Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Kent Hovind Has Conecuh County Editor Concerned

So now it is time to welcome a new member to the hearty band of Hovindologists, who to the puzzlement and sometimes chagrin of those near and dear to them follow the adventures of Kent Hovind, Doctor Dino, the young earth creationist Independent Baptist minister whose decades long struggle with the IRS is framed by himself and his supporters as a chronicle of religious persecution.

The Hovind Effect?

Jim Allen of The Monthly View wrote a piece in July titled Dr. Dino Lands In Lenox.  The purpose of the article is to introduce his readers in Conecuh County Alabama to what he calls the Hovind effect.
I'm using the term (Hovind Effect) to describe and include all of the many circumstances both positive and negative, the beliefs, the drama, the infighting, the clashes between opposing points of view, and the zeal of the people who both surround and oppose Kent Hovind and his beliefs. I use it to describe the whole package - with all it's ramifications and consequences.
There is an air of concern in the piece.
 Hovind is highly controversial and brings a train load of baggage with him to Conecuh County.
 Something that is very valuable in Allen's article is that he supports some of his observations with links to public documents.  Most notably there is Hovind's renunciation of his United States citizenship and Social Security number and the judgement by the Tax Court indicating a tax deficiency of over $3 million.

Hovind In A Smaller Pond

Allen's biggest concern is Hovind's apparent Sovereign Citizen connections.  Geographically Conecuh County is about the same size as Escambia in Florida, but population wise Hovind is in a much smaller pond.  Concecuh has a population of 13,000 as opposed to nearly 300,000 in Florida's Escambia (Alabama also has an Escambia just to confuse us a bit, I'm sure).

My own view is that Allen may be overstating the potential for trouble that Kent Hovind brings to Conecuh County.
With the baggage Hovind brings, you can bet the federal government will also have Lenox – and Conecuh County - under a magnifying glass as they too watch every move he makes and everyone he makes contact with.
Odds appear high that somewhere down the line Hovind will once again butt heads with our federal government.
The ultimate question is will Lenox, Alabama become another Bunkerville, Nevada, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, or a Waco, Texas? Or nothing at all?
I think that Hovind has gone pretty conventional and that any further disputes he has with the federal government will be played out in the court.

The Response

Even more interesting than Jim Allen's article, which is really old news by now is Kent Hovind's response, which being a youtube video requires a greater investment of lifespan.  It has the measured title of "MUST SEE Reply To Slanderous Article by Jim Allen of Evergreen AL The Monthly View Newsletter"

Being a video there are of course no links and Hoivnd's responses to some things that Allen does provide support for are pretty superficial.  Hovind leads with an an ad hominem, casting doubt on Allen's motivation.

Johnny Andrews, County Commissioner, was on the scene with a story about a plan to create a toxic waste dump that Jim Allen had supported and Andrews opposed and that Allen's attack on Kent ties in with the feud between Andrews and Allen.  Apparently, Andrews was somewhat instrumental in bringing Kent to Lenox.

Kent's Expert

At 15:00 Kent has someone from the audience, who has been researching his case, confirm that he was prosecuted for something other than what "they"said.  Kent goes on to say that "There were no taxes involved in the first place".  Kent confirms with the audience member that there was no wrongdoing and that it will all be coming out soon in a nice long video series.

Sovereign Citizens

At 18:23 Kent gets into Allen's claim that some of his followers embrace the sovereign citizen movement.  He and his audience expert observe that the term is oxymoronic.  I have to agree with them on that, but for better or worse that is the term being used for people with certain opinions about the validity of laws.

Allen makes a connection between Kent Hovind and the Bundy standoffs through Pete Santilli. Hovind has a great time yucking it about that.  He goes on to say that he was interviewed by Pete Santilli, but does not otherwise know him.  Allen also mentions Kent being interviewed by Alex Jones.

Here's the thing.  Kent Hovind did have many of the people in the right wing conspiracy bubble pulling for him last year.  Pete Santilli was among the most passionate going so far as to make an angry call to Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers to demand Kent's release.

