Hambo Explains His Gyrations

We’ve been reporting on the tax troubles of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, starting back in April with City Wants To Tax Ken Ham’s Ticket Sales, and ending the day before yesterday with Ken Ham Caves on the Ticket Tax.

Now, at last, ol’ Hambo is giving us his side of the story. It’s Dispelling Ark Encounter Myths in the News, which appears at the website of his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG). Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

There has been an enormous amount of misinformation, misunderstanding, and outright untruths spread by many media, bloggers, and others in regard to the Ark Encounter — specifically, the recent issue concerning the safety tax imposed by the Williamstown city council.

He’s not referring to us, of course. Your Curmudgeon always tries to be fair to ol’ Hambo. That’s because he’s the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He’s famed for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum, and for building Ark Encounter, which he says is an exact replica of Noah’s Ark. Hambo says:

The Ark Encounter has never stated we would not pay a safety tax. In communicating frequently with the city over the months, we even proposed that a fee be capped at a half million dollars per year, a reasonable amount.

We’ve mentioned that, but the city wouldn’t negotiate. Hambo tells us:

We wish to point out, too, that when it comes to medical emergency calls, for which the local EMT provider responds, there is a user fee that is charged to people’s personal insurance for that cost. Yet, we still offered to pay up to $500,000 a year into the safety fund, which the city rejected.

The city needs ambulances and trained emergency medical personnel. They have to pay for that, and we doubt that they can just sit back and hope for insurance companies to reimburse them for everything. Hambo continues:

As it filed for an exemption as a religious non-profit as permitted in the ordinance, the Ark was not doing so to avoid paying its fair share, as some reporters have suggested.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We wrote about that in Hambo’s Ticket Tax Battle Continues. Despite the fact that Ark Encounter is a for-profit corporation, they wanted to be exempt from the tax because of their religious message. But Hambo said: “The Ark Encounter has never stated we would not pay a safety tax.” And Hambo is an honorable man.

When that ploy failed, and negotiations were at a standoff, Hambo transferred the property to Ark Encounter’s non-profit parent corporation. That’s because the city’s tax doesn’t apply to non-profit, religious, or charitable events and organizations — see Ken Ham’s Latest Tax Maneuver. For some reason, Hambo doesn’t mention that, but as he said earlier: “The Ark Encounter has never stated we would not pay a safety tax.” And Hambo is an honorable man. Let’s read on:

We are thankful that even with the enormous number of people who have visited the Ark from around the world, calls for emergency services — shared by both Williamstown and Dry Ridge — have been relatively small. On average for the year, it’s been about 2 calls per week, with the majority being in the busiest 6 months of our operation.

Obviously, during the busy summer months there are more than 2 emergency calls a week. It’s nice that Hambo averages it out over the year to 2 calls per week, but the city has to be equipped and staffed to handle the peak demand. Another excerpt:

It’s a complex matter that many people find difficult to understand, but the Ark Encounter operates as a non-profit because it is wholly owned by a non-profit. And it is a religious organization. The Ark Encounter is owned ultimately by Answers in Genesis.

Huh? Ark Encounter is a for-profit corporation because they deemed that best for raising money from the sale of bonds, and also because it was helpful in qualifying for the state’s sales tax kick-back. The fact that Ark Encounter is owned by a non-profit corporation is irrelevant. Churches can own profit-making corporations, and they aren’t exempt from anything because of who owns them. Here’s more:

There has been much false speculation about this matter, but there were no ulterior motives on our part at all. In fact, to resolve any issues over the recent change in title for the Ark Encounter property, the property has been conveyed back to the Ark Encounter, LLC and the deed has been recorded.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! No ulterior motives! When negotiations with the city of Williamstown failed, Ark Encounter sold its main parcel of land — the one with the life-size Noah’s Ark — for $10 to their non-profit parent company, Crosswater Canyon. They never said they wouldn’t pay the city’s tax. They didn’t have to. But when Kentucky state officials suspended the $18 million sales tax kick-back, Hambo quickly reversed that transaction. See Hambo Reverses the Ark Transfer.

