And so in the end, it was Uncle Sam, not a global cataclysm, that destroyed the dinosaurs.
Or at least that's the fate of the dinosaurs that are part of creationist Kent Hovind's dinosaur-meets-the-Almighty theme park.
Last week, the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Fla., ordered that Hovind-owned properties, including the Dinosaur Adventure Land theme park, be seized to pay debts related to the conviction of Hovind and his wife, Jo, for tax fraud.
The Hovinds were the owners of Creation Science Evangelism (CSE), a nondenominational religious organization espousing creation science over evolution. After various business iterations, in 2003, the Hovinds settled on the creation of a couple of "ministerial trusts," which they argued allowed them to hold and manage assets on a tax-free basis. The Hovinds also transferred several of their real estate holdings to the trusts.
However, federal investigators had their doubts. So did a jury, which didn't accept the "Kingdom of Heaven license," which was issued in connection with the trust.
In 2006, Hovind was convicted on 58 counts, including failure to pay employee taxes and making threats against tax investigators. His wife also was found guilty for her part in the tax fraud.
The jury found that the Hovind's owed Uncle Sam $430,400 and in January 2007, the court entered a Final Order of Forfeiture for Hovind.
Now it's time for the creation evangelist to finally render unto Caesar.
U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers' ruling clears the way for the government to divide up the Hovind properties, including Dinosaur Land, and sell them until the forfeiture amount is paid. According to Rodgers' ruling, the properties have a combined value of more than what the Hovinds owe, so any excess income after the tax debts are met will be returned to the Hovinds.
You can read the official story in the U.S. District Court's ruling. More about the Hovinds and the dinosaur park forfeiture can be found at:
- National Center for Science Education
TaxProf Blog, who also gets a big tip of the hat for alerting me to this story.
If you want to visit Dinosaur Adventure Land -- Where Dinosaurs and the Bible Meet! -- before it's sold, you'd better hurry. The park's not far from Orlando and the T-Rex just might be wearing mouse ears before long.