(Since Kent Hovind is in the news for tax evasion again, I thought it would be nice to bring this article over here to the shiny new site.)
Ah, the continuing saga of Kent Hovind’s criminal industries…Hovind is an inexplicably popular creationist who, in addition to his dedication to creationist absurdities, has this devout belief that as a minister of Jesus, he is a resident of a celestial, Christian nation independent of the secular government of the United States, i.e., he doesn’t have to pay taxes. Ever. On anything. And little things like zoning laws? Pffft. They don’t apply to him. Only Jesus’s law counts, and conveniently enough, Jesus says that Kent gets to keep all of his money. (Isn’t it funny how Jesus, when he was alive, preached about rendering unto Caesar what was Caesar’s, helped the poor and sick, and was sort of down on the wealthy and worldly? Now that he’s dead, he’s had a change of heart and tells all his best friends to stockpile the moolah. I guess slow torture and execution turns people into Republicans.) (Hey, you don’t think…nah. Couldn’t be. Is the answer to WWJD, “Abu Ghraib”?)
Anyway. Hovind. He’s a tax evader and con man. Don’t believe me? Think I’m making it up, distorting a few honest mistakes into a criminal conspiracy? Read Kent Hovind’s own account (pdf file) of his latest brush with the law.
1. On April 14, 2004 at about 7:40 a.m. I was going about my normal ministry duties at the property owned by the Church, located at 29 Cummings Road, Pensacola, Florida when about 20 armed foreign agents (see attached letter dated July 22, 2002, page 3 point #2) wearing military type uniforms marked IRS-CID swarmed onto the church property accompanied by about 12 deputies from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department. None of the men or women in IRSCID uniforms had any personal identification on their uniforms nor did they show me any identification when asked.
Notice how he describes the IRS agents raiding his base of operations as foreign agents. To Hovind, the US is a foreign country—in these xenophobic times when the right-wing is so ready to attack people’s patriotism, you have to wonder why this open denial of his country receives so little notice.
2. As they approached the office, I walked out and was confronted by a man who told me he was Scott Schneider from the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue and he was here to serve a search WARRANT. The following conversation followed: I said, “Scott, you never answered my letters or questions from over a year ago asking you to provide evidence of your lawful authority to demand property or information from me.” (See Attachment A) Schneider has never responded to any of these letters and continued to operate in want of any jurisdiction to do so. Scott knew full well that he had no authority to conduct this raid and the information in the attached Attachment A must have been intentionally withheld from the Magistrate when he applied for the WARRANT. “Why didn’t you simply answer my letters, Scott? You don’t need to raid this place with guns and bullet-proof vests, nobody here will hurt you. I have told you before, just answer the questions in the letters I sent you and demonstrate your lawful authority to investigate me and I will give you any information I am required to give. I intend to obey the law and expect you to do the same.”
Hovind is so disingenuous. He has already decided that there is no “evidence of lawful authority” by the secular government. He has decided ahead of time that he alone has the correct interpretation of the law, and has no intent at all to obey the interpretations of lesser authorities, such as police officers, lawyers, judges, or civil precedent.
Scott ignored my question and said, “I have a WARRANT to search this property.” I said, “May I see a copy of the WARRANT and attached affidavit?” Scott handed me a WARRANT to look at. I said, “Scott, this WARRANT is for entities that do not exist at this location. I am not a corporation named KENT HOVIND and everything here is property of the Church. The manager of the Church property is Glen Stoll and you will need to talk with him if you have any questions. You are trespassing and are expressly denied access. Please leave this Church property immediately!” Scott ignored my demands and said, “I have a WARRANT signed by a judge and I am going to search this property.”
Hovind goes on and on in this vein for quite a few pages. Read it yourself if you are sufficiently masochistic. I am tickled at the thought of Kent Hovind standing before an officer of the court, reading a warrant made out against him, and declaiming “The Hovind entity or corporation is not present.”
There are a few other little gems scattered throughout. Here, for a change, Hovind tells the truth:
29. Also, to point #6 where he falsely alleges that I offer amusements for a fee; I personally receive no fees and offer nothing to the guests that arrive at the ministry. The Church ministry, which has its lawful existence totally separate from me, does not offer amusements of any kind.
Don’t believe he’s a tax evader? He hasn’t even filed a return in ten years!
31. To point #7, where Schneider complains that neither I nor my wife “have filed personal income tax returns in the past ten years;” I have had no personal income, there have been no taxes due and no filing required. In addition, I have made diligent search of the Internal Revenue Code and have paid for tax professionals to tell me if I am liable for any tax. See Attachment B. They have instructed me that I have not been made liable. It is Schneider who needs to study the law and obey it.
And here’s some language I’m surprised never made it into the King James Version.
32. To point #7, where Schneider says, “…none of these business entities are currently, or have been, incorporated, indicating that they are currently sole proprietorships for income tax purposes.” The Church is not a sole proprietorship of anyone, and our ministries are the business of the Lord Jesus Christ, duly licensed and registered by His Church, incorporated into His Body as a Ministerial Trust, with its trustee being a corporation on file with the Secretary of State of the State of Washington as identified in the affidavit and letter from Glen Stoll, Attachment C.
There’s a benediction I never heard in my church-going youth…”our ministries are the business of the Lord Jesus Christ, duly licensed and registered by His Church, incorporated into His Body as a Ministerial Trust…”. Jesus Christ, MBA, CPA.
43. To point #32 where Schneider says, “an organization such as CSE, conducting the sale of books, videos and other materials… should have filed state sales tax returns…” Schneider has no jurisdiction over the church ministry nor is he responsible for collection of state sales tax. He is impersonating a judge by interpreting the law.
What, exactly, is Hovind doing?
Hovind does have a few specific recommendations about what should be done in redress. Since he apparently doesn’t accept that civil law thing, his suggestions come straight from the Bible.
12. Both Scott Schneider and the Escambia County Sheriff’s department should be required to publicly apologize for their wrongs, return stolen property and pay damages to the church ministry. Exodus 22 and Leviticus 6 give fair guidelines for restitution.
I’m no bible scholar, so I had to look these up. Exodus offers a number of relevant penalties: “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged and has sexual relations with her, he must surely endow her to be his wife. If her father refuses to give her to him, he must pay money for the bride price of virgins.” There is some ambiguity about the fair market price of virgins, so I’m not sure how to apply this suggestion in this case.
Exodus 22 also tells us that “You must not allow a sorceress to live” and that “Whoever has sexual relations with a beast must surely be put to death.” I wonder what exactly is going on in Dinosaur Adventure Land when the doors close.
Leviticus seems more applicable. “When a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by deceiving his fellow citizen in regard to something held in trust, or a pledge, or something stolen, or by extorting something from his fellow citizen, or has found something lost and denies it and swears falsely concerning any one of the things that someone might do to sin — when it happens that he sins and he is found guilty, then he must return whatever he had stolen, or whatever he had extorted, or the thing that he had held in trust, or the lost thing that he had found, or anything about which he swears falsely.”
Hey, now that is sensible and appropriate! I think Hovind ought to obey that biblical law.