Dinosaur creationist theme park seized by government

We've posted previously about Dinosaur Adventure Land, the creationist theme park in Pensacola, Florida. Now, it looks like the government may be seizing the properties in lieu of nearly half a million dollars owed to the IRS by the theme park's founder/minister Kent Hovind. He's in jail for tax fraud. Maybe they'll auction off the exhibits! From the Pensacola News Journal:
Dinsoauradvenenen (Hovind) was found guilty in November 2006 on 58 counts, including failure to pay employee taxes and making threats against investigators.

The conviction culminated 17 years of Hovind sparring with the IRS. Saying he was employed by God and his ministers were not subject to payroll taxes, he claimed no income or property.
"Judge clears way for dinosaur park to be seized" (Thanks, Kirsten Anderson!)

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  1. Bagsy the “Jesus Riding a Dinosaur” statue.

    It’ll look awesome next to my “Moses Riding an Ammonite” statue.

  2. If I weren’t frantically preparing for WorldCon, I’d go home and bake a Schadenfreude Pie.

  3. Oh yeeeeeeeesssss… the schadenfreude is indeed delicious, Xopher. I’m trying to decide if it’s a sweet or a savory, though.

    It’s probably like vanilla, and works in everything.

  4. “Saying he was employed by God and his ministers were not subject to payroll taxes, he claimed no income or property.”

    So much for “render unto Caesar” …

  5. @6

    Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s

    Dinosaurs are clearly God’s things. I have never seen Caesar owning a dinosaur! You are missquoting the bible! Repent, sinner!

  6. @#6″

    HA! Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s…

    Tell me, are Internets still the customary form of payment? And if so, where would you like yours shipped?

  7. I foresee this feeding into the paranoid hysteria of the Glenn Beck crowd. “THEY’RE COMING FOR OUR THEME PARKS!!!”

  8. I suspect it will be bought/bailed out by a different group with a similar agenda. But we can always hope.

    @Xopher #9:

    The Shadenfreude Pie recipe is hilarious. I would add a little anise or other bitter ingredient though.

  9. So, when’s the IRS going to go after the rest of the church? Religion is a multi-BILLION dollar business. When a group starts profiting from something, they pay taxes, why is profiting off others’ gullibility exempt?

  10. Jesus would be so embarrassed by his flock of sanctimonious hypocrites, racist asshats, and willfully ignorant ideologues.

  11. That’s a little worrying. Evangelical creationists are among the biggest libertarian, Good-Religious-People-vs-Big-Evil-Guv’ment you can get. Particularly under this administration.

    I’m not suggesting there will be another Waco if the Feds try to shut things down, but this will unquestionably look like, and be played as, Obama Liberal Government attacking Religion.

  12. @12

    Excellent. Let the ‘Birthers’ come. Obama needs to take a tougher stance and give them all a ‘boot to the head’. I want to see him stand at the podium and just say this one line from Army of darkness…

    “You want some? Huh? You want A LITTLE? Now I swear… if another one of you primates so much as TOUCHES me…!!!”

  13. Do you know what would be great? If the park was turned into some giant parody of creationism. The great thing about this plan is that I suspect there would be few changes necessary to the existing park.

  14. The famous dinosaurs at Cabazon, CA exist in a similar state, standing testament to creationist dogma. I stopped to see Mr. Rex a couple of years ago and there was a young girl collecting the two dollar admission fee to go inside. I gave her a ten and she told me she didn’t know how to make change. I helped her grok the math (honestly) and went inside and it was just, bizarre, to see all the posters inside refuting evolution and realizing it was now a giant monument to cognitive dissonance. The fact the religious people running the place had left a small girl in charge who lacked the most basic math skills just made a deliciously fitting analogy to the whole tableau. When I stopped last year, however, they had built a fence around Mr. Rex’s backside and you had to pay to enter a dinosaur themed park to go inside, I declined.

    1. I eat lunch right next to the Cabazon dinosaurs whenever I shop at the outlet mall there. Finally, I decided to go into the bronto one day. It was like having all the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who ever rang your doorbell surrounding you in the entrails of a giant reptile. It’s worth it for a lark if you’re driving east on the 10, but bring a thermos of vodka.

  15. Then there are those people that don’t believe that courts are not valid because they have gold trim around the edge of the flag. This has been going on for ages, esp. since Harry’s War.

  16. I live in Pensacola and we are surrounded by some of the most zealous religious nuts I’ve ever seen in my life. They need to go after all of the local churches who make millions in profits tax free. We have buffoons on the street corners on Saturday screaming at the top of their lungs with Bibles in their hands, telling us all we’re going to hell. Hovind can rot.

