This is good! As we reported in Ken Ham’s Latest Tax Maneuver, in an effort to evade the safety tax of fifty cents imposed by the city of Williamstown for every admission ticket sold by Ark Encounter, Hambo’s biblical tourist attraction, the company sold its main parcel of land — the one with the life-size Noah’s Ark — for $10 to their non-profit affiliate, Crosswater Canyon.
On the surface, it was a clever move — the city’s safety tax doesn’t apply to non-profit entities. But it may have catastrophic repercussions for Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.
The latest news is in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky, the second-largest city in the state. Their headline is Tourism officials suspend $18 million incentive for Noah’s Ark site over property transfer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
The Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet has suspended an incentive agreement worth up to $18 million with a Noah’s Ark-themed attraction in Grant County because the park transferred its main property to a non-profit affiliate.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We suspected something like this might happen. In Hambo’s Ticket Tax Battle Continues, we said:
Hambo wants it both ways — Ark Encounter is a for-profit corporation (so they could qualify for the sales tax kick-back), yet he wants to be exempt from the safety tax because … well, because he’s such a holy guy that everything he does should be exempt from taxes he doesn’t want to pay.
Hambo fought hard for that sales-tax kick-back, and it had to be a factor that encouraged the sale of bonds to finance the ark. Now the whole thing is in danger of collapsing. The Lexington Herald-Leader says:
The July 18 cabinet letter to Ark Encounter attorney James Parsons said the ark park’s recent actions put it in breach of the agreement with the state to refund a portion of sales tax collected at the site, which opened last July with a large-scale replica of Noah’s Ark.
Answers in Genesis, the group behind the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum, disputed that the transfer of the property “created a default.” But [Answers in] Genesis co-founder Mark Looy pledged Friday in his prepared statement to “comply with concerns that the Tourism Department may have related to the transfer.”
That will be difficult. The newspaper tells us:
The letter from Tourism’s general counsel B. Leigh Powers said the ark had several violations of the state agreement, including a failure to tell the agency of any change in ownership or get prior written consent to transfer assets. In addition, the agreement stipulated that the tax incentive, approved by the Tourism Development Finance Authority, was made for Ark Encounter. Non-profits can qualify for the tax incentive, but in this case, the agreement was with Ark Encounter, not its non-profit affiliate, Crosswater Canyon.
This next excerpt is fantastic:
The tourism letter also cites a statement on the Ark Encounter website that says: “The for-profit LLC structure also allows the Ark Encounter to be eligible for various economic development incentives that would not have been available with a non-profit structure.”
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! One last excerpt:
The letter asks Ark Encounter to comply with the existing agreement in 30 days, or request an extension in order to qualify again for the rebate. State officials said the sales tax rebate accrued before June 28 would depend on what the Ark does in response to the state’s concerns.
So there you are, dear reader. It’s not over yet. In fact, we think the fun has just begun. But don’t feel bad for ol’ Hambo. However things turn out, he’ll always have the rainbow.
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