Ken Ham

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Reality Check
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Re: Ken Ham

#26

Post by Reality Check » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:07 pm

Chilidog wrote:The FFRF is rattling cages over a tax rebate that the for-profit company was receiving.

https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/ite ... -subsidies
Dan Barker is exactly right. Ham is trying to avoid paying a $0.50 per ticket safety fee when he is already getting obscene tax breaks. Kentucky gave the tax breaks to a for profit company and now they are converting to something that is essentially a church.


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Re: Ken Ham

#27

Post by Chilidog » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:25 pm

And the realy stupid thing is that they could have just tacked the fee onto the tickets and make the marks pay it.



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Re: Ken Ham

#28

Post by Mary Quite Contrary » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:27 pm

This is simply awesome! I truly hope Kentucky gets everything owed to them.

Of course, this is Kentucky, so I'm glad to have FFRF leading the charge. Kentucky tends to look the other way too many times (I'm looking at you Mitch).


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Re: Ken Ham

#29

Post by Reality Check » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:37 pm

It appears that the Commonwealth (not state :fingerwag: ) of Kentucky was already aware of Ham's shenanigans.

https://ffrf.org/images/FFRFArkRecords_7.21.2017.pdf

This is from the letter an attorney for the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet had already sent to Ham's attorneys:
It has come to our attention that your client, Ark Encounter, LLC, is in breach of its Tourism Development Agreement… with the Commonwealth. On July 10, 2017, the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet… became aware of a quit claim deed transferring the Ark Project land, with all the privileges and appurtenances to the same, from Ark Encounter, LLC, a for profit company, to Crosswater Canyon, Inc. a non-profit company.

...

Furthermore, as a the Tourism Development Agreement is between the Commonwealth and Ark Encounter, LLC, not Crosswater Canyon, LLC, the current owner, please be advised that no further incentives may accrue from sales tax imposed on sales generated by or arising at the tourism development project, as of the date of transfer of the property, June 28, 2017.


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Re: Ken Ham

#30

Post by Chilidog » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:11 pm

Ouch.

That's gonna sting.



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Re: Ken Ham

#31

Post by GlimDropper » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:14 pm

OK, so as of the 28th of last month Ken Ham's tax incentives are poofers, where does that leave Ark Encounters? My curiosity is exceeded by my ignorance here. Can he continue to operate the "attraction" as a not for profit? When Jim Bakker's Pass the Loot Club lost their not for profit status there were more issues than just Jim's Heritage USA theme park but it was mention in news paper coverage at the time that:
In addition, the agency held that much of PTL's Heritage USA theme park operations were commercial rather than ministerial.
I'm not sure what extent Ark Encounter is or is not a "commercial operation" but is there any way Ken can save enough tax dollars by being a not for profit to offset loss of the tax incentives? If not what the hell kind of legal advice has he been listening to? It looks like Liberty University has a law school.



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Re: Ken Ham

#32

Post by Chilidog » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:31 am

Maybe the intent is to get the local municipalities to withdraw fire protection services....

I wouldn't want to be the agent that sold the fire insurance to that big pile of lumber right now.

<\conspiracy mode>



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Re: Ken Ham

#33

Post by Plutodog » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:50 am

Seeking to rescind the rainbow from LGBTQ's, silly Kent just gave us the gay ark.

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Re: Ken Ham

#34

Post by Reality Check » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:30 am

Here is a good article from 2015 that explains the Ark Encounter's funding and tax breaks.

What Ken Ham Isn’t Telling You About Ark Encounter Funding


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Re: Ken Ham

#35

Post by RVInit » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:51 am

Reality Check wrote:Here is a good article from 2015 that explains the Ark Encounter's funding and tax breaks.

What Ken Ham Isn’t Telling You About Ark Encounter Funding
This is a well written, eye opening article. I had no idea of where the funding for this abomination had come from. If I were a resident of that county I would have been livid.


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Re: Ken Ham

#36

Post by Suranis » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:53 am

The Atheists version of Breitbart, Paethos, is making lots of copy over this. It being Paethos, its probably 25% accurate and the rest is conjecture or made up shit, but I'm seeing this spread all over facebook so here's a link.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyat ... oid-taxes/
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader‘s Linda Blackford, the team behind Ark Encounter recently sold the land on which the giant boat rests for a whopping $10.
… Ark Encounter LLC sold its main parcel of land — the one with the life-size Noah’s Ark — for $10 to their non-profit affiliate, Crosswater Canyon. Although the property is worth $48 million according to the Grant County Property Valuation Administrator, the deed says its value is only $18.5 million.