  17. Interesting thing about Mr Hovind’s claim that he and his “ministers” were “not subject to payroll taxes.” Are we to believe he did not collect payroll taxes either? If he did, that’s a little more than just not rendering unto Caesar, falling instead under one of those pesky commandments the fundies like to ignore. As I understand it, the place was not cheap to visit. And God has just called, wanting his money back too.

  18. Wait, are all dinosaur theme parks run by creationists?

    I think my irony meter just overloaded.

  19. I like to my pour my schadenfreude on popcorn, so you can savour it while watching the perp walk.

    This is kind of like Al Capone. You can commit crimes against astronomy, biology, paleontology and geology with impunity. Mess with the IRS, and they’ll take you down.

  20. #23 Yeah, the Cabazon thing is pretty sad. Those dinosaurs were a California icon for a long time. I remember as a kid passing them all the time on our weekend trips out to Joshua Tree National Monument. It was so bizarre to see these two lone dinosaurs and the Wheel Inn Cafe out there in the middle of nowhere. Now that whole area is so built up, it doesn’t have nearly the mystique it used to, and turning the whole thing into a creationist museum is almost surely against the spirit of Claude Bell’s intention for the place. Inside the brontosaurus, they still have Claude Bell’s original busts of some of the different evolutionary stages of humans. I wonder how long those will last.

  21. I wonder if he thinks the highway system has been around since the time of Jesus(and the dinosaurs), and therefore he is not responsible for its upkeep.

  22. I’ve walked by this park on my way from Pensacola Christian College to Jones’ Barber many times. Never seemed to be much going on. PCC students weren’t allowed there, because he was a known tax evader. (There’s a lot more to that story, but that’s about all I can safely say here.)

    BTW, this place has nothing to do with the Answers In Genesis Creation Museum in Kentucky. The two parties are rivals, in the good old fundamentalist “I’m less fringy, more devout” kind of way.

  23. I guess we now have proof, that in fact, God doesn’t pay the bills.

    Message to all you Christians out there:

    Make God the CEO of your life, but remember to write the check!

  24. Just a note for folks who may be wondering about the nuts and bolts – This was a criminal forfeiture case, not a civil one. This specific ruling isn’t a tax case.

    A while back, a jury found Hovind guilty of tax fraud. When they did, they also entered a “special verdict” in the form of a money judgement. IOW, they tacked on additional punishment. The government wants to seize the property to pay off the judgement. Some folks (the son and one other) filed to get the process stopped, saying that they owned the property in question and that, therefore, it would not be proper for the government to seize *their* property to pay off mom and dad’s debts. The court disagreed. Now the way is clear for the government to seize and sell the property. Just to be fair to Hovind, the court ordered the property to be sold a piece at a time, only as much as was needed to pay off the judgement.

    None of this has to do with taxes. If property is seized to pay off taxes, that’s a civil matter instead of a criminal one. Civil seizures to pay off taxes are done by Revenue Officers who work in a whole different part of the IRS. I’m not even sure that this seizure will be done by IRS personnel; it’s not clear from the decision.

    It may be the case that the actual tax collection part of this whole situation hasn’t even started yet.

    It’s a very rare thing that I miss my days as a Revenue Officer, but “customers” like Hovind used to be seriously fun. Good luck to the civil enforcement folks (Revenue Agents, Revenue Officers, and Property Appraisal and Liquidation Specialists) who will eventually be tasked with getting this guy “into compliance.”

  25. So what they’re saying is that the park was ‘naturally selected’ to no longer be in business?

  26. For everyone who enojoys mocking creationist attractions, please direct some of your ire at the UK’s “Noah’s Ark zoo farm”.

    This delightful institution markets itself as a zoo and stresses to local schools that it integrates with the science curriculum requirements. But throughout the visit you’ll be bombarded with messages distorting evolutionary theory to make it seem implausible, and setting up strawmen for their religious message to knock down.

    With the American institutions I always thought “well, there’s half a billion of them so it’s only natural that they have a few nutters”. Having on running in the UK makes me a little sick and very angry.

  27. Bugs “Having on running in the UK makes me a little sick and very angry.”
    Yes, but since it runs on parts from old Rovers and Jags, it’s in the shop most of the time.

  28. Say Modus, I chanced to notice that you’re mentioned in the Satanic Bible. Way to go! Your sphere of influence is greater than I estimated!
    When Satan had this park shut down, did you have a hand it that?

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