The Church of Scientology and several of its affiliated groups has received at least 30 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans worth around $4 million including funding for its controversial substance abuse facilities Narconon, government data has revealed.
The church, which is highly secretive and many regard as a cult, applied for and was granted around $1 million from 17 loans for multiple churches across America.
This included churches in: Washington DC, New York City, Largo, Florida, Detroit, Los Angeles, Quincy, Massachusetts, St. Louis, Lake Forest, California, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Santa Rosa Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Chicago, Houston, Buffalo, New York, and Battle Creek, Michigan.
A number of other Scientology-affiliated groups also received a combined total of around $3 million in government loans including five of its Narconon centers, its school that teaches the religion to children and its controversial non-profit that has been slammed for criticizing psychiatry.
In total, the church has received at least 30 loans, according to DailyDot which is analyzing the government data and says more loans may yet be uncovered.
A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to release the data this week so that the public can see where exactly the $717 billion worth of loans went.
The PPP was set up by the federal government to help small businesses keep paying their workers and bills during the pandemic but was plagued with issues from the get-go with numerous large corporations navigating loopholes to get their hands on the funds.
The Church of Scientology has an estimated worth close to $2 billion and owns properties across the globe worth an estimated $168million in Clearwater, Florida.
A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology told DailyMail.com a ‘handful’ of its individual churches applied for PPP loans in the same way thousands of other religious institutions did across America.
The Church of Scientology and several of its affiliated groups including the controversial substance abuse facilities Narconon received at least 30 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans worth around $4 million, government data has revealed
Among the Scientology-affiliated groups to benefit from the loans were Narconon with five centers in La Crescenta, California, Clearwater, Florida,Denham Springs, Louisiana, Ojai, California, and Canadian, Oklahoma altogether pocketing loans worth $1.1 million.
Narconon is Scientology’s addiction charity that uses vitamins, exercise and saunas to rehabilitate drug addicts – something experts say has no basis in science and warn may be used to recruit vulnerable people to the religion.
The Hubbard College of Administration, an unaccredited management college in LA, was given around $114,000 and Delphi Schools, a charter school for grades K-12, around $1 million.
The two institutions both use the study methods known as Study Tech developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Around $360,000 was given to three Citizens Commission on Human Rights centers in Los Angeles, Austin, Texas, and Clearwater, Florida – the church’s non-profit that has been slammed by medical experts for its attempts to discredit psychiatry.
CCHR has often courted controversy with its views and teachings which once included blaming the September 11 terrorist attacks on Osama Bin Laden’s psychiatrist who they said brainwashed him to carry out the attacks.
Two other Scientology groups to receive PPP loans include The Way to Happiness Foundation in Glendale, California, which bagged around $33,000, and Applied Scholastics, which got around $150,00 from two loans in California.
Karin Pouw, the Church of Scientology International’s Director of Public Affairs, told DailyMail.com: ‘A handful of individual Churches of Scientology applied for and received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to assist them during the pandemic.’
The church, which is highly secretive and many regard as a cult, applied for and was granted around $1 million from 17 loans for multiple churches across America including in Washington DC, New York City, Largo, Florida. Pictured leader David Miscavige
Pouw said the individual churches and organizations are ‘separately incorporated’, meaning they could apply for loans individually.
‘They are among the tens of thousands of churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious institutions and nonprofit organizations that received similar loans under the PPP,’ she said.
‘A review of the www.Scientology.org homepage shows that there are thousands of Churches and Missions of Scientology in the United States and around the globe. Each Church and Mission in the United States is separately incorporated and is supported by its local congregation.’
The latest revelation comes five months after it emerged that the church had received three loans of between $150,000 to $300,000 each for three of its branches in New York, Washington DC and Florida.
In July, government data revealed the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington DC received a PPP loan but saved no jobs.
The Church of Scientology for the Mission of Belleair, Florida, said 13 jobs were saved with its loan and The Church of Scientology of New York said that 10 jobs were saved by its loan.
The Scientology Money Project, a blog run by Jeffrey Augustine – the spouse of a former Scientologist – projects the controversial church to be worth $1.75billion and to generate annual revenue of $200million.
The PPP was created by Congress and designed to loan money to small businesses with 500 employees or less to help them survive the economic downturn during the coronavirus crisis, ensuring they can still pay their employees and bills, and avoid mass layoffs.
Companies that use the money to avoid layoffs will not have to pay the money back as long as 75 percent of the funds are used to pay staff.
But the scheme has been fraught with issues with several multi-million dollar public companies with thousands of employees exploiting legal loopholes to access funds before smaller, eligible firms in desperate need could get a dime.
Non-profit churches could qualify for PPP loans if they have fewer than 500 employees, the same qualifications for other small businesses.
A number of other Scientology-affiliated groups received a combined total of around $3 million in loans including five Narconon centers – its controversial addiction charity
Organizations should also only receive one loan but many large organizations secured several by applying via a number of different subsidiaries.
After being publicly shamed and slammed for such moves, many big businesses paid back their funds.
Meanwhile, others have been exposed for trying to con money out of the scheme for personal gain.
On Thursday, a federal judge ordered the Small Business Administration to release all the names, addresses and loan amounts issued through the PPP after several news organizations filed a lawsuit demanding transparency under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Church of Scientology, which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its famous followers, was founded by sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard back in 1953.
The religion is based on the belief that humans are immortal beings called thetans and must improve their beings on earth using the church’s methods.
It has long been shrouded in controversy with critics questioning its status as a religion, warning its approach to mental health is unscientific and saying followers must buy their way to higher levels of improvement.
In 1979, 11 of Scientology’s top leaders were sentenced to prison for conspiring to plant spies in government agencies, steal government documents and bug a government meeting in a plot called Operation Snow White.
Hubbard died in 1986 and David Miscavige took over the helm of the church.
The Internal Revenue Service long denied Scientology’s attempts to be declared a church.
It was finally granted church status in 1993 making it exempt from tax. The church then agreed to drop thousands of lawsuits against the IRS.
Tom Cruise – a member of the church – inaugurates a new center for the Church of Scientology in Madrid in 2004. The Church of Scientology has an estimated worth close to $2 billion