Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

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notorial dissent
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby notorial dissent » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:56 pm

rogfulton wrote:
notorial dissent wrote:I wonder if there is a clause in the agreement that says if they don't abide by the full terms of the agreement that the tax incentive shave to be repaid to the state? There certainly should be.

Go to the link I posted above, I believe it states something to that effect.

Not that I can tell, but I'm having problems with that link as well.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby TheNewSaint » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:06 pm

Their Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_Encounter goes into more detail about the nature of the tax breaks they've gotten.

The tax they lost is from the state. It's an agreement that they get to keep a portion of the sales taxes they would normally pay. So the aforementioned $18 million was a potential amount, based on the value of this arrangement over the 10-year length of the deal. This is a general offer that the state makes to new businesses.

What I find more troubling that the city of Williamstown - rural, population 4,000 - raised $62 million in bonds on Ark Encounter's behalf. And AE is now trying to screw the city out of a trivial 50c/ticket surcharge, which they only want to pay for the cost of safety services to park visitors. I guess if anyone gets hurt at the park, they can fend for themselves.

How very Christ-like.

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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby Arthur Rubin » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:20 pm

:sarcasmon:

Didn't Christ heal the sick and injured? What need does AE have for first aid stations.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby Gregg » Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:39 pm

They lost the $18 million dollar sales tax rebate by transferring the real estate to a non-profit, a move they made to avoid paying $700,000 in ticket sale fees, of which they had offered a compromise of $500,000 maximum. Some people have theorized that they did this to avoid having to declare their actual paid attendance being much lower than what they want people to believe. I don't think they're that smart, they just didn't think the tax credit deal they had already won (in a long court battle) would be taken away.

The place is a racket, though. They charge $40 for admission and $10 to park which is stupid, the place is in the middle of nowhere. Some of the local officials are just about done with them after this, they're kind of feeling like Lando being told by Darth Vader "I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/20 ... 499690001/

Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet wrote:It has come to our attention that your client, Ark Encounter, LLC, is in breach of its Tourism Development Agreement… with the Commonwealth. On July 10, 2017, the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet… became aware of a quit claim deed transferring the Ark Project land, with all the privileges and appurtenances to the same, from Ark Encounter, LLC, a for profit company, to Crosswater Canyon, Inc. a non-profit company.

We believe that your client is aware that they may not be eligible for state tax incentives if the Ark Project is owned by a non-profit legal entity. Answers in Genesis, the parent company of Crosswater Canyon, Inc., and Ark Encounter, LLC clearly states on its website:
“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.”
Furthermore, as a the Tourism Development Agreement is between the Commonwealth and Ark Encounter, LLC, not Crosswater Canyon, LLC, the current owner, please be advised that no further incentives may accrue from sales tax imposed on sales generated by or arising at the tourism development project, as of the date of transfer of the property, June 28, 2017.


The bolding of the last part was in the letter from the State.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby notorial dissent » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:46 am

I will freely admit my bias(s) right here and now from the start, I think this is nothing more than the usual run of the mill scam cloaked in semi-religious hooey and jiggery pokery. The ONLY real intention here is to make as much money off the unthinking faithful and get as much for nothing as they can from the county and the state. That being said, I note the following.

I'd say on the last point they've done quite well. They got a large chunk of ground(98 acres I think it was) from the county for nothing, they've gotten all sorts of infrastructure for essentially nothing, they have gotten all kinds of tax concessions from both the county and the state, the basically got the county to pay for it all with the bond issue for what $62M and the state has been handing money back to them.

Now considering the type of organization this is, as well as their behavior to date, I see NO reason to assume that they have been even remotely honest about their finances, how they are paying for all of it,(in fact I think the county probably paid for most of it) or what their income and expenses actually are.

My suspicion is that they are/or at least were severely over inflating their income to get the tax rebates from the state and to justify the money they were getting from the county. I think the sticking point came when they would actually have had to pay out money based strictly on their attendance, and that would have as they say blown the gaf since they would have had to pay against the inflated attendance or admit what it really was. I think good old fashioned greed undoubtedly played a part as they didn't want to part with any of their money, but I am betting that it was more the numbers that they didn't want to report. I know they have sold lifetime "Boarding Passes" to a fair number of the faithful, haven't seen a number, but I'm betting that money is long gone. I would suspect that their reported attendance is not remotely realistic. In fact, I'm really really curious as to where the money is going anyway since they were a for profit, and what the non profit is doing with it.

