Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Hazards Of Being Kent Hovind

I'm really pleased to have Lamar Smith back with a guest post.

In the opening voice-over to that wonderful Disney Movie 'The Blind Side,' Sandra Bullock compares the offense of a football team to a housewife paying bills.  She says that every housewife knows that the first check you write is for the mortgage.  That's the quarterback.  You pay him first.  "And as every housewife knows," she continues "the second check you write is always for the insurance."  That's the blind side lineman who protects the quarterback from getting hurt as much as he's able.  It may not be the most high profile position, but absolutely essential nonetheless.  

I read Peter Reilly's piece about the disposition of Kent's Pensacola property and find it very interesting, given that I was already planning on writing again to Peter's blog after the Hovind video I just watched this weekend.  Here it is:

This video, I think, shows virtually every facet of who Kent Hovind is both present and past.  This is him and this is what makes watching him so interesting.

If you don't have 34 minutes of your life you'll never get back, I'll sum it up for you.

Kent Hovind is opening his new Dinosaur Adventure Land in a matter of weeks.  He is going to open it without insurance.  The main point of the video linked above is to make this announcement to his followers real and virtual.  Every patron of his "park" is taking their life and health into their own hands.  Hovind will not recognize any liability in the event of injury.  He even says in the video that "if your kid gets hurt, if he survives, he'll know better next time.  Don't come to me looking to pay for it.  If you don't like this arrangement, don't come."

Kent relays that he has tried to get insurance for DAL and gone so far as to have an Insurance Inspector tour his property.  Apparently the first thing the Inspector asked was "Do you have zip lines?"  Kent responded that they did, and "they never get higher than 5' off the ground."

The Inspector said those had to go.

The Inspector asked "Do you have 4-wheelers?"  Kent responded that they did, several of them.

The Inspector said those had to go.

The Inspector asked "Do you have a 'Redneck Swing,' a rope swing that launches someone into a lake or river?"  Kent said "We do, we call it the 'Longneck Swingasaurus,'" or some such.

The Inspe.......   You know where this headed.

Kent's response to each of these demands was "But they're fun."  Kent assures his flock and everyone watching that, because they're fun, he will not be removing any of these features.  

Kent presents the case of a Commercial 4-Wheeler Park within driving distance of his property where they have more 4-Wheelers than Kent that they rent out by the hour (That's their business) and an even larger 'Redneck Swing,' than his and discovered that that firm's policy is to make everyone who comes to their property sign a waiver that patrons assume all risk for injury or death.  That other company already posts and Kent has promised to post lots of signs around their respective properties stating 'Enter at your own risk.  Not responsible for any injury or damage to property or person.'  

Kent also said "I've been reading Alabama Law........" and it doesn't, to my mind, matter what comes next.  If you've followed Hovind's earlier troubles the hairs on your neck should be standing up right now.  Kent is a prolific reader of laws, statutes, codes and policies.  He reads the heck out of those things.  Does he understand them?  Does he understand how they apply generally?  Does he really understand how they apply specifically to him?  So far, his record on these questions has been pretty poor.  In a phrase very sickeningly familiar to those who follow Kent, he states "I'm convinced I know what I have to do to operate within the laws and we're going to do that."

In the video he also makes another claim as a tangent.  He asserts that the Disney Corporation operates DisneyLand and DisneyWorld without insurance.  He claims "No one would insure them.  Can you imagine what that would cost?"

I've asked Peter Reilly to comment on this and I hope he shall.  I am prepared to be proven wrong but the notion that the Disney Corporation would operate in that manner seems utterly absurd to me.

So, why does this video, more than most of the others he produces act as a true mirror for Kent Hovind?  Lots of reasons.

He starts the video with Bible passages about one of his favorite prophets, Nehemiah.  Nehemiah was, according to the Bible, instructed by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem when they had been knocked down by an invasion and he set out to do that in the face of criticism from just about everyone.  His own townspeople mock him and criticize him for his efforts, one man trying to rebuild a city's walls.  Kent so identifies with Nehemiah.  Nehemiah was a man who was going to do what he thought God called him to do and criticism, somehow in both Nehemiah's and Kent's mind, confirm that he's actually doing the right thing.  So, that's Kent Hovind.

