Scientologists Host Pam Bondi Fundraiser Tonight
So there's a big party and fundraiser for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi tonight, in some swanky digs in Clearwater. If you're in the neighborhood and have a spare grand, you might wanna drop by. Just be prepared to be audited at the door. Not IRS audited. Scientology audited.
That's because the million-dollar bash is hosted by none other than Michael and Liz Baybak, big-time supporters of the
weirdo mind-control scam controversial religious organization.
This news flash comes courtesy of onetime multicity New Times Editor Tony Ortega (last at our flagship publication Village Voice), who has made a career of his decades-long interest in all things Scientology, busting the cult time and again.
Ortega broke the news Sunday on his Underground Bunker website, noting that expected guests include Bob and Trish Duggan, "by far the biggest donors to Scientology." (Ortega estimates they've given more than $50 million to the church).
Michael Baybak's bucks come from several decades of flacking for "a diversified North American clientele of financial advisors and resources-sector public companies."
Liz Baybak has been a hyperactive, high-level Scientologist since the early '80s, according to this. We guess, anyway, since "sunshine rundowns" and "operating Thetan" sessions sound like complete gobbledy-gook to us.
In a blockbuster follow-up to Ortega's scoop, the Tampa Bay Times yesterday wrote:
Bondi is aware Scientologists are staging the event, said campaign spokeswoman Christina Johnson. She said Bondi first connected with Scientologists in 2010 when she and other elected officials toured some of the church's Clearwater facilities. Bondi spoke then to a group of Scientologists about human trafficking and the evils of pill mills, a topic that resonated because Scientologists sponsor what they tout as the largest antidrug program in the world.
At Tuesday's fundraiser, she will return to those themes, Johnson said. "It's like-minded folks sharing the same goals: Protecting children against drug overdoses and human trafficking,'' Johnson said.
Bondi's homophobia should be a good fit with that of Scientology. According to one cult text:
Homosexuals don't practice love; 1.1s [gobbledy-gook alert] can't. Their relationships consist of: 1) brief, sordid and impersonal meetings or 2) longer arrangements punctuated by dramatic tirades, discords, jealousies and frequent infidelity. It could hardly be otherwise since the tone is made up of suspicion and hate, producing a darling sweetness interspersed with petty peevishness. Their "love" turns to deep contempt eventually.
Ortega today rebroadcast the Times story and furthered it with comment from former Scientology official Marty Rathbun:
Scientology never endorsed anyone where there wasn't a clear self-interest," Rathbun told us. "They've never supported a candidate or an issue for the good of the country. It's all self-interest, and they'll make sure Bondi knows that this is the church and these are Scientologists. Otherwise they wouldn't do it.
Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers South Florida news and culture. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.