Having completed a second Dianetics text, Science of Survival, in mid-1951, Ron accepted a seemingly generous invitation to head a consolidated Dianetics Foundation in Wichita, Kansas. Extending that invitation was a somewhat ambiguous Wichita oil man by the name of Don Purcell. The name initially appears on but one of seven thousand letters received through the previous summer. Then again, this Don Purcell is vaguely recalled by students from the first New Jersey Foundation where he briefly appeared in search of professional counseling. But his late April offer to provide L. Ron Hubbard with a financially independent foundation and all else necessary for the advancement of Dianetics was, on the whole, unprecedented.
The arrangement essentially called for LRH research and lectures at an equitable salary, while Purcell attended to financial concerns – even including the assumption of debts from an over-extended Los Angeles Foundation. In what amounted to a small formality, Purcell was to further assume a nominal hold on the copyrights of Dianetics, but only for a limited period.
Initially all proceeded as described. Dianeticists uprooted themselves from New Jersey, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, and LRH commenced instruction in a neatly appointed West Douglas Avenue hall. Meanwhile research continued into that most fascinating realm of past-life phenomena, chronicled today in A History of Man.
Then quite without warning, the curtain fell with a midafternoon announcement of bankruptcy.
Details are complex, and letters to follow effectively tell all. But for the sake of simplicity, the sequence was essentially this: On what amounted to a fabricated claim, Purcell had plunged his Wichita Foundation into bankruptcy. LRH, in turn, found himself served with several writs and demands for equity, although, as he so succinctly put it: “They obviously do not want my car or my cash. And they obviously want my copyrights, the name HUBBARD, the word DIANETICS and Dianetics processes.... And this is obviously no bankruptcy, but a scheme to place me in such straits and hurt me so much that I will be forced to give all they seek.”
And it was true – every word of it. For having succeeded in his plunging the corporation into bankruptcy, Purcell casually cut a $6,124 check and purchased fifteen oak side chairs, thirteen arm side chairs, nineteen inkwells and pens, ten thousand copies of Science of Survival – and for the same six thousand dollars – the names and copyrights for both Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard.
While just for good measure (and perhaps even more to the point), Purcell further received a most mysterious fifty thousand dollars from an undisclosed medical/psychiatric slush fund.
In addition to a powerful LRH message to Purcell, we have also included Ron’s wry memo to the southwest court where he ultimately triumphed, paving the way for the return of those copyrights and trademarks.
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