Sunday, April 29, 2018

Kent Hovind's Audience Has Right To Know About The Holes In His Innocence Narrative

What are you doing for the Lord? If you don’t like what I’m doing, do something better. - Kent Hovind at opening of Dinosaur Adveture Land in Repton, AL
I have not filed any income tax in twenty eight years. If there is a law requiring me to file some, I would like to see it.
Kent Hovind -CSE 103 Class 6 Income Tax - at 0:2:15.

 The first quote is from Abigal Megginson's coverage of the opening of the new Dinosaur Adventure Land in Repton, Alabama. It reminds me of what I like and admire about Kent Hovind - his determination to live a purpose driven life, his strong sense of independence from any earthly power and strong work ethic.

This admiration for Kent, in spite of my belief that much of what he teaches ranges from deluded to batshit crazy, makes me sympathetic to the notion that he is getting a raw deal from some of his critics.  I follow the flagship anti-Hovind site - Kent Hovind's Worst Nightmare .  And I do think it gets a little nasty sometimes and obsesses about irrelevant matters, such as Kent's marital woes, which are quite ordinary for someone who served a long stretch in prison.

But then there is that second quote, which gives me pause.

Before I continue, though, here is a brief background on Hovind for those who are new to the topic.  Veteran readers cans skip it.

About Kent Hovind

Kent Hovind is an Independent Baptist Minister.  He is a strong believer in Young Earth Creationism, a hyper-literal reading of the Bible that gives you a universe roughly 6,000 years old.  That is, of course, not nearly enough time for evolution to work and it also flies in the face of conventional science in other fields such as geology and astronomy.

Hovind insists the Bible is literally true and scientifically accurate.  One of the implications of YEC is that humans and dinosaurs must have co-existed - hence his sobriquet Doctor Dino.

The dinosaur theme inspired the original Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola, which went under after Kent was convicted on a variety of tax-related charges in 2006.  In 2015 just before his release, he was tried on a new set of charges related to things he did in response to the seizure of property in the first conviction.  He was convicted on one charge and the jury did not reach a verdict on others.  The charge he was convicted on was dismissed allowing him to be released in the summer of 2015.

He rebooted his ministry starting with a youtube channel - Kent Hovind OFFICIAL and relocated to Repton Alabama, where the new Dinosaur Adventure Land just opened.

Next is a review of my Hovind coverage, which might also be skipped, if you have been following along

About My Coverage Of Hovind

I started covering Kent Hovind in 2012.  I picked up the story, as I usually do, from a Tax Court decision.  Reader interest motivated me to look further into Hovind's tax history, which turned out to be a decades-long affair.

My coverage after that was pretty sporadic.  Here is a summary through May 2014.  It would have tailed off, but for a major development.  While nearing the end of his term, Kent was indicted again.  This time it was for filings that were made to affect the title of property seized as a result of the first conviction.

That trial made Kent a celebrity inside the right wing conspiracy bubble all the way up to Alex Jones, but never quite making it to Fox. That motivated me to invest time and even money into covering the story enlisting the support of my friend Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media, whose investigative work uncovered the holdout juror, Don Camacho, who saved Kent Hovind from serving a lot more time.

You're looking at a guy who's been in jail for ten years under a microscope and I'm going to send him to jail for the rest of his life because he had a conspiracy in the open ???------
          Don Camacho

After that trial wrapped up, I stopped covering Hovind on Forbes, but continued here.  Recently I did do a Forbes piece, but that was more about a recently published book that featured Hovind rather than Hovind himself.

Still A Tax Story?

Now I am asking myself whether Hovind continues to be a legitimate tax story.  According to Ernie Land, the new structure is conventionally tax-compliant.  The property in Repton is owned by Creation Science Evangelism Ministries Inc, which is recognized as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS and recently had Form 990 released on guidestar.  The Form 990 was prepared by a licensed CPA.

Kent is not compensated by CSEM.  According to Ernie, Kent earns money from his intellectual property.  It is pretty clear that he lives very modestly so he would not need much.  I also have formed the impression, that Kent is actually holding himself accountable to a board that wants him to not get into further tax trouble.

Nonetheless, there is still a tax story, but first I would like to discuss the perception of unfair treatment by critics, which was raised by Ernie Land.


