Big Gay Wooden Box outraged at Fake News

Those scamps at Answers in Genesis are mad at the Lexington Herald-Leader for reporting on their tax shenanigans. How dare they suggest that AiG wasn’t willing to pay their fair share!

In typical, hackneyed fashion, the Herald-Leader has again misrepresented the Ark Encounter. In its July 27 editorial, the paper omitted key information when it declared that our themed attraction had “protested” contributing to the safety fund of the city of Williamstown. To the unwary reader, it suggested that the Ark was not prepared to pay anything at all. Wrong.

Conveniently omitted was a mention that the Ark Encounter was always prepared to pay into the fund, even up to a generous $500,000 a year for this city of 4,000 people. We merely sought a reasonable cap. That was the sticking point, not an unwillingness to pay into the fund. With the editorial’s words that the Ark is a “non-profit religious organization,” the reader was further led to believe that our “protest” included an excuse not to pay into the fund.

It’s what’s not reported in an editorial or article that can lead to a highly misleading thrust. It would be like this newspaper reporting that Fort Knox’s Patton Museum had no visitors last Monday. That is a true statement on the face of it. But not also mentioning that it is closed on Mondays would make the report misleading.


Unlike us poor peons, I guess AiG thinks they get to bargain with tax agencies and tell them that they won’t pay the full amount. You know what would happen to me if I told the Minnesota state government or the IRS that I wasn’t “protesting” the tax rate, but that I’ve decided to cap my contribution to $500 per year? I’d be in jail, with a lot of accountants laughing at me.

Speaking of trying to mislead by omission, how come Looy failed to mention that, in their mad scramble to demonstrate their willingness to support the community with a reasonable cap, they first transferred ownership of the Big Gay Wooden Box to their tax-exempt religious division for $10, and then hastily sold it back for $10 when the state of Kentucky pointed out that that would invalidate their $18 million tax subsidy? That sneaky shuffle seems to me to be a good thing to mention when they claim to have been engaged in good faith negotiations — not mentioning it makes that letter misleading.


  1. blf says

    The Lexington Herald-Examiner, in the editorial the crooks claim is misleading, did mention the $10 shuffle-and-shuffle-back (and embedded at least one link to a more detailed story):

    Operators of the Ark […] protested, saying the $92 million purported replica of Noah’s Ark is really a non-profit religious organization. To make that stick, they transferred it to a non-profit associated with Ark Encounter and the related Creation Museum.

    That prompted the state Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet to suspend tax rebates worth up to $18 million […]

    Faced with losing $18 million again, the Ark people reconsidered their convictions, agreed to pay the Williamstown tax and transferred the property back to its original owner.

    So the letter is not only misleading, it is simply wrong: The crooks cannot validly complain that the editorial is misleading; the editorial described, in summary terms, the antics of the thieves.

    As far as I am currently aware, the entire crap about the cap is an after-the-fact invention, never mentioned (in public, at least) until the scammers backed down. Even if the cap is not an post hoc lie, that particular cap is still, as poopyhead explains, absurd.

    I also note the Herald-Examiner published the letter. In a reversed situation, with a complaint (truthful or not) sent to the ark scam, it would have very probably been deleted if it ever made it onto the comment forums / whatever at all.

  2. zetopan says

    Since intellectual honesty is always the first thing to be rapidly discarded in religious belief systems, the AIG antics come as absolutely *zero* surprise to anyone paying attention.

  3. Holms says

    Conveniently omitted was a mention that the Ark Encounter was always prepared to pay into the fund, even up to a generous $500,000 a year for this city of 4,000 people. We merely sought a reasonable cap.

    So if Bill Gates moves to a tiny hamlet, he can make the same argument to write off 99% of his taxation? What an idiot / liar.

  4. whheydt says

    Re: blf @ #1…
    As I recall, the $500K “cap” was mentioned before the initial property “transfer”. It’s possible that Ham’s *real* objection is either that how much they pay (which should be a matter of public record) will reveal what their actual–paid–attendance is, or that it takes away money that he thinks that he could extract from the marks and he’s just jealous.

    In any case, the argument about “$500K for a town of 4000” is disingenuous. Those funds aren’t really needed for the *town*. They’re needed to cover the infrastructure and personnel needed to provide emergency service to the Big Gay Wooden Box. Basically telling Ham that he has added requirements to the town services and now he has to pay in to cover them. Call a Waaambulance for Ham.

  5. blf says

    whheydt@4, You seem to be correct. I don’t have / haven’t found a precise timeline, but it looks like the initial $10 deal was c.28-June, and the cap (then $350K ?) proposed at a c.19-July meeting; the second $10 deal was c.21-July. So the cap wasn’t a post hoc invention. My bad.

    Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge has about the same timeline, but implies at least the initial $350K cap was suggested before the first $10 deal. It’s not clear if the cap scam was publicly known before the c.19-July meeting.

  6. robro says

    It is not unusual for companies to get tax concessions from the communities they operate in. However, the Ark Encounter already has big tax concessions: Williamstown gave Ham a huge property tax cut for the 300+ acres that the BGWB sits on (75%), and then there’s the $18 million tourism tax rebate. Williamstown also sold Ham 100 acres for $10.

    As I said before, if Ham doesn’t want to pay for firetrucks and emergency equipment that Williamstown doesn’t otherwise need, then perhaps Williamstown should say “don’t call us if that big firetrap gets lit or some old codger keels over in the heat. Provide your own damn emergency services.” However, I suspect that state law obligates the community to provide the services.

  7. blf says

    It’s not clear “Williamstown doesn’t need” the additional equipment, staff, and facilities other than to cover the biggaybox: Ken “piglet rapist” Ham et al has claimed biggaybox draws additional visitors / income to Williamstown itself, which would put additional strain on the services. (Ham is probably overstating the case, but it is also unlikely there isn’t some effect.) So Ham having a private service, if that were legal and these crooks actually operated competently, seems unlikely to be a “full” solution. And: What about the extra traffic on the roads, is that the public or Ham’s private responsibility?

  8. says

    Think you can’t get away with refusing to pay tax? Wrong. About 20 years ago the Australian tax office pursued Australia’s richest man for over $300 million in unpaid taxes it cost him about $30 million in tax-deductible legal fees to fight it. The tax office eventually gave up when it ran out of money. When he was summonsed to appear at a Senate enquiry into his tax avoidance he responded aggressively to questioning and told his inquisitors that he didn’t pay his taxes or at least as few taxes as possible because he didn’t like the way the government spent them. He didn’t go to jail, he died peacefully in bed and his son inherited the ill-gotten gains. The son hasn’t been as lucky. He has big investments in China and the Chinese government has a bad habit of jailing the executives who run his shady schemes.