Co-Producing Co-Conspirators

The Remini, Ortega, Rinder Posse are Outed by Their Former “Kingpin”

So at one point Leah Remini told me she had… after two years of careful work through her publicist and Rinder and Ortega, successfully come up with unlimited financial backing to go after Scientology and she was going to create a production to do so. And she told me that she was so well backed that I could write my own ticket to participate as a producer.

These are the words of Marty Rathbun, who in the past has been the self-styled “kingpin” and driving force among the anti-Scientology cadre of Mike Rinder, Tony Ortega and more recently Leah Remini.

His quote accurately describes the genesis of Remini’s biased show that masquerades as a documentary—co-produced by her and Rinder with advisement from Ortega.

Earlier this year, Rathbun had a falling-out with this troika of hatemongers, who had counted on him to once again be the point man—the “Kingpin”—in their money-inspired campaign against Scientology. When he refused Remini’s offer of a producer position on her A&E program—calling the show a “cheap, tabloid-esque pile-on”—the rift was complete.

“Leah would act as if she had been persecuted by Scientology for having all this information about it. All the while she was orchestrating and having her agents create this story of her leaving… It was a sting operation to get Scientology to react to her.”

He punctuates his feelings about Remini’s planned and publicized exit from the Church with this comment to Radar Online: “Leah would act as if she had been persecuted by Scientology for having all this information about it. All the while she was orchestrating and having her agents create this story of her leaving… It was a sting operation to get Scientology to react to her.”

Rathbun today is a key witness to the cynical planning of the A&E “docuseries” featuring Remini and a host of other disgruntled former Scientologists, whom Rathbun refers to as the “Anti-Scientology Cult (ASC).” He claims that “every idea that emanates from the ASC emanates from those three [Remini, Rinder and Ortega] … so with all three of the ‘troika,’ I’ve had personal experience that tells me the primary motivation is money.”

He’s recorded his knowledge of their plans, their unsavory traits, and their rank manipulation of show participants, in a 27-part video series on YouTube, “Leah Remini and Her Troublemakers.”

And he ought to know, having worked closely with Rinder and Ortega for many years, very often planning the attacks and the false media onslaughts himself. His knowledge of Rinder is deeply personal—having worked with him both inside and outside the Church for decades—and the picture Rathbun paints is brutally accurate.

Mike Rinder, since he’s left the Church of Scientology, has never had a job, or never had employment, or never lifted a finger to do anything that wasn’t related to anti-Scientology work, that wasn’t paid for by people that were interested in seeing Scientology’s oxes (sic) gored.

And who is Mike Rinder? Know him by his deeds. These include abandoning his wife and children, refusing to financially support them, and ignoring his son who was under treatment for cancer. They also include physically abusing his wife on April 23, 2010, to the point where she faces a lifetime of pain and disability due to his attack.

“He pulled her arm out,” says Rinder’s daughter Taryn, who witnessed the attack. “So now, years later, every day she’s in pain, every single day. She had surgery and she’ll never have proper function of it.”

Mike Rinder and his wife's arm after Mike beat her

Rinder also came close to breaking his brother’s finger that day, and all of it because his family had come great distances to talk to him in Clearwater, Florida.

And what was Rinder doing in Clearwater? He was there to perpetrate an anti-Church publicity scam, which Marty Rathbun admits to concocting himself.

Mike Rinder says that he moved to Clearwater so that he would be visible to his son Benjamin, who was working in Clearwater, Rathbun recalls. I was there… He moved to Clearwater because I got him a free ride gig with a guy who would pay him to do nothing but talk about Scientology. Nothing to do with Benjamin, his son…. Rinder took great offense to the fact that the Church was responding to him attacking the Church by saying, well, he left his kids behind and doesn’t care about them, right? And he would bemoan that over and over and over again.
And so I said, “Hey, if it bothers you that much that people are saying that, why don’t we go down and attempt to see your kid? The Church isn’t going to let us and therefore we can put it on tape, and it can show that you did have concern for your kid, but they didn’t allow it to happen.”
Oh, Rinder was all happy about that. That sounds great. It had nothing to do with seeing his kid.

Rinder’s son Benjamin refused to see his father for obvious reasons and explained that to the police, which derailed his anti-Church gambit. This was Rinder’s state of mind when he attacked his wife and family.

And now, as co-producer of an anti-Scientology dog-and-pony show, Rinder uses that platform to continue the abuse of his family, according to Marty Rathbun:

Mike Rinder is literally being paid by Leah Remini to go up there and denigrate and call his kids a bunch of mindless automatons and then have the temerity to say, “Hey, this is all I can do. I’m doing this for my children.” It’s really sick. It’s really twisted.

Rinder’s history of violence is not limited to his family. During his time in the Church, he physically abused female co-workers repeatedly.

“He had called me into his office one day,” recalls Gail Armstrong, “and he just got extremely impatient, stood up and literally shoved me. He grabbed my shoulders, shoved me against the wall and just body-slammed me … as his reaction to my not being able to answer his question.”

This is not an isolated incident. Fully 16 persons have gone on record describing Rinder’s abusiveness and sheer incompetence during his time in the Church.

One of those wild phantasms was his plot to bilk $1 billion from the Church in a doomed litigation scam.