From him relaying the story about the Inspector coming out, it seemed that if Kent would have bent a little and given up the 4-Wheelers, the Redneck Swing and the Zip lines, he could have been insured.  Now, are 4-Wheelers and such necessary for teaching Christian Young Earth Science?  Not that I can tell.  Kent wants them and won't move forward without them, even though having what he wants ends up being bad for him, his workers, his patrons.  Kent doesn't bend or relent, hardly ever.  So, that's Kent Hovind.

In previous videos Kent has shared his plans for his staff.  Kent said, I believe even in the interview he did with Peter Reilly, that he learned from his mother "to pinch a penny until it screams."  Watch just a few of his Bible Study videos and his business model becomes quickly apparent: Don't pay for anything if you can help it.  Every Bible Study contains a section where he asks for money and materials, often quite specific materials to be donated to his Ministry.  He has also asked that willing donors sponsor his staff as "missionaries," so he won't have to pay them.  Perhaps Peter will be able to discuss a scheme such as this and help the rest of us understand the feasibility of it.  This is, of course, assuming Kent can find enough sponsors willing to pay his staff.  What happens if the sponsor decides to stop paying?  Are there still tax or W-2 considerations under something like this.  He also has stated that his plan is to have DAL be free of charge but with a "Recommended Admission Offering."  I hope Peter could also speak to this.  This seems it would make it very difficult for the IRS to know how much revenue Kent generated through this venture.  

I stand to be corrected, but I believe I read that Kent, in his previous trial utilized a public defender.  If I'm wrong, and I very well could be, please correct me.  It appears, though, that Kent is acting as his own lawyer as he's reading the Alabama Laws to determine if he needs insurance for DAL.  Had he spent some money on a proper accountant and tax attorney in the past, he could very well have avoided prison.  Kent doesn't seem to like anyone that knows more about a matter than him and certainly despises paying for expert help.  So, that's Kent Hovind.

Kent goes on at length about how the Atheists, Skeptics, Scoffers and the Devil his own self are conspiring against him, in this video.  All of these parties are trying to shut Kent Hovind down.  They've called the Sheriff on him.  They're calling every government agency to try to close him down, according to Kent.  Kent is not a man to accept blame or responsibility.  Again, he's just "trying to build a wall like Nehemiah."  Since his motive is so good, he often can't understand why anyone would stand against him.  This space that I've just described is where conspiracy theories are born.  If Kent moves forward without a rock solid insurance and liability plan, then he's laid the foundation for his own doom yet again.  If it happens that way, he'll blame everyone but himself though all of his troubles can be laid squarely at his own feet.  And that, friends and neighbors, is Kent Hovind.

I decided to pass on the various assignments Lamar has for me, at least for now.  I did check about the Disney insurance thing as well as I could.  Here is an excerpt from the 10-k that The Walt Disney Corporation files with the SEC.
We obtain insurance against the risk of losses relating to some of these events, generally including physical damage to our property and resulting business interruption, certain injuries occurring on our property and some liabilities for alleged breach of legal responsibilities. When insurance is obtained it is subject to deductibles, exclusions, terms, conditions and limits of liability. The types and levels of coverage we obtain vary from time to time depending on our view of the likelihood of specific types and levels of loss in relation to the cost of obtaining coverage for such types and levels of loss.   (Emphasis added)
Of course a company with $88 billion in assets is in a position to self-insure to a significant extent.

I have not been watching a lot of Kent's videos lately but thanks to Bob Baty's encouragement I invested some lifespan in that  one.  I have to say that I admire Kent's frugality and having grown up in the same era(I'm a week shy or being a year older than Kent), I have some sympathy with his view that we may have gotten a little carried away protecting people 

Ernie Land has assured me that there will be a lot of effort to make sure Kent's operations are conventionally tax compliant, so I don't have any comment on what his plans are with respect to payroll.

Kent had some first class legal counsel on his second trial, which is part of the reason that he got off, along with a bit of jury nullification.  Here are some clips from Jonathan Schwartz's Interlock Media team that covered the trial including an interview with the public defender and the holdout juror

Peter J Reilly, who has tax season to contend with greatly appreciates contributions to this blog.