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>> Statement: [Page 203]

“An ex-marine named Andre Tabayoyon, who oversaw construction of the security at the Gold Base, later testified that church funds were used to purchase assault rifles, shotguns, and pistols.

He also said that explosive devices were placed around the perimeter to be used in case of assault by law enforcement officials. Surrounded by a security fence with three-inch spikes, patrolled by armed guards, and monitored by cameras, motion detectors, infrared scanners, and a sniper’s nest at the top of a hill, the property houses about eight hundred Sea Org members, in conditions that the church describes as 'like one would find in a convent or seminary, albeit much more comfortable.'”

Mr. Wright identified the source of this allegation as an April 4, 1994, affidavit of Andre Tabayoyon. Mr. Tabayoyon’s declaration is also cited by Mr. Wright for statements about the Church’s protest of a 1985 jury verdict in Portland, Oregon, (page 180), allegations that the Church planted a meadow of wildflowers for two celebrities (pages 207-208) and that special cottages were built for celebrity visitors to Golden Era Productions (page 270).

>> True Information: Mr. Wright never claims he spoke with Andre Tabayoyon. He confines his references to an affidavit Mr. Tabayoyon signed in April of 1994—19 years ago. The claims in the declaration are false. There are not now nor were there ever explosive devices placed around the property.

By January 18, 1995, the senior partners of Mr. Berry’s firm had been apprised of the lack of credibility of the Tabayoyon affidavit and that it had been bought and paid for by Graham Berry, an associate attorney in their firm. They withdrew their support for it, stating in writing:

“The Church of Scientology International filed a number of declarations which make certain assertions regarding the veracity of Mr. Tabayoyon, which I enclose for your review. Please note this firm will no longer be utilizing the declaration of Mr. Tabayoyon nor will we assist in its publication or dissemination by others.”

Mr. Berry was subsequently let go by the firm. 

Andre Tabayoyon did not “oversee construction” but is a former construction worker at Golden Era Productions. In 1994, Graham Berry paid Mr. Tabayoyon and his wife more than $17,000 to execute affidavits containing scurrilous and untrue allegations in a Church-related case. The affidavits were drafted by two other professional anti-Scientology witnesses who were also paid by Graham Berry. Graham Berry used the affidavits to attempt to generate negative media against the Church of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology demonstrated that the allegations in the affidavit were untrue. 

Moreover, Tabayoyon was an unstable individual. In a letter to his son who had attempted to reconcile relations with his mother, Tabayoyon wrote: “Let her be, leave her alone. In turn, I will allow you to continue to live (I’m serious) and I won’t chop your wife up into one (sic) pieces and feed her to coyotes.” In 1995, two Church members in Florida and Arizona obtained anti-harassment injunctions against Mr. Tabayoyon as a result of his attempts to harass and intimidate them.

Please see the separate entry here for the circumstances leading to Mr. Berry's being suspended from the bar, bankrupt, treated for substance abuse and depression and declared a vexatious litigant by the Los Angeles Superior Court.

This is another example of Lawrence Wright's reliance on an unreliable source and failure to follow up on whether his information was credible. Had Mr. Wright posed one question about the Tabayoyon declaration to the Church, he would have learned it was untrue.  Mr. Wright could have looked at Golden Era Productions properly online and seen this video:  He could have asked the Church if it ever had explosives around its perimeter (No) or he could have looked himself. The Church is law-abiding and believes in creating a world without criminals as part of their aims.

Despite Mr. Wright’s claims, he failed to give the Church an opportunity to respond to the allegations in his book. The Church wrote to Mr. Wright eight times asking who the “150” sources were so the Church could provide information that would prove valuable in ascertaining their credibility. Mr. Wright refused the Church’s offer of assistance saying, “It seems that the only thing you're really interested in is getting a list of my sources. You can have that as soon as the book is published, not before.” 

Now that the Church has seen the collection of unreliable sources, like an affidavit from Andre Tabayoyon that was shown to be invalid 18 years ago and hasn’t been used since—except by sloppy journalists, it is easy to see why Mr. Wright didn’t want to hear about their unreliability. So much for “fact checking.”

Note also that Andre Tabayoyon’s discredited affidavit is also used by Mr. Wright as a source for the false claims that special guest cottages and a meadow were constructed for two celebrity visitors to Golden Era Productions.