Add former drug smuggler and alleged conman Robert Almblad to the burgeoning list of unvetted sources for Leah Remini’s A&E hate show.
Almblad for years has been the sugar daddy for the crazed, obsessed anti-Scientology clique Remini parades weekly through her show, bankrolling the hate and bigotry campaigns his deadbeat friends invent. Chief among his paid minions is Remini flunky and chauffer Mike Rinder, who once worked for Almblad full time.
Naturally, A&E never vetted Almblad before letting Remini feature him on her show. Remini openly brags that A&E doesn’t vet her sources. That’s why her show’s liars for hire are an exclusive club of wife beaters, alleged rapists, perverts, racists, convicted felons, animal abusers and thieves.
Naturally, A&E never vetted Almblad before letting Remini feature him on her show. Remini openly brags that A&E doesn’t vet her sources.
Had A&E looked into Almblad, they would have found someone whose past includes drug running on well-traveled narcotics routes from the Mideast to the United States as well as countless civil lawsuits alleging fraud.
A searing report on Almblad from reporter Jim Lynch provided a look into the religious bigot’s secretive web of schemes. It quoted a former friend of the anti-Scientologist describing how Almblad was once a hashish smuggler who traveled to Morocco and the Mideast to score the drugs he could import into the U.S.
Almblad told the friend that he was arrested in Chicago on drug charges, borrowing money from the friend to pay off the police officer and judge on his case. Years later, Almblad would admit to dealing in drugs worth thousands of dollars, including 90 pounds of marijuana and hashish.
A serial scammer, Almblad was later sued by investors in an auto salvage business he ran in Miami during the 1970s trying to recover their money from him. Just a few years later in 1982, Almblad was back at it, raising money for the Brewer Alcohol Company. An examination of documents revealed that Almblad was using the company to make money for himself. Brewer Alcohol sued Almblad to recover his shares in the company.
In 1982, Almblad became enmeshed in another business dispute. This time Almblad scammed a woman who had received an insurance settlement after the death of her husband in a plane crash. He duped her into investing in his new company, High-Technology Industries, Inc. According to the lawsuit which was later filed, he claimed his company had $10 million in assets. The victim alleged that Almblad even filed the insurance claim on her behalf, taking $150,000 from the proceeds as an “investment” in his company.
Almblad attracted the attention of the trustee overseeing the woman’s award, who filed suit to recover the funds that supported her and her children. In settling, Almblad was forced to return most of the money he had fleeced her out of, but only after he had access to it for five years.
Almblad made his money not by his own creativity, but by an idea of his stepfathers for a key-cutting invention. This is the source of the money he used to finance the venomous hate campaigns he backed.
According to Lynch, one investor in the key-cutting machine said of Almblad: “Almblad can invent a machine, but once money starts coming in, he can’t help himself. He just takes all the money for himself and any investor be damned. It’s the classic bait and switch.”
He just takes all the money for himself and any investor be damned. It’s the classic
bait and switch.”—Investor
That’s exactly what happened with a semi-automatic key cutting machine which he developed in the late 1980s-early 1990s while president and “principal founder” of Axxess Technologies in Tempe, Arizona.
Axxess only took off after Almblad sold his interest in the company in the early 1990s when his partners forced him out. Under new management, Axxess continued to manufacture and place Almblad’s key-cutting machine into outlets nationwide. Almblad had a royalty agreement with Axxess that allowed him to keep a cash flow going, thanks to the efforts of his successors.
Shortly after selling his interest in Axxess, Almblad in 1991 started a competitor to Axxess, Laser Key II. Almblad simply took the technology he had sold to Axxess, repackaged it, and planned to sell it under another name. Almblad coaxed an investor, Simon Bonnier, into sinking money into the company. He would never see any return from Almblad.
Axxess sued Almblad and his wife, wife Yvonne Almblad and his father and mother, Donald and Evangeline Almblad, and his 347 Company. The case eventually settled. In 1999, the multinational Hillman Group acquired Axxess Technologies.
Axxess sued Almblad in U.S. District Court for trademark and patent infringement after Almblad issued a false press release on December 16, 1999, stating that the Axxess laser key system required a skilled operator and that the error rate was as high as 50%. The case was settled out of court.
In June 2000, Almblad and his wife took out a $50,000 loan from a Robert Metzler. Almblad apparently has never repaid this loan. In March 2001, the Almblads borrowed a large sum from a man named Michael R. Graham. When he didn’t get his money back, Graham successfully sued Almblad for $107,218.
