Did the leader of the Church of Scientology hire two private eyes to follow his own father?
David Miscavige has run the church since 1987. His elderly father, Ronald, quit the controversial religion three years ago.
Now, a private investigator, Dwayne Powell, claims that he was hired to follow Ronald Miscavige, who now makes a living selling exercise equipment.
Powell told police that he and his son were paid $10,000 a week to follow and photograph Ronald wherever he went.
A recording of what he told Wisconsin police, who placed Powell under arrest following a call about a suspicious man lurking around Ronald’s neighborhood, has been released.
In the recording, Powell said, "I’m just supposed to report back what he does, who he talks to. I just follow the old man. I swear. I'm not intending any harm to him ever."
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The private investigator said that he followed Ronald Miscavige to a Walmart parking lot when he saw the 77-year-old man suddenly grab his chest and slump over as he was loading his car. The detective said he immediately called his contact at the Church of Scientology. Two minutes later, his cell phone rang. On the other end of the line he says was David Miscavige himself.
The private eye’s son told police what David Miscavige allegedly said over the phone, saying, "My dad got off the phone. He goes, 'I just got a call from David Miscavige and he said don't intervene if he starts having a heart attack.'"
The Church of Scientology vehemently denies the claim.
In a statement, the spokesperson said, "It is unadulterated [expletive], Mr. Miscavige has always taken care of his father and continues to do so."
David Miscavige’s lawyer also says, "Mr. Miscavige has never spoken to Mr. Powell, never hired Mr. Powell and never directed any investigations by Mr. Powell." [Source: Michael Lee Hertzberg]
But David Miscavige's estranged niece, Jenna Miscavige, says, she believes the private investigator. Her book, Beyond Belief, is a New York Times bestseller.
She told INSIDE EDITION's Steven Fabian, "My grandfather was devastated about it at the time."
Fabian asked, "Why do you believe David Miscavige apparently ordered this surveillence on him?"
She replied, "Because that is what the church does. So many people have told the same story. It has happened to me."
Journalist Tony Ortega has investigated the church for years.
He told INSIDE EDITION, "David Miscavige has a lot of secrets that he would like to keep. People that have worked with him for many years are leaving and taking those secrets with them."
Scientology has been in the headlines over the recent expose Going Clear, which aired on HBO.
Famous scientologist John Travolta denounced the documentary in a recent interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
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He was asked, “Have you had a chance to see it yet?”
Travolta replied, “No, I haven't. I haven't. And I don't really care to. Apparently from my understanding they're people who were disgruntled with their experience. You know I've been so happy with my experience in the last 40 years that I don't really have anything to say that would shed light on something that's been decidedly negative.”
The charges against the private eye were dismissed.