Ken Ham’s Ark Bonds — 04 Jan 2014 Update

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 the 19 Dec 2013 Update. At that time the news for ol’ Hambo from Bloomberg was grim. They reported:

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.

Things are still grim, but better than before. At the Bloomberg website we find the following headline: Noah’s Ark Risks Collapse Without Bond Buyers by February. They say, with our bold font:

A Kentucky theme park to be built around a full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark may sink unless investors purchase about $29 million in unrated municipal bonds by Feb. 6. The northern Kentucky city of Williamstown in December issued taxable debt for affiliates of Answers in Genesis, a Christian nonprofit, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Even though $26.5 million of securities have been sold, the project needs to sell at least $55 million in total to avoid triggering a redemption of all the bonds, Ken Ham, the nonprofit’s president, said in an e-mail to supporters yesterday. Without the proceeds, construction funding will fall short, he said.

Ol’ Hambo’s bond issue is showing signs of life. Instead of only $10.5 million, where things were in mid-December, bond sales have more than doubled since then. But they’re still not half-way to where they need to be. If we’re reading this story correctly, they need to sell another $28.5 million worth of bonds, and it appears that the deadline is 06 Feb. If that goal isn’t met, all the money from bond sales must be refunded. We’re also told:

“We still need those Ark supporters who weren’t able to purchase the Ark bonds at closing to prayerfully consider participating in a secondary bond delivery at the level they had indicated to us,” Ham said. “Will you please step out in faith with us?”

That’s a bit confusing. Was the sale closed? And did it then re-open? Let’s read on:

… Ark Encounter has had no institutional investors buy its bonds, Ham said. “The associated complications and struggles have been beyond our control,” said Ham, who cited impediments such as atheists registering for the offering and disrupting it. “I urge you to please prayerfully consider the options and help us get this bond offering completed.”

Wow — atheists are disrupting the sale of Hambo’s bonds! It’s not made clear exactly how they did that, but ol’ Hambo must know what he’s talking about. The article continues:

Construction is supposed to begin in March, with Ark Encounter slated to open in April 2016.

An ambitious schedule! But will enough bonds be sold by 06 Feb? Here’s one final excerpt:

Dan Blank and Zach Logan at Ross Sinclaire & Associates, the underwriter, didn’t immediately respond to voicemails seeking comment. Joe Boone, vice president of advancement at Answers in Genesis, didn’t return calls to his office and mobile phone.

Nobody took calls from Bloomberg for the last story either. Maybe the atheists are messing up the phone system.

Well, dear reader, that’s the news. Ol’ Hambo needs to haul in another $28.5 million during the next five weeks. It’s a real cliff-hanger. A sinful world awaits the ark. The atheists are laughing. The clock is ticking. Jeepers — this is exciting! Stay tuned to this blog.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

12 responses to “Ken Ham’s Ark Bonds — 04 Jan 2014 Update

  1. Does this mean that many people have lost, er, faith in Ham-fist’s scheme?

    Say it’s not so!

    Prayerfully, if need be.

  2. Poor Ole Hambo!

    What he needs is a good blast of publicity and media coverage before 6 February. If his prayers for this aren’t answered, maybe he’ll consider calling on science to help.

    Or even better, maybe dupe the Science Guy into helping generate some media attention?

  3. Stephen Kennedy

    “We still need those Ark supporters who weren’t able to purchase the Ark bonds at closing to prayerfully consider participating in a secondary bond delivery at the level they had indicated to us,” Ham said. “Will you please step out in faith with us?”

