbard had everyone convinced
his wife's two dogs were "Scientology clears" who
could tell if someone was dishonest or disloyal to him.
In rebuttal, the church last week provided the Press-
Enterprise with an affidavit signed by Doreen Lea
Gillham, a person Garritano identified as one of the
commodore messengers at Gilman. "I have always
found Mr. Hubbard warm and considerate," the affidavit
said in part, "He expects a good, high-quality job
from those who work with him and is quick to
reward and commend those who do perform in this
Gilham's affidavit agreed on one point concerning
Hubbard. His current hobby is movie-making.
He spends hours making Scientology training films,
reading books of cinematic technique and watching
In the early 1960's, Hubbard maintained a floating
command post aboard his 300-foot yacht, Apollo.
Gilman is believed to be Hubbard's third
headquarters since he docked his boat for the last
time in Clearwater, Florida, where he established
his first land base.
Still clearly a man who loves the sea, he delights in
being called "Commodore" and giving the people
around him ocean-going titles, defectors said.
For example, Garritano says his No. 1 man at the
landlocked hot springs, Ronald Pook, has the title,
Hubbard has been married three times. He does not
usually live with his current wife, Mary Sue, who is
free on bail following her conviction in federal court
for conspiracy to steal government documents.
But Hubbard's two youngest children, Suzette, 23,
and Arthur, 20, are usually with him, defectors say.
Rosenblum said while Suzette has been assigned
a position of responsibility in the church, Arthur
"thinks he is an artist. His father dotes on him."
She said part of Hubbard's daily routine is to
review and critique his son's paintings. "Arthur's
paintings get glowing reviews and some mild
criticism from his father. No one would dare tell
Hubbard his son can't paint a lick," she said.
Garritano also said Hubbard places so much
trust in the teen-age cadre serving him that
they are in charge when he is not around. None
of the messengers' parents live at the facility,
she said. Some of the parents are Scientologists,
but other messengers have no family ties to
She said in some cases, the youngsters, who
have never had more than grammar school
educations, have apprentices with Hubbard
since age 10. They are taught how to repeat
messages from Hubbard by copying his voice and
"Most of them are perfect mimics. If Hubbard
screamed at the messenger when he issued his
order, then the messenger screams at the person
to whom the message was intended. Some of the
messengers can duplicate Hubbard's voice
almost perfectly," Garritano said.
The Rev. Jentzsch replied that "the messengers
naturally deliver orders in the tone and demeanor
used by Mr. Hubbard. But they do not mimic him,"
According to Garritano, the messengers all have
the authority to discipline adult members of the
camp. These punishments range from shouting
repeated insults at the offender, making them run
laps around the golf course, and in some cases
assigning offenders to a special retraining program.
"In one instance, one of Hubbard's messengers,
Diana Voegeding ordered a young woman to
clean out a septic tank pool for three days straight
because she wrote a note criticizing Voegeding,"
Security at the facility is tight. Most of the male
messengers and several of the adult church officers
carry guns and take target practice regularly to
hone their marksmanship, Garritson said.
Jentzsch, whose own two children were once
"Commodore Messengers," said he has never
seen messengers carrying guns. "On no, my word,
guns are not for Scientologists," he said.
A barbed wire fence was put up around the
dilapidated Gilman mansion -- the place many
thought Hubbard would live, Garritano said.
Dozens of workers, mostly young Scientologists,
were brought in to remodel the mansion.
"The house was fully restored. It is a beautiful
residence with beautiful furniture," she said.
Flood lights were installed outside to "light the
place up like a ballpark at night."
But Hubbard never lived there.
Instead, Garritano said a house was purchased
several miles away. Hubbard comes daily to the
facility in a chauffer-driven motor home or,
occasionally, in his Rolls-Royce, Mercedes,or
According to Garritano, a work day for most of the
200 Scientologists at Gilman typically begins at 5PM
when Hubbard arrives. The day ends normally at
around 4AM when Hubbard leaves for home.
Throughout most of the night he devotes himself
to answering mail, writing telex messages and
analyzing membership and book sales figures sent
from the churches and missions.
"Hubbard is concerned solely with making money,"
Garritano said in her affidavit. "He received telexes
...from across the world. These telexes reported the
weekly statistics (money collected from book sales,
courses, auditing, debt collection). If the sales figures
dropped below a certain level Hubbard became furious."