Besides his youtube channel, Kent has also been spreading his message by speaking at churches. According to Ernie Land, Kent's critics are endeavoring to have him deplatformed.
Robert Baty crossed the line by stalking Kent to a level of using the information we put up to make every effort to vilify Kent by making unwanted calls to the Churches we post information about Kent and his speaking engagements. Even after he is informed his communications are unsolicited and unwanted he continues to troll them and their sites or posts making undesirable comments. In addition his trolls follow suit by making unwanted post on Church sites. These trolls are pure evil. The Churches are complaining to us.
Something like that is going on. Here is an example of Bob Baty communicating with a church that served as a Hovind venue.

I asked Robert Baty for his response
I'm not sure what "line" you have reference to.
On the record, whatever contact I have had with sponsors of Kent Hovind's performances is not, has not been harrassing or harrassment.
Kent and his people have always had the problem of falsely accusing me and then refusing to face me.
If any of them are serious about issues related to Kent Hovind, I am more than willing to begin the negotiations and produce a proper exchange of ideas on matters of mutual interest, and I would be willing to include any harrassment charge they may wish to bring against me.
Perhaps my communications with Tammy Hastings would be an ideal study.
Or my contact with the sponsors of his Boise City, OK performances last summer.  I have an article on that posted on my website.
I'll leave it for the reader to decide whether Baty's behavior constitutes harassment.

The more interesting question is whether Hovind in presenting himself to his fellow Christians is being fully open and honest.  I'm inclined to say that the innocence narrative that he has been promoting is not an honest one, regardless of its merit.


Kent was convicted of "structuring".  Structuring is a crime, but it is one that can be committed innocently.  Banks and some other institutions are required to file reports when people deal with amounts of currency in excess of $10,000.

The crime of structuring is arranging your transactions to stay below $10,000 with the purpose of avoiding the bank reporting.  No further nefariousness is required. Imagine a kid from a big fairly prosperous family who makes out like a bandit on his First Communion or Bar Mitzvah ending up with $11,000.

His uncle Bob who knows about such things advises him that to avoid being hassled by a bank report, little Joe's mom should make two deposits rather than one into Joe's savings account.  Believe it or not, but that is a crime.

Of course, Hovind did it on a grander scale, but there is no question that his purpose in keeping cash transactions below $10,000 was to avoid bank reporting.  And it is likely that his dealing in cash was related to his refusal to file income tax returns, but the latter is not necessary for the structuring charge.

But Why Not Income Tax Evasion?

The obligation to file income tax returns and pay the computed tax is quite real, despite what you might gather if you listen to Kent Hovind's presentation or read the work of the late Irwin Schiff.  That obligation is backed up by criminal sanctions.

Kent made some preparations for that contingency. There was something called the Cheek defense. If you could convince a jury that you sincerely believed in your preposterous legal theories you could avoid being guilty of income tax evasion.  Kent had letters from tax professionals, to use the term loosely, explaining to him why he didn't have an obligation to file.  So he was ready for a charge of income tax evasion, although there is a good chance the letters would not have helped him that much.

I get the sense that one of the reasons Kent is so upset by the structuring is that he was blindsided by it.  He was ready to be charged with tax evasion, but structuring came in from left field.  He was playing by the rules as he understood them.  Dealing in cash but drawing out around $9,500 or so at a time so there were no reports from the bank not realizing that the government had another trick up its sleeve.

The Incomplete Innocence Narrative
The government seized our ministry assets ten years ago, put me in jail for nearly nine years.  I got a ten year sentence for structuring.                                                                      Kent Hovind. 
 In some ways the shortcut that the government took in prosecuting Hovind mainly for structuring (Although don't forget there is also interfering with the administration of the internal revenue laws and the matter of the unpaid payroll taxes of the "missionaries") rather than income tax evasion is working out for Hovind.  He frames his innocence narrative around being convicted of something that does not appear to be a crime.

There is a but though. Does Hovind think that it was really OK for him to go decades without filing income tax returns and profiting from telling others to follow that course?  And does he have any doubt that that was why the IRS Criminal Investigation was interested in him?

Does the story begin in 2006 with the structuring charges or can we look further a few years to see Hovind suing to resist a summons for the examination of bank records?  Or perhaps back a decade to see Hovind soliciting opinions that the income tax is voluntary.

I pretty much reviewed the bidding on this issue in 2015 when Hovind was released, if you want to go into it further.

