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L. Ron Hubbard's estate trustee died in 2019 and Scientology didn't want anyone to know
Bit of a bombshell from Mitch Brisker last night at his YouTube channel: He says that Norman Starkey, former captain of the yacht Apollo and L. Ron Hubbard’s trustee, died back in 2019 and Scientology has kept the news suppressed ever since.
We reached out to a few people to get some reactions.
Hana Whitfield, a fellow South African, met Starkey when she first joined Scientology at the Johannesburg org.
“Norman was on staff there. He was bright, chipper, cocky, full of life,” she says. She left later to serve posts in Los Angeles and then with Sea Org, becoming captain of the Avon River while Starkey was serving with Hubbard on the flagship.
“He did pretty well. Hubbard liked the type of man that he was. Brusque, ready to do it all. Results were all for Hubbard,” Hana says with a laugh.
But the memory of Starkey that has stuck with her, she says, happened when she first joined.
“After I first joined Scientology and left nursing, we were both staying at the home of a staff member. She had a bunch of us students and staff sleeping over at her house. One night Norman tried to make it into my bed. And I was like, get the fuck away from me, Norman,” she says. “No damn way. I pushed him out. I think he was half asleep. He rolled out of bed and was gone. I wasn't having it. That sort of stuck him in my memories.”
She says that Starkey really came into his own as a Scientology executive with the restructuring of corporations in 1981. “He got a big role as top of ASI for quite a while. And from that point on, he was a big wig. He was one of the head honchos.”
Also, she says, he was willing to subjugate himself to David Miscavige, the new leader.
“I don't think Norman ever really much squabbled with Miscavige. I think Miscavige made his pitch and took over, and Starkey was happy to hold on to a subordinate role, I got that impression.”
One of the most vivid images of Starkey was provided by Mike Rinder in his book A Billion Years, when Norman caused a bit of a scene at Tom Cruise’s 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes…
Norman Starkey, the executor of the estate of L. Ron Hubbard and Miscavige’s sidekick for years at ASI, was taken out of the Hole by Miscavige to perform as minister for Tom Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes. As a former captain of the Apollo and Hubbard’s executor, he had high status and Miscavige had talked him up to Cruise through the years. Though internally labeled a Suppressive Person, Starkey was flown to Italy to participate in the so-called wedding of the century. He got drunk at the reception and tried to hit on Brooke Shields. Brooke’s husband, Chris Henchy, complained to Miscavige.
Starkey was sent back from Italy in disgrace and everyone in the Hole was punished for what he had done—because it was our fault that we had not handled him. Even for the twisted thinking of the Hole, it was bizarre. How could we be responsible for what Starkey had done in Italy while under the direction of Miscavige? Another piece of the puzzle fell into place. (This wedding was also the beginning of the end for Leah Remini, as it was where she famously asked Tommy Davis, “Where is Shelly?” And he just as famously responded, “You don’t have the fucking rank to ask about Shelly.”)
That’s a classic.
We asked Mike for his thoughts on the news that Starkey has been gone so long.
“It’s pretty incredible how they keep these things under wraps!” he says.
”He was the ‘Trustee’ of Hubbard's estate. Once CST got tax exemption, the instructions in the will were able to be carried out and he had no further duties with respect to Hubbard's ‘legacy,’” Mike adds. “He remained at ASI for some time, but I don’t recall exactly how long he was there and whether it was beyond 93 or not?”
Like Mike, Starkey ended up in Miscavige’s prison, the Hole, at least until he was needed at the Cruise wedding.
But despite those high positions, and his role at the Cruise wedding, Starkey’s passing was kept quiet by Miscavige. Our thanks to Mitch Brisker for bringing the news out.
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