Lawyer Solicits Distant Relative in Money-Grab Plot

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ore than a year after Lisa McPherson’s death, and flanking the St. Petersburg Times’ inflammatory coverage, Tampa personal injury attorney Kennan Dandar “approached the family,” soliciting them to sue the Church of Scientology, according to McPherson’s aunt Dell Liebreich – undoubtedly promising mutual financial gain.

     Lisa McPherson’s mother, Fannie McPherson, wanted no part in it. However, Dandar – who may have set a record by filing 333 lawsuits in Hillsborough County alone, the majority of them automobile-related – found a partner in Liebreich. Evidence later proved her an emotionally distant relative who never cared for McPherson while she was alive but who was happy to rush forward with a claim for monetary damages immediately after the death of Lisa McPherson’s mother. Dell Liebreich soon became a tabloid star of the St. Petersburg Times’ ongoing campaign.

     Her actual motivation emerged in sworn testimony after filing the civil case. When asked why she and Fannie McPherson had not done anything to find out the results of the police department investigation, she asserted she had – but, as testimony revealed, it was only to “get a death certificate to sell Lisa’s car.”

Not sentimental

     After Lisa McPherson died in December 1995, Fannie McPherson and Dell Liebreich traveled to Clearwater to claim her belongings.

     The Church of Scientology, wanting to assist, gave Fannie more than $5,700 that McPherson had donated to the Church to cover costs of transporting her deceased daughter’s remains to Texas and the funeral. Brian Anderson, a friend of Lisa McPherson’s in addition to being a Church official, gave Fannie the check, and she hugged him in gratitude.

     Fannie and Liebreich collected Lisa McPherson’s furniture and other belongings, with the help of a number of McPherson’s friends who are Scientologists, and shipped them to Texas. At the time, Liebreich disclosed her personal interest in obtaining Lisa McPherson’s Jeep Cherokee – clearly not for sentimental purposes, but for as much money as possible.

     Throughout, Lisa McPherson’s mother expressed strong appreciation for the Church’s concern and help, Anderson noted, and for everything else that the Church and individual Scientologists had done. That included numerous personal expressions of compassion and support, as well as more than $11,400 in funds and other aid.

     “I just want to put this all behind us,” Fannie McPherson told Anderson. “We can’t bring Lisa back. I just want to let it go.”

Hungry for cash

     It was roughly a year after the funeral that tabloid media led by the Times descended upon Fannie McPherson. She wasn’t interested, knowing what her daughter would have wanted. The lies and innuendo with which she was surrounded may have contributed to Fannie falling ill and ending up in the hospital. Soon, she too was dead.

     Days later, Liebreich and Dandar filed their suit.

     Dandar’s entry into the arena and his almost instant networking with the anti-Scientology cabal (see “Illegal Acts by Clearwater Police Department”) might be explained by his relationship with Deputy Clearwater Police Chief Paul Maser, instrumental for years in police clandestine operations against the Church. Both men come from the same small town, where their relatives knew each other and even worked together. Growing up in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, in the 1950s, they attended school there, graduated from the same college, Penn State, in the 1970s, and moved to the Tampa Bay area around the same time. Dandar also handled litigation for the Maser family.

     But while Dandar may have been getting “inside” police help in pushing forward the case, his client’s testimony continued to offer up new revelations which cut down his own claims. Under oath, Liebreich was forced to reveal that she hardly knew her niece and was not interested in her when she was alive. “I didn’t see them [Fannie and Lisa] real often when they were younger because I was living out of state a lot of the time,” she said. She admitted to never speaking to Lisa McPherson during her adult life.

     And so it is that someone who scarcely knew Lisa McPherson ghoulishly exploited her death, for her own personal gain – demonstrating time and again that she cared not for Lisa McPherson herself, what happened to her, or her memory. END

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