That’s the latest salvo in an escalating argument between local officials and Ark Encounter, but some are worried Ark Encounter’s maneuver is a precursor to declaring itself exempt from all taxes, including property taxes that help fund Grant County schools.
Just to summarize here, Ark Encounter used its for-profit status to receive all sorts of tax breaks. Then the Creationists told Williamstown officials that they ran a non-profit ministry to avoid paying more taxes. And now they’re basically confessing that they were a for-profit business this whole time because they just sold the boat to the non-profit entity that oversees it.

If that’s confusing… well, welcome to how Creationists think.
Off Topic
In before but "Paethos is gooood" - I've had so many arguments with people over Paethos articles that I've checked out and bound that they are full of shit that I'm confident in calling it Brietbart. I know it's Shocking, some athiests don't like it when you point out that the sites they are using to laugh at religion are full of lies, and that their own prejudices are being exploited for clicks. If you are a Paethos fan all I can tell you is start checking out their hysterical stories or yourself. Like WND, they rely on the fact that people don't actually take the time to click on the links they provide, which often contradict that they are saying, or at least did in every single one that was shared at me on facebook as I was "the religious guy ha ha." Yeah I'm bitter.
Anyway here is the article linked to in the article, which is pretty informative and worth a read.

http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/arti ... 82438.html
Like other city officials, Crupper, a 26-year council member, said he was disappointed in Ark officials’ reaction because the tax will finance emergency equipment that serves Ark Encounter, which now has a petting zoo and a zip line course.

“This ordinance was carefully thought out. This does not affect their bottom line,” Crupper said. “We have to make sure your police and fire and emergency services can assure safety. If you’re going to pay $40 for a ticket and $10 to park, I don’t think you’re going to argue over 50 cents.”

According to public tax documents, Crosswater Canyon is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, defined by the Internal Revenue Service as being exempt from taxes because of its charitable, religious, educational or scientific purposes. Crosswater Canyon’s 990 tax filing from 2014 says its mission is “to operate for the benefit or, and to support the mission and purposes of, Answers in Genesis Inc., the administrative organization of both Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum in Petersburg.”

Crosswater Canyon listed total assets of almost $80 million.


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Re: Ken Ham

#37

Post by Reality Check » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:08 am

Suranis wrote:The Atheists version of Breitbart, Paethos, is making lots of copy over this. It being Paethos, its probably 25% accurate and the rest is conjecture or made up shit, but I'm seeing this spread all over facebook so here's a link.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyat ... oid-taxes/

:snippity:
The article I posted appears to be well documented and accurate to me. All the key points (such as the $62 million in Tax Increment Financing) are supported with the links to external sources.


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Re: Ken Ham

#38

Post by Suranis » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:14 am

Good. I'd check out the links too for additional information.


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Re: Ken Ham

#39

Post by RVInit » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:14 am

Reality Check wrote:
Suranis wrote:The Atheists version of Breitbart, Paethos, is making lots of copy over this. It being Paethos, its probably 25% accurate and the rest is conjecture or made up shit, but I'm seeing this spread all over facebook so here's a link.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyat ... oid-taxes/

:snippity:
The article I posted appears to be well documented and accurate to me. All the key points (such as the $62 million in Tax Increment Financing) are supported with the links to external sources.
Some of the links do go to other Patheos articles, however, if you take the time to follow through, everything I have checked does indeed link to outside sources that have way too many details to think they aren't credible. Many are long, and contain exhaustive references. I think I'm OK reading these articles as long as they appear to be linked to credible sources, which appears to be the case.


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Re: Ken Ham

#40

Post by Suranis » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:19 am

I was actually tying mine while RC was writing his, so the fact we both were looking at Paethos was one of those divine coincidences. I just happened to run across that article on facebook for the third time this week so I decided to share it. I haven't actually looked at RCs article, I'm sure his comment on it is accurate.


Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes.

