In early June 2016, after he announced to the world outside of scientology that Kevin and Barbara Wilson were going to become the new Executive Director (“ED”) and Deputy Executive Director (“D/ED”) of the Valley “Ideal” Org (“Thursday Funnies,” June 2, 2016), Mike Rinder asked a prophetic question:
“Wonder what is going to happen to their incredible WISE business.”
Quite a bit has been going on for Kevin Wilson; likewise, I’ve been busy, so much so that a judge’s decision against Mr. Wilson’s WISE business almost went unnoticed. I blogged, however, on the initial court proceedings (“Has an Ex-Client and Declared Suppressive Person Taken Sterling Management Systems to Court on a Technicality?” January 23, 2016).
Since the late 1980’s or so, Kevin C. Wilson has been the Chairman of the Board (“COB”), Sterling Management Systems (“SMS”); his wife, Barbara, its President. SMS’s purpose is to help their clients—including Certified Public Accountants, Chiropractors, Dentists, Optometrists, Orthodontists, Physical Therapists, Podiatrists and Veterinarians—achieve their goals through the precise application of L. Ron Hubbard’s (“LRH”) “technology” of scientology. In order to practice what they preach, SMS has been approved by the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (“WISE,” a Church of Scientology organization whose headquarters are in Los Angeles, California). In return, SMS pays dues to WISE; professionals who sign up for the SMS business program are expected to sign up for services (training and spiritual counseling) at their nearest so-called “church” of scientology.
From about 1987 to 1994, I worked for SMS, holding numerous posts including:
- Audits Officer (who provides everything an Accountant will need in order to prepare an annual tax return).
- Director of Disbursements (who pays bills and handles expenses).
- Bills Payment Officer (the person who receives and keeps track of all bills incurred by the organization).
- Acting Treasury Secretary (the “Treas Sec” is over the departments which handle Income, Disbursements and Records, which includes Audits).
- Flag Banking Officer (“FBO”) Assistant (an “FBO” can be likened to a Chief Finance Officer, or “CFO”).
- Secretary, and the Treasury Division representative, to the Advisory Council (“Ad Council”).
I got into scientology in 1977 and left for good in 2014. In the 1980’s, while working at SMS, the scientology cruise ship, the MV Freewinds hired me, temporarily, to head an Audits Project for both the Majestic Cruise Lines (“MCL”) and the Flag Ship Service Org (“FSSO”).
I had great fun working during what SMS might refer to as their “Golden Age”: one week in 1988, I filled in for Cynthia Manning who, at that time, wore the hat of FBO. While Mrs. Manning went on vacation, I received all monies collected that week for SMS services: I banked, to the penny, a little over $400,000.00.
SMS rode that wave for a while, even after the May 6, 1991, TIME magazine expose on scientology and SMS (“Scientology: The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power,” by Richard Behar).
On April 3, 2014, Dr. Robert L. Meinders (of the Back Pain Clinic, located at 5206 W. Main Street, in Belleville, Illinois) filed a class action lawsuit against the Emery Wilson Corporation (“EWC”), doing business as Sterling Management Systems. The lawsuit stipulated that SMS had violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by sending him faxes—unsolicited junk mail—which TCPA seeks to protect businesses from getting. Mr. Meinders—who is an ex-client of SMS and might be an ex-member of the church of scientology who has been declared “Suppressive”—asked, through his lawsuit, that damages and costs be paid by SMS for each TCPA violation, not just to Mr. Meinders, but to any SMS client who received such a fax.
Little did I know the potential damage of such a lawsuit. Mr. Meinders filed his complaint with the Circuit Court for the 20th Judicial Court, in the State of Illinois.  When SMS petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), hoping to obtain a retroactive pardon for any faxes they may have sent in violation of TCPA,  Mr. Meinders sent his comments, along with a supplement, to the Federal agency. 
Less than two months after SMS petitioned the FCC, the name “Kevin Wilson” appeared in a promotional piece (“Thursday Funnies,” January 22, 2015) for the church of scientology’s Valley “Ideal” org. Mr. Wilson may have begun to distance himself from SMS by a seminar he gave at that Org on January 19, 2015.
Photo #1 Caption: On January 19, 2015, Kevin Wilson delivered a seminar at scientology’s Valley Org, located in North Hollywood, California. (Photo courtesy Mike Rinder’s Blog, “Something Can Be Done About It.”)
