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Church produces purported letter from Hubbard

Title: Church produces purported letter from Hubbard
Date: Monday, 14 February 1983
Publisher: Associated Press
Main source:

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Church of Scientology officials Monday produced a second letter purportedly written by church founder L. Ron Hubbard, saying he is alive and well and believes his estate to be in good hands.

The handwritten letter was filed as part of a motion to dismiss the Riverside County Superior Court probate battle in which Hubbard's son, Ronald DeWolf, claims his father is either dead or incompetent.

DeWolf says church officials have been stealing millions of dollars from the 71-year-old Hubbard and is asking the court to name him trustee of the estate. DeWolf had his name changed after breaking away from his father and the church.

"I am alive and well and working at my own trade," said the four-page letter, addressed to "the judge presiding over the L. Ron Hubbard 'probate matters."

The letter, dated Feb. 3, notes that DeWolf hasn't seen his father since 1959 and "would not be in a position to know about me or the church or my activities or any related matters."

DeWolf's attorney, Michael Flynn of Boston, dismissed the letter as insignificant compared to evidence he said will show Hubbard's estate is being mishandled.

"We have a letter from (Hubbard lawyer) Sherman Lenske to a third party," in which Hubbard's physical status is discussed, said Flynn.

"I know he's alive and well. That's all I've ever said," Lenske said Monday, denying any letter could have indicated otherwise.

Church lawyers submitted an alleged Hubbard letter last week in the church's Los Angeles County Superior Court suit against former Hubbard assistant Gerald Armstrong. The church is trying to get back some 30,000 church documents it says Armstrong took.

The letter submitted Monday contained fingerprints that a court affidavit said were identified as Hubbard's by Donald Keir of the Los Angeles Police Department. Keir said Monday he couldn't talk about the matter until he checked with church attorneys. The letter was also validated by a handwriting expert, ink-dating specialist, and former document examiner from the county Sheriff's Department, Lenske said.

The letter said: "There should be no concern on your part about my health which is good, my existence or anything of the sort, because I simply have my work to do and I would risk breaking contracts if I did not complete it."

Hubbard is a best-selling science fiction writer and writings bearing his name have been published since his alleged 1980 disappearance.

"Any claim that my estate is being mishandled is false," the letter said. "My business affairs are handled by contract with a Hollywood-based company, Author Services Inc." It also said Hubbard has not been a church officer for 17 years.

Lenske and his brother, attorney Stephen Lenske, said Hubbard won't appear in person to prove he is in good health because he should not have to "dignify the allegations of a crazed man."

"The man wants to be left alone, he wants to be private," Sherman Lenske said.

The attorneys would not divulge whether they have had personal contact with Hubbard, nor whether they know his whereabouts.

The Church of Scientology also announced Monday it has filed a new version of a $42 million federal court suit against Flynn, who represents 28 former church members and others suing the church.

The suit claims Flynn tried to extort a $1.6 million legal settlement from the church by threatening to file more than 150 lawsuits against it.