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Memo: Scientologists aimed attack at local man

Title: Memo: Scientologists aimed attack at local man
Date: Sunday, 4 November 1979
Publisher: Clearwater Sun (Florida)
Authors: Alan Gutwein-Guenther, Richard Leiby
Main source: link (89 KiB)

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CLEARWATER — A two-page policy memo written by four top Church of Scientology officials apparently singled out for attack a former vice president of a local bank, according to documents released last week by a federal judge in Washington, D.C.

The memo, included among the documents, cites Wilby F. Anderson of Buttonwood Court as an "enemy," apparently because of a speech Anderson made before the city commission in 1975.

Anderson, who at one time worked in the U.S. Department of Justice, told the commission Clearwater was losing its tax base because too many buildings were being sold to tax-exempt groups, such as the Church of Scientology.

The memo to officials of the United Churches of Florida, the name under which Scientologists entered the city, instructs them to:

* "Determine if Wilby Anderson. . . is an opinion leader.

* "Investigate Anderson for crimes, vested interests, scandal, etc.

* "Turn over the data obtained. . . to United Churches. Advise UC on how to use this data to remove or restrain Anderson or at least how to use it to make the American Baptist Service Corps an ally of UC."

The memo is signed by Dick Weigand and Henning Heldt, deputy guardians of the church for the United States, Jane Kember, guardian worldwide, and Mo Budlong, deputy guardian worldwide.

Weigand and Heldt were convicted last week of conspiracy against the federal government. Kember and Budlong are awaiting extradition from England on similar charges.

Anderson, contacted Saturday at a church dinner, said the memo "doesn't surprise me at all."

"l’m the kind of fellow who, when I see something's wrong, I try to set it straight," he said.

"When you can amass millions to plank down cold cash for large chunks of land like they have," Anderson said, "any thinking mind will ask how they can truly be a nonprofit organizatio, entitled to tax-exempt status.

"Nobody wants to destroy honest, law-abiding citizens unless they have an ulterior motive for it," Anderson said.

The Scientologists paid $2.3 million for the former Fort Harrison Hotel four years ago. They also bought the Plasma ProductsClearwater Inc. building, the West Coast building, the former Bank of Clearwater building, and the former Quality Inn building on U.S. 19 S.

Anderson said he criticized the American Baptist Service Corps because it also owned a large amount of tax-exempt property.

"As they acquire more property here, they draw more people to Clearwater." Anderson said. "And that gives them a larger voting bloc. And these people vote as a bloc, let me tell you.

"That would be their means, as l see it, of gaining control: They increase their membership here where they could pretty much control our democratic processes at election time.

"l was here when they had armed guards patroling the Fort Harrison," he said. "With that as a background, I don’t have any doubt that they would use whatever means are available to them to accomplish their purposes."

Scientologist spokesmen refused to comment on the Anderson memo.

Anderson also defended his past Saturday.

"I spent 25 years in the U.S. Department of Justice, where l was involved administratively with the Federal Bureau of Prisons." He said he retired in 1971 as vice president of the Barnett Bank in Clearwater.

"In any prison administration, you're faced with quite a nerve-wracking situation," Anderson said. "Officers being held hostage and beaten; escape attempts in riot conditions.

"I've been through it all. I'm not scared of these people. l've certainly been through much worse than what they could do to me."