What Puzzles Me?

Viewing Hovind as a religious leader of sorts, it strikes me that what he should do is make a statement to the effect that he took really, really bad legal advice and got into a lot of trouble for it, but that he has put that behind him and will be conventionally tax compliant in the future.

Why doesn't he do that?  Does he continue to believe that his decades long tax defiance was the right thing to do?  I asked Ernie Land about that.  Here is what he wrote:

These misconceptions could easily be cleared up if the IRS had answered the many, many letters Kent sent in the 90’s addressing the many patriot arguments about taxation. Taxation was noticed as voluntary for years and the argument about social security numbers, 14th amendment citizens, sovereign citizens, federal territories, etc. all exist and have credibility. Those in Government could address it, but choose not to answer those arguments because it would reveal the errors, and conspiracies that exist in Government. People are finally waking up to the many corrupt moves our Government and it’s agencies have made. I believe these are not just theories, but in fact real government cover ups to take away American’s freedoms and create a slave mentality of it’s people.
I can tell you Kent feels the same way, but he also now realizes in order to continue his kingdom work he must accept the fact they have the standing army to force people to do the governments will in the area of commerce. If he could deal in silver and gold (the only real money) and did not need to bank, then he could operate as a free man. However, if anyone deals in USD they fall back into the trap the government set of forcing the trade of real money out of America, and moving America to a slave State for all who use it’s commerce. My theory is this you can become and claim to be a free man, instead of a citizen, but the moment you go back to trade in a USD you enter back into the jurisdiction that allows the government to attack you.
Real simple, have the IRS respond to questions with answers to the many, many letters Kent sent to them. The law tells us they have to answer, so why was the IRS allowed to break the law, and the Court was OK with their law breaking.
So that more or less solves the puzzle.  The executive summary would be that Hovind thinks he was right to resist income taxes for decades.

Why Not Tell The Whole Story? 

This is what aggravates me about the innocence narrative.  Hovind starts the story with the structuring charge and leaves out everything that led up to it.  Without structuring Hovind might have had a shorter sentence and there is property that would not have been forfeited for structuring.  But if the prosecutors didn't have structuring as part of their arsenal, they might have forced him to try to put on his Cheek defense against income tax evasion and that might not have gone that well.  The property that was seized for structuring might well have gone to put a dent into the civil liability for income tax of over three million including interest and fraud penalty, which was confirmed by the Tax Court and the Eleventh Circuit and is likely still hanging over him.

I don't really have a dog in this fight, but it would seem to me that Christian leaders who are asked to hold up Hovind as a good example should be aware of more of the tax defiance story than he shares.  They might agree with his views on the illegitimacy of the income tax or they might think that his preaching on the lie of evolution is so good that odd theories that he has in other areas can be ignored particularly since he no longer actively advocates them.

Nonetheless, they should be aware that when the IRS came knocking on Hovind's door, it was about the taxes not the dinosaurs.

Future Coverage

I actually have plenty of things to write about without Kent Hovind.  I will keep in touch with the players in the narrative like Ernie Land and Bob Baty and Rudy Davis.  I am quite fond of all of them.  Abigal Megginson has more from the opening day story, which will be coming after she takes care of some school work.

I won't predict an end to my Hovind coverage after the last bit of material is squeezed out of Abigal's day at the park, but I am hoping I will be taking a long break after that.

Peter J Reilly CPA writes on taxes for  The Kent Hovind story is the only one that he has managed to lose money on.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Dinosaur Adventure Land Grand Re-Opening:

By Abigail Megginson

Lenox, Alabama isn't home to much. But starting Saturday April 21, it became the destination for Hovind followers and those who reject the theory of evolution with the grand re-opening of Dinosaur Adventure Land. 

After Hovind was arrested in 2006 on several tax related charges including structuring, Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola struggled to stay open and then slowly fell out of existence. Upon leaving prison after completing his sentence and being acquitted on new charges in 2015, Hovind searched for his next move. A connection through Ernie Land donated 140 acres of property in Repton, Alabama to Creation Science Evangelism Ministries Inc and the new DAL was born.


To get to DAL, visitors travel down a dirt road and wind up at the entrance gate featuring Dr. Dino and Mrs. Dino, seemingly a rendition of Mary Tocco before the two split. 

