PT’s year-end report on AIG

| 31 Comments

Reporter James McNair recently reported in a Cincinnati newspaper that the attendance at the Creation Museum has dropped for four consecutive years and that Answers in Genesis lost over $500,000. These tidbits inspired my colleague Dan Phelps and me to look at AIG’s Forms 990. These are tax forms that must be submitted by nonprofit organizations to the US Internal Revenue Service and may be found if you have a (free) account on GuideStar.

According to various Forms 990 through the tax year ending June 30, 2011, in four consecutive years, AIG has run surpluses of approximately $2.1 million, $716,000, and $940,000, and a loss of $540,000. Not exactly a monotonic decline, but certainly a steep drop from a surplus of $2.1 million to a loss of $540,000 in three years. Can we expect similar losses due to the Ark Park? Maybe: Joe Sonka in the Louisville newspaper LeoWeekly reports that “… correspondence between Ark Encounter and the Tourism Cabinet reveal an application process that proceeded with remarkable speed, little scrutiny, and standards that appear different from that of [another applicant].”

The 2010 Form 990 (for fiscal year ending June 30, 2011) has some interesting information.

1. The president of AIG, Ken Ham, earned an annual salary of approximately $150,000 and a total package of around $200,000, which I think is not out of line for the president of a company with approximately $20 million of revenue (Schedule J, Part II). Four of Ham’s children, his son-in-law, his brother, and his sister-in-law are listed as staff members, with annual salaries between approximately $1300 and nearly $80,000 (Schedule L, Part IV).

2. AIG says that Crosswater Canyon, a nonprofit, will operate AIG’s Ark Park but that a limited-liability company will own it. Crosswater Canyon is identified in Schedule R as being wholly controlled by AIG; we assume that means it is a subsidiary. According to Whois, crosswatercanyon.org is one of approximately 1300 domain names owned by AIG, but crosswatercanyon.org, .com, and .net yield nothing useful.

Crosswater Canyon reimbursed AIG a bit over $1 million for expenses. The Ark Park was formally announced in December, 2010. The payment was made some time between then and June 30, 2011. AIG was thus reimbursed $1 million for expenses within six or seven months of the announcement.

3. Schedule R, Part III, lists Takenbac Enterprises, LLC, PO Box 384, Hebron, KY 41048 as a “related organization taxable as a partnership.” Two of the officers of Takenbac Enterprises are “key employees” of AIG and draw annual salaries of approximately $90,000 from AIG. We speculate that Takenbac is the mysterious “private Limited Liability Company (LLC) [that] will own the Ark Encounter,” according to AIG’s FAQ’s.

4. Geo-Research Pty., Ltd. [proprietary company], 27 Rising St., Shailer Park, Queensland, Australia, received $128,000 for consulting (Part VII). Geo-Research is or was the employer of Andrew Snelling, a former geologist who joined the staff of AIG in 2007. The address of Geo-Research appears to be a private home that has been for sale but is now off the market.

Perhaps readers can fill in some of the blanks.

31 Comments

So…maybe it is possible to go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public!

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/[…]myX9u_xNgSt8 said:

So…maybe it is possible to go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public!

Hear, hear! Here’s a really comforting thought for Christmas! :)

Does this explain why Ken Ham is getting more obnoxious in his blogs. After all, he may get a pay cut and have to depend on Obamacare:)

Matt wrote “Four of Ham’s children, his son-in-law, his brother, and his sister-in-law are listed as staff members…”

I recall Bernie Madoff had several family members as “staff”…

Paul Burnett said:

Matt wrote “Four of Ham’s children, his son-in-law, his brother, and his sister-in-law are listed as staff members…”

I recall Bernie Madoff had several family members as “staff”…

Madoff’s brother Peter was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for his part in that debacle.

There’s a reason why the Genesis creation accounts are short–there’s very little to tell beyond “God did it.” Sin and the Flood are more interesting, of course, but they don’t have any real science for that, just a lot of spinning.

So while it’s certainly true that museums generally have declines in attendance after initial high numbers soon after opening, I really wouldn’t expect their fancy Sunday School to end up having very high steady attendance levels. Maybe they’ll even continue to make money, considering no real science and relatively low expenses otherwise (acquisition costs? For what?), but it can hardly do anything but emphasize the static–and ultimately boring–nature of “creation science.”

I’d really like to see someone try to make an attraction for ID. How do you make exhibits for some (officially) unknown Designer did some unknown thing to make life for unknown reasons, and followed evolutionary constraints for no apparent reason at all. At least AiG officially has a story, however sterile it ultimately is in the real world.

Glen Davidson

Don’t pick on Hambo just because his family is on the payroll. Remember, Noah’s family also worked to build the Ark. It’s a grand tradition.

When there were “surpluses” what did they do with them?

What and how convincing are the non-salary expenses?

Where does the revenue come from?

harold said:

When there were “surpluses” what did they do with them?

I headed the Board of a non-profit corporation back in the 1980s that employed ~250 developmentally disabled adults. Like all such non-profits, we were not prohibited from having our revenues exceed our expenses. We had to retain that surplus to be used as our best judgment indicated in service of the operation–for staff development, purchasing capital equipment, and so on. In 2010 the Biologic Institute showed an excess of revenues over expenses of $66,830, and a fund balance (=accrued surpluses) of $158,188. Retaining surpluses is (up to a point) prudent.