That call was one of the factors leading to Santilli being held without bail after his arrest in the Malheur Refuge affair.  So Pete Santilli cared a lot about Kent Hovind.  It is hard to believe that Kent did not know that Pete was in jail.  On the other hand, Kent has been hyper focused on his own ministry so maybe he hasn't gotten around to thanking all the people who were advocated for him.  He may be unaware of how hard Santilli was pulling for him.

More to the point, I think this might allay Allen's fears about Pearl Lane turning into another Waco.  When, some time ago, I asked sovereign citizen expert JJ MacNab where Kent fit in with the movement, she indicated that it had really moved beyond him.  Kent Hovind seems very focused on refuting the "lie of evolution".  Believing in a 6,000 year old earth, requires the acceptance of a massive conspiracy involving pretty much the entire scientific community, so it is not surprising that Hovind embraced other conspiracy theories over the years, but for now he is focused on saving souls and refuting evolution and has apparently adopted a structure that is conventionally tax compliant.

The $3,000,000 Exposure

A bit past the 23:00 mark, the subject of Kent's civil liability for income tax comes up.  Once again he consults with his audience expert (who we learn is named Brady) and dismisses the matter as it will be addressed in the videos.  This is the part of the discussion that I find most interesting, because it is the civil rather than the criminal dispute that first pulled me into covering Hovind nearly four years ago.

Since neither Kent nor his then wife, Jo,  filed income tax returns and they did not cooperate in the investigation, the IRS tagged both of them with all the income. (According to the Tax Court Order the years in question were 1998-2006. The old Creation Science Evangelism was deemed to be their alter ego)  The 2012 decision in Jo's case tells the story in some detail.  Kent on the other hand practiced tax protester style litigation which caused him to lose without really litigating.  He appealed to the Eleventh Circuit and the judgement was confirmed.

In his discussion of the Allen piece, although he mentions his video number 5, he does not say anything about CSE 103 Class 6 Topic "Income Tax", where he says (at 2:18) that he has not filed an income tax return in 28 years.

I asked Ernie Land about this matter and he responded
Kent received no proper legal notice, which denied him an opportunity to respond to it. It is past 10 years from the claimed indebtedness and with no proper service of the hearings it has a good probability of being dropped. Brady Byrum has proof the Judge was involved in the use of law improperly by using a law for drug trafficking to seize the CSE property. He has gone back to the actual debate in record where the law was framed, so there is a good chance Paul and Glenn will file fraud charges on the Judge and Government for their improper use of the laws they used to steal the property. If it’s not a good case it will still be a great video with great information on how the Government conspires to steal property and felonize our society.
When Do You Start The Clock? 

Ernie seems to be confounding the criminal case with the civil case to some extent.  As it happens, the debt is not ten years old.  The way it works is that the IRS sends you a Notice of Intention to Assess which gives you the right to file a Tax Court petition which according to the Docket History, Kent or his attorney filed on February 23, 2010.  That prevents the IRS from doing anything.  Back to the Docket History you will see that the decision was affirmed on December 16, 2014.

Sometime after that the IRS could issue an assessment.  That is when the ten year clock starts.  Here is the somewhat ominous part that makes me a little worried for Kent.  IRS collections is overwhelmed.  There are over 13 million delinquent accounts.  Based on two recent decisions (in which the taxpayers lost) it appears that what they are doing with larger cases is prioritizing the cases where the ten year clock has been ticking a while.  If that is the pattern and it continues, then Kent Hovind will likely receive a levy notice in maybe six years.

There is a structure in place which should protect ministry assets from Kent's individual tax problems, but I have to wonder how well it will be maintained in the coming years.  As Don Camacho, the juror who is responsible for Hovind not being convicted of the most serious charges he faced last year said "This is not a guy who gives you the keys"

Despite all current good intentions, given Hovind's management style, there is some chance that the new ministry will end up being his alter ego.

I admire many things about Kent Hovind - his work ethic, his encouragement to live a purpose driven life, his attack on the prison industrial complex - but his style of argument bugs me. On the bright side, at least he has stopped calling people "retards".

Peter J Reilly CPA who has still not managed to entirely give up his day job continues to fall behind in his writing projects.