Man who left Portland Church of Scientology sues for $30,000 allegedly pre-paid for religious training

The Oregonian/October 1, 2014

By Aimee Green

A man who says he no longer wanted to be a member of the Church of Scientology of Portland -- then asked for $30,340 that he had on the church books -- is suing to get his money back.

Robert Dietz’s lawsuit, filed this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court, states that in 2013 he “decided to cease membership in the Church for personal reasons which are not germane to this suit.”

At that point, however, Dietz already had pre-paid $30,340.41 toward his future religious education at the church, according to the suit. Dietz, a chiropractor who lives in Gresham, had been a member of the church for 23 years, said his Portland attorney, Loren Drew Gramson.

“In order to advance within the Church of Scientology organization, members are required and encouraged to purchase various training packages, products, and counseling services from the Church,” the suit reads.

“Plaintiff was encouraged by the Church to pre-pay for the Church’s goods and services by placing funds on deposit with the local organization, on the understanding and agreement that any such funds not used would be returned to plaintiff should he decide to forgo further offerings by the Church pursuant to longstanding Church policy,” the suit states.

But when Dietz asked for the return of his $30,341 -- money he hadn’t yet used for training, products or counseling -- the church didn’t pay up, his suit claims.

Dietz’s suit states that the money was separate from any charitable donations he might have made to the church.

Dietz's attorney, Gramson, said his client had another $16,000 or in pre-paid services or products, but that money was refunded by a national branch of the church in Florida.

A message left with the church’s Portland headquarters at Southwest Third Avenue and Oak Street wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.

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