That’s all there is to Hambo’s explanation of things. The rest of his post is about how much economic benefit his activities have brought to the area. He finishes with this:

I warn readers that much of the media (and many bloggers and secular groups) have not represented the safety-tax situation accurately, including failing to report our willingness to pay into the safety fund — with a suggested reasonable cap of a half million dollars a year. Their misrepresentations and, yes, lies, created a tempest in a teapot. I encourage people not to jump to conclusions based on media distortions, plus they are not privy to all the internal evidence.

So there you are, dear reader. Ponder Hambo’s words carefully before you jump to conclusions based on false reporting.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “Hambo Explains His Gyrations

  1. Derek Freyberg

    Does anyone have a subscription to the Grant County News? If so, could they let us all know what the citizens of Grant County said in response to the Hamster’s comments – I tried to see the comments to their last two articles, especially yesterday’s one (there was a late-breaking one one on Tuesday just reporting that the Hamster had agreed to the tax, and a much longer one yesterday with more of the story) but I’ve run out my free access.

  2. @Derek Freyberg

    Do you have links? I’m willing to try, but want to be sure I look at the right articles if there’s a cap on the free peeks.

  3. Derek Freyberg

    The July 25 one is at http://www.grantky.com/content/ark-encounter-agrees-pay-safety-assessment-fee; and the longer July 26 one is at http://www.grantky.com/content/ark-agrees-pay-city-safety-fee. I’d start with the second one; but I notice that the paper’s web “front page” noted the first one in the “Trending now” column.
    Good luck!

  4. Remember when I predicted this whole unseemly donnybrook back on 10-July-2017 at 4:14 pm?

    “I do believe that Mr Ham is trying to prepare us to witness some down ‘n’ dirty, definitely un-Christian behavior by him and AIG as they try to dodge the Williamstown safety tax.

    “Be alert for some truly despicable and desperate deeds from that quarter real soon.”

    Did I call it? Or did I call it?


  5. @Derek Freyberg

    I’m on it.


  6. @Derek Freyberg

    Could not get it done tonight.

    Grant County News has bested me for the nonce.


    (PS: I never even got a whiff of “free access” — sniff. Well, we’ll see.)

  7. So the slimiest action, selling the property to a non-profit, gets glossed over with no mention of the “real” motives behind the sale and Ham expects people to believe that only Christ-like goodwill and generosity guided his actions?
    The city should confiscate Ham’s ark and test if his “exact replica” actually replicates the original’s buoyancy in the middle of the Pacific. Call it a false advertising investigation.
    This whole thing seems like it deserves its’ own word, maybe Kentarding, or Hamholing, or a phrase like “wow, I really Kenboned that one in the Hamhole”.

  8. iamamonkey2

    The media, bloggers and secular groups with their misrepresentations and their lies have created a Tempest in a Teacup of biblical proportions. I give it only 40 days and 40 nights at the most before things quieten down.

  9. While Hambo is glossing over his machinations ( Hambo’s amateur legal hardball in this case do make him look not only like a shyster, but also laughably inept), his point isn’t completely void. A cap does make sense, after a certain point it is just a money grab from the city. Hambo actually is wrong in assuming that his past use of emergency services can be used to extrapolate future use. The first year does indeed indicate a baseline of typical emergency services needed, but the emergency services need a contingency plan for a true catastrophe of fire, tornado, terrorism and so forth. The odds are that such things will never happen, but never the less they do need to be prepared for such a dramatic and intense use of emergency services. (SC’s point that peak use rather than the average use is correct.)
    Ultimately I suspect Hambo’s cry for a cap are completely moot. 50 cent tax per ticket on 1 million guests is half a million. It looks like 1 million is all the ark park gets in its first year. Does anyone think the Ark Park gets more visitors in subsequent years?

  10. @Troy: “A cap does make sense, after a certain point it is just a money grab from the city.”

