Our indefatigable colleague Dan Phelps seems to have caught Ken Ham in a, um, mild prevarication and corrects the record here. In particular, Mr. Phelps read an October 27 tweet (or a twX or whatever they are called now) in which Mr. Ham proclaimed,
At @AiG we have stated so many times before that the Ark was funded 100% by private funding. Let me say it again, the @ArkEncounter project and the @CreationMuseum were both funded 100% from private funding.
Mr. Phelps notes that the Ark receives a sales tax rebate of $1.825 million every year. Perhaps, he says,
Ham could always decide not to cash the check and return it to the Commonwealth of Kentucky if he wishes to keep claiming lack of government support. However, even if he returned the sales tax rebate money, he would still be getting or has received all sorts of other money and benefits from state, county, and city sources. These include and have included:
- City of Williamstown sold Ark 98 acres of land for $1.
- City also gave AIG $175,000 in cash.
- City reduced property tax on Ark.
- City issued $62 million in unsecured junk bonds for Ark construction.
- 75% of Ark Encounter's property taxes will go to repaying bonds instead of to local government.
- Employees of Ark Encounter must pay 2% of wages to Ark bond debt (for next 30 years).
- State transportation cabinet spent $11 million to upgrade Interstate 75 exits in anticipation of huge traffic increase that did not occur.
- AIG claims Ark is worth $130 million on 990 forms to Federal government and potentially when getting loans. Grant County property tax valuation (which supports local schools) assesses Ark value at $48 million.
The entire tweet (or whatever) is reproduced below:
Curiously, a headline in an unspecified newspaper proclaimed that Representative Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House of the moment, had once funded a Noah’s Ark theme park. Mr. Ham categorizes this claim as a lie. Whether or not it is a lie or merely an error, Mr. Phelps notes that on this point only, Mr. Ham is correct. Interestingly, though, Mr. Johnson once successfully represented the Ark in a suit against the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He published this diatribe against Mr. Phelps under the head, “Ark Park unfairly damned.”