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Re: Ken Ham

#41

Post by TollandRCR » Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:11 am

Patheos does have an atheist channel, but it also has many other channels, representing most kinds of religion and spirituality today. None are approved by a hierarchy, so some blasphemy can pop up in the oddest places.


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Re: Ken Ham

#42

Post by mmmirele » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:03 pm

Has anyone come across documentation for the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district? I have looked and looked and have not been able to track it down. What the TIF district does is allow Ark Encounter LLC to take two percent of employees' earnings for the TIF, which goes back to Ark Encounter. But I've never found the documentation on that.

Suranis, I don't know why you're so annoyed with Friendly Atheist over this. As far as I can tell, he's accurate on this particular issue. A safety tax of $0.50 cents per ticket was proposed by Grant County and Ken Ham opposed it. Instead of working with the county, he decided to move the land (some of which was given to Ark Encounter LLC by the county, and some of which was paid for by the county) to the non-profit Crosswater Canyon LLC in an attempt to avoid taxes. This, however, ran afoul of the agreement Ark Encounter LLC made with the Kentucky tourism board. Now I've looked at the letter, I've shown it to another lawyer type, and we're in agreement that the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet is not really wanting to pick a fight with Ken Ham. They've told him how to cure this, and we believe the tourism board would be HAPPY and OVERJOYED to approve Ken Ham's new corporate arrangements.

I should note that even if the tourism board does approve all of Ken Ham's shenanigans, there's no indication he's out of the legal woods yet. I would fully expect Grant County and the school district to sue.

So, on this issue, Friendly Atheist appears to be correct. I do, however, get annoyed when he promotes Richard Dawkins as well as a whole bunch of Islamophobes.

I personally think Ken Ham is being simply awful here and he deserves to have his butt metaphorically kicked for trying to rip off the local community. This is the kind of thing that makes people who don't otherwise think about churches having tax exemptions have second thoughts about it.
FFRFArkRecords_7.21.2017.pdf
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Re: Ken Ham

#43

Post by Reality Check » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:16 pm

mmmirele wrote: :snippity:
So, on this issue, Friendly Atheist appears to be correct. I do, however, get annoyed when he promotes Richard Dawkins as well as a whole bunch of Islamophobes.
I disagree completely that Richard Dawkins (or Sam Harris for that matter) is an Islamophobe. I don't want to threadjack. We can take it to a PM or another thread if you like.
Edit: I found this general presentation on projects financed through the TIF legislation:
http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.kyengcente ... ithTIF.pdf


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Re: Ken Ham

#44

Post by Suranis » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:26 pm

mmmirele wrote: Suranis, I don't know why you're so annoyed with Friendly Atheist over this.
Aside from the "that's how creationists think" comment I'm not annoyed at him at all. I just roll my eyes at this point whenever I see a link from Paethos being shared around uncritically, so I indulged in a little venting when i probably shouldn't have. The story is accurate.
I personally think Ken Ham is being simply awful here and he deserves to have his butt metaphorically kicked for trying to rip off the local community. This is the kind of thing that makes people who don't otherwise think about churches having tax exemptions have second thoughts about it.
Yep. Ham is a con man and is doing whatever it takes to syphon away whatever money he can get, before this thing collapses and he can vanish.

By the way, that Ark is ugly as heck. I hadn't seen a photo of it till today.


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Re: Ken Ham

#45

Post by pipistrelle » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:42 pm

I was doing a search for something a few weeks ago and tripped over the website for this. Is this getting the tax breaks of a church? I've never been to a church that sells tickets, has a "petting zoo" (where I'm betting the animals aren't getting the best of care), etc.



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Re: Ken Ham

#46

Post by Reality Check » Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:32 pm

pipistrelle wrote:I was doing a search for something a few weeks ago and tripped over the website for this. Is this getting the tax breaks of a church? I've never been to a church that sells tickets, has a "petting zoo" (where I'm betting the animals aren't getting the best of care), etc.
The Ark Encounter was set up as a for profit corporation in order to qualify for tax increment financing under Kentucky laws. Now that the local community wants to impose a safety fee of 50 cents per ticket the property was sold to a non profit corporation for $10 to avoid paying the fee. Both corporations are owned by the non profit Answers in Genesis. Ham is trying to play both sides of the street and both the state and local governments are crying foul.


