AIG owns some, or all, of new hotel adjacent to Ark
Summary: Ken Ham is being quiet that Answers in Genesis (AIG) owns part, or perhaps all, of the new Hampton Inn that just opened adjacent to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. Moreover, he is trying to make it look as if the supposed “success” of the Ark Park has brought the new hotel to the region. Information below shows that AIG shares a high-level employee with the new hotel, and the LLC that owns the hotel shares a Post Office box with AIG.
Ken Ham is being quiet on who owns the new Hampton Inn hotel next to the Ark. It turns out that AIG is, in all probability, at least a partial owner. AIG has not stated their financial interest publicly. How long will Ham keep quiet about AIG being a part-owner, or more, of the new hotel?
On March 5, Ken Ham bragged that a new hotel was being built next to the Ark Park parking lot. Ken was proud that he and select AIG staff were “offered” and given a tour of a new Hampton Inn hotel. It was not stated, but implied, that a new business, independent from AIG and Ark Encounter, was being brought to the region by the overwhelming success of the Ark. His tour is implied to have been given by an unnamed owner.
The address of this new Hampton Inn is 2 Skyway Drive, Williamstown, KY. According to the free portion of the Grant County PVA (Property Valuation Administrator) site, this property is owned by Great Tourism Hospitality, LLC (GTH) of Bellevue, Kentucky (Figure 1).
A site called Open Corporates has information on Kentucky Corporations (Figure 2). The Kentucky company address for the “Great Tourism Hospitality, LLC” is PO Box 510, Hebron, KY. Hebron is near the Creation Museum, the headquarters of Answers in Genesis. Lo and behold, AIG’s mailing address is also PO Box 510, Hebron,! I noticed a familiar name on the GTH list of Directors/Officers - a Mr. Scott Fetzer (Figure 3). Mr. Fetzer is the Treasurer for Answers in Genesis as well as the Director of Life Action Ministries. Here is Mr. Fetzer’s LinkedIn page where he lists himself as being the Chief Financial Officer at Answers in Genesis since 2017. Thus, the CFO of AIG is also an agent for the hotel’s corporation, GTH. Great Tourism Hospitality, LLC, is incorporated in Ohio, and online information about their owners or Articles of Incorporation were not available. A search of the Kentucky Secretary of State’s general information database showed that Great Tourism Hospitality is incorporated in Ohio and doing business in Kentucky.
It turns out that a different representative of Great Tourism Hospitality, LLC, appeared before a Williamstown City Council special meeting on September 23, 2021. The City Council unanimously gave permission to Great Tourism Hospitality, LLC, to begin clearing the property for hotel construction. According to the meeting minutes, the Ark sold part of its parking lot for the Hampton Inn. This is interesting. Did the for-profit Ark Encounter sell the land to its owner, the non-profit Answers in Genesis? Answers in Genesis, a non-profit, now seems to be a part owner of the Hampton Inn. What were the complexities of a non-profit selling this small parcel of property to a presumably for-profit hotel business that is at least partly owned by the non-profit? Was the hotel built on part of the nearly 100 acres of land Williamstown originally sold the Ark for $2?
Williamstown already has two rather old and outmoded hotels, the Sunrise Inn and America’s Best Value Inn. Additionally, there are numerous small bed-and-breakfast suites in and around Williamstown. What will the owners of these businesses think of the new competition? Back in 2011, when the Ark was trying to get various perks and incentives from Grant County and Williamstown, a public meeting was held. In my account of the meeting, I noted that AIG representative Mike Zovath discussed how AIG was staying out of the hotel business:
According Zovath, the area will need many additional hotels and restaurants. According to the Beemer study, there will be enough visitors to justify twenty 100-room hotels in the area. Presently, there are very few hotels and restaurants in this rural area. Zovath said Ark Encounter will have 60 to 70 acres of their 800 acres available to developers to either lease or purchase for hotels and restaurants. Ark Encounter itself is staying out of the hotel and restaurant business. Zovath concluded, "That's my story, I'm sticking to it."
It looks as if AIG has backed out of the promise not enter the hotel business.
Since AIG is at least a partial owner of the Williamstown Hampton Inn, will they discriminate in hiring? I cannot find any direct evidence on this. There are jobs available, but they do not mention any religious requirements as do the Ark and the Creation Museum, both of which require a statement of faith and many more religious requirements for employees.
Also, will they let rooms to unmarried couples or gays? Will this business follow Hilton/Hampton Inn policies or AIG’s? Hilton, the owner of Hampton Inn franchises, has this policy . Would the Ark’s Hampton Inn lose their franchise if they discriminate? AIG’s policy concerning non-marital sex and gay sex in summarized in their “Statement of Faith.” Specifically, AIG’s position in part is:
The only legitimate marriage, based on the creation ordinance in Genesis 1 and 2, sanctioned by God is the joining of one naturally born man and one naturally born woman in a single, exclusive union as delineated in Scripture. God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other and has commanded that no sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. Any form of "sexual immorality," such as adultery, fornication, prostitution, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, abuse, or any attempt to change one’s gender, or disagreement with one’s biological gender, is sinful and offensive to God (Genesis 1:27–28, 2:24; Matthew 5:27–30, 19:4-5; Mark 10:2–9; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–7; Hebrews 13:4).
Will AIG’s new Hampton Inn refuse guests that they do not approve of? In a controversial decision, the US Supreme Court recently ruled that private businesses can discriminate on religious grounds.
So far, Ken Ham has been quiet on who owns the new hotel. He implies that it is being built because of the supposed grand success of the Ark Encounter. However, attendance at the Ark, as documented by monthly Kentucky Open Records Act requests for the 50 cent/ticket Safety Tax imposed by Williamstown, shows that they have never come close to attendance projections. Before the Ark opened in 2016, AIG was claiming 1.4 to 2.2 million people would be visiting the Ark every year. There is no available evidence that even one million tickets have sold per year and the data shows a continued downward trend in attendance. Recently, AIG bought the former headquarters of Toyota, USA in northern Kentucky for more than $31 million. With Ark and Creation Museum attendance being mediocre, how did they afford this? AIG is highly likely to be receiving large donations from donors with deep pockets. I recently exposed how AIG has received at least $19 million in dark money from the Servant Foundation via “donor advised funds.” Perhaps AIG has received additional donations.
This latest chapter in AIG’s history in Kentucky shows the duplicitous nature of their activities.