Editors note: This story is being published as it is of special interest to the South African field. We apologise in advance to our international readers who may not be familiar with this story but it still may be of interest given the church’s involvement. The company at the centre of this story was a property development business set up in 2006 to develop a piece of land. Numerous Scientologists lost money in the venture after it went bankrupt.
A new Comm-Ev has been called on Scientologist-owned business CRB – standing for (Peter) Cooke, (Ciaran) Ryan and (Warren) Bruckman – as its regging tactics for business purposes again comes under the spotlight.
These three well-known Scientologists generate wildly differing emotions in the field – none of them mild. Sadly, the one thing we can be quite certain of is that the Scientology management involved won’t be taking their share of the blame or inspecting their own complicity, which is massive.
It appears that various people who had lost money through CRB have recently been contacted by LC Hillary Eenkhoorn and told a second Comm-Ev was to be convened. The result of this is awaited and Warren was forced to return from ANZO.
In fact, most likely the Comm-Ev is just a smokescreen by management to divert attention from its own murky involvement. It strikes one immediately as completely out of sync with the rest of the activities of the OSA Mission which is to attack and attack again the good guys.
Of course, Peter, Ciaran and Warren have many friends both in and outside the CoS, and many will therefore argue they ARE good guys. After all, they were all doing quite well until they took on the mission to try and fund all South African Ideal Orgs in 2006. Ken Krieger, Peach Bockelmann and Alex Faust roped them in to be major contributors. Once they began giving they were made into local heros. All three were already big donators to IAS and Ideal Orgs (and probably much more), and between them and their families in the years during which CRB was in business completed 6 Ls, one onto OT7, one OT7 completion and three OT8 completions. No denying they’re upstat!
That was not to last. The strategy of course was for the CoS not to be seen as directly involved in Ideal Orgs, but for OT Committees to be seen as taking centre stage to satisfy the “public demand” for upstat org premises.
Sustained behind-the-scenes pressure from Ken, Peach and Alex compelled CRB to take on more responsibility for Ideal Org fundraising – and ultimately to make stupid business decisions they otherwise would never have done. Their resulting cowboy approach to borrowing money primarily from their fellow Scientologists was consistently validated by senior execs, not for the out-ethics, and possible criminality, that it was, but as a model ‘over the ramparts charge’ towards building new Ideal Orgs in the name of a new civilisation.
The same carelessness of people’s finances, lives and families which saw senior management buy a R16m Durban property only to demolish it (Durban’s Ideal Empty Lot), now saw Peter, Ciaran and Warren driven to the edge and over it into bankruptcy – taking many of the field along for the ride. Now, with their new Comm-Ev it could even result in their expulsion from the church, ironically perhaps to join the Independents?
With sequestrations behind them, all three appear well on the way to financial recovery – but they leave in their wake a field still today devastated financially and many individuals off the MiscavigeCircularBridge to Nowhere. The latest Comm-Ev is clearly an attempt to firmly point the finger of blame at CRB while SO management – which knew exactly how the money was being raised for Ideal Orgs – shoulders no blame.
Many victims of CRB’s financial dealings remain in the church and have been consequently acquiescent (even slavishly docile to Command Intention), ignorant of the full extent of complicity by senior execs of CoS.
Nonetheless, CRB was the spark for more than one person to start questioning the integrity of the CoS given the obvious fact that senior management were running protection for Ciaran and Warren, who emerged relatively unscathed from their initial Comm-Ev. That Ciaran and Warren appeared utterly incredulous and aggrieved that ANY action was contemplated against them points to their belief they were simply carrying out CoS-endorsed senior management policies.
CRB was from the outset well camouflaged in Scientologese – and while borrowing money from all and sundry they expressed the sentiment they were not in business personally to make tons of money but to help clear the planet in line with the Ideal Org strategy. Those lending money were encouraged along this wise – they needed to step up to the plate and be Big Thetans for once.
Peter, the only one of the three with property expertise, cooked up what appeared to be a sound business model: find a plot of land (several actually), draw building plans for a townhouse complex, sell units off-plan and with signed contracts and deposits in hand, then on-sell it all to a bank.
In fact the strategy worked perfectly according to plan until CoS started demanding ever more money (see the latest blog of how building costs escalated out of control). Peter had had enough and left the business within months – emigrating to Clearwater only to fall victim to the sub-prime and property crisis there. Those who had loaned (or invested) money to CRB did so primarily on the basis of Peter’s property expertise and business savvy. Investors and creditors were not consulted or even informed of this switch – even though the venture had now fundamentally altered.
Peter had successfully done his job (it WAS a success until this point) and felt no need to warn any of the people he had personally parted from their capital.
However, Ken, Peach and Alex weren’t about to let the golden goose off the hook. They recognised that CRB could make far more money for Ideal Org fundraising by doing the actual property development. That neither had the least experience in this highly specialist activity wasn’t the slightest obstacle. Nor was the fact that lenders believed their money was only ever a loan or bridging finance – never risk capital. What is risk capital? That’s where you knowingly invest in a deal you have carefully studied as to its viability and the capability of the managers to deliver. You also expect a higher return because there is a high risk of failure. Banks don’t do that – nor do individuals use their Bridge money for it.
The bank did in fact pay out, but now instead of paying out those Scientologists CRB were persuaded to reinvest the capital (that is, Scientologists’ money without their permission) in actual construction.
The ‘learning curve’ for CRB was to prove extraordinarily expensive, and that’s another entire story, involving along the way highly suspect Durban moneylenders (the type who break your kneecaps and ask questions later) and a bailout by the Corbett’s before the inevitable happened and the business went into a bloody sequestration.
The first Comm-Ev revealed untold financial irregularities, and many have read those minutes. Peter had his own Comm-Ev and justice action in Clearwater and some South Africans may have seen his Golden Rod posted there.
For Ciaran and Warren, the justice action imposed (among other things) required them to repay all the money borrowed from Scientologists and they were not permitted to have Bridge progress until this was done.
In fact Warren and Ciaran, instead of repaying those loans, promptly DID visit Flag and the Freewinds respectively. This was all explained away by JBG LC Sandra de Beer as being not for Bridge ‘enhancement’ but for correction so that they could repay debts faster (LOL). Meanwhile, many of the victims were persuaded in their own ethics handlings at the org to “take responsibility” for their foolish decisions (ignoring the what appeared to be fraud that made those decisions look stupid) by simply walking away from the money or accepting a token repayment. Others report not having yet received a cent from one or other party.
SO execs advices to the field have uniformly been to just walk away from their claims (thereby “opening up their flows”) as they would never get their money so great were the losses (anecdotally said to be R20 million).
To this day, the financial fall-out and the CoS’ lies and attempts to introvert those to whom Ciaran and Warren owe money continues unabated. The fact remains these three and their families did incredibly well out of CRB in Bridge progress (money that ended up in the coffers of CoS) while their investors were decimated – in some cases off the Bridge for long duration (until they find the Independent field, of course).