Dozens of telex messages are sent with Hubbard's
approval from a bungalow at the hot springs to
the organization's nearly 300 worldwide churches
Because Hubbard demands his whereabouts be kept
secret, Garritano said most of the Scientologists at
Gilman have no idea where they are. Most are not
allowed to leave the property and on rare occasions
Hubbard grants to a favored few eight hours "shore
leave." During her eight month stay there, Garritano
was allowed one shore leave.
The telex messages going out of Gilman have return
addresses in Clearwater to make it appear as if the
correspondence originated from the church's center
there, she said.
The Hartwells said a post office box number and phone
number in Clearwater were used for their mail and calls
to La Quinta. Earlier, the father of a man whose car was
seen at Gilman told a reporter he used the same numbers
to contact his son, a Scientology purchasing agent.
Garritano said she began to lose faith in "Hubbard's
infallibility" in late May of last year when she herself
"fell from grace."
"Hubbard went into a fit, saying the church wasn't
making enough money and it was all my fault.
She was stripped of her duties, as marketing secretary
and assigned to the "Rehabilitation Project Force,"
a special retraining program which is conducted by
the messengers at Gilman.
In RPF, Garritano said for two months she was "forced
to do slave labor" planting trees and weeding the golf
course reaching 120 degrees, all while under guard.
"I am not a very physical person and this forced labor
almost killed me," she said. After work she was
subjected to several hours of intense counseling on
the E-Mater, a galvanic skin response machine
Scientologists use in auditing sessions. "They wanted
to (detail) all my sins against the church and Hubbard.
They forced this information out of me," she said.
At night she was locked in her room.
Other more recalcitrant RPF'ers were locked up for
days at a time inside their rooms. In three instances,
Garritano said, persons were locked inside a shed
which had no electricity, water or toilets. "If the
messengers felt like feeding these people they would.
If they didn't feel like it that day, they didn't," she said.
One man, William Halle, she said, was locked in the
shed for a month.
However, Halle, still an active Scientologist, denied to
Riverside County Sheriff's detectives that he was ever
locked up. He also denied ever having been in
Church spokesman Jentzsch called Garritano's
imprisonment charges "ludicrous and stupid, the
wildest dreams of a drugged mind." He said RPF is
part of the curriculum for church executives who
have violated Scientology's ethical code, including
bans against negligence which resulted in the
church losing money or theft of church property.
Jentzsch said RPF was modeled after religious
monastic orders which emphasized "seclusion
and withdrawal from the world, concentration
on religious goals, manual labor and rejuvenation
of the inner spirit." He said anyone may choose to
leave the RPF by denouncing a "billion year
contract" some sign with the church, "but in
doing so they must sever all ties to Scientology."
The church also sends them bills, sometimes
amounting to as much as $30,000., for the
Scientology training they received, according
After her experience in the RPF, Garritano said she
wanted to leave Gilman "but I was afraid of what
they would do to me."
"One evening in the fall I went for a walk toward
Massacre Canyon (about a half mile from the facility).
Before I got very far, the guards sent a truck for me.
I was ordered to get in. They told me, "It's not a good
idea to leave here. We are going to take you home,"
Late last Summer, Hubbard reinstated her to an
executive position. In December, after nine months at
Gilman, she convinced Hubbard to giver her a vacation.
Instead of returning to Gilman after Christmas, she
stayed in New Jersey with her parents.
Since leaving the Gilman encampment, Garritano said,
she has read about the mass suicides of the followers
of the religious cult leader Jim Jones in Jonestown,
"I know now that at one time had Mr. Hubbard told me
to commit suicide I would not have batted an eye.
I would have followed him into the grave. Now I look
back and think, "How could I have believed in such a
phony?" she said.
Church spokesman Jentzsch called Garritano "drug
crazed,” although he could offer no proof of drug abuse,
and one of "A group of people who have joined with an
unscrupulous lawyer who are all very money hungry."
LA Times - The Scientology Story
Time Magazine - Thriving Cuilt of Greed and Power
Pulitzer Prize Winning series in St. Petersburg Times
Readers Digest - Scientology the Sickness Spreads
Readers Digest - Anatomy of a Frightening Cult
Pattern of use of release and consent forms:
Conspiracy for Silence
Recent Consent Forms in the news