Earthlink's official statement (which can also be found on
EARTHLINK STATEMENT REGARDING REED SLATKIN
ATLANTA, April 11, 2002 — The following statement
is attributable to Dan Greenfield, vice president for corporate communications,
at EarthLink, Inc. (NASDAQ: ELNK).
"The legal proceedings concerning ex-Board member
Reed Slatkin do not involve or impact EarthLink or EarthLink funds. The proceedings
involve Mr. Slatkin and his personal clients. Mr. Slatkin was an early stage investor
in EarthLink Network (predecessor to EarthLink, Inc.), but was never involved
in the day-to-day operations of the company. EarthLink Network was founded by
Sky Dayton, the current EarthLink, Inc. chairman."
When the Reed Slatkin story first broke, it wasn't surprising to see Earthlink
doing its best to disown its former founding investor with a hastily-issued press
release. However, Reed's initial investment in the company wasn't the only link
between Earthlink, Reed Slatkin and the Church of Scientology.
Earthlink was originally the brainchild of longtime Scientologist
Sky Dayton, who is still chair of the company. Slatkin was introduced
to Dayton by fellow Scientologist, and Slatkin 75 "net
It was Dayton's enthusiastic explanation of the company that he wanted to build
that first captivated Reed Slatkin, according
to his deposition, and persuaded him to invest $75,000 in Earthlink.
That investment provided to be one of the only successful ventures that Reed Slatkin
would ever make. For the rest of his tumultuous career as "investment counselor"
to friends, family, celebrities and fellow Scientologists, Slatkin found himself
in constant, fruitless and expensive pursuit of another Earthlink.
Despite never being able to replicate his Earthlink luck, however, Slatkin
did made the most out of his new corporate connections. Not only did Earthlink's
success seal Slatkin's reputation as a stock guru, he also convinced many of his
fellow Earthlink board members and investors, including Gregory Abbott, Sydney
Azeez, Charles Betty, Robert Kavner and even Sky Dayton to join his elite "Investment
Most of these investors signed on during Slatkin's final year of operation, long
after he had been warned by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was
time to shut the "club" down. In fact, several are currently members
of the Creditor Committee made up of the ten investors with the largest individual
This isn't the first time that Earthlink has faced questions about its ambiguous
relationship with the Church of Scientology.
page explores the controversy from the point of view of a former Scientologist
concerned by the potential for influence that the church might have over the company.
Written in 1998, this
article in Metroactive examines the relationship between Earthlink and Scientology
within the context of the uneasy relationship that the Church of Scientology has
with the internet and new technologiy, which has resulted in a number of high
profile legal attacks being launched against its critics.
The Standard has also looked into Earthlink's
historic ties to Scientologists, including Slatkin, many of whom were among
the company's first investors.
USENET post by a former Earthlink employee describes how the Scientology influence
had its rise, and fall, as the company grew from a small operation to one of the
country's largest ISPs.
For several months, Earthlink played host to slatkinfraud.com, and was even
the target of a Digital Communications Millennium Act threat from Church of Scientology
lawyer, Ava Paquette, who objected to the non-commercial, journalistic use of
the Scientology cross in the image that used to appear on this site's front page.
For more information about the controversy, visit this page.