Ken Ham’s Ark Bonds — 19 Dec 2013 Update

Everywhere we go, people keep asking us: Hey, Curmy — what’s the news about Ken Ham’s Ark Bonds?

Most of you already know about the bonds being issued to finance the proposed Ark Encounter project, which will be operated by a company controlled by Answers in Genesis (AIG). AIG is the on-line ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. It also owns and operates the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Our last post on this topic was Bloomberg Reports on Ken Ham’s Ark Bonds. But that was a month ago. Today we’ve got some hot news for you.

At the website of Bloomberg Businessweek we found this timely article: Noah’s Ark Muni Deal for Kentucky Theme-Park Project Shrinks 83%. Whoa — that’s big news! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

An unrated municipal-bond sale for a Kentucky theme park to be built around a full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark shrank to $10.5 million from a planned $62 million.

How could such a thing happen? We’re told:

Michael Zovath, co-founder of Answers in Genesis, referred questions about the bond offer to Dan Blank, a managing director in Cincinnati at Ross Sinclaire & Associates, which served as underwriter on the transaction. Blank didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail or e-mail seeking comment.

Nobody’s talking? How very odd. Let’s read on:

Proceeds are intended to help build a 510-foot (155.4-meter) wooden ship, the centerpiece of a planned biblical theme park called “Ark Encounter.” The first phase is estimated to cost $73 million, offering documents show. About $14 million had been raised before the bond sale, which was supposed to make up the difference.

There seems to be a gaping hole in the Ark’s financing. No surprise, really — Hambo’s replica was never intended to float, so why should the bond issue have been successfully floated?

The rest of the article is about the grand scope of the proposed Ark Encounter project, and why industrial-development bonds are considered the riskiest municipal debt. Click over there to read it all. Meanwhile, we’ll be watching for ol’ Hambo’s account of these developments. Stay tuned to this blog!

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Ken Ham’s Ark Bonds — 19 Dec 2013 Update

  1. I can’t wait to see how ol’ Hambo spins this wonderful news!

    Thanks, Curmy, for bringing us these glad tidings on this Kitzmas Eve.

  2. I think that the Ark Project is sunk, as it were. Maybe he can afford to build a 1/10 scale model for the money he’s already got. In this economy a lot things have been downsized. Ha! Ha!

  3. @Biokid, a 1/10 scale model wouldn’t exactly give you an “ark experience”. No I think Hambo needs to think 2 dimensionally. Basically a giant ark mural, sort of a life sized matte painting.

  4. Damn! I just pissed away all my spare cash on the ‘DONATE’ button sported by the Discovery Institute!

    Maybe I could buy an Ark Bond with my credit card? Target were happy to accept it…

  5. Megalonyx, you should buy the Ark bond and then donate it to the Discoveroids. That will make everyone happy.

  6. Ham will do what he always does – lie

  7. Stephen Kennedy

    In the comments for:
    “Hey, Hambo — Noah’s Ark Was Round!”
    on December 17 I predicted that based on information I was able to glean from AIG’s website that the bond offering only raised “$5 million to $10 million”. It is very gratifying to see that information AIG would never want you to have can be accurately inferred from what information they do make public.

  8. Clearly, Ham isn’t praying hard enough. It will be interested to read his take on this.

  9. Maybe Ham can arrange for tours to that “Ark” in the Netherlands. He could charge a hefty fee that he could skim off the top for his personal retirement fund.

  10. Old KenTuck is finding out what it is like to be a theocracy, decisions are make based on religion and faith instead of good economic sense and you get bit in the butt for it.

  11. Something is fishy. I sent an email to the city of Williamstown asking about the bonds and got the run around. Each person I was referred to sent me to another person. So, who can invest? I suspect that if you are not “in the know” then you will be excluded from this deal of a lifetime.

    Too bad they won’t get investigated. Somebody would be going to jail because the entire enterprise smells of graft and corruption.

  12. Stephen Kennedy

    @Ed,
    Ham has never mentioned the bond sale on the regular AIG website. AIG set up a totally separate website to pitch the ark encounter bond offering. In the near term I do not expect Ham to say anything publicly about the failure of the bond offering but at some point he is going to have to address the issue of when construction will start on the project.

    I think they have already sunk a lot more money into this project than they expected to before even breaking ground and it is very hard to see how AIG can continue to actually go forward with the ark encounter with the money that they have raised. Given the past three years of hype, it is hard to see how Ham can gracefully terminate the project. When AIG inevitably cancels the ark encounter they are going to have to deal with the issue of the more than $5 million dollars they have already collected (and probably spent) from purchasers of “Lifetime Boarding Passes”. My guess is they will use the $10.5 million collected from the bond sale to pay back the advance ticket sales and immediately default on the bonds to avoid making the $630,000 annual interest payments on them.

    In the final analysis, it appears that Ham vastly overestimated the potential for “Affinity Fraud” in floating these bonds. Despite the fact that these bonds would have been a terrible investment for any purchasers, Ham was no doubt convinced that there were enough followers of AIG out there to sell the full $62 million dollars worth.

  13. Our Curmudgeon and his readers seem to be more on top of this ark park fiasco than any other pro-reality blogs. Anyone have any thoughts on why this might be? Or, is my sampling of blogs skewed?

  14. Stephen,

    Great detective work.
    — Diogenes

  15. Teufel,

    Panda’s Thumb has decent coverage of the Ark Park.

  16. Stephen Kennedy

    Diogenes,

    Thank you very much. really can not stand AIG and particularly the way that Hambo targets children.