I worked in Elmira with Harry and Avra for 12 years–both under Scientology and Avatar. I was there at Avatar’s birth and launched the first of many Avatar class on the west coast. I was very close to Avra, and considered her my best friend. I do not have any bones to pick with either Harry or Avra. I don’t want to get involved with any e-mail wars, and find no pleasure in watching people put each other down. However I must respond to some of the outrageous lies that I have read recently.
It seems that the hot topic is money. It always is with Harry. I know, because I was the registrar (read salesperson) and was pushed EVERY DAY to get money. More money than I got last week, and cash was king. (Always get cash.)
Harry bought bootleg Scientology programs and was selling courses that he was not authorized or trained to sell. Sell, sell sell. That was the motto. I pulled in thousands of dollars some weeks, tens of thousands others. It was my job to instruct people how to get loans to PRE PAY for courses they couldn’t take for years! (DO you get the fact that I know about the finances here?!)
There were so many people who re-mortgaged their houses, who begged and borrowed to the tune of thousands and tens of thousands of dollars. That money was to be on their “account” for future use. This was all happening while Harry was “non-profit”, and paying his employees $75.00 per week, a legal amount to pay people who work in a “church”. (By the way, we worked 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week.)
In the meantime, Harry and Avra were buying gems, silver and gold bars, Mikimoto pearls and stashing the cash out of sight. Scientology was getting closer to shutting his doors due to us delivering these courses that we were not trained to deliver.
Enter Avatar: it was exciting. The day he gave it to us was a day I will never forget. It was incredible. But then Harry wanted to charge people for it. These were people who had thousands of dollars on their accounts, but Harry said that that money was for Scientology courses, and Avatar wasn’t part of it, so he needed fresh money. Some people dug deeper and paid, many balked.
Shortly after, Harry announced that the “Scientology ship sank” and along with it went the money held in accounts. (Hundreds of thousands of dollars by now.) These people couldn’t even get the Scientology courses! Can you imagine why there was so much upset? I know of two people getting reimbursed pennies on the dollar. Each check had a clause written on the back above the endorsement stating that signing the check would mean that they would never ever try to sue Harry or speak disparingly about him. Only one signed it.
Shortly after, Harry stopped all negotiations, putting a stop to all communications. So, if you believe Harry that he has given students their money, please ask them for their names. The only crime isn’t that he kept money, but consider also the money he did not pay his staff who thought they were doing a sacred service (while Harry got rich).
I saw a post recently where Harry said he visited a lot of friends when he visited Elmira, and he even has godchildren here. My daughter is Harry and Avra’s godchild (she has Avra’s middle name) and she has not heard from them since she was 2. She just turned 17 last month. The biggest issue here is not the money. It’s a matter of principles and public relations.
If you believe that Harry has NOT left a mess in Elmira, then you are blind. Ask a few questions. It won’t detract from the gains you may have from Avatar, but it may keep you from buying into this HOLY HARRY image he is so good at creating.
Harry has never said he was sorry, or spoken from his heart to any of the students or staff (who, by the way, were intensly devoted and would have walked through hoops of fire for him, me being one of them).
He has never taken responsibility for what happened. I suspect the reason is that he believes he did no wrong (and is convincing you of that too). Sociopaths are like that. They lie. They are also harming, clever, creative, personable and have this ability to excite people to join in group thinking. They are also sick and do insidious things to manipulate for their benefit. (Hitler is a good example.) And as long as there are needy people, there will be someone with their hands in their pockets profiting from someone else’s weakness.
Harry is a master. There are only a few people speaking up, but believe me, there are many who, like myself just want to get on with their lives and you will never hear their stories. Generally, when you speak out, Harry’s method of deflecting is by saying something negative about the person, something to put them down, something shocking to control them and introvert them. That was/is his MO.
He often would reveal something quite personal and private not to mention confidential about a person. But no matter what Harry can get his new followers to believe happened in Elmira, there are people who’s lives were affected by the money issues and the tremendous betrayal of trust by him and Avra.
Any true “master” would care enough clean up any unfinished business before they get to the end of their lives. Because it is the only right and truly spiritual thing to do.