    Well, dude, I was all het up to hit you over the head with the very point you made yourself in your last paragraph.

    You’re right — no serious observer expects the Ark to pull in a million paying customers this year or any subsequent year. It’s still an open question if they even broke the million mark in their inaugural year.

    So now I’m all het up with nowhere to go.

    You wanna do an intellectual exercise in figuring out the annual attendance the Ark would have to realize to max out their 10-year $18.25 million sales tax rebate cap?

    I’m willin’.

    (PS: “A cap does” NOT “make sense . . . . “

  11. If Hambone is able to spin doctor like this on history that is fully documented online, just think what he can do with the distant past documented only by a bunch of ignorant bronze age goat herders….

    Oh wait….. too late.

    Srsly, his followers must only read his postings, and never look around.

  12. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that Ham wanted a cap to hide how few visitors his Ark gets. I suspect they set the cap at $350,000 because they don’t expect much more than 700,000 visitors per year. Their emergency services tax will be public knowledge, and it will be embarrassing when it comes in at $400,000 or so.

  13. @Paul D.

    Don’t you think that the Ark would have to report attendance figures in claiming their sales tax rebate from the State?

  14. ALL the churches should NOT be using public safety stuff like fire dept, or lightning rods or police! That would be working against gawd’s will!! They should just pray and accept all that gawd sends them!!! BUT but but people could die!!! Ya! SO! it is gawd’s will, who are we to interfere???

  15. Just out of interest, I looked up the cost of putting a new ambulance on the road for a year (cost of vehicle supplies and staffing) – a proper paramedical ambulance costs ~ $250-$300 thousand a year. The cost of a new pumper truck for the fire service ~$300k up to $600k depending on equipment and capabilities without staffing. A new aerial ladder truck is somewhere in the range of $750k……….

  16. @Rann

    You go, girl!

    Thanks for your all hard work.


  17. Yeah, emergency services ain’t cheap – it’s a fair bit cheaper for small towns that can double up some services, like having a fire vehicle or police vehicle that an handle lower-tier medical interventions, but still a hefty expense.

  18. Ross Cameron

    So is Hambo a nutter or a con-man? Maybe both? Google ‘How hard is it to cure religious delusions’. Not much chance of us helping him, I`m afraid.

  19. As a former firefighter / EMT, let me add a few comments:
    1) Rann is in the ballpark, but just a little bit low. I asked my good friend, who is the chief of a local volunteer department, what the total current costs to buy equipment were, and he said about $600k for a basic life support ambulance, and well north of $1 million for a ladder truck. An engine approached $1 million. That’s for East Coast, suburban and urban areas. Perhaps rural Midwest is lower, in which case Rann would be pretty close to on-the-money. The yearly costs depend on how many and what type of staff you had. In our area, paramedic units are required to have both people be EMT-Ps (paramedics). That’s higher cost due to more training required (18 months compared to a month for EMT-B). Some areas only require one, and the other can be something lower, typically EMT-Bs. Also, in our area, an engine may only have three people on it, whereas I just visited Chicago, which requires five firefighters, with at least one EMT-P on it. Also factor in maintenance and fuel.
    2) When it comes to the difference between peak and average, average plays a bigger role. Because of the Ark Park, the fire department will have more calls on average. Hence, the local department will need more equipment and personnel. Most municipalities have regulations about how many emergency personnel are required for X amount of office space and housing. If something major happens, and whatever it is becomes something that they cannot handle with just the equipment locally, then they have to make use of the mutual aid that EVERY department has with its surrounding neighbors. The classic example is United Flight 232 back in 1989. If “The Big One” goes up, you call in mutual aid from surrounding areas, and other crews are called in to fill those areas. The point of the local department for peak times is to simply stabilize until more crews and personnel can be brought in to fully contain and resolve the sitiuation. When I was a firefighter, we ran mutual aid to both surrounding counties and to several of the larger cities. Typically, all we were doing was to provide coverage for those crews working the crisis, whatever it was.

  20. Interesting Gary thanks