    It appears that Ham was completely blindsided by the paltry $10.5 million in bond sales that were made when the initial offering closed 12/19/13 because he had expected a lot more. He sent out an e-mail to AiG supporters, which I can no longer find, in October of last year crowing that over 600 potential buyers had already registered to purchase at least $35 million worth of the bonds at that time. It now appears that when it came time to actually send in the money and take delivery of the bonds, an awful lot of potential investors had changed their minds. This is what lead to Ham’s statement above that he expects those investors to fulfill their obligation to AiG by “….participating in a secondary bond delivery at the level they had indicated to us,”

    If $55 million out of the original $62 million offering are not sold by February 6th, AIG will be required to redeem the $26.5 million already sold and abandon the ark encounter project altogether. Selling another $29 million worth of bonds in the next month is going to be a tall order since it is unlikely any individuals with the inclination and the money to buy these bonds have not already done so. Many who had initially indicated interest in purchasing the bonds probably backed out when they began to realize how unlikely it was that they would ever get repaid.

    Ham’s lament that no institutional investors had purchased any bonds shows just how out of touch with reality he is. Institutions are sophisticated investors who have fiduciary obligations to the entities such as pension funds that have entrusted them with their money. No reputable institution is going to buy municipal bonds that are:
    1. unrated
    2. have no secondary market
    3. are taxable
    4. are essentially unsecured
    5. are callable at any time
    6. Have no obvious way of making their biannual interest payments for the next three years.

    Without institutional investors it is hard to see how Ham is going to be able to avoid forced redemption of the bonds and cancellation of the ark project. Over the next month Hambo is going to have a lot more to worry about than a debate with Bill Nye.

  4. And it’s the atheist’s fault now? That’s hilarious. 🙂

  5. Sounds like the Ark has sprung a leak.

  6. Too bad Hambo can’t do a bond drive with Russell Crowe but the fundies are having an issue with the liberal environmental message in the new “Noah”. Silly environment, why worry when the rapture is so near!

  7. Interesting! Atheists are always ruining things for the Christians. It was Christmas now it is the ark project!

  8. Stephen Kennedy

    It looks like I have suddenly become anonymous. Maybe it is for my own protection.

    Ham’s blaming of atheists for his problems are pathetic yet predictable. These bonds are a terrible investment and that is why they are hard to sell to people of any religious persuasion.

    Stephen Kennedy

  9. It would be very interesting to know how much ol’ Hambo and his merry band have personally invested in these Ark junk bonds. Anyone have any information on this?

  10. Stephen Kennedy

    @waldteufel,

    I think that the debate with Bill Nye is also a ploy to raise cash with which to buy bonds. It is apparently a legal requirement set out in the bond documents that at least $55 Million have to be sold by February 6 to keep the offer from being cancelled.

    Maybe there is a lawyer of CPA looking at this thread who could comment on whether AiG and its officers can legally purchase their own bonds in order to prevent forced redemption of all the bonds and abandonment of the ark encounter project. It certainly sounds like something that would be prohibited. What would stop Ham from mortgaging the creation museum for $20 million and using the proceeds to buy ark bonds?

    They are trying to take on more debt than they can afford. On $55 million in bond debt they would have to come up with over $1.5 million in cash every six months starting in June to make the interest payments. AIG does not have that kind of money, particularly with any revenues from the ark at least two years away.

  11. I LOL and ROFTLMAO when I read the word “investors” and Shambo in the same sentence. This isn’t an investment, it’s a donation. I can’t imagine a teacher’s retirement fund or something like that plowing a million or so into a venture that doesn’t even have a projected rate of return!

    Also, the fact that this “investment” is so heavily steeped in religion is another red flag. Shambo is blaming unknown atheists (how does he know?) for disrupting his bond sale?

    Well, I certainly have NO PITY for anybody who loses his retirement with a scheme like this.

  12. Richard Olson

    Did Noah piss and moan when investors failed to come forth from mud huts and fund the original ark project, one requiring the construction of a vessel fit to actually survive storms at raging sea, and also sustain all the existing (well, post-flood existing, at any rate) life on this planet, and not just a bunch of inanimate mannequins made out of plastic? No he did not!

    Noah kept his trap shut, sharpened up his stone tool set, weaved a butt-load of rope from goat hair, fashioned sail out of dried hide, kicked the boys in their asses, and set to work without any pussy wails for help from anybody else, by God.

    If Ham was only just a tiny fraction of the man Noah was …