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DOCUMENT TITLE: Media accounts of second letter from "Hubbard"
SUBJECT: Media accounts of a copy of the second of three letters purportedly written on 3 February 1983 by the missing L. Ron Hubbard "proving" that Hubbard was alive
PARTIES: Purportedly, L. Ron Hubbard; Sherman Lenske and Stephen Lenske, Hubbard attorneys who delivered the letter, both Special Directors of the corporation known as "Church of Spiritual Technology" (CST); Howard C. Doulder, U.S. Treasury Department document examiner; Richard L. Brunelle, forensic chemist with Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF); Author Services, Inc. (ASI); Meade Emory, former Treasury Department personnel as Assistant Commissioner of IRS, architect of the corporate restructuring and Hubbard probate papers

BACKGROUND AND NOTES

Below are relevant excerpts from the media reports about the second of three letters purportedly written 3 February 1983 by the missing L. Ron Hubbard. (See our overview of the three letters here, our report on the first one here, and our report on the third one here.) This second letter was delivered on Monday, 14 February 1983 to Riverside County, California Judge David J. Hennigan in the probate suit, claiming that Hubbard was dead or incompetent, that had been filed by Hubbard's son, Ronald DeWolf, a.k.a. L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., a.k.a. Nibs Hubbard.

Unlike the press report on the first letter, the excerpts below from Associated Press, UPI, and the Washington Post contain actual quotes by Hubbard attorneys Sherman and Stephen Lenske, proving that both letters to the courts came through them. Both the Washington Post excerpt and another news account below--a press release sent to PR Newswire by Bill Widder on behalf of Hubbard attorneys Lenske, Lenske, Heller & Magasin--name the Treasury Department personnel hired by the Lenskes for authenticating the letters. Analysts agree that the Lenskes' connection to the Treasury Department agents most likely came through former Assistant Commissioner of IRS Meade Emory, architect of the Hubbard probate documents and of the corporate restructuring of Scientology organizations.

It isn't clear from these accounts, but it is likely that what was submitted to the court was not the original letter: there is later substantial evidence that Sherman Lenske's modus operandi for court evidence was to keep originals in his safe, and submit "certified copies" to the court, with attached affidavits from hired experts attesting to the "authenticity" of the originals. Although acceptable to judges, this also resulted in no one but Lenske and his hired experts ever getting to actually view the originals. And to this day no one else has seen the original documents.

Several things of particular note in these collected accounts below:

1. Neither Sherman nor Stephen Lenske will answer questions about whether they have ever personally met Hubbard.

2. The Lenskes tell the press that Hubbard is "busy writing a sequel to the science fiction book 'Battlefield Earth.'" But there never was a sequel to Battlefield Earth published.

3. Sherman Lenske claims that the authenticating  experts told him "they could determine if prints came from a dead man because a body decomposes rapidly." Unfortunately U.S. Treasury's Howard C. Doulder contradicts Lenske, saying he probably could not tell the difference if fingerprints were from a carefully preserved body, but then gratuitously adds that he had been shown "boxes and boxes" of "recent manuscripts" in Hubbard's handwriting and was "certain he was alive."

4. "Hubbard" claims in his letter that Author Services Inc. (ASI) "provides me with periodic full accounting of my finances and detailed reports of my business affairs." But that conflicts with statements made in a 23 March 1985 Declaration submitted in a case involving the FBI by ASI President Norman F. Starkey. In his Declaration, Starkey said: "Since Mr. Hubbard's seclusion in 1980, there has not been to my knowledge a means of initiating a communication directly or indirectly to him. Mr. Hubbard has not provided anyone that I know of with a telephone number to call to contact him, nor an address where I or anyone else could send mail." And specifically about the finances and business affairs, Starkey said, "Only when Mr. Hubbard initiated communication was information sent to him concerning his business, financial and literary interests as well as public relations and marketing reports. On many occasions, it could not be confirmed that Mr. Hubbard actually received all communications sent to him."

5. One of the so-called experts, purportedly a Los Angeles Police officer named Donald Keir, actually tells the press that he can't talk about the matter until he "checked with church attorneys [the Lenskes]."

6. One and only one of the media accounts below, the Washington Post story, mentions an audio tape allegedly submitted to the DeWolf court as further "proof" of Hubbard being alive. This tape is never mentioned again.

This purported Hubbard letter would be followed in less than a month by another "authenticated" letter, this time to the Rocky Mountain News, and a few months later by a Declaration purportedly from the misssing Hubbard--all of them coming through Sherman Lenske, and all using exactly the same mechanism of fingerprints, special government inks, and "authentication" by Treasury Department personnel.