What I'd like to see is the county's income figures(rise) based on this thing's being open. I would bet a good accountant could tell you what the change was and if it was significant enough to justify the liability they are racking up. My feeling is that this thing will do what these things eventually do and tank when the actual expenses get to the point they can't hide them any more and they can't suck any more money out of it, and the county is going to get stuck with bond debt they probably won't be able to pay off.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby rogfulton » Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:37 pm

Rawstory.com is reporting that the "owner of Ark theme park trashes press for reporting he's ducking taxes".

prominent creationist Ken Ham, in all capital letters wrote:“MEDIA AND BLOGGERS OUT OF CONTROL RE: ARK,”


Currenly, the last paragraph helps explain Ken Ham's view (original bolding in article due to embedded links that are not reproduced here):

Rawstory wrote:Ken Ham has blamed Williamstown for dreadful attendance at the theme park. Ham has also blamed atheists for tax-payers getting fleeced by the project.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby Gregg » Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:53 pm

Tour RawStory link didn't work for me. If you have trouble with it, this one did.

https://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/media- ... ing-taxes/
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby rogfulton » Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:58 pm

Gregg wrote:Tour RawStory link didn't work for me. If you have trouble with it, this one did.

https://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/media- ... ing-taxes/

Thanks. It worked before I submitted it. Looks like that final slash is important after all.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby Gregg » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:21 pm

notorial dissent wrote:snip
My suspicion is that they are/or at least were severely over inflating their income to get the tax rebates from the state and to justify the money they were getting from the county. I think the sticking point came when they would actually have had to pay out money based strictly on their attendance, and that would have as they say blown the gaf since they would have had to pay against the inflated attendance or admit what it really was. I think good old fashioned greed undoubtedly played a part as they didn't want to part with any of their money, but I am betting that it was more the numbers that they didn't want to report. I know they have sold lifetime "Boarding Passes" to a fair number of the faithful, haven't seen a number, but I'm betting that money is long gone. I would suspect that their reported attendance is not remotely realistic. In fact, I'm really really curious as to where the money is going anyway since they were a for profit, and what the non profit is doing with it.


From a local article, re: Attendance

Now approaching the one-year anniversary of its grand opening, park co-founder Mike Zovath said visitor tallies will hit 1 million as of July. But that figure can’t be confirmed by outside sources.”


Even if they do hit the 1 Million, that number by itself falls short of the 1.2 by 16.7%. If I miss my projections by nigh 17% I ain't gonna be in the building cars business that long, but I digress. Also, in their Prospectus, the estimate that 103,000 of the admissions will be from season pass holders, memberships and complimentary admissions. In other words, people who ain't paying to come in, or only paid once and that a year before the place opened. This number was guessed at before they got some bad press and decided to only charge school groups $1 per person (retail cost is $28 for children, and the plan for school kids was to be $9.99 before letters went out to local schools about not taking field trips there, which hurt them pretty bad I think)
Anyhow, they missed their numbers pretty bigly, and things like this often have a grand opening bump and level out a bit, which isn't good news. They do have a plan though, to add new attractions to keep up attendance, and if for no other reason these are worth reading the prospectus for...a short highlight.....

733042 prospectus wrote:Ten Plagues Ride
The Ten Plagues Ride is intended to be an introduction to the birth of the Hebrew Nation...special effects depicting the ten Plagues in a fun way to help make the story memorable, ending in the parting of the Red Sea...




comedy gold
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby notorial dissent » Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:30 pm

OK, so right off the bat I'm still trying to figure out how it is the city's fault their attendance is down. Sorry, that don't compute no matter how you parse it.

It is looking more like their financial figures don't compute either when it comes right down to it. Do they actually have what would constitute legal investors in this thing? If so, I would think they are in seriously hot water. This is beginning to smell like a securities scam to me.

