|CSRT is the "Church of Scientology Religious Trust."
Among many other things, it is the recipient of all the money for the stalled Super Power Building project. It seems one of the primary beneficiaries of the Reed Slatkin Ponzi scam (in addition to the IAS), is the Church of Scientology Religious Trust. CSRT is the recipient of incalculable sums of money, and therefore presumably has large quantities of money--unless something very illegal has been done, but would the Church of Scientology do that?
The Church of Scientology has had many of these "Trusts" in the past, including Scientology International Reserves Trust (SIRT), Flag Ship Trust, the US IAS Members' Trust, Church of Scientology Expansion Trust and the Scientology Endowment Trust.
Norton S. Karno watchers have suspected for some time that Karno himself may have designed these byzantine and elegant corporate structures to shield Scientology and replace the amateurish and clumsy machinations of such previous entities as L. Ron Hubbard's money-skimming operation the ""Operation Transport Corporation" (OTC). (Interestingly, Karno is also representing Slatkin real estate pal Doug Neuman against Slatkin)
Other past (and possibly still 'present') trusts include the United States Parishioners' Trust, the Trust for Scientologists, the International Publications Trust, the International SOR (Sea Org Reserves) Trust, the Buildings Trust, the Dissemination Trust, the International Missions Trust and the Films Trust.
CSRT is, acording to the IRS back-room deal, a 501(c)(3), 170(c)(2), and 509(a)(3) organization:
"6. Pursuant to a ruling request, the Service hereby modifies the individual determination letter (copy attached as Exhibit III-20) that the Church of Scientology Religious Trust ("CSRT") is an organization described in Code sections 501(c) (3), 170 (c) (2), and 509(a) (3)."
It is a member of the Church Tax Compliance Committee, making it a sort of para-IRS within the Church of Scientology itself.
From the formerly secret settlement (language):
"The corporate CTCC members are Religious Technology Center (RTC), Church of Spiritual Technology (CST), Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization (CSFSO), Church of Scientology Western United States (CSWUS), Building Management Services (BMS), and Church of Scientology Religious Trust (CSRT). (hereinafter "Corporate CTCC members"). The Church of Scientology Religious Trust is also a Corporate member, to be represented by one CSRT trustee designated for this purpose. The Presidents of RTC, CSI, CST, CSFSO, CSWUS and BMS shall serve as representatives of their respective entities on the CTCC. No Corporate CTCC member may withdraw from the CTCC.
"The individual members of the CTCC are David Miscavige, Norman Starkey, Mark Rathburn (should be "Rathbun") and Heber Jentzsch. No individual member of the CTCC shall be permitted to withdraw from service on the CTCC, except by reason of death, being adjudicated an incompetent, or by mutual agreement of the parties of this Agreement."
Who is the Chairman of this Committee?
"4. David Miscavige will act as the initial Chairman of the CTCC. He may be removed from this office and replaced by another individual CTCC member by majority vote of the CTCC members"
So this is a really until-death-do-you-part kind of deal. No wonder Heber is still considered important despite being a bail-jumping fugitive.
All these individuals and entities swore under penalty of perjury to this:
"c. that no Scientology-related entity or Scientology-related individual (in his or her capacity as such) has, after 1986, knowingly committed any act of fraud or criminal conduct that might constitute a violation of public policy endangering the tax-exempt status of any Scientology-related entity."
(This is what passes in the IRS for humor, apparently.)
Now what is interesting concerning recent events and the CSRT is that CSRT has been previously pursued in relation to the frauds of Scientologists, most notably those of Benjamin Franklin Cook III, the Scientology Ponzi scammer from a couple years back in Arizona.
According to this site maintained by the Trustee in the Cook fraud:
"In December, 2000, the Church of Scientology Religious Trust (CSRT) contacted the attorneys for the Receiver and indicated that rather than file an Answer to the Receiverís lawsuit, the CSRT was prepared to return all of the monies it had received from Benjamin Franklin Cook and Teri Cook. As a result, in the last week of December, 2000, the CSRT issued a cashierís check to the Receiver in the amount of $1,215,000, and the Receiver dismissed CSRT from the Receiverís lawsuit. The Receiver is continuing pursuit of its lawsuit against other entities affiliated with the Church ofScientology that received Dennel investor funds. The Receiverís attorneys are in discussions with attorneys for these affiliated entities in an attempt to settle the remaining claims of the Receiver."
That's a mouthful, and our opinion is that CSRT (just as IAS) would generally prefer settling a lawsuit rather than allowing extensive discovery into its internal finances. I believe that these trusts may indeed have very, very good cause to prefer the world of their trusts remain terra incognita. The Church of Scientology is more than happy to fight to the death in the territory of lawsuits against RTC, BPI, Author Services, Building Management Services, the Flag Service Organization and other corporate nullities. What should they care? - If any of these corporations go belly-up they could give a tinker's damn. If RTC loses a huge judgment that throws them into receivership, why should they even care? CST (the true owner of the copyrights) would just exercise its "sole discretion" option to seize the copyrights and intellectual properties that are the bread and butter of Scientology, and overnight there would be a new "Technology Center" under a brand new name to deliver the same materials, leaving any litigant holding an empty bag.
