How to fill the SuperPower Building

RolandRB

Rest in Peace
The announcement (in the 80-page Freedom Magazine footbullet) that interior construction was underway for the Superpower building reminded me of a marketing research project we did regarding the Superpower building. As many people know, I was part of the Central Marketing Unit (CMU) at the Int Base for 15 years.

In 1998, construction had started on the Superpower building. We were asked, in Marketing, to do a research project to work out what it would take to fill that building with students and pcs.

The building, of course, is huge. Wikipedia cites the square footage at 170,000. The Church, in the recent Freedom Magazine, claims 377,000 square feet. From my own observation, it’s closer to the Wikipedia figure, but we know how the Church inflates any statistic, even square footage. According to the Freedom Magazine, there will be 22 course rooms seating 1,800 students, and 300 auditing rooms serving 1,200 preclears at any time.

So what would it take to fill this building? We had to work it all backwards, right down to Org and Mission level. Flag gets most of its business from Advanced Orgs and Saint Hills. AOs and SHs get their business from Class V Orgs. Class V Orgs are fed by Missions (as well as direct public contact). So we had to work it all the way back. How big would AOs have to be? How big would SHs have to be? How big would Orgs have to be? How many Missions would be needed?

So we worked it all out, extrapolating from existing statistics and flow rates up the Bridge. We did a serious job of it, too.

The bottom line? Orgs would have to expand at least ten times. And each org would have to be fed by ten missions – and that would mean thousands of missions, not just a few hundred. And they would have to be real old-time missions, with 15 or 20 staff, training and auditing people and selecting them to their Org for Academy training and Grades. In other words, even coming close to filling the Superpower building would take a major, major, exponential expansion of Scientology.

At that time, Scientology was in a major slump. Stats had been declining since 1991. Orgs were shrinking. We were thanked for our analysis, and it was promptly buried. No one wanted to face the truth: filling the Superpower building was an impossibility, if one really looked at raw figures.

When I left in 2005, the statistics had not recovered, and were still declining.

From all evidence today, orgs are in worse shape than ever. They are not making enough to pay their bills, and are going deeper in debt. Staff are unpaid, and are dependent upon working spouses or parents. Routine administrative supplies are paid by staff out of their own pocket, or donated by public. Orgs are empty. Public are being pressured to pay for new buildings and have no money for training or processing. Missions are usually just two guys and a dog in someone’s living room.

So they can go ahead and finish the interior of the Superpower Building, but finished or unfinished, it will stand as an empty shell, a fitting symbol of modern Scientology.

It's even better because these big empty buildings with hasten the death of the cult. The utility bills will break them and although they hope some piece of magic will get the public to flock in - they never will. But they will continue to throw money away on PR and other schemes in the hope that they will.
 

lkwdblds

Crusader
Finally, an answer to my question!

Fishdaddy - Since I started researching C of S in 2005 on the internet, I have been looking for the answer to the Super Power Building Fiasco. The information you provided fills the gap I had beautifully! Thanks for the data!

When I found an answer to my question I knew it would show the total ineptness of C of S management. Since they had the capability to do the analysis which your group did, wouldn't you think that the information they gathered should have been used before proceeding with the actual construction? DM seems to think that if huge, well furnished buildings are acquired or built, the public will automatically come in droves. Does anyone know where or how he formulated this concept? I have no idea myself other than that it doesn't come from LRH.

Why complete the outside of the building and then stop construction for years? There are so many outpoints involved in these actions that any one with any common sense can "pull the string" and see that C of S is being run by incompetent and dishonest management!

I am still receiving mailers asking for further donations, which state that receiving these donations is very important in preserving Mankind's future on this planet, which is hanging in the balance, until the building becomes functional. Haven't C of S management read the story of the "Boy who cried Wolf"?

C of S public neither requires nor requests any financial accountability from management which shows extreme gullibility and naivite on their parts.

Maybe management considers the Super Power Project a great success and would do things the same if they had to do it all over again. After all, if they have collected at least $142,700,000 so far that might be the only stat they care about. Perhaps most of this money went towards refitting the Freewinds, refurbishing the Fort Harrison and fighting the great number of law suits which C of S has.

