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DECLARATION OF VICKI AZNARAN

I, VICKI AZNARAN, hereby declare as follows:

1. I am over 18 years of age and a resident of the State

of Texas. I have personal knowledge of the matters set forth

herein and, if called upon to do so, could and would competently

testify thereto.

2. From 1972 until 1987, I was a member of various Church

of Scientology ("Church") entities. During that time I held a

number of important positions in the corporate and ecclesiastical

hierarchy of the Church, including President of Religious

Technology Center ("RTC") In March of 1987, my husband Richard

Aznaran and I left our positions with the Church and returned

home to Texas from California.

3. On April 1, 1988, Richard and I filed a lawsuit against

several Church entities and individuals in the United States

District Court for the Central District of California. We have

now settled this case through direct negotiations with Church

representatives. This declaration details how we were driven to

settlement by the failure of our counsel to adequately litigate

our lawsuit and how we were forced to negotiate settlement

directly with representatives of the defendants due to our

counsels' failure to properly represent our interests when

defendants earlier had expressed interests in settlement.

4. Our lawsuit was filed on April 1, 1988 by the firm of

Cummins & White. The suit was finalized and prepared in a rush

in an attempt to get it filed before it was barred by the statute

of limitations.

5. Additionally, despite the fact that I then testified in

 

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deposition about the inaccuracies in the complaint, my counsel

did not amend my complaint to correct them. These uncorrected

falsehoods placed us at a serious disadvantage as they enabled

the defendants to seize upon these points to give the impression

that we were changing our testimony and deliberately stating

falsehoods.

6. Another defect in the complaint was the amount of money

requested, $70,000,000. Seventy million was a highly inflated

figure and in fact impaired efforts to settle as the amount was

so high. Shortly after the suit was filed, I pointed the high

amount out to counsel and was told that it could be adjusted

later. It never was.

7. Another liability to the successful prosecution of our

lawsuit was the fact that Cummins & White was disqualified

from representing us in our case on September 6, 1988.

8. Not being versed in the law, my husband and I relied

upon the representations of Barry Van Sickle and Cummins & White

that Cummins & White could properly serve as our counsel. This was

wrong. Nevertheless Cummins & White expended considerable

time and effort to defend their position in this regard, an

action which I now understand to have been fought more for their

own self-interest than for the advance of my lawsuit. In

September 1988 the District Court Judge disqualified Cummins & White

as our counsel, specifically finding that Cummins & White

was an extension of Yanny's continuing and improper involvement

in our case.

9. Because Cummins & White was disqualified, we were

without an attorney in our case for several months and our case

 

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was threatened with dismissal. We were forced to expend

considerable effort to find new counsel and get him up to speed

while the Church continued to litigate our case. To our

detriment, and due to the urgency of having to find counsel in an

already ongoing case, we were forced to obtain counsel without

the necessary resources to adequately litigate the case.

10. Barry Van Sickle's attempts to settle were very weak

and ineffective. In June 1991 Mr. Van Sickle reported to us that

he had an offer of $1,000,000 to settle our case and one other.

The offered amount for our case was $200,000 which we rejected as

being too low. It was a starting point but despite our efforts

to get Mr. Van Sickle to do so, he never succeeded in getting a

counter offer to us. Further, Mr. Van Sickle told us that we

would have to fire our existing attorney, Ford Greene, as the

Church supposedly refused to deal with him in settling the case.

As a result we did fire Mr. Greene. Then when Mr. Van Sickle

from Cummins & White failed to complete the settlement we were

again left without an attorney for a time as Cummins & White had

been ordered not to represent us in the case as covered earlier

in this declaration.

11. After being without counsel for several months, and

finding ourselves at a serious disadvantage in complex litigation

with the Church defendants, we re-hired Ford Greene to be our

counsel, based on an order from the Court.

12. It has been our experience that Greene seriously

neglected our lawsuit and systematically worsened its posture

until it became virtually impossible to salvage.

13. From approximately February 1989 onward Ford Greene was

 

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attorney of record in our lawsuit against the Church. During

that time he did virtually no offensive work on the case, and did

nothing of substance to advance our litigation position. Before

our case was ordered transferred to Dallas, Texas in August of

1992, Greene had only sent out two interrogatories and had did

not even take one deposition despite having obtained two

extensions of the discovery cut-off. Following the transfer

order, Mr. Greene did nothing whatsoever to actually get the case

files sent to Dallas, Texas. Meanwhile, no activity has taken

place in our case.

14. While representing us, Greene was consistently late in

filing papers and in several instances placed our case in serious

jeopardy by failing to file needed papers. For example, in

December 1990 he neglected.to oppose a major summary judgment

motion which the defendants had filed. He also failed to timely

file several mandatory pre-trial papers which could have

interfered with our ability to effectively put on our case at

trial.

