Ark Park goes nowhere

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LEO Weekly, an alternative weekly published in Louisville, Kentucky, reports that fundraising for the Ark Park has gone virtually nowhere since last May. Groundbreaking, if it was ever planned at all, has been postponed and postponed and postponed until next spring at the earliest.

LEO Weekly reports that the Ark Park has raised only about $1 million since last May and has raised a total of $4 million altogether. Its goal is to raise approximately $25 million. A representative of the Ark Park says, “Funding is progressing, a little slower [sic] due to the very slow economy.” He says further that they are 3-4 months behind schedule and adds, “We are considering a few options to help speed up the construction and possibly open to guests earlier than our original schedule. Once we have more information developed I’ll update you – probably by the first of the year.” LEO Weekly estimates that at the present rate groundbreaking might be scheduled for 2024.

My own estimate is that their timescale is skewed by their belief that the Earth is around 5000 years old. It is in fact more like 5 billion years old. Thus, if we take 3-4 months and multiply it by the ratio of 5 billion years to 5000 years, we estimate that the groundbreaking ceremony will take place in 3 million months, or 250,000 years.

Anyone who wonders where the money may be going in the meantime might consider the review by a volunteer named Roxy, posted at Charity Navigator. Additionally, comments to the LEO article claim that the Ark Park itself is a for-profit venture, but the Ark Encounter Website is not completely clear (to me, at least), and I cannot independently verify the claims. I cannot, however, find Ark Encounter in IRS Publication 78 .

Appendix. Here is what they say. On the home page,

Your tax-deductible sponsorship donation will be assigned a unique serial number that you can use to look up the location of your peg, plank, or beam in the Ark.

But then, in the FAQ’s,

Is this a non-profit endeavor?

In a sense, the Ark Encounter is both a for-profit and not-for-profit endeavor. The Ark Encounter is a for-profit operation but is managed by a non-profit subsidiary ministry of Answers in Genesis. The LLC and its members will be responsible for all of the normal taxes required for pass-through business entities.

19 Comments

Ark Encounter is for-profit.  It was created to get the tax incentives from Kentucky; a non-profit would have been ineligible. AIG is separately raising funds for building the Ark “replica” in the Ark Encounter theme park. Supposedly, AIG owns 20% of Ark Encounter, but it looks like all the same people.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsme[…]_sinking.php Best quote: Asked what would happen to the donations if the park never materializes, Zovath couldn’t say. “You’d have to contact donors,” he said. But he’s still optimistic. “It’s going to be a fun project,” he said.

I would love to read Roxy’s review, but I need some search criteria at that site. I tried “ark park” and “roxy” but got no matches on either one. Does this review have a searchable title?

You can get Roxy’s review at the URL I supplied above, but you may have to register first with Charity Navigator. The review is under AIG, not Arc Encounter. Sorry if I did not make that clear.

I wonder what the problem is? Shouldn’t one man be able to build the ark? Shouldn’t it take just 8 people, with no experience in keeping wild animals, to care for the animals? Show some faith, Ark Parkers!

Shouldn’t it float?

Should it not be built without power tools? Just like the original?

How hard can that be?

Any authentic Ark replica should float.

And no electrical lighting nor air-conditioning inside. (Let’s see how many visitors die of suffocation.)

Flint said:

I would love to read Roxy’s review, but I need some search criteria at that site. I tried “ark park” and “roxy” but got no matches on either one. Does this review have a searchable title?

For me the url opens a comment column; by reading the usernames I see that Roxy made the second comment/review down, unless one has been added as I write this. The information is very unsurprising but highly worth reading.

It is a little known fact that God commanded a number of settlements to make an ark, each to carry the people and the critters in that region. However, only Noah was able to raise the funds in time…

It is a little known fact that God commanded a number of settlements to make an ark, each to carry the people and the critters in that region. However, only Noah was able to raise the funds in time…

Perhaps God sponsored an ark-building contest.

Thanks, I see the intended comment. So they have $4 million in assets, $11 million in liabilities, and spend most of the charitable donations on products sold (for profit) by members of the board, and on high and rising compensation for Ham and his whole family.

And the rest of the comments illustrate succinctly just WHY these donations keep flowing in.

I found Roxy’s review here: http://www.charitynavigator.org/ind[…]p;orgid=5214

However, looking over the 990, I was unable to see where Roxy gets the figure $586,000 for officer compensation, unless she/he was looking at another year, not 2010. What is clear from the current 990 is that Ham’s family is earning a substantial income from AiG, and that the board member who owns Leaf Publishing does a brisk business with AiG. That much is clear.

Roxy’s review. Don’t know who Roxy is and the data in the review is unverified:

Regardless of your personal view of the subject matter this organization is in dire financial position, even for a non-profit.