The park has no insurance and warns visitors to enter at their own risk. 

Sign warns visitors about risks associated with coming onto property.
On opening day starting at 10:30 a.m., visitors enjoyed the creation museum, playground area, and a donated lunch of BBQ pork and Chobani yogurt accompanied by Danish pastries. The main event would be held at 2 p.m. - water baptisms in the pond.

The Museum

But DAL isn't complete without the creation museum. The center takes visitors through the six days of creation according to the Bible. The tour guide emphasized the spiritual metaphors behind each scientific demonstration. Near the end of the tour, our guide stopped in front of a wall of posters and news clippings about the existence of dinosaurs among mankind. She told the audience that dinosaurs such as pterodactyls are still in areas of North America today. 

Two volunteers wearing the new DAL park logo shirts.
Original logo from Pensacola hangs in Museum.
Wooden cross stands at high point on property.
Children play in Noah's Ark from the original DAL in Pensacola. It shows both animals and dinosaurs together.
Doctor Hovind

Outside, Hovind directed volunteers, interacted with children on swing sets, and drove a four wheeler across the premises. He said the biggest challenge with this project has been money. They’ve spent all they raised and more, mostly relying on donations. His resources have been less than he would have hoped, which Hovind says is the result of churches abandoning him post-prison sentence.

For his critics, Hovind had a few words.

“What are you doing for the Lord?” Hovind asked. “If you don’t like what I’m doing, do something better.”

Hovind directs visitors on one of many four wheelers on the property.
Kent The Baptist

Near the end of the grand re-opening at 2 p.m. volunteers and visitors alike gathered at the pond for the baptisms. Volunteers parked their golf carts and four wheelers on the shore. Under a pavilion, nearly 25 people sat in rows of chairs and listened to worship, followed by Hovind wading waist deep in the water as adults and children took their turns.

Fund Raising

After the baptisms, Hovind invited guests to stay and explore the property until 5 p.m. He also asked them to spread the news about his new 777 club. The goal is for 777 people to donate a dollar a day for a year, or $31 a month, to Creation Science Evangelism. He noted you could sign up for people and boasted one donor had signed up under Bill Nye.

By 3 p.m. nearly 70 people had visited for the grand opening, not including children.

The Past

Hovind’s tax past wasn’t completely overshadowed by the dinosaurs. Visitor Leslie Johnson came with his family to support Hovind, but he originally learned about him because of his structuring charges and imprisonment.

Jessica Gunther brought her family from LeFayette, Georgia to support Hovind. She was aware of his past with tax-related charges but said she doesn’t think it was Hovind’s fault for what happened.

“I think the government was looking for something,” Gunther said. “He was spreading too much truth.”


Underlying the playground and dinosaurs at DAL is a subculture of Christianity. To follow Hovind and his teachings about God and creationism means to know the truth as no one else does. For Hovind's followers, the renewal of Dinosaur Adventure Land is only the beginning for the restoration of Creation Science Evangelism.

Hovind’s reach is wide and deep. Every volunteer and visitor said they had first heard of him from his video series or YouTube channel. Every supporter spoke highly of the way Hovind portrayed his message in love. For them, the message is the solution to the evolution question and motivated them so strongly that many traveled hours to see DAL and support Hovind. 

Their devotion to Hovind is profound. They see no flaws in him. Instead, they view him as a man intensely persecuted for his beliefs. These supporters seem to be drawn to Hovind, but with a greater purpose of spreading God's truth in mind. The line between adoration of a man and his message begins to blur. 

There's More

Is Creation Science Evangelism's DAL simply a display of a bizarre subculture of Christianity or is there something more to it?

I will continue my report on the new Dinosaur Adventure Land by sharing stories about how the volunteers live, why they chose DAL, and the reasons visitors trekked miles to a small town in Alabama.
Abigail Megginson studies Journalism and Political Science at the University of West Florida. She grew up in Pensacola and visited the original Dinosaur Adventure Land as a child. She reported on Hovind's 2015 trial as an intern for Interlock Media.

Monday, April 16, 2018

I'm Optimistic That Kent Hovind Has Turned The Corner On Tax Compliance

My biggest realistic hope for Kent Hovind after his release from prison was that he would become conventionally tax compliant - focus his energy on saving souls and exposing the "lies of evolution".  The first of those is benign and the latter is probably relatively harmless.