15. It was reported to me by Barry Van Sickle that Mr.

Green smoked marijuana when he was picked up at the airport by

Rick Wynne, a Cummins & White attorney and driven to the office

of Cummins & White.

16. Furthermore, Greene did not communicate with us

regarding activities in our lawsuit and often could not be

contacted for extended periods of time. It is my belief that at

least one of these periods of non-communication was due to the

fact that he had entered a drug rehabilitation program without

even informing us that he intended to do so. Ford Greene did

 

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nothing effective to settle our case. In fact, he told me he was

worried about settling our case as my husband and I would no

longer be witnesses for Gerry Armstrong who is a client of Ford

Greene and involved in Scientology related litigation.

Additionally, he attempted to bill us for work which he did not

do.

17. In fact, Ford Greene solicited us to pay a monthly

stipend to him for Gerry Armstrong so he could work on our case.

Armstrong was precluded by an earlier agreement from working on

Church litigation.

18. Furthermore, like Cummins & White, Greene was aware of

the errors in the complaint and never prepared an amended

complaint. In fact, he "developed" the case so that the

defendants were able to accuse my husband and myself of

engineering several contradictory versions of the underlying

facts of the complaint. Thus Greene's "management" of the

complaint set us up so that we would be faced at trial with

seemingly contradictory positions which would undermine our

credibility.

19. Greene's inactivity, neglect, mismanagement, and

failure to communicate with us endangered our lawsuit. In our

view, Mr. Greene's failure to prosecute this case is tantamount

to malpractice. Based upon this history, we developed the

conviction that Greene would be unable to handle the trial.

While we would have preferred to get rid of Greene completely, we

hesitated to do so because we knew that it would be extremely

difficult for new counsel to rapidly learn the facts of the case

on the eve of the trial.

 

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20. In an attempt to resolve this dilemma, we hired John

Elstead to be our attorney with Ford Greene. Elstead was

recommended to us by Margaret Singer, a psychologist whom we

intended to use at trial. Like Greene, Elstead has also

neglected to prosecute or advance our case.

21. My husband and I have always been willing to settle our

lawsuit and, in fact, considered it likely that the case would

end through settlement rather than trial. In the summer of 1991

John Elstead contacted counsel for the defendants to see if there

was an interest in settlement. Rather than presenting an

acceptable demand, indicative of a serious interest in

settlement, Elstead demanded $3,300,000. This was rejected

immediately by defendants who did not consider it a serious

opening demand and did not treat it as a basis for negotiations.

22. In the late summer of 1992, after the case had been

ordered transferred to Dallas, Elstead met with the General

Counsel for the Church of Scientology International to discuss

settlement. He got nowhere.

23. Seeing that the viability of our lawsuit had been

seriously endangered through the neglect and malfeasance of our

attorneys, my husband and I felt compelled to take matters into

our own hands to resolve this litigation in our best interests.

In January of 1994 I spoke directly with Mike Rinder, a senior

executive of the Church of Scientology International concerning

settling the lawsuit. In the course of discussing settlement

with him in this and subsequent conversations, I came to realize

that my attorneys had blocked possible settlement for several

years. Consistently they failed to convey our true interest in

 

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negotiating a satisfactory end to the litigation. Shortly

thereafter, Graham Berry approached us to see if he could

negotiate a settlement on our behalf, by falsely claiming he had

been contacted by the church making settlement overtures.

Desperate to resolve this matter, I told him to go ahead.

Instead of making a serious offers, on February 16, 1994 Berry

demanded $3,600,000 for the settlement of our case along with

various threats that he was not authorized make. Again this was

not a serious attempt to settle.

24. Finally I communicated directly with a representative

of one of the Church of Scientology defendant organizations. It

was only when my attorneys were no longer need that both sides

were able to discover that our positions were not that far apart

and settlement talks were feasible.

25. In sum, it has been my observation that the counsel

which my husband and I have employed have not only prolonged the

litigation of our lawsuit, but have mishandled the development of

the case for trial, and interfered with the process of

settlement. By their actions described above, my counsel appear

to have consistently put their own interests above those of

myself and my husband and have failed to adequately carry out

their responsibilities as members of the Bar. I am convinced we

would not have been able to resolve our case had we not done so

directly with the Church.

///

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///

///

 

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I declare under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the

United States of America, and under the laws of each individual

state thereof, including the laws of the states of California and

Texas, that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed this 19th day of May, 1994 in Dallas, Texas.

  [signed]
VICKI J. AZNARAN

 

 

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