Dear HBOGoing Clear director Alex Gibney keeps lying about religion’s exemption
Read the letter written to director Alex Gibney’s attorney by Monique E. Yingling, Church counsel for more than 25 years, detailing the string of falsehoods he has been telling about religion’s tax exemption in appearances promoting the HBO film Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. Ms. Yingling notes that there is substantial information in the public record contradicting Gibney’s claims as well as the myths created by disgruntled excommunicated individuals he relied upon as sources, noting to Gibney’s attorney that she has offered to walk his client through the materials so he would understand the issue. “Instead, he has chosen not to reply to me but to continue to repeat the lies of others and now to invent his own,” she stated.
March 18, 2015
Jay Ward Brown, Esq.
Levine, Sullivan, Koc & Schulz, LLP
Re: Alex Gibney March 17 “Late Night” Appearance
Dear Mr. Brown:
It is not enough that your client persists in his willful ignorance about the 1993 IRS exemption rulings to the Church of Scientology nor that he knowingly repeats the lies of others, now he has started inventing new lies of his very own. His statements last night are false in every respect:
- The Church did not bug the IRS, Department of Justice or anyone else in its successful administrative exemption proceedings during the 1990s. The notion is simply absurd, and even his virulent anti-Scientology sources have not made such a preposterous claim. Mr. Gibney has created this new allegation out of whole cloth, and it is indicative of his utter lack of desire for the truth. I and the other lawyers who represented the Church would never have countenanced such criminal activity, and neither would the Church leadership. His latest lie impugns not only the integrity of the Church but also my personal integrity and that of the other professionals who represented the Church during the exemption proceedings.
- Mr. Gibney embellishes his recurring lie that the Church somehow cowed the IRS into submission by exhausting its available resources with the new lie that the Church was “suing individuals and the IRS in every state of the union.” In fact, there were exactly five private damage lawsuits pending against the IRS and a small number of individual IRS employees in three separate federal district courts when the 1993 exemption rulings were issued. (The most significant one was against the former CID agents who had conspired with apostate Scientologists to overthrow Church management.) There were barely five dozen pending FOIA cases in a handful of federal courts and roughly the same number of claims pending administratively when the 1993 exemption rulings were issued. Every other court case and administrative dispute that was settled in 1993 involved the various basic ways in which the IRS interfaces with any taxpayer—audits, summons enforcement, tax assessments, Tax Court cases to challenge tax deficiencies, and tax refund lawsuits—all of which were initiated by the decisions and actions of the IRS, not the Church or its parishioners. I have previously characterized Mr. Gibney’s theory that the Church sued the IRS into submission as laughable, and now I see it is a vicious and deliberate falsehood.
I have repeatedly pointed you and Mr. Gibney towards the substantial and comprehensive public record materials that document the actual information on the basis of which the IRS issued its 1993 exemption rulings to the Church. I have even offered to walk him and you through these materials to help you comprehend their meaning and significance. Instead, he has chosen not to reply to me but to continue to repeat the lies of others and now to invent his own.
Mr. Gibney’s complete lack of integrity and willingness to create any falsehood to support his preconceptions is astounding. These latest lies appear to be entirely his own, stated without any attribution or qualification. Given their provable falsity and his deliberate, willful efforts to avoid the actual facts, actual malice is evident. I demand that he cease and desist from lying about the Church’s relationship with the IRS during the exemption proceedings and about the professionals who represented the Church.
Monique E. Yingling
cc (via email):
Stephanie S. Abrutyn
Vice President and Senior Counsel
Home Box Office, Inc.
David N. Sternlicht
Vice President, Media Law
Senior Vice President (Legal)
NBC Universal Newsgroup