“There is no need for a court order if the church decides to write you a check,” Rinder wrote to his benefactor, Robert Almblad. “They will do that if they think the consequences of not doing so are too gruesome to confront… Depending on how many people we can sign up, I bet it’s over $100 million in a settlement and god knows what if we go to trial…”

What he and his cohorts got from this scam was zilch. In his deposition of January 6, 2015, Rinder admitted recruiting potential plaintiffs for his billion-dollar scheme against the Church. One of his recruits was Leah Remini. Having no merit, the claim went nowhere.

And so, try, try again—which brings us to the Remini “docuseries” on which Rinder is a consultant and co-producer. It must make him a bit dizzy when he recalls how, during his time in the Church, he castigated people for doing what he himself now does.

Consider this 1994 declaration that Rinder made under penalty of perjury describing the conduct of anti-Scientologists attacking the Church for money, and see if he’s not accurately describing the Mike Rinder of today:

These people have gathered around them a few others who are bitter and harbor an unabiding [sic] resentment of Scientology and what it stands for and for their own failures in the Church. They view the Church as their “lottery ticket” and pursue their jackpot with lies and threats at the expense of millions of happy and satisfied members who support the Church with their time and donations… The tactic is as transparent as it is unconscionable—spread venom in the hope that the victims of the hate campaign will eventually be forced to buy their silence so the Church can get on with its real purpose of expanding the Scientology religion and helping more people.

The third leg of this vindictive “troika” is Tony Ortega, famous only for his desperate defense of an insidious website—Backpage.com—a human sex slavery ad platform which enabled pedophiles to connect with underage girls.

Backpage is under Senate investigation for pimping, money laundering, and for providing a user connection to an underage runaway girl who was murdered. Its salacious advertising accounted for the great majority of profits enjoyed by The Village Voice, the once-revered alternative publication co-founded in 1955 by Norman Mailer.

Ortega defended Backpage by attacking other journalists, law enforcement and even Congress for their efforts to stop the site’s underage sex trafficking. His chief target was the Church of Scientology, which engaged in a years-long opposition to the Voice and Backpage.

So incessant was Ortega’s anti-Scientology bent in The Village Voice that its owners fired him. And when that happened, he sought help from the “Kingpin,” Marty Rathbun.

Ortega defended Backpage by attacking other journalists, law enforcement and even Congress for their efforts to stop the site’s underage sex trafficking.

“He flew all the way down to south Texas, to my home,” Rathbun recalls, “and he had just got fired from The Village Voice, which he had sort of converted into this anti-Scientology platform for two years…. The Village Voice had been… investigated by law enforcement of human trafficking and promoting the child sex slave industry by its Backpage [Backpage.com] ads…. He told me that Scientology had been exposing that. And he said the problem is that Scientology was more accurate than anybody thought.”

And so we have the Tony Ortega of today, blogging his resentment for Scientology while vengefully gushing over the Remini “docu-series.” It is a fitting final chapter to a disreputable career that has been called “disgraceful” by journalist Gay Talese and fiercely castigated in the Columbia Journalism Review as “inexcusable.”

Ortega demonstrated his lack of character early by using his Savannah High School paper in Anaheim, California, to promote himself. At this time he wrote articles heavily laced with sexual innuendoes, and when teachers complained, he wrote an article libeling the school’s faculty. That got him suspended.

In a preview of things to come, Ortega started a leaflet campaign against the faculty that morphed into a lawsuit. He applied for a temporary restraining order to the suit and demanded $10,000 in damages. It was all for naught.

Ortega didn’t score his first journalism job until he was 32, when New Times Media hired him and he set sail on a career of fake news.

One story, written under the pseudonym “Antoine Oman,” claimed falsely that NBC-TV was prepping a reality show called “Survive This!” in which he named women who had been sexually assaulted as participants in stalking convicted sex offenders.

When other news outlets asked NBC if it was true, the network harshly denied it, inspiring Ortega to write a follow-up tale in which “Oman” is fired.

In any other reputable publication, Ortega would have gone the way of “Oman,” but not New Times Media. The company that owed most of its profits to Backpage’s pimping ads gave Ortega the editorship of their flagship publication, The Village Voice. And for the rest of his tenure there, Ortega did his best to harass Scientology while defending Backpage.

Now, with his crowded hour of glory behind him, Ortega continues his anti-Scientology rhetoric in his little blog.

“Tony Ortega trolls day in and day out on his blog,” muses Marty Rathbun. “That’s all he does. So from the beginning, the whole thing’s a sham.”

Why does he get away with it? Rathbun has the answer:

Tony will run anything, because he’s got nothing to lose, because he’s a nobody with a blog. Scientology, nobody else is going to waste their time suing a guy who can never make good on whatever damage he does in the first place, and can blog from a shopping cart in an alley as well as he can from... whatever apartment he’s living in now. So he’s literally got immunity from that respect to libel. And what he’ll do is, he’ll put out the sleaziest, most criminal innuendo… and keep repeating it enough with the intention the tabloids at some point will start to pick it up… He’ll keep feeding the tabloid with the intention that, ultimately, in this degraded age of infotainment and click-bait news, the “legitimate” media will pick up on it.


Related Topics