This handling of the Super Power building shows how deeply current C of S management bases its acivities on lies and "shore stories" which result in out exchange occuring routinely beween C of S management and their public. There is no concept anymore of delivering what is promised let alone the concept of delivering in abundance. The silence of the C of S public over continually being lied to and bilked of funds is deafining! This episode is living proof over a long test period that Green on White Management Tech does not work or if it doesn't prove that then the only alternative is that Management is not using true Green on White anymore. Either way is bad, either the tech is no good or the people claiming to be following it to the letter are squirrels or incompetent.
Lkwdblds
 
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FinallyFree

Gold Meritorious Patron
Yeah, me and hubby had to rely on our families a lot to send us rent money, etc. Shoot, they even paid for my wedding (the dress, the hotel room for our honeymoon night, even a private studio apartment as a wedding gift! Sadly tho....we only were able to keep it about three months before we had to move out of it...*sigh*). And we were full, fulltime staff! Yep, nothing's changed, huh?

Wow you sound just like me and my first husband - only we never had our own apartment. We only ever lived with my parents or his. We were both on staff, we never had any independance at all.

Yep - nothing has changed at all, except it sound slike it may be worse :(
 

Stephanie

Patron with Honors
The money is going to the high level executives! HELLO, someone is making a fortune off the Scientologists.
 

TalleyWhacker

Patron with Honors
FishDaddy,
Thanks very much for that. :thumbsup:
Back when they first started the project, I was flush and had been involved with projects the size of the Super Power building as a developer. So naturally I was a hot prospect.
When I asked what they anticipated their costs at, my reply was, "Hell, guys, that's way over what it costs to build a project like that. You shouldn't be spending anymore than half that."
They even had me in comm with the architect.
They justified it by telling me their numbers included FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment).
To which I replied, "You're still out to lunch, you can build a five star resort for that kind of money and the FF&E factor per square foot is much higher than in an office building like what you're proposing."
I finally told them back then while it was still on paper that they were wasting money, that they would do a better job on their budget if they earned their money instead of just asking for it.
That went over like a whore in church and the Super Power regs laid off of me after that. :happydance:
This would have been back in about 94.
So now, here we are many years later...
Let's say 180,000 square feet. Let's say $165,000,000 since they've been regging and still are since DOF did his calulations. (Thanks DOF for your contribution)
That's $916.67 per square foot and STILL COUNTING.
Zingo, baby!! :omg:
I'd be in jail if I ever even came close to that kind of a fraud.
Just goes to show ya that what an old Jewish man told me one time when I was in my early 20s is true:
The cheapest money you'll ever make is the money you ask for.
Amen to that!
 

skydog

Patron Meritorious
So now, here we are many years later...
Let's say 180,000 square feet. Let's say $165,000,000 since they've been regging and still are since DOF did his calulations. (Thanks DOF for your contribution)
That's $916.67 per square foot and STILL COUNTING.
Zingo, baby!! :omg:
I'd be in jail if I ever even came close to that kind of a fraud.

I think you may have stumbled upon why DM claims the SP building has 377,000 square feet. That would make the cost 437.68 per square foot. Even that figure constitutes larceny.
 

Dulloldfart

Squirrel Extraordinaire
377,000 square feet is just about twice 180,000. Maybe they are counting the ceilings too? But it shouldn't be too hard to get a ballpark figure by taking the number of floors (7?) and an approximate cross-section size from an aerial view. Any offers?

On the money side of it, here are some quotes from this March 2009 St. Petersburg Times article at http://www.tampabay.com/news/religion/article986057.ece. My emphasis.

"We're ready," said Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis. "All the money has been put aside, and the plans are in place. As soon as we get the go-ahead from the city, we'll begin."

. . .

The Flag Building, nicknamed the "Super Power" building, is a seven-story, 380,000-square-foot empty shell that encompasses a whole city block.

. . .

Wright [Bob Wright, a Scientology staffer overseeing (Fort Harrison) construction] said the [Super Power] building has cost about $40 million so far, and the church expects to spend $50 million finishing its elaborate interior.​

Paul
 

TalleyWhacker

Patron with Honors
377,000 square feet is just about twice 180,000. Maybe they are counting the ceilings too? But it shouldn't be too hard to get a ballpark figure by taking the number of floors (7?) and an approximate cross-section size from an aerial view. Any offers?

On the money side of it, here are some quotes from this March 2009 St. Petersburg Times article at http://www.tampabay.com/news/religion/article986057.ece. My emphasis.

"We're ready," said Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis. "All the money has been put aside, and the plans are in place. As soon as we get the go-ahead from the city, we'll begin."

. . .

The Flag Building, nicknamed the "Super Power" building, is a seven-story, 380,000-square-foot empty shell that encompasses a whole city block.

