In the 14 years that I worked at the scientology headquarters located in Hemet California, Shelly Miscavige was ALWAYS with David Miscavige.
She was his wife, but more importantly she was his personal assistant.
As such, she was responsible for attending all of his meetings, handling his correspondence, running his office and taking care of anything and everything he needed attending to.
Some people didn’t like her.
I knew her personally and so I had a different view of the struggles she faced working so closely to David Miscavige.
From 1998 until I left in January 2005, I worked directly with Shelly.
For 4 of those years, I reported to her and she was my boss, meaning I met with her daily and she dictated what I was to get done each day.
As of mid 2004, David Miscavige had 12 staff in his “personal office”:
COB Assistant – Shelly Miscavige
COB Communicator – Laurisse Stuckenbrock
COB Secretary – Ailon Barram
COB Secretary Typist – Tanja Lewis (Castle)
COB Secretary for Outgoing Traffic – Francois Lalouette
COB Secretary for Incoming Traffic – Serena McElveen
COB Communicator for Compliance – Tori McKay
COB Office Runner – Amber O’Sullivan
COB Steward – Georgiana Irons
COB Steward – Valerie Light
COB Steward – Emily Jones
COB Steward – Irene Brummer
I first heard of Shelly’s disappearance in early 2006. I heard she had disappeared completely in mid 2005. Whereas for two decades prior to that she had been known as COB’s Assistant, was cc’d on every single piece of correspondence issued by David Miscavige, attended all meetings, public events etc. She was now gone, as if, in fact, her very position had been obliterated and no longer existed.
COB Assistant was no more. It was shocking.
As time went by, we started to piece together a picture of what had happened.
As I understand it:
Shelly travelled with Dave as usual to the Maiden Voyage event aboard the Freewinds in June 2005.
She returned early in order to “implement” the new organizational structure and postings of all staff.
As background information, David Miscavige deemed these all needed to be redone in 1999. However 7 years had gone by without anyone being able to successfully complete these to his satisfaction. Don’t get me wrong, they had been completed and submitted to him for approval on numerous occasions. But every single time, he resoundingly rejected every proposal he received.
Finally Shelly was tasked with completing the project herself, directly, and getting everyone on post.
Amber O’Sullivan, whose position was COB Office Runner, was sent back from the Freewinds with Shelly to help her. Amber is my cousin, daughter of my uncle, Frank O’Sullivan. She was born and raised in the Sea Organization and had worked her way up the ranks from UK, to the Freewinds cruise ship and finally she was now personal staff of David Miscavige.
Shelly put everyone on post, including moving management staff into the RTC building, known as Building 50.
Whatever Shelly did, David went into a maniacal rage on his return to the Hemet base. He removed everyone from their positions, kicked management staff out of Building 50 and sent Shelly off post for interrogation, sec checking and heavy manual labor.
I can imagine what happened. I’d seen enough of Dave’s rages to have a very good idea. In September 2004 I was booted out of RTC by Dave personally because I refused to divorce my husband of 12 years at the time, Marc Headley. His exact words to me, with a purple face and a menacing finger 1 inch from my nose: “You’re out of here, you theetie weetie c**t!”.
Building 50, the RTC building, was a labor of love for David Miscavige. Although he often made reference to the fact that he was going to make this the management building instead of RTC, I never believed he was serious about this. The building was built from scratch to David Miscavige’s exact specifications. A 30 million dollar project all told.
After kicking management staff out of building 50 and cancelling everything Shelly did, kicking Shelly off post, sending her off in disgrace for sec checking and heavy manual labor, David Miscavige left the property in a huff and drove to LA with his communicator, Laurisse Stuckenbrock and his stewards.
Antonella Tisi was Shelly’s sec checker.
When Shelly came out from her interrogation with Antonella Tisi, Dave was long gone.
So Shelly made the decision to go to LA to talk to Dave. After all, she was used to being able to move freely and travelling everywhere with Dave. Only Dave’s personal staff had that freedom. Anyone else had to have written authorization, go through security, report in regularly, etc.