Predictably, Almblad investors in Laser Key were left holding the bag for the $3.5 million they invested with him. Investors were issued a letter dated December 3, 2010, in which Almblad told his investors that he had “made the painful decision to terminate and shut down Laser Key.”
None of the investors heard from Almblad again. As it turns out he was living with his paramour and business associate Susan Clickner in Tarpon Springs, Florida, in a waterfront home in foreclosure because no mortgage payments had been made for three years.
Meanwhile, investors were chasing after him. James Dimatteo of Lincolnshire, Illinois invested $200,000 with Almblad. He said: “I was an investor who was strung along and then he closed the company. I’d love to see Almblad’s ass in jail.”
Equally scathing was Roger Peterson of Geneva, Illinois, who invested $50,000 with Almblad. He said: “A lot of people were fooled and Almblad has never been held accountable. I’d love to see the son of a bitch in prison.”
Then there was James Stephen of Arlington Heights, Illinois, who said: “I tried calling Almblad after I got the termination letter. None of the phone numbers were working.”
Bluntly cutting to the chase was Brian Gonick of Chappaqua, N.Y., who said: “Any two minutes I spend talking about Almblad is two minutes that I’ve wasted.”
“I was a investor who was strung along and then he closed the company. I’d love to see
Almblad’s ass in jail.”—Investor
Lawsuits, settlements, judgements and a litany of fleeced investors are the business legacy of Leah Remini source Robert Almblad, who now spins deceit on her television show. Almblad leaves a trail of destitution and innocent investors in financial ruin. He’s a man who loves other people’s money.
He also is an adulterer, including with paramour Clickner and a friend of hers. In an email sent to Clickner in mid-2006 he said, “In my view, I would love to take care of both you and [the friend] [sic] … And remember I met [the friend] before you … It’s not easy to extinguish those thoughts and those feelings about her…” And later, “Anyway, let’s work on a way to materially share stuff. Maybe we could share this house together?” Almblad invited Clickner to share the home he owned with his wife.
Almblad’s ethical bankruptcy led to his being expelled from the Church of Scientology three times, first in 1980, when Almblad was discovered to have been poaching Church staff for a personal business. He claimed that he took responsibility for his actions, and was let back in 1981.
But a year later Almblad was expelled from the Church again, this time for more serious charges that he was intending to bug offices of senior Church members as part of a hair-brained scheme to take control of the Church. The Church repeatedly gave Almblad chances to reform. In 1998 the Church allowed him back in after he claimed he was a changed man and had taken responsibility. But he hadn’t, and was expelled again in 2010, this time for good.
Almblad had lured Church parishioners into his business schemes, some of which used copyrighted Church material. Some included actions intended to sabotage the Church’s humanitarian purposes and goals.
One internal investigation, according to documents, reportedly found evidence that Almblad committed civil crimes as well as federal crimes of suborning a witness, obstruction of justice and securities violations. Almblad also had committed tax fraud, according to other sources.
Almblad’s goal was to prey on innocent Church members and take their money, leading to his final expulsion. Embittered, he hired comrade in hate Rinder to work with him on his scams and to try to take revenge on the Church of Scientology. As Mark “Marty” Rathbun, Rinder’s former guru observed:
“God, it’s been 10 years since he left, and he literally for an entire decade has not worked, and I arranged virtually all of his gigs with people that would pay him to just do anti-Scientology stuff. First there was this guy down in Clearwater. He lasted about, I don’t know, only a few weeks and the guy just couldn’t tolerate Rinder being around so he got fired. Then it was this guy Almblad, who was an alcoholic, who just would go into these alcohol fueled rants and rages about bringing David Miscavige to his knees and destroying Miscavige. He just had this complete obsession, and Rinder would just pump that up, and tell him how possible all this stuff was and how they could attack the trademarks and rip off the copyrights, and all this other kind of stuff. And, you know, my conversations with the guy were, you know, kind of talking him off the ledge about how it’s kind of a neat pipe dream but the practicalities are, it ain’t going to happen. You’re in no legal position to do it. And he didn’t like that, but he continued to “employ” Rinder for another two years, to have him stroke him with those fantasies, had him living rent free in a home and the whole thing….And so, you know, the Aftermath, that’s the premath, ok? The Aftermath, is him playing with his latest benefactor, Leah Remini, because I know for a fact she told me I could write my own ticket to take that place.”
And that’s Remini’s new unvetted source, Robert Almblad, bankroller of hate and bigotry. And what they have in common is that both gave Rinder a job to help them spread hate about the religion that held them accountable for their ethical lapses and got rid of them.