. . .

Wright [Bob Wright, a Scientology staffer overseeing (Fort Harrison) construction] said the [Super Power] building has cost about $40 million so far, and the church expects to spend $50 million finishing its elaborate interior.​

Paul

Gee, I think their adding machine has a held down 7.
 

Rae

Patron with Honors
Excellent thread Fishdaddy and excellent posters. Now we have some actual figures. Tallywacker's posts are significant in completing the story and DOF's input on the amount of money currently raised(at the least) rounds it all out. This is the way thread's should go in my opinion.

My contribution comes from my recent experience on staff at a Class V org. As you and many of the posters have confirmed, most of the staff are reliant on either their parents or their spouses for survival. At our org, the younger staff lived at home(3 of them) and the older staff, almost all of whom were married OTs, had their spouses to depend on(8 of those). Almost everyone was part time and the staffers that didn't have spouses to depend on or who's spouses didn't make enough money to support the two of them, worked day jobs(7 of them did this, 3 of them OTVlls and Vlls). One of the staff had money from an inheritance that she lives on. There never was more than 20 staff full and parttime combined(plus 2 S.O. members included in that figure) actually on post with 12 of these OTV or above. The rent was always behind, sometimes as much as 5 months, the utilities were paid the very final day before turn off and more than once, wealthier staff members even paid for the back rent the day before the landlord was going to evict us(4 or 5 months behind payments).

I would be very interested in hearing if there is anyone recently out..my data is 1 yr. old..who's Class V org is booming or even doing well and paying their bills.
 

TalleyWhacker

Patron with Honors
Excellent thread Fishdaddy and excellent posters. Now we have some actual figures. Tallywacker's posts are significant in completing the story and DOF's input on the amount of money currently raised(at the least) rounds it all out. This is the way thread's should go in my opinion.

My contribution comes from my recent experience on staff at a Class V org. As you and many of the posters have confirmed, most of the staff are reliant on either their parents or their spouses for survival. At our org, the younger staff lived at home(3 of them) and the older staff, almost all of whom were married OTs, had their spouses to depend on(8 of those). Almost everyone was part time and the staffers that didn't have spouses to depend on or who's spouses didn't make enough money to support the two of them, worked day jobs(7 of them did this, 3 of them OTVlls and Vlls). One of the staff had money from an inheritance that she lives on. There never was more than 20 staff full and parttime combined(plus 2 S.O. members included in that figure) actually on post with 12 of these OTV or above. The rent was always behind, sometimes as much as 5 months, the utilities were paid the very final day before turn off and more than once, wealthier staff members even paid for the back rent the day before the landlord was going to evict us(4 or 5 months behind payments).

I would be very interested in hearing if there is anyone recently out..my data is 1 yr. old..who's Class V org is booming or even doing well and paying their bills.

Not in the west US where I'm at. What you describe sounds like what's been happening here for as long as I can remember...and I'm older than dirt!
 

Div6

Crusader
EUS orgs are stagnant and have been for years. The same staff, only less.
They are beggin for staff as DM rams their "expansion" down their throats.

Sad.
 

everfree

Patron Meritorious
That pretty much describes my entire 10+ years on staff, Rae, and I haven't been on staff for quite a number of years now.

In fact, I always heard stories that it was similiar going back at least to the 70s.

Most orgs are like that most of the time.
Some of the missions did ok until they were dismantled in the early eighties even the "saint hill sized" orgs I was familiar with struggled for the most part.

Most org staff are used to working like that, struggling to keep the place open and the lights on. Maybe it's worse today but it's nothing they're not used to.
 

dchoiceisalwaysrs

Gold Meritorious Patron
I was at more than one org.

The one I am closest to now, currently has about maybe 1500 square feet and certailyt less than they had perhaps 2300 sg ft about 35 years ago.

A few years ago, there was more than one time that the org execs and even a mission called on my residence to battle plan out getting the doors opened which had been locked due to long over due rent. I was left with a phone bill of hundreds of dollars, then asked for donations for renovations as soon as the doors opened.

I was trying to recall the Policy Letter that talke about how the public judged us by our MEST (well kept buildings). It might have said that income could be 5x just by good MEST? Is that another of one of Davie's applying Policy and thinking for all the IDEAL ORGS and the SP building?
 

Type4_PTS

Diamond Invictus SP
On the money side of it, here are some quotes from this March 2009 St. Petersburg Times article at http://www.tampabay.com/news/religion/article986057.ece. My emphasis.