And oh, joy, a "Ten Plagues Ride" ride just what I've always wanted to go on, Image I don't think so....Image And along with that a whole long list of Federal safety and inspection requirements that they aren't going to want to abide by or spend money on. I can already just see how that will go.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby Gregg » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:01 pm

FWIW, we have contractors at Ford who worked on the site and the compliance was as good as anywhere with the safety and general construction. I myself would attribute that to the companies doing the work, there aren't many capable of doing that big a project who would be willing to half-ass it.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby notorial dissent » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:08 pm

If you actually can do the job, why would you half ass it?? Doing things right is usually a whole lot less hassle at the start and expense at the end.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby wserra » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:52 pm

notorial dissent wrote:If you actually can do the job, why would you half ass it?? Doing things right is usually a whole lot less hassle at the start and expense at the end.


Not if you declare bankruptcy . . . .
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby The Observer » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:00 pm

wserra wrote:
notorial dissent wrote:If you actually can do the job, why would you half ass it?? Doing things right is usually a whole lot less hassle at the start and expense at the end.


Not if you declare bankruptcy . . . .


Or just take the up-front money and run.

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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby TheNewSaint » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:02 pm

One of the videos said they got visitors "from as far away as Illinois and Arkansas." Really, that's it? When you're a young-earth creationist theme park and you're not attracting people from Kansas, Missouri, and the deep south, you have serious problems.

Speaking of Missouri, that's where they should have built this thing. Tacky tourist traps like Wall Drug and South of the Border work because they're on the way to actual destinations, and because they don't try too hard. Travelers can stop and rest, buy everything the place has to sell in half a day, and happily be on their way.

You put a life-size model of Noah's Ark 45 minutes out of Branson, build a Jesus-themed Wall Drug around it, buy some billboards, and I think you've got a winner. Tens of thousands of your demographic drive by every day to go see Minnie Pearl and Yakov Smirnoff. Millions live within a day's drive. And you might pick up some Mormons on their way to sites in Missouri and Illinois.

And, I have a great idea for a tax incentive; the state of Missouri could give them 800 cubits of wood.

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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby Gregg » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:48 pm

The location is actually great, I-75 carries an incredible amount of pass through vacation traffic. Its how you get to Florida from anywhere west of Pittsburgh and east of St Louis.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby TheNewSaint » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:22 am

Gregg wrote:The location is actually great, I-75 carries an incredible amount of pass through vacation traffic. Its how you get to Florida from anywhere west of Pittsburgh and east of St Louis.


In general, yes, but that particular stretch of I-75 (between Cincinnati and Lexington) isn't on the optimum route for most of that area. Only Michigan and most of Ohio could call it "on the way." Illinois, most of Indiana, western Pennsylvania, even Cleveland have more direct routes to Florida. And those two states provide less than 10% of Florida's visitors anyway; most are from the northeast and south.

But let's say 10% of all Florida visitors drive by Ark Encounter. At 27 million visitors a year (same link), that's 2.7 million people. Branson gets 8 million visitors a year, a third of which live within 300 miles. So the Branson location has access to almost exactly the same number of potential visitors, but they live closer, and, according to various religious surveys, are more likely to call themselves Christian.

I'd much rather have the Branson location.

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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby notorial dissent » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:31 am

For some reason, I just don't think AE is getting the kind of visitor numbers that they need to be a going concern. Between overstated attendance and income and understated actually paying, I would suspect that the actual numbers are considerably grimmer.
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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby jcolvin2 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:17 am

The transfer to the non-profit appears to have been reversed:
http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article163349603.html#storylink=cpy

(Thanks to our friends at Fogbow for the link.)

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Re: Creation Science (& Tax Cheaters) Hall of Fame!

Postby notorial dissent » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:47 am

Yes, which would certainly tend to indicate that the tax rebate is an important issue with them.

My question now is whether or not that little temper tantrum was enough to void the contract they had with the Commonwealth regardless of the outcome. It certainly would, at least to my mind, indicate a willingness to not abide by agreements, and that something is not on the up and up here.

The fact that you sincerely and wholeheartedly believe that the “Law of Gravity” is unconstitutional and a violation of your sovereign rights, does not absolve you of adherence to it.


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