You may recall that we recently wrote A Summary of Ark Park Financial Gimmicks, using information from the Cincinnati Enquirer of Cincinnati, Ohio, just across the border from Northern Kentucky where Ken Ham’s creationist empire is located.
It was about the amazing financial history of Ark Encounter, the religious theme park being built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He’s the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed not only for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), but also for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.
Today, to our delight, ol’ Hambo has a response printed in Enquirer. The headline is Taxpayer funds not used to build ark. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
It’s become clear that changes within the Enquirer leadership have led to a very different editorial slant. While we have appreciated the fair coverage our Creation Museum and Ark Encounter have generally received in the paper over the years, the June 28 article on our soon-to-open Ark Encounter only manifested the growing bias the paper has against biblical Christianity.
Observe that Hambo equates his business interests and biblical Christianity. In his mind, they are identical. Then he says:
The anti-Ark article was riddled with errors and misrepresentations. Here are just a few, with more pointed out on our website.
We’ll have to be a bit selective here, but you can read the whole rant if you like. Okay, here are Hambo’s rebuttals of the newspaper’s numerous “errors and misrepresentations”:
Taxpayer/public funds were NOT used in any way to fund the construction of the life-sized Noah’s Ark opening July 7 in Williamstown.
Not directly, but as we mentioned, the anticipation that there would be millions in tax rebates certainly helped to make the bonds seem more attractive. Let’s read on:
All funds (bonds and donations) to build the Ark Encounter have come from private supporters of the Ark project.
That’s not entirely true — well, it is true, technically, but it gives a false impression. The press never mentions this, but as we discussed a couple of years ago in Ken Ham — Looking for More Tax Breaks, the bond issue originally failed to raise the minimum required, so the closing date had to be extended. Even then, they were still short of selling the necessary minimum amount of bonds. To avoid a financing failure, AIG had to step in and buy between $2.5 million to $3 million of the ark bonds. So the funds did come from private supporters, but not the way Hambo would have preferred.
The list of the newspaper’s “errors and misrepresentations” continues:
Yes, the Ark Encounter has the opportunity through Kentucky’s tourism incentive program to receive a future rebate of sales taxes that it generates at our theme park up to $18.25 million over a 10-year period after it opens. (And as the writer did correctly state, the right of the Ark Encounter to participate in this program was upheld in federal court.)
Ah yes — the legendary court victory. But as we keep reminding you, it didn’t happen that way. Early in the case, long before the trial began, the judge issued a temporary injunction preventing the state from denying the tax goodies. That is sometimes done to preserve the status quo in order to prevent damage being done until the case can be decided. At that point, the Governor stepped in and caused the state to withdraw from the case. It wasn’t a court victory on the merits of Hambo’s case; it was an embarrassing incident of lexus interruptus. Here’s more from Hambo:
It’s disappointing to see such a hit piece with numerous misrepresentations about our privately funded project.
Yeah — privately funded. No government help at all. Hambo finishes on a jubilant note:
Regardless, we are excited about the positive impact the Ark Encounter will have on our community, the Enquirer’s June 28 article notwithstanding. Even as this paper throws a wet blanket on our family theme park, the community will be celebrating next week.
If the community will be celebrating Noah’s Ark, life must be horribly dull in Northern Kentucky.
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