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Re: Ken Ham

#47

Post by GlimDropper » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:08 pm

If anyone would like a quick, well done summary of the benefits and incentives Ken Ham somehow negotiated from Kentucky:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPJNX4BpjlY

As a bonus there is also an update on Kent Hovind's son Eric and his movie project.



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Re: Ken Ham

#48

Post by Gregg » Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:30 am

I'm kind of local to Ken's Big Gay Boat, its south of Cincinnati and I'm north of Cincinnati so its in the local paper a lot and I know some of the people tangentially involved through some family connections. The city of Williamstown is well and truly fed up with Ark Encounter, they got boned six ways from Tuesday and they now (too late) kind of figured it out. This last one has some people just livid.

One issue besides the sales tax rebate and the employee payroll tax kickback that the sham sale has affected that hasn't gotten much press but is being looked at, is the municipal bonds issued by Grant County and the City of Williamstown
https://emma.msrb.org/ER733042-ER568844-ER970158.pdf

for which the only surety is the Ark Encounter, not any subdivision of the Commonwealth. What they're looking at is first, the Ark Encounter put up the land as collateral on the bonds, and since they just sold off the collateral, it kind of figures that the principle on the bonds might be due and payable. There are eight different CUSIPs on that, but Ark Encounter could have to cough up $62 million dollars.

And they did this to avoid paying the ticket fee. Now even that is overstating the case. The county estimated the fee to be about $ 700,000, but Ark Encounter offered to pay the fee if it was capped at a maximum of $500,000 so this while clusterphuck is kind of over at most $200,000.
There is more than a little speculation that they didn't seek so much to avoid paying the fee as much as they wanted to avoid having to calculate the fee in public records, thus showing that their attendance figures were being inflated.

I think the bond thing is the most interesting part, but on my first reading, and IANAL, it looks like Crosswater Canyon and Ark Encounter are both listed as the borrower, so I dunno, but I'd truly love to see them get their mortgage called over this.


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Re: Ken Ham

#49

Post by Notorial Dissent » Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:17 am

That's entertaining news. I had thought the city and county were on the hook for the $62M if AE went tits up. This is actually good news, at least in a sense for the county, they won't get stuck for the money, but I gotta feeling that one way or tother the bondholders will be screwed about six different directions. I suspect that this little stunt has probable ramifications that haven't even started to kick in yet. I don't think they city or county will ever recoup what they've already spent on this pig in a poke, but maybe now they won't be bankrupted in the process.

I do agree with your take on the why by the way, if you haven't already read my comments at Quatloos on the subject. I also suspect there is a lot of other funny business just cause it is the type of organization it is and who is behind it.


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Re: Ken Ham

#50

Post by Reality Check » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:21 am

I found this documentation on the bond issue. It is a preliminary statement.

https://highyieldmunicipals.files.wordp ... er-pos.pdf
The Series 2013 Bonds shall not be general obligations of the Issuer but special and limited obligations payable solely from the amounts payable under the Loan Agreement and from funds and property pledged pursuant to the Indenture. The Series 2013 Bonds and the interest payable thereon do not now and shall never constitute indebtedness of the Issuer or the Commonwealth of Kentucky within the meaning of the constitution or the statutes of the Commonwealth, and neither the Issuer, the Commonwealth of Kentucky nor any political subdivision thereof shall be liable for the payment of the principal of, premium, if any, or interest on the Series 2013 Bonds or for the performance of any pledge, mortgage, obligation or agreement created by or arising under the Indenture or the Series 2013 Bonds from any property other than the trust estate. Neither the faith and credit nor the taxing power of the Issuer, the Commonwealth of Kentucky or any political subdivision thereof is pledged to the payment of the principal of, premium, if any, or interest on the Series 2013 Bonds
Investors should note that Answers in Genesis, Inc. (“AiG”) is a distinct nonprofit corporation and its assets have NOT been pledged as security for the Series 2013 Bonds. Should the Borrower encounter financial difficulty, AiG is under no obligation to make payments on the Series 2013 Bonds.
The bonds are secured strictly by the assets of the AE. Neither the city, state, nor Answers in Genesis is on the hook according to this document. If attendance doesn't meet expectations the bondholders are screwed.

I also found this article talking about the risk of these bonds.

https://www.gurtin.com/researchDocument/?id=4018


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