The following article by Jeff Yates was published today in the Jornal Metro of Montreal
Here is the link
The Church of Scientology of Montreal owes nearly $ 117,000 to the City in unpaid property taxes for the building it owns on Sainte-Catherine Street in the heart of the Latin Quarter. Les Affaires and Métro investigated this building to become a kind of cathedral of Scientology, but which remains unoccupied.
Les Affaires and Métro learned that the Church of Scientology has always $ 62,563 for his property taxes in 2014. For those of 2015, the amount payable reaches $ 117,132, confirmed the City. Of this amount, $ 62,756 must be paid before 1 June The outstanding amount for the first payment of the year, which should have been paid on March 2, thus reaches $ 54,376.
The total outstanding amount currently reached $ 116,939. They are so close to $ 180,000 as the Church of Scientology should pay in total by June 1st.
Interest shall accrue “all day,” do we confirmed to the City. Contacted at the end of day Monday, or the Mother Church in California or the Montréal sector have issued comments concerning unpaid taxes.
In 2007 the Church of Scientology of Montreal buys the building La Patrie, which then belongs to the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), for $ 4.25m. The property must then be transformed into “Ideal Org” [ideal organization], a place of worship coupled to an ultra-modern center services.
But while the Church says raise money from its members to achieve its renovation project, it is clear that it can not pay property taxes.
For if the current premises of the Church on Papineau Street, in the Plateau-Mont-Royal, enjoy exemption from property taxes paid to places of worship, the building La Patrie is taxed at the normal rate, as it is empty.
An unused building
Almost eight years after the purchase, the Borough of Ville-Marie confirms that according an inspection in June 2014, no renovation has yet been undertaken. The borough also received, on 25 June 2014, a complaint from a citizen who heard a “popping sound round the clock” in the building. A technician was dispatched to the scene could see that it was a fire alarm that rang incessantly because of low batteries.
Asked about the future of the building a few weeks ago, Jean Larivière of the Montreal branch of the Church of Scientology, confirmed that the project still held: “[The project] is still on track and still raises the enthusiasm of our religious community. […] We are in line to make fundraising [sic] to fund the renovations. ”
Yet in 2009, La Presse quoted the same man who said then be “still in the preliminary stages and fundraising.” The project had already been postponed from 2008 to 2009. Then in 2010, according to Le Devoir, work had still not begun. They were then carried in 2011.
Same thing in 2013, while the same newspaper headlined “The Church of Scientology’s expansion project in Montreal he would be paralyzed?”. Several church leaders had then said no. But two years later, things have not changed.
So, why a group which is struggling to pay his property taxes and carry out renovations he stubbornly buy property?
According to the former spokesman of the Mother Church in Los Angeles, California, Mike Rinder, the central management chooses buildings, often in spite of the needs on the ground, but these are local organizations that must find funding to buy and renovate. That is why many of these projects in the world seem to trample.
“I am convinced that the organization of Montreal has no idea what it does. They are told what to do from Los Angeles, and they therefore can not sell the building or renovation plans changed without the approval of the leaders. They have little room for maneuver, “he said by email.
“It would not surprise me if they had enough members to purchase buildings in the 2000s, it became more difficult for them to raise funds for renovations, because
many people around the world have left [Scientology] in 2007 or 2008. “- Tony Ortega, American journalist investigating the Church of Scientology since 1995
According to the journalist and editor of the news website Raw Story Tony Ortega, who is investigating the Church since 1995, the Central Church sells to local organizations the idea that the construction of an Ideal Org allow their community gain new members.
“They say,” When you have your Ideal Org, we will promote it, you will have an explosion of new members, and it will be a golden era for Scientology in your city. “But what we see in cities where we opened buildings of this kind is that they are empty, “he says. In short, the mystery surrounds the future of the six-storey building of Montreal.
On the website of the Central Church of Scientology, one can find a list of buildings located around the world and destined to become Ideal Org. Montreal is listed. It is claimed that these buildings will be completed “in 2014 or 2015″.
Thank you Jeff Yates.
Screenshot made with Grabilla