There's a rumor circulating in the San Francisco press and real estate community: Tom Cruise just bought an $18 million mansion in town. An overgrown pied-à-terre wouldn't be too terrifying — except for that local Scientology expansion drive.

Socketside heard Cruise was the buyer of an $18 million mansion in the ritzy Sea Cliff neighborhood. NBC Bay Area soon pointed out that, if that's true, Cruise's neighbors would be Robin Williams, Cheech Marin and the guitarist from Metallica. It's like the Bay Area's very own stunted little fog-swept Beverly Hills. But many locals will remember that the Church of Scientology was on the hunt for "apparent expansion" space starting in 2006, nosing around the once countercultural North Beach neighborhood.

So is Cruise, the alleged inspirer of Scientology beat-downs, spearheading a renewed expansion campaign by the cult to which he belongs? Maybe, or maybe said SF mansion is just being bought by another local tech exec like Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, per a SocketSite update:

Another reader quickly notes the mailing address for the purchasing LLC ("Tawaraya") is that of "a high-end accounting firm in Walnut Creek" which happens to advise Larry Ellison (amongst others). And The Real Estalker adds, "Tawaraya is a super posh and searingly expensive, 300-year old ryokan–which is essentially a Japanese bed and breakfast sort of place–located in Kyoto" which is rather Ellison-esque.

Oh great, more Larry Ellison dick waving. Don't we at least deserve some fresh megalomaniac mansion owners, out here?