According to the Truth About Scientology and the January 19 seminar’s promo piece, Mr. Wilson has spent a lot of time moving up scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom.” He went “Clear” at the American Saint Hill Organization (“ASHO”), located in Los Angeles; at the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (“AOLA”), he completed Operating Thetan (“OT”) Levels (spiritual counseling): OT III, New OT IV and New OT V; at Flag, scientology’s East Coast headquarters, located in Clearwater, Florida, he did Super Power, and the “L’s,” or L 10, L 11, and L 12 Rundowns (spiritual counseling); at the Freewinds, Mr. Wilson completed New OT VIII.
WISE didn’t waste any time declaring Mr. Wilson “Member of the Year for 2015.”
In early February, the court denied SMS’s motion to stay, or to halt any further legal process in the matter of Mr. Meinders’s lawsuit.
In early March, as the “Co-Chairman for St. Hill Size Pasadena Org” (located in Pasadena, California), Mr. Wilson began rooting for the scientology community to make the Pasadena Org go “St. Hill” size (“COB Has Spoke: Pasadena Is Bestest,” March 6, 2015).
The FCC responded to SMS’s waiver request by granting their waiver.  The FCC ruling, however, doesn’t appear to have affected the court proceedings at the State level.
Mr. Wilson hosted an event for the benefit of scientology’s Santa Barbara Org (“How to Create Wealth and Manage Your Finances with LRH Tech!”). As noted on a promotional piece for the event (“Irony Alert,” January 18, 2016), Mr. Wilson had completed a scientology service called the “Cause Resurgence” Rundown; perhaps he had spent the last few months of 2016 doing that Rundown at Flag. Santa Barbara Org, incidentally, wants to go “St. Hill” size. A follow-up promotional piece (“Santa Barbara: The Results Are In,” January 25, 2016) stated that event attendees actually donated over $4,000 toward paying off the Org’s mortgage (with $290,000.00 more to go).
Photos #2 and #3 Caption: The first picture is a flier for the January 16, 2016, Finance Workshop that Kevin Wilson delivered at scientology’s Santa Barbara Org, located in Santa Barbara, California. The second photo proclaims that event’s results. (Photos courtesy Mike Rinder’s Blog, “Something Can Be Done About It.”)
Later that month, I blogged the court’s proceedings in Meinders versus SMS from the year before.
In late April 2016, Mr. Wilson hosted an event for the benefit of scientology’s Valley Org (“How to Create & Continue Your Ultimate Prosperity & Success”). A promotional flier (“Thursday Funnies,” April 21, 2016) for the “OT Hatting Seminar” proclaimed the Freewinds as a co-sponsor.
Photo #4 Caption: On April 24, 2016, Kevin Wilson delivered a seminar at scientology’s Valley Org. (Photo courtesy Mike Rinder’s Blog, “Something Can Be Done About It.”)
A recap of an event held at the Valley Org on May 27, 2016, announced that not only are Kevin and Barbara Wilson the newest “Humanitarians” for that Org, but that they’ve signed on to become Valley “Ideal” Org executives. The flier (“Thursday Funnies,” June 2, 2016), incidentally, states that the Wilsons have joined staff at the Valley’s “Day” Org, which indicates that there’ll be a different ED and D/ED for the Valley “Foundation,” or evening Org.
In early June 2016, Mr. Wilson appeared as special guest speaker at a two-day event for the benefit of scientology’s Greater Cincinnati Org. A promotional flier (“Thursday Funnies,” June 2, 2016) described it as an “Ethics & Finance Convention.” Kevin and Barbara Wilson used to be ED and D/ED, respectively, of the Cincinnati Mission (“COB Has Spoke: Pasadena Is Bestest,” March 6, 2015).
Photo #5 Caption: In June 2016, Kevin Wilson spoke at a convention at scientology’s Greater Cincinnati Org, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo courtesy Mike Rinder’s Blog, “Something Can Be Done About It.”)
On June 21, 2016, United States District Judge Staci M. Yandle ruled in favor of the Plaintiff in the case of Dr. Robert L. Meinders, D.C., Ltd., versus The Emery Wilson Corporation d/b/a Sterling Management Systems. 
As a result, the court granted Dr. Meinders’s Class Action Complaint against SMS.
On June 25, 2016, at about 6:00 PM, a Process Server threw in my direction a bogus Temporary Restraining Order (“Scientology the Bully—Part 1—CH-100—A Request for Civil Harassment Restraining Order Against Me,” June 28, 2016). A scientologist—a Sea Org member—filed that TRO against me, something for which scientology dropped and settled out of court (no money exchanged hands). Their actions did, however, distract me from reporting regularly as a Photojournalist from the Pacific Area Command (“PAC”) Base, located in Los Angeles.