Richard B. Hoppe said:

harold said:

When there were “surpluses” what did they do with them?

I headed the Board of a non-profit corporation back in the 1980s that employed ~250 developmentally disabled adults. Like all such non-profits, we were not prohibited from having our revenues exceed our expenses. We had to retain that surplus to be used as our best judgment indicated in service of the operation–for staff development, purchasing capital equipment, and so on. In 2010 the Biologic Institute showed an excess of revenues over expenses of $66,830, and a fund balance (=accrued surpluses) of $158,188. Retaining surpluses is (up to a point) prudent.

That is an excellent general defense of the prudent practice of retaining of surpluses, as a buffer against future expenses, by non-profits (which is obviously better than the alternative, in that context, of consistently running deficits).

Of course, my specific question, which I concede insinuates a cynical attitude toward AIG, what what Ham et al did with their rather large (in the recent past) surpluses.

The most likely answer is that they simply retained them. In fact it’s overwhelmingly the most likely answer, because money that was going to be spent on personal indulgences, and of course I have no reason to think that such a thing would ever happen at AIG other than my purely subjective impression of the organization, would undoubtedly have been categorized as an “expense” rather than a surplus.

… crosswatercanyon.org is one of approximately 1300 domain names owned by AIG…

There might be a story in this - how many nonprofits have such a reservoir of online identities?

Checking each and every one of these may be rather tedious, but would probably be partly scriptable…

(I did a little bit of digging on my own: fwiw, wereyouthere.(com/org/net) all lead to generic bluehost.com pages…)

Read it and weep, “Darwinists.” I’m here to help my persecuted friend. First, Ham needs to face the fact that the “scientific” YEC experiment started by Henry Morris is dying a slow death (if anything it’s mostly “Darwinists” who keep it on life support). Even the committed evolution-denier-on-the-street is most likely to reject the YEC nonsense when he gives it 5 minutes’ thought. And the mere 22% that insists on YEC mostly don’t care about no stinkin’ “evidences.”

Ham can easily triple his audience, and doesn’t have to concede OEC, even the “young life” variants. There’s always “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when, just promote unreasonable doubt of evolution, and let the audience infer whatever alternative it finds comfortable.” With that approach, he can tap into untold millions that now reportedly go to the DI. The hard part is that he’ll have to publicly accept David Klinghoffer as his Lord and Savior. :-)

I’d be surprised if the Ark Park is ever built.

AIG itself and the Pseudomuseum aren’t doing all that well. Why start another venture that will likely not do any better?

Ken Ham needs to upgrade his facility a little. Bars, nightclubs, rock music acts, and of course, a casino. Got to have a casino.

raven said:

I’d be surprised if the Ark Park is ever built.

AIG itself and the Pseudomuseum aren’t doing all that well. Why start another venture that will likely not do any better?

Ken Ham needs to upgrade his facility a little. Bars, nightclubs, rock music acts, and of course, a casino. Got to have a casino.

He could save millions by not building the Ark Encounter. All he has to do is turn on the fire extinguishing sprinklers full time in his pseudomuseum and charge extra at the door for the added experience.

raven said:

I’d be surprised if the Ark Park is ever built.

I’ll be pleasantly suprised if it isn’t.

AIG itself and the Pseudomuseum aren’t doing all that well. Why start another venture that will likely not do any better?

You are projecting ethical and rational thinking onto both those who would push tax-subsidized projects in service of their authoritarian agenda, and those who would push for the project out of personal financial interest, e.g. contractors. And those two groups are not mutually exclusive.

I hope you are correct, but I suspect that the residents of Kentucky, who include some of America’s least advantaged citizens, will have their taxes used to subsidize the Ark boondoggle. (And by the way, essentially everyone who spends money on anything pays taxes.)

Mike Elzinga said:

He could save millions by not building the Ark Encounter. All he has to do is turn on the fire extinguishing sprinklers full time in his pseudomuseum and charge extra at the door for the added experience.

Already been done, and this one is free: The Rain Room.

Healthy said:

Don’t tell me you wouldn’t feel tempted to enter a Creacionist museum hehe. I would feel dirty for supporting it but I bet it would be hilarious. Moreover I’d bet they count on a % of their income to come from “foreigners”…

For funding, research and peer finding please refer to the non-profit Aging Portfolio.

I would be quickly escorted out. And without making one criticism of YEC or argument for evolution. I’d merely mention the existence of OEC and ID to some visitors within an earshot of a guard.

raven said:

I’d be surprised if the Ark Park is ever built.

Harold: I’ll be pleasantly suprised if it isn’t.

You may be right.

Ken Ham and his family make a lot of money out of AIG and the pseudomuseum. There also seems to be huge amount of self dealing among AIG, the pseudomuseum, Ken Ham’s family and buddies, and the Ark Park entities.

They say they are in it to save your soul, but they always seem to want a lot of money for it.