"We're ready," said Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis. "All the money has been put aside, and the plans are in place. As soon as we get the go-ahead from the city, we'll begin."​
. . .​
Wright [Bob Wright, a Scientology staffer overseeing (Fort Harrison) construction] said the [Super Power] building has cost about $40 million so far, and the church expects to spend $50 million finishing its elaborate interior.

What does Tommy Davis mean about "as soon as we get the go-ahead from the city, we'll begin." Would you wait until after you've spent 40 million on the project before getting an approval from the city?
 

Rmack

Van Allen Belt Sunbather
Could it be possible to file a class action suite against DM and COS on the grounds of fraud using the edifice as means to bilk the parishioners out of millions.Without any intention of completing the super power building. Jim Baker of PTL club went to jail for collecting donations then misappropriating them. Wouldn't that apply to DM.

That's right, TC, Jim Bakker did get thrown in jail for exactly what it looks like DM is doing!

Someone needs to find out what law he broke, and have the number sky-written over the int base, or something.



.
 

Rmack

Van Allen Belt Sunbather
I did the research myself;

Title 18 of the United States Code, Chapter 63 (mail fraud) and 1345 (wire fraud) and the RICO act!(conspiracy).

Anyone have a sky writing plane or a banner tower? hehehe.
 

Feral

Rogue male
FishDaddy,
Thanks very much for that. :thumbsup:
Back when they first started the project, I was flush and had been involved with projects the size of the Super Power building as a developer. So naturally I was a hot prospect.
When I asked what they anticipated their costs at, my reply was, "Hell, guys, that's way over what it costs to build a project like that. You shouldn't be spending anymore than half that."
They even had me in comm with the architect.
They justified it by telling me their numbers included FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment).
To which I replied, "You're still out to lunch, you can build a five star resort for that kind of money and the FF&E factor per square foot is much higher than in an office building like what you're proposing."
I finally told them back then while it was still on paper that they were wasting money, that they would do a better job on their budget if they earned their money instead of just asking for it.
That went over like a whore in church and the Super Power regs laid off of me after that. :happydance:
This would have been back in about 94.
So now, here we are many years later...
Let's say 180,000 square feet. Let's say $165,000,000 since they've been regging and still are since DOF did his calulations. (Thanks DOF for your contribution)
That's $916.67 per square foot and STILL COUNTING.
Zingo, baby!! :omg:
I'd be in jail if I ever even came close to that kind of a fraud.
Just goes to show ya that what an old Jewish man told me one time when I was in my early 20s is true:
The cheapest money you'll ever make is the money you ask for.
Amen to that!

TalleyWhacker, do you recall the target figure at that time?

I too was a hot prospect for SP and Charmaine Rodgers was on the phone to me every week, I remember the target going up every month or so. When I asked why I was told they needed to build a separate hall for events and then they needed an air conditioner building, I think I remember the first target being $60 mill, could that be the number you heard?

Also, what would be a fair cost to build that building?

I'm sure that what they spent to build it could be retrieved through "Freedom of Information" legislation if any one is up for it.
 

Rae

Patron with Honors
Related blog post by Rebel008

Seems that this very subject is being taken up by Rebel008 on www.leavingscientology.wordpress.com

Accountability:Where does your money go?

A friend of mine, let’s call him Joe, was at Flag one day and was approached by one of the reges and asked to contribute more money to the Superpower Building. Joe was already a Cornerstone Member, meaning he had contributed over $35,000 to the building.

“I thought you had all the money for the building,” Joe commented. “Why do you need more?”

“Well,” explained the reg, “Some of that money was used for the Oak Cove Building.”

“What do you mean?” said Joe, outraged. “I paid for the Superpower Building, not the Oak Cove Building.”

The reg tried to explain how the funds all went into a general building fund, and it was used for any of the Flag buildings and so on. But Joe was having none of it. He refused to contribute further. Now he’s quit the Church in protest of this and other outpoints.

Collecting money for one thing and then spending it on another could be called many things. Fraud is one of them.

The Church provides no transparency or accountability for the monies donated by public. But let’s look at a few of the facts we do have access to:

A poster at ESMB keeps track of the Cornerstone Newsletter, published several times a year, which provides complete lists of everyone who has donated $35,000 or more to the Superpower Building. It also lists their contributor status, which is ranked according to how much they have contributed, from Cornerstone Member ($35,000) to Legion of OT Meritorious ($7,500,000). By multiplying the number of contributors in each status by the minimum amount required for that status, we get a low-ball figure for the amount collected so far. Low-ball because it is the minimum amount, and does not account for those contributing more in that category or those contributing under $35,000. His total, as of two years ago, August 2007, was $ 142,760,000.