Their main assets are held within the museum they require for their operation, if we remove mission critical these assets from consideration then their total assets are around $4,000,000 with total liabilities of $11,000,000 and only $220,000 cash on hand. This organization is playing rather hard and fast with liquidity.

Further more the presidents entire family is on the payroll and the organization makes regular purchases from for profit companies owned and operated by board members. Including over $1,000,000 to Board Member Tim Dudley and new leaf publishing.

Although I have no doubt these transactions are within the letter of the law (considering the hefty amount of money they spend on legal consulting even though they also pay an in house lawyer) it always gives me pause when I see the personal enrichment of those responsible for the stewardship of public funds. Including Ken Ham doubling his compensation from $80,000 to $170,000 over the course of one year.

AIG Officer Compensation: $586,000 (5 officers)

Ham family Compensation: $322,000

And all of this while revenue at the organization dropped 13%

I’m not surprised that old Hambo is fleecing the flock. After all, rubes have wool so it can be pulled over their eyes.

Matt Young Wrote:

My own estimate is that their timescale is skewed by their belief that the Earth is around 5000 years old. It is in fact more like 5 billion years old. Thus, if we take 3-4 months and multiply it by the ratio of 5 billion years to 5000 years, we estimate that the groundbreaking ceremony will take place in 3 million months, or 250,000 years.

You “Darwinists” will not like this, but I’m going to help speed that up by a factor of ~1 million. I have just alterted them to several polls that suggest that most self-described creationists are not young-earthers, and that by insisting on a strictly YEC apporoach they would be throwing away half their sales. I even told them about the ID-peddling old-earthers who encourage belief of the Flood but don’t think it’s really supported by “evidences.” I pleaded with them to expand their horizons, think outside the box, and embrace the anti-“Darwinism” big tent. All they have to do is play “don’t ask, don’t tell” with the details of “what happened when,” and avoid claiming that what little they do conclude is supported by independent evidence. ;-)

Including Ken Ham doubling his compensation from $80,000 to $170,000 over the course of one year.

It could well be more than that all told. There are ways to put a huge amount of compensation onto expense accounts and write off personal expenses as part of doing their “job”. Most likely, the Ham is raking in a lot of loot personally and tax free.

A huge amount of money given by the faithful is just wasted, much of it on their dubious leaders. Pat Robertson is reputed to be a billionaire off the paychecks of the faithful. I don’t have a problem with that. Money spent on Hawaiian vacations and fine wine is money they don’t have to spend trying to destroy our society.

raven said:

Including Ken Ham doubling his compensation from $80,000 to $170,000 over the course of one year.

It could well be more than that all told. There are ways to put a huge amount of compensation onto expense accounts and write off personal expenses as part of doing their “job”. Most likely, the Ham is raking in a lot of loot personally and tax free.

A huge amount of money given by the faithful is just wasted, much of it on their dubious leaders. Pat Robertson is reputed to be a billionaire off the paychecks of the faithful. I don’t have a problem with that. Money spent on Hawaiian vacations and fine wine is money they don’t have to spend trying to destroy our society.

Not to mention it stimulates economic activity as the money is spent on rentboys, crack whores, and other purveyors of luxury and vice.

Ark Encounters was originally said to be in Springfield, Mo. Edwin Kagin and I went there for Skepticon in November, and we searched for any evidence for Ark Encounters and could not find any. There was no address, even in old phone books.

Current news article and other business documents list Ark Encounters as located in Petersburg, KY, which is the same city as Answers in Genesis. I can not locate the address of Ark Encounters. The Ark Encounters website (http://arkencounter.com/) does not contain its address, but it does note that the website is “powered by Answers in Genesis.”

It appears to me that Ark Encounters and Answers in Genesis are one and the same (currently, if not originally). Ark Encounters appears to be a phantom for profit company created so that KY can give $40 million tax dollars to the Answers in Genesis ministry.

It appears that this audio of a talk Ken Ham gave to the AiG staff is loaded with hints of stress within that organization.

Imagine yourself sitting in that meeting before the start of the workday. Interesting and peculiar. It gives some insight into just how Ham manages his organization.

Shorter Ken Ham:

1) Some people sell out to reality, but not us, nosiree.

2) We’re not doing so well, and that’s a good thing, on account of it shows how godly we are.

3) So you people aren’t going to get a pay rise this year, or maybe get paid at all, unless your name is Ham, or you’ve married someone of that name.

Dave Luckett said:

Shorter Ken Ham:

1) Some people sell out to reality, but not us, nosiree.

2) We’re not doing so well, and that’s a good thing, on account of it shows how godly we are.

3) So you people aren’t going to get a pay rise this year, or maybe get paid at all, unless your name is Ham, or you’ve married someone of that name.

No, but you can at least get into the creation museusm for free.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on December 26, 2011 11:24 AM.

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