The Class Action Lawsuit
If you’ve ever expressed an interest in a Sterling Management Systems service or product (such as a seminar, book or business consulting), your name has been added to SMS’s Central Files (“CF”). SMS employees create and maintain CF; a database reflecting CF is how SMS communicates to their existing public. If you’ve ever asked to be removed from SMS’s CF or if you’re an SMS customer who has “gone legal” on them, your name has been removed from CF and now lies in what’s called their Dead Files (“DF”).
If you were either in SMS’s CF or DF, and received, without your consent, one or more faxes from SMS advertising its service and goods in the four years prior to April 3, 2014, you are an Interested Party in Dr. Meinders’s Class Action Lawsuit against The Emery Wilson Corporation, dba Sterling Management Systems.
- Re: Dr. Robert L. Meinders D.C., Ltd. v. Emery Wilson Corp., No. 14-CV-596-SMY-SCW, 2016 BL 198888 (S.D. Ill. June 21, 2016).
- Class Representative: Dr. Robert L. Meinders D.C., LTD.
- Plaintiff Class Counsel: Attorneys Phillip A. Bock, Christopher Tourek, James Smith, Jonathan Piper and the law firm Bock & Hatch, LLC.
- Bock & Hatch, LLC, 134 North La Salle Street, Suite 1000, Chicago, Illinois 60602.
- Telephone: (312) 658-5500.
What a Class Action Lawsuit Might Mean to Sterling Management Systems
While it’s too early to know what such a lawsuit may mean to SMS, it’s educational and informative to look at other recent class action settlements. (The settlements have been arranged in date order, from oldest to newest.)
As of July 2014, Healthtap, Inc., an online health information company, settled their junk fax class action lawsuit. The lawsuit covered faxes sent by Healthtap for their services from 2011 to 2012. The settlement: a cash payment of up to $75.00, or up to $495.00 in free services. The cash payment “may be reduced pro rata if the number of claims exceeds the $500,000 class action settlement fund for cash payments.” 
As of November 2014, Burger King Worldwide Inc. settled their unsolicited fax class action lawsuit to the tune of $8.5 million. The lawsuit covered a period from 2009 to 2014, with faxes to nearly 100,000 people. Cash benefits of up to $500.00 per fax (with a maximum of eight such documents) will be made available per claimant. 
As of September 2015, PharMerica Corporation settled their junk fax class action lawsuit. The lawsuit covered faxes sent between 2009 and 2013; a claim of up to $300.00 per fax may be requested. 
As of November 2015, Stryker Sales Corporation, Stryker Corporation, Stryker Biotech LLC, and Howmedica Osteonics Corp. settled their junk fax class action lawsuit. Howmedica TPA agreed to pay almost $6.85 million. 
As of December 2015, Alma Lasers settled their junk fax class action lawsuit. Alma Lasers agreed to pay almost $4.5 million and includes anyone who received an unsolicited fax from them during the period of 2008 to 2015. 
As of January 2016, Zimmer Dental settled their junk fax class action lawsuit. Zimmer Dental agreed to pay almost $1.6 million. 
 “Class Action Complaint,” filed April 3, 2014, by Dr. Robert L. Meinders, D.C., Ltd., versus The Emery Wilson Corporation d/b/a Sterling Management Systems.
 “Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Seeks Comment on Petitions for Waiver of the Commission’s Rule on Opt-Out Notices on Fax Advertisements,” Federal Communications Commission, November 28, 2014.
 “Dr. Robert L. Meinders, D.C., Ltd. Supplement to its Prior Comments on the Emery Wilson Corporation d/b/a Sterling Management Systems’ Petition for Waiver,” filed before the Federal Communications Commission, circa May 19, 2015, courtesy the Angry Gay Pope.
 “Order,” August 28, 2015, by the Federal Communications Commission.
 “Memorandum and Order,” June 21, 2016, Dr. Robert L. Meinders, D.C., Ltd., versus The Emery Wilson Corporation d/b/a Sterling Management Systems.
 “Healthtap Junk Fax Class Action Settlement,” by Top Class Actions, July 7, 2014.
 “Burger King Serves Up $8.5M To Settle Junk Fax Class Action,” by Daniel Siegal, November 21, 2014.
 “PharMerica Junk Fax Class Action Settlement,” by Anne Bucher, September 24, 2015.
 “Stryker, Howmedica Junk Fax TCPA Class Action Settlement,” by Anne Bucher, November 5, 2015.
 “Alma Lasers TCPA Class Action Settlement,” by Tamara Burns, December 31, 2015.
 “Zimmer Dental TCPA Class Action Settlement,” by Tamara Burns, January 6, 2016.
All images (unless noted otherwise) © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.
Mike Rinder’s Blog, “Something Can Be Done About It.”
Loonapix Photo Editor (“Exhibition in the Art Gallery”).