Now let’s contrast that with the Church’s statement to the St. Petersburg Times in a March, 2009 article.

“Wright [Bob Wright, a Scientology staffer overseeing construction] said the building has cost about $40 million so far, and the church expects to spend $50 million finishing its elaborate interior. He leafed through 800 sheets of construction drawings for it. ‘It’s been planned to within an inch of its life,’ he said.”

Do you see a discrepancy here? The Church, by its own newsletter figures, has regged over $140 million for the project, which is projected to cost $90 million. According to my figures, that’s $50 million unaccounted for. Fifty million dollars.

Where did that $50 million go? Well, part of it, according to Joe’s reg, went to the Oak Cove renovations. Part of it, we know from that same St. Pete Times article, went for over $245,000 in city fines levied for not bringing the empty shell up to code.

But let’s do a few other comparisons. According to this website, the average cost per square foot for office building construction in Florida is $135.00. This is for Miami, and they don’t list Tampa, but one can’t imagine Tampa costing more than Miami. But $90 million for 380,000 square feet, according to my calculations, is $236.00 per square foot. According to the same website, the most expensive office construction costs in the U.S. are in New York City, where it’s $200.00 a square foot. So why is this building so expensive? Waste? Mistakes? Changes? There’s no way to know, as there is no transparency, no accountability.

Now factor in the probability that the bulk of the interior construction will be done by RPF labor – people who are paid pennies an hour, live in mass dormitories, and eat communally. One would have to ask why the internal construction would cost that much. Scientologists should know how much labor is being done by RPF, not only because of cost, but as an ethical point. We object when WalMart or Nike use sweatshop labor, why not when Scientology does?

And what about executive compensation? David Miscavige reportedly pays himself a six-figure salary, despite having his housing, food, transportation, clothing and other expenses covered by the Church. And despite other Sea Org Members being paid about $50 a week. Where is that accounting?

How about some financial accountability from the Church of Scientology? Is that an unreasonable demand?

No, as a matter of fact, it isn’t. Other Churches and charities have faced similar issues, and have adopted standards of financial accountability and transparency.

This 2002 article in the New York Times notes that “20 percent of American congregations lose money to people entrusted with church finances,” and lists a number of instances of churches which faced issues of financial accountability. Executives from a number of churches were found guilty of ripping off hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions, from donations received from congregations for various church projects. In one case, extensively investigated by the Kansas City Star, church leaders had solicited funds from members for building projects which were never done, or which languished in an incomplete stage for years. Sound familiar?

Another article here, about another church, notes:

“The New Apostolic Church is one of very few remaining organisations that cloud its financial affairs in secrecy. Not even members of the church are allowed access to financial statements. No provision is made in the constitution of the New Apostolic Church International or, as far as we know, in any of the constitutions of the various Apostle Districts for financial reporting to members. Members experience a great deal of pressure to contribute ten percent of their gross income to the church. Yet the leaders of the church do not report to members on how their contributions are spent. This is an ideal situation for mismanagement of funds.”

Scientology is one of those “few remaining” organizations that provides no financial accounting of donations.

To guard against such financial abuses, several organizations have adopted standards of financial accountability. A compendium of standards, codes and best practices is here. Two of the best known are the standards of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Another is the Standards for Charitable Accountability of the Better Business Bureau.

Some of the key points are these:

Governance and Oversight: Having an active church board is stressed. At least some of the members of this board should be lay people, not organization staff. The BBB recommends that no more than one board member be directly compensated by the organization. The ECFA recommends a church board of at least five people, none of whom are staff, or related to staff. All agree that there should be lay oversight of church expenditures. The board authorizes a full yearly audit of the church’s finances and transactions.

Measuring Effectiveness: The board conducts a regular review, yearly or bi-yearly, of the organization’s performance and effectiveness and determines future actions required to achieve its mission. This board, by the way, also conducts a yearly review of the CEO’s or leader’s performance.

Finances: Complete annual financial statements, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, are to be prepared and published. Included in the financial statements is a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities.

Is this too much for Scientologists to ask of their Church?

Maybe there’s nothing wrong, you say. Maybe the Church is being fully responsible and ethical in its use of public donations.

Maybe.

But full transparency and accountability would show that too, wouldn’t it?
 
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