Dave was furious. I don’t know what Shelly walked in on when she arrived in LA, but whatever it was, it made David Miscavige furious and resulted in Shelly’s ultimate banishment. Dave decreed that Shelly “blew” from her interrogation (scientologese for unauthorized departure or escape) and at this point she was banished to the secret CST base in Running Springs. Most scientologists don’t even know this base exists. Staff at the Hemet base know it exists, but they’re not allowed to know its location unless they first sign extensive security bonds and are approved by 10 different high up people to know its location.
To my knowledge, based on information from 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 respectively, Shelly has been there ever since. Anne Rathbun is her personal handler and Antonella Tisi is her interrogator.
This pattern is not new.
There are numerous examples of staff who were locked up for years on end, never to be seen or heard of again, surrounded by mystery, because they dared to cross David Miscavige.
Marc Yager was David Miscavige’s right hand man until 1995.
Then he lived by himself in a swamp on the Hemet property under full time security watch for 3 years. Although I worked on the property during those years, I never once saw Marc Yager during the time he had been banished.
Finally, 5 years later, he managed to make it back into David Miscavige’s favor.
David Miscavige would love to think Shelly doesn’t exist and he worked hard to make certain she would never cross his path again.
Thanks to Leah Remini, this task has not been made easy for him. I truly admire Leah’s presence of mind and plain balls. The more powerful people like her who speak up and wield their power, the harder it will be for scientology to continue its criminality.
I just hope LAPD at least demanded to physically see Shelly Miscavige before they dismissed her missing person report. Failing that, I hope they at least talked to her on the phone. That’s a miserable second, since I have no idea how they’d even know it was her. After all, it’s not like they’d have security questions they could use to verify her identity that any scientology staffer could pass with flying colors. Social Security #, mother’s maiden name, etc. I know from personal experience they will not hesitate to impersonate you when you leave, especially if it serves a purpose, gains intelligence information etc.
Shelly has been in scientology since she was a young girl.
She worked directly for Hubbard as a messenger as a teenager.
Hubbard called her Miss Panache, because of her love of fashion and because she always made sure she was extremely presentable, smartly dressed and well manicured.
David Miscavige barely knew and worked with Hubbard.
Not so with Shelly. She was his personal messenger for years and worked very closely with Hubbard.
A few other thoughts:
Shelly told me on numerous occasions that when you get to the top of scientology, you forego your right to escape. I truly think she believed this. I believed it when she told me. After all, I’d seen several high up people escape and they were each ruthlessly tracked down and brought back.
Shelly truly believed Hubbard would return. I think her love of and loyalty to Hubbard will keep her there, no matter what David Miscavige puts her through. And thus, anything she says will mirror this intention.
Shelly has no remaining family outside of scientology, bar one sister who I don’t believe she was every very close to. I could be wrong about this, I am stating my impression from the many conversations I had with Shelly, in which the only family she ever talked about were CB and her father, Barney.
Her mother and father are no longer living. I know she loved her father deeply (Barney Barnett). She was devastated when she found out in 2003 that he had cancer. He passed in 2007 and Shelly was barely able to make it to his funeral. She was escorted there by Anne Rathbun. She was not wearing her wedding ring and mentioned that she was in deep trouble.
Shelly did the project to find Katie Holmes for Tom Cruise. I’m positive that word of that getting out did not help her case. I’m also positive that the outcome of that marriage did not help her either.
There were numerous times when Shelly told me that David Miscavige was at least verbally if not physically abusing her. I’d witnessed David Miscavige physically abuse staff hundreds of times. He always blamed it on the staff around him, stating that they were forcing him to do this.
Several times Shelly told me I had no idea what I was putting her through with Dave by not getting certain tasks completed. It didn’t require much imagination based on what I’d seen.
In my opinion, Shelly Miscavige is a good person. Whether you believe in scientology or not, she was well intentioned and was simply trying to do what she thought was right.
And her intentions have landed her a life of imprisonment.
I just hope that somehow, some way, Shelly will get out from under Dave’s control and punishment.
One can wish and hope.