Even if there were significant assets remaining by the time of judgment, and they were not quick enough squirreling out every penny, it would still be negligible compared to the coup de grace of being divested of their intellectual properties, a fatal eventuality which Norton S. Karno and his successors planned against very well.
Back to CSRT...
"The Church of Scientology Religious Trust is also a Corporate member, to be represented by one CSRT trustee designated for this purpose."
Now, in 1993, the Trustees were Cal Cole, Jonathan "Jono" Epstein, and Allen Hubbert. Now? Who knows. That will take some digging, but their names should be on any tax information submitted in the mandated Annual Report of the CTCC to the Assistant Commissioner of the IRS.
"Specific responsibilities and duties of the CTCC shall include the following:
"a. Annual Report.
"c. The CTCC and the Assistant Commissioner shall meet no less than once each year."
Now who is responsible for the CSRT, other than possibly the mysterious Norton S. Karno? According to a report by the Council for Spiritual Integrity, itself a rather shadowy entity,
LESOURDE, PATTEN, FLEMMING, HARTUNG, & EMORY
[CREATION OF CSRT AND ADVICE ON OTHER MATTERS]"
"Misterik" should of course be "Misterek," who would be Leon Misterek, an individual who is also connected to Trinity Lutheran College. "Emory" is of course Meade Emory, sometime IRS Assistant to the Commissioner, and co-founder of the "Church of Spiritual Technology."
According to the same report, the CSRT also replaced the position in the money chain formerly occupied by CSI. (A wise move considering CSI's heavy involvement in risky and often idiotic litigation.)
"Originally, it was conceived that all orgs would have a written management agreement with CSI whereby CSI would have the authority to manage the orgs legally, and the orgs would pay a fee for this service. Thus, CSI would be supported by the orgs. This concept went through several modifications. Eventually, a new Trust was set up called the "Church of Scientology Religious Trust" (CSRT) which became the repository of funds sent in by the orgs. The orgs pay weekly to CSRT and CSRT in turn funds CSI (i.e. Church management). CSRT was set up as a non-profit religious trust in about December of 1981. The big push soon came down through the International Finance Network for the orgs to send funds to "SOR" (CSRT) so that management could be funded."
This of course is complicated somewhat by the involvement of other organizations such as Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization (FSO) which milks FLAG publics (FLAG is Scientology's 'Spiritual Headquaters, located in Clearwater, Florida, and 'publics' are non-Sea Org, or 'plainclothes' Scientologists), and other corporations associated with other Advanced Orgs. FSO has a special position as the biggest cash-producing delivery org.
Irregularities alleged in this report, which one might suspect of having continued existence today, include the following:
" ADMINISTRATION OF THE TRUSTS. Irregularities in the administration of the three trusts - Scientology Endowment Trust (SET), Church of ScientoloGy Religious Trust (CSRT), and U.S. Churches of Scientology Trust.
"Possible irregularities in the appointment and/or removal of the Trustees.
"Undue control over trust monies and expenditures by the Int Finance Dictator and WDC.
"Improper expenditures from the trusts, i.e. expenditures of funds for non-exempt purposes or to individuals or to entities other than the prescribed beneficiaries.
"Undocumented or insufficiently documented expenditures of trust monies.
"Improper administration of accounts.
"Note: In the IRS 70-72 case decision, the judge referred to the U.S. Churches Trust as a "bogus trust." (See IRS decision)"
Now the phrase "bogus trust" certainly sounds damning. This is cited as "Church of Scientology of California vs. Internal Revenue Service" in the Council's report.
Our best guess on the case cited by the Council is that it is this case referenced in a footnote to the Hernandez case as follows:
"[ Footnote 4 ] The stipulation allowed the Tax Court to avoid having to decide whether the particular branches to which payments were made in these [490 U.S. 680, 687] cases qualified under 170(c)(2) and 501(c)(3) of the Code as tax-exempt organizations entitled to receive charitable contributions. In a separate case decided during the pendency of this litigation, the Tax Court held that the mother Church in California did not qualify as a tax-exempt organization under 501(c)(3) for the years 1970 through 1972 because it had diverted profits to its founder and others, had conspired to impede collection of its taxes, and had conducted almost all activities for a commercial purpose. Church of Scientology of California v. Commissioner, 83 T. C. 381 (1984). The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed, basing its decision solely on the ground that the Church had diverted profits for the use of private individuals. It did not address the other bases of the Tax Court's decision. Church of Scientology of California v. Commissioner, 823 F.2d 1310 (1987), cert. denied, 486 U.S. 1015 (1988)."
That aside, we seem to know very little about the "Church of Scientology Religious Trust," its assets, income, expenditures and activities.
The question is how much the Church of Scientology Religious Trust is willing to pay out to Reed Slatkin's investors in order to avoid civil discovery.