What happens often is promoters build something using Other People’s Money and state of Kentucky funding for infrastructure. By the time it fails, they’ve been paid and are long gone. And didn’t you read the prospectus? It said it was a risky venture.

They say they are in it to save your soul, but they always seem to want a lot of money for it.

Extremely accurate.

If there is a deliberately self-sacrificing professional creationist or fundamentalist leader, I am not aware of them. Professional evolution denier is a well-paying job. There may be those can’t get that job even though they want it, and some of them may comment here, but for those at least as slick as Casey Luskin, it pays well, and the work load is not terribly taxing.

It’s noted above that Ham’s overt pay package is about $200K. I will note that AIG is not officially a for-profit company that makes money for investors; it is technically a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading religion.

raven said:

Ken Ham needs to upgrade his facility a little. Bars, nightclubs, rock music acts, and of course, a casino. Got to have a casino.

How would a creationist casino work? After all, these are people who steadfastly deny math and probability.

Hmmmm.….

I feel a road trip comin’ on!

Where is ICR? As the only other major outfit that still peddles YEC, aren’t they helping their persecuted brethren?

Frank

You forget CMI (Creation ministries International) with sarfati etc. Fell out with Ham’s scam and equally nasty

raven noted:

They say they are in it to save your soul, but they always seem to want a lot of money for it.

That’s because Jesus Christ needs money! And more importantly, He needs His specially designated minions-in-chief to spend it on His behalf. Because you can’t get into Heaven unless you pay Jesus a hefty bribe.

apokryltaros said:

raven noted:

They say they are in it to save your soul, but they always seem to want a lot of money for it.

That’s because Jesus Christ needs money! And more importantly, He needs His specially designated minions-in-chief to spend it on His behalf. Because you can’t get into Heaven unless you pay Jesus a hefty bribe.

You confuse Kenny Boyo with Jesus

Michael B Roberts said:

apokryltaros said:

raven noted:

They say they are in it to save your soul, but they always seem to want a lot of money for it.

That’s because Jesus Christ needs money! And more importantly, He needs His specially designated minions-in-chief to spend it on His behalf. Because you can’t get into Heaven unless you pay Jesus a hefty bribe.

You confuse Kenny Boyo with Jesus

Since when did Creationists ever bother to learn this piddling distinction?

Michael B Roberts said:

Frank

You forget CMI (Creation ministries International) with sarfati etc. Fell out with Ham’s scam and equally nasty

Good point. Haven’t heard about them in years. Probably because, when push comes to shove, competing peddlers of anti-evolution pseudoscience abandon each other rather than risk exposing mutual contradictions. As is seen on a small scale on these boards, if there’s an “alpha” troll, the others usually remain quiet and let him do all the hijacking. That doesn’t bother me, because I expect nothing else. What does bother me is when fellow “Darwinists” miss opportunities to show readers how these scam artists behave. When the subject is about any particular creationism-peddler person or organization, they get “amnesia” about all the others. You might recall when Freshwater was in the news, I - and almost no one else - kept asking “where’s the DI?” The question was not to get the DI to commit to defense or criticism of Freshwater, but to show how they would not dare do either.

Frank J said:

Where is ICR? As the only other major outfit that still peddles YEC, aren’t they helping their persecuted brethren?

Jason Lisle moved over to ICR. Maybe he sensed something coming down from Ham’s challenging message to the AiG staff back in January of 2012. The talk is a bit creepy.

apokryltaros said:

Michael B Roberts said:

apokryltaros said:

raven noted:

They say they are in it to save your soul, but they always seem to want a lot of money for it.

That’s because Jesus Christ needs money! And more importantly, He needs His specially designated minions-in-chief to spend it on His behalf. Because you can’t get into Heaven unless you pay Jesus a hefty bribe.

You confuse Kenny Boyo with Jesus

Since when did Creationists ever bother to learn this piddling distinction?

Excellent!

Michael B Roberts said:

apokryltaros said:

Michael B Roberts said:

apokryltaros said:

raven noted:

They say they are in it to save your soul, but they always seem to want a lot of money for it.

That’s because Jesus Christ needs money! And more importantly, He needs His specially designated minions-in-chief to spend it on His behalf. Because you can’t get into Heaven unless you pay Jesus a hefty bribe.

You confuse Kenny Boyo with Jesus

Since when did Creationists ever bother to learn this piddling distinction?

Excellent!

That, and those Creationists within Answers In Genesis who don’t learn or agree to conflate Ken Ham’s authority with that of Jesus’/God’s authority run the risk of having their careers at Answers In Genesis terminated with extreme prejudice, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Piotr Gąsiorowski said:

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/[…]myX9u_xNgSt8 said:

So…maybe it is possible to go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public!

Hear, hear! Here’s a really comforting thought for Christmas! :)

It’s also a most comforting thought for the new year. Thankfully there aren’t as many fools and idiots willing to subscribe to Ken Ham’s mendacious intellectual pornography at the Creation Museum as there were in years past.

Yes! A “miracle”. Answers in Magic is losing all their dollars. I hope even more IDiots don’t subscribe to Ken Ham’s Magical Porn’ Land.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on December 26, 2012 8:00 AM.

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