Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
Though the Church of Scientology recently won some sympathy from powerful figures in Hollywood and Washington, it hasn’t succeeded in silencing one of its most nettlesome local critics. Last October, a judge fined Arnaldo Lerma of Arlington for dumping copyrighted Scientology documents onto the Internet. Scientology lawyers had sued both Lerma and the Washington Post, which quoted the documents in an August 1995 feature on Lerma. (The Post’s limited use of the documents, which the paper acquired from a public court file, was found to be lawful.) But after coughing up his $2,500 fine, Lerma isn’t backing down. Earlier this month, he surfaced at a congressional news conference held to protest the church’s treatment in Germany and passed out 50 fliers directing assembled reporters, congressional staffers, and others to his anti-Scientology web site. Then he mailed “a couple of thousand” postcards with the same information to media outlets, judges, federal officials”most everybody” he thought would be interested. Lerma, a former Scientologist who has said he was involved romantically with a daughter of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, says he’s not through with Scientology yet. “I was tied up in litigation, and then I was tied up trying to get some bills paid. Now that I have a little extra time, I devote every extra minute to trying to beat the drums.”
When 30-year-old Doug Jefferies unveiled his sparkling yuppie exercise spa, Results the Gym, he promised D.C. residents a great workout bathed in “natural light.” He didn’t mention the afterglow. Last Saturday night, the 24,000-square-foot U Street facility hosted a private soiree that raged until 3 a.m., with blaring tunes that spread the spirit around the neighborhood. Police crashed the party but did not file a report. “The neighborhood was assured that Results was a gym….Is it also a sometime gay nightclub? I think we should be told,” writes an anonymous neighbor via e-mail. The 150-person bash, held in honor of Jefferies’ birthday, marks the gym’s second late-night party since its grand opening in December. Scott Windmeyer, one of the gala’s dozen hosts, acknowledged that one resident did come over to complain about the noise, but “it was a friendly conversation and she left feeling OK.”
Marcus Garvey Public Charter School principal Mary A.T. Anigbo, who became a bona fide public figure last year after her tussle with Washington Times reporter Susan Ferrechio in the school’s hallway, has found an upside to her notoriety. In recent weeks, the school has blanketed the District with a telemarketing campaign to scare up funds for Marcus Garvey’s mid-March trip to Africa. The promo pitch pleads with potential benefactors to chip in for “boys who have never seen any environment except the hard life in the city” and who have “nothing to look forward to, except what they know.” Although Veronice Holt, who is defending Anigbo against assault charges in the Ferrechio case, said that the expedition will take approximately 40 Marcus Garvey students to Ghana and Senegal, further details are tough to come by. “I can’t give you any information if you’re not contributing,” said a Marcus Garvey employee. The school’s telemarketing campaign requests contributions of $40, $25, $5, “or whatever you can” for what they are calling a “Freedom Flight.”