The Associated Press
February 14, 1983, Monday, AM cycle
Church Produces Purported Letter From Hubbard

DATELINE: RIVERSIDE, Calif.
BODY: Church of Scientology officials Monday produced a second letter purportedly written by church founder L. Ron Hubbard, saying he is alive and well and believes his estate to be in good hands.
     The handwritten letter was filed as part of a motion to dismiss the Riverside County Superior Court probate battle in which Hubbard's son, Ronald DeWolf, claims his father is either dead or incompetent.
     DeWolf says church officials have been stealing millions of dollars from the 71-year-old Hubbard and is asking the court to name him trustee of the estate.
     ..."I am alive and well and working at my own trade," said the four-page letter, addressed to "the judge presiding over the L. Ron Hubbard 'probate matters.'"
     The letter, dated Feb. 3, notes that DeWolf hasn't seen his father since 1959 and "would not be in a position to know about me or the church or my activities or any related matters."
     DeWolf's attorney, Michael Flynn of Boston, dismissed the letter as insignificant... . "We have a letter from (Hubbard lawyer) Sherman Lenske to a third party," in which Hubbard's physical status is discussed, said Flynn.
     "I know he's alive and well. That's all I've ever said," Lenske said Monday, denying any letter could have indicated otherwise.
     ...The letter submitted Monday contained fingerprints that a court affidavit said were identified as Hubbard's by Donald Keir of the Los Angeles Police Department. Keir said Monday he couldn't talk about the matter until he checked with church attorneys.
     ...The letter said: "There should be no concern on your part about my health which is good, my existence or anything of the sort, because I simply have my work to do and I would risk breaking contracts if I did not complete it."
     ..."Any claim that my estate is being mishandled is false," the letter said. "My business affairs are handled by contract with a Hollywood-based company, Author Services Inc." It also said Hubbard has not been a church officer for 17 years.
     Lenske and his brother, attorney Stephen Lenske, said Hubbard won't appear in person to prove he is in good health because he should not have to "dignify the allegations of a crazed man."
     "The man wants to be left alone, he wants to be private," Sherman Lenske said.
     The attorneys would not divulge whether they have had personal contact with Hubbard, nor whether they know his whereabouts. ...



The Washington Post
March 7, 1983, Monday, Final Edition
Sect's Missing Founder Leaves Legal Morass
By Jay Mathews, Washington Post Staff Writer

DATELINE: HEMET, Calif.

...The letter that Hubbard's attorneys recently received ignored most of DeWolf's charges.
     "Ron DeWolf was a war baby," said the letter. "I was never there. His mother was an alcoholic and deserted me at war's end when the allocation from the govt. ceased and I was in the hospital at war's end, the usual wounded veteran's story. She ran off with the children and another man. It's too bad I never had the opportunity to raise him during his formative years. Had I been able to do so he might have turned out differently."
     The letter also said that Hubbard was well, that his estate and business affairs were being competently handled and that his son "is not in a position to know about me or the church or my activities." (DeWolf left the church in 1959 and hasn't seen his father since then. He manages an apartment building in Carson City, Nev.)
     Four recognized experts have submitted court declarations verifying the handwriting and fingerprints as Hubbard's. But Los Angeles attorney Wilkie Cheong, representing DeWolf, called it just "a document with ink and fingerprints. Legally it has no value." He also is attempting to determine the validity of a tape recording of Hubbard's voice which has been submitted as further proof of Hubbard's existence. To dismiss the action, Cheong said, Hubbard should appear in court, if he can.
     Hubbard's attorneys, Sherman and Stephen Lenske, called the letter "an important piece of evidence." Sherman Lenske said experts told him they could determine if prints came from a dead man because a body decomposes rapidly. One of the experts who validated Hubbard's letter, retired U.S. Treasury fingerprint and document expert Howard C. Doulder, said he probably could not tell the difference if fingerprints were from a carefully preserved body, but added that he had been shown "boxes and boxes" of recent manuscripts in Hubbard's handwriting and was certain he was alive.
     So where is Hubbard? Doulder said the recent dates on the documents from Hubbard indicated he was somewhere in the United States, perhaps still in California. Hubbard's son, DeWolf, said, "I think he's dead and has been for some time."
     ...The Lenskes, although not church members, said they have come to admire the Scientologists thay have met.
     "...I am and always have been a writer and, as a writer to do one's job one can't be involved in the constant noise and hurley burly of distracting things," the letter said. "So to complete my contracts it was vital I sat down under the big trees and let the rest of the world go by."



