Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter stands to lose millions in state subsidies after the state of Kentucky finds the Christian theme park in violation of their tax incentive agreement.
The notification comes after Ham’s Ark Park played dirty to avoid paying taxes, essentially selling Ark Encounter to itself for $10 to cheat the city and county out of tax revenue.
However, it appears that the underhanded maneuver is set to fail in spectacular fashion, and the Ark Encounter will lose up to $18 million in state subsidies.
The Lexington Herald Leader reports:
The Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet has suspended an incentive agreement worth up to $18 million with a Noah’s Ark-themed amusement in Grant County because the park transferred its main property to a non-profit affiliate.
In a news release, the Freedom From Religion Foundation describes the situation:
The Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet notified the operators of the Ark Encounter that it is in breach of its Tourism Development Agreement with the state. That agreement provides up to $18 million in state subsidies for the Ark project in the form of annual sales tax rebates. FFRF obtained records from the Cabinet today that include a July 18 notice sent to the operators of the Ark saying that Ark Encounter, LLC has breached the agreement following the sale of the property. The letter says that no further tax rebates may accrue as of June 28.
In other words, Ark Encounter received very generous, very questionable tax subsidies from the state of Kentucky as a for-profit business. However, recently Ken Ham and his cronies sold Ark Encounter to themselves for $10 so they could reclassify the park as a non-profit religious organization in order to avoid paying new taxes that would fund necessary emergency services for the area. By doing so, it looks like the park will lose millions in previously promises state subsidies.The once positive relationship between government officials and Ark Park officials recently soured after financial promises made by Ken Ham and his organization to the city and county failed to materialize.
Last month, a bitter Ken Ham blamed atheists and the secular media for the perceived financial failure of his Ark Park. In a blog post to his Answers in Genesis website, Ham refused to take responsibility for his own failure, and refused to take responsibility for his broken financial promises to the citizens and business community of Grant County, Kentucky.
Bottom line: By changing their tax status from a for-profit business to a non-profit religious organization, it looks like Ark Encounter will lose up to $18 million in state subsidies. And that’s a good thing.