Man sues Tom Cruise, Scientology for $250 mil
Tom Cruise has been named in a $250 million lawsuit brought by a man in Southern District Court right here in Florida. Ex-Scientologist Peter Letterese says the church has been harrassing him since he left and has been stealing intellectual property rights from him, the New York Daily News reports.
The solution? Sue the entire church using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization law, which, if you've seen The Dark Knight (or any mafia movie made since the '70s), allows organizations to be indicted for crimes its members may have committed, hence Cruise's involvement.
"(Letterese) is just including a celebrity name to get attention," according to Paul Barresi, a private investigator who has worked for Cruise and gave the DN the court papers. Among Letterese's claims is that a Scientologist called his lawyer at home, telling the lawyer's wife he was her husband's homosexual lover when she answered the phone.
Letterese also states that CoS honcho David Miscavage is "aided and abetted by the actions of Tom Cruise, his right-hand man for foreign and domestic promotion, as well as for foreign and domestic lobbying. He has assisted the syndicate in acquiring funds and (made) his own donations of money believed to be in the multiple tens of millions of dollars."
The real issue seems to be that the church is using the business book Effective Sales Closing Techniques as part of its courses, the Daily News says. Letterese had bought the rights from author Leslie Dane's widow, so of course this must infringe his intellectual property rights.
Except that CoS spokeswoman Karin Pouw says that earlier in July a federal court had already ruled the church's use of the book was fair use, and that Letterese was fined $266,000 "by a California court for refusing to provide evidence to support many of the same allegations." Whoops.
"This is a frivolous suit based on falsehoods," Pouw told the Daily News. Not that the courts would know anything about that.
[Photo: TomKat at the U.S. MotoGP Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. Getty Images]