U.P.I.
February 14, 1983, Monday, AM cycle
By JOAN GOULDING
DATELINE: LOS ANGELES

BODY: Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard has asked a judge in a handwritten letter to dismiss a suit filed by his son that claims he is dead, writing ''I am alive and well,'' attorneys said Monday.
     ...''And there should be no concern on your part about my health, which is good, my existence or anything of the sort because I simply have my work to do and I would risk breaking contracts if I did not complete it,'' the letter said.
     ''Thus, I want to reassure you that I am alive and well and working at my own trade.''
     Hubbard has not been seen in public in several years and his attorneys said he is too busy writing a sequel to the science fiction book ''Battlefield Earth'' to make a public appearance or appear in court to settle the controversy of his existence.
     ''I am and always have been a writer and, as a writer, to do one's job one can't be involved in the constant noise and hurley burly of distracting things,'' Hubbard wrote Hennigan.
     The letter was the second signed by Hubbard that was released by church officials in the past week in an attempt to quiet allegations the Scientology founder is dead.
     Attorneys for Hubbard and the church obtained affidavits from ink, handwriting and fingerprint experts stating that both letters were authentic.
     Attorney Stephen Lenske said the four-page letter should resolve the key issue in the Riverside probate case --whether Hubbard is missing.
     ''This letter conclusively proves he is not missing ... L. Ron Hubbard is very much alive,'' Lenske said.
     ...Hubbard's lawyers would not disclose whether they had ever seen or spoken to the recluse, citing confidentiality of attorney-client relationships.



PR Newswire
February 14, 1983, Monday
DATELINE: LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14

BODY: LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14 /PRN/ --L. Ron Hubbard, best-selling author and founder of Dianetics and Scientology, informed a Riverside, Calif., county superior court judge today in an authenticated handwritten letter that "I am alive and well and working at my own trade (as a writer)."  He rejected as "false and ill-informed" claims that his estate is being mismanaged.
     The four-page letter --bearing two signatures, a set of Hubbard's fingerprints, and dated Feb. 3, 1983 --marked the first direct, public response by the 71-year-old writer-philosopher to an attempted attack on his estate by his estranged son, Ronald E. DeWolf.
     Addressed to "the Judge Presiding Over the L. Ron Hubbard 'Probate Matters'," the handwritten letter was delivered to Riverside Superior Court Judge David J. Hennigan, the judge in the probate case.
     Among the definitive statements made in the letter, Hubbard told the court that "I am alive and well and working at my own trade" ... that "any claim that my estate is being mishandled is false," ... and that Ronald DeWolf "would not be in a position to know about me or the Church (of Scientology) or my activities or any related matters."
     Describing the letter as "conclusive proof that Mr. Hubbard not only is not 'missing' but is alive, well and as prodigiously productive as ever," Barrett Litt, attorney of record in the probate case, immediately petitioned the Riverside Superior Court to dismiss the remnants of the case as a "sham pleading," totally without foundation or merit.
     Authenticity of the Hubbard letter --based on handwriting, original fingerprints, and timed-ink dating --was conclusively established in independently sworn affadavits by four recognized experts.  These include Los Angeles handwriting and fingerprint expert, Howard C. Doulder, former document examiner with the U.S. Treasury Department; Donald Kier, fingerprint and latent print expert, Los Angeles Police Department; handwriting expert William L. Bowman, former senior document examiner with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and internationally renowned forensic chemist, Richard L. Brunelle.
     "There should be no concern on your part about my health, which is good, my existence or anything of the sort," Hubbard wrote, "because I simply have my work to do and I would risk breaking contracts if I did not complete it."
     Hubbard dismissed as "false and ill-informed" any claim that his estate is being mishandled.  His said his business affairs are contractually managed by Author Services Inc., a Hollywood, Calif., company that handles his literary and musical works, and "provides me with periodic full accounting of my finances and detailed reports of my business affairs."
     Hubbard told the judge that "my business affairs and estate are being very competently managed and any claims to the contrary are false and ill-informed."
     The author of one of the 20th century's most enduring best-sellers, "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health," which laid the technological foundations for the Church of Scientology formed by others in 1954, Hubbard expressed surprise that Ronald DeWolf "would be attacking or harassing the church, as I have not been an officer of it for nearly 17 years.  I've even divested myself of the trademarks of Dianetics and Scientology and these are now owned by a Church corporation, Religious Technology Center."
     Of his estranged eldest son, the writer-philospher acknowledged that because of marital circumstances, "I never had the opportunity to raise him during his formative years.  Had I been able to do so, he might have turned out differently."
     Hubbard emphasized that "I practically have not seen him at all during his entire lifetime.
     "In fact," Hubbard continued, "the last time I saw him was, I believe, in 1959 in Washington, D.C."
     Hubbard added that DeWolf consequently "would not be in a position to know about me or the Church or my activitties or any related matters."
     Hubbard's personal attorneys --the Los Angeles firm of Lenske, Lenske, Heller & Magasin --said the "letter clearly and remorselessly exposes the claims of DeWolf and his attorney Michael Flynn for what they are --a viciously concocted bodyguard of lies, distortions and fabrications.
     CONTACT --Bill Widder of Dateline I Communications at 213-393-9494 for the Church of Scientology


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