Aug 2, 2009

Dinosaur Adventure Land: To Be Seized

Render unto Caeser that which is Caeser's... Unless you have a great accountant who can set up a offshore tax shelter for you.

Dinosaur Adventure Land, Kent Hovind's creationist theme park in Pensacola, Florida, might be seized by the federal government, the Pensacola News Journal said. Back in November 2006, a federal jury found Hovind guilty of fifty-eight charges, including failing to pay payroll taxes for his employees, structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements, and "corruptly endeavor[ing] to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws." Hovind was subsequently sentenced to ten years in prison and to pay over $600,000 in restitution.

After the judge presiding over the case ordered that two bank accounts and ten real properties located in Pensacola be forfeited to satisfy the financial judgment against Hovind, two claimants filed separate objections. Eric Hovind — who is running Creation Science Evangelism while his father is incarcerated — claimed ownership of a single property, in which he lives, while Glen Stoll — who was hired by Hovind to restructure his ministry so its assets would be managed through supposedly tax-exempt trusts — claimed ownership of the remaining nine as well as one of the bank accounts.

Eric Hovind's claim was upheld by the court in its July 29, 2009, order, which noted that the conveyance of the title to his home was not part of Stoll's scheme for restructuring the ministry. But Stoll's claim was not: the court held that "Stoll has not shown he played anything more than a titular role in the trusts he created, and the court finds he was a nominee title holder for Kent and Jo Hovind. ... As such, Stoll has no legal interest in any forfeited substitute property and lacks standing to challenge the court’s June 28, 2007, and October 8, 2008, forfeiture orders."

Among the properties forfeited appears to be Dinosaur Adventure Land, which describes itself as "a theme park and science museum that gives God the glory for His creation." Reporting on his visit there in the November 2004 Skeptical Inquirer, Greg Martinez concluded, "Dinosaur Adventure Land is just a playground tricked out with dinosaur dressage to attract an audience that can then be enticed, seduced, and eventually duped into accepting superstitions, pseudoscience, and plain nonsense passed off with a patina of both scientific and religious authority."

1 comment:

Cthulhu said...

Stealing from the poor?
Defrauding innocent people?
Deriding the rule of law and evading taxes?

My my. Doesn't seem very Christian to me.

Oh wait, yes it absolutely does.

I am sadly aware that if we could somehow finally saw a tearful goodbye to our collectively-imagined friend god we would still have charlatans and liars. It would be nice to offer them one fewer means of deceit though.