 My wildest dream was that he would realize/admit that his legal troubles were of his own making and that he would advise his flock to say away from the tax mishegas of the likes of Paul John Hansen and Glenn Stoll.  That was altogether unrealistic.

However his continued efforts in the area of tax mishegas seem to be limited to promoting what Bob Baty characterizes as his "false legal narrative"

This is quite different from the days of CSE 6 when he was promoting widespread income tax non-compliance.

and encouraging churches to avoid 501(c)(3) status.

Or posting notices to warn government officials about trespassing.

Ernie Land assured me that that the new structure for Kent's ministry would be conventionally tax compliant.  And we have the first public sign of that in the filing of Form 990 which was prepared by Britton Finch CPA (A real CPA holding Alabama Certificate 9331).  I'm thinking about giving him a call, but am waiting until tax season is over.  No promises.

I had a couple of nits to pick about the Form 990, but I have seen a lot worse.  So I think they are really trying.

I decided to try to interview someone on the CSE board and I struck gold with Bill Sardi.  When I asked about on the record, Bill insisted that everything he said was on the record.  I had trouble keeping up with him and am not a great note taker, but I believe that I captured the essence of what he had to say about his experience as CSE board member.

Bill Sardi is one of the six board members listed on the Form 990.  Bill Sardi is involved with health supplements and I note that there is some controversy around that, but I didn't and will not be getting into that.  I'll leave it for the comments section.  There are only so many rabbit holes I can go down.  He as on Alex Jones which I don't see as a great endorsement

At any rate, Bill started off giving me a version of the Hovindication rant about Kent Hovind being persecuted.  He was going on about the Obama administration enough that I had to remind him that Kent was prosecuted the first time during the Bush administration,  Bill doesn't think all that highly of Bush either.

A detail that I have never heard is the claim that there was at least one document signed by Lois Lerner in and among filings about Kent. I found this a little odd, because there did not seem to be anything related to Kent's case that would have called for attention from Lois Lerner unless you think her position at the IRS was roving Satanic minion (She was Director of Rulings and Agreements in the Exempt Organizations function and then was promoted to Director of Exempt Organizations).  The essence of the interminable scandal was about delays in processing applications for exempt status, something that pre-prison Kent Hovind would not have concerned himself with.  I was so intrigued by that claim that I reached out to Ernie Land about it.  Here is his response:

That was told by several family members. It was questioned at the time and lead to the many beliefs, Kent was a target because of his Ministry and creation debates. Kind of supports the beliefs Kent was targeted for those debates, as well as his speaking out about taxation. What I find even more interesting is the cost of their defenses and the lack of any real defense. I call it malfeasance. I have a anonymous source, who claims to be a retired CPA, who has made a FOIA request to be sure the CSE Trust did not ever apply or have a EIN#, which I am sure the facts will show it did not, and I originally helped open the bank accounts, so I am very certain none exist, but that person must be sure it is factual. And they tell me if I am factually correct that there are US codes making it illegal for an entity without a EIN# to even ask for a W-4 or issue 1099’s, which would have been a rock solid defense. So we shall see, and I have requested the study to verify the codes, so if you know which code they speak of, I would appreciate you sharing with me some wisdom.
I poked at the followup question a bit and concluded that the rule is that if you are required to file something that requires an EIN then you are required to apply for an EIN.

Regardless, there was something just a bit different about Bill's recounting of the Hovindication narrative.  He indicated that he believed that Kent was misled by his advisers. Kent actually believed that the things he was filing were going to work.  Bill believes that the IRS is kind of like the mafia and probably illegitimate, but does not see any point in fighting them.  This is the kind of reasonably sensible attitude that I got from Irwin Schiff's sons.

And this is what has me feeling optimistic about Kent's future.  Apparently he is holding himself accountable to a board that includes people who have a realistic view of how the world works regardless of unconventional view on some matters.  Bill assured me and I don't doubt him that the board has placed limits on what Kent is doing.

Bill indicated that Kent will probably get his roadside dinosaur.  On the other hand you will note that the 990 was prepared by a CPA not Brady Byrum.

I'm kicking myself for not taking better notes when I spoke with Bill, although some of the tidbits were more gossipy than newsworthy.  I'll try to do better in the future.

Peter J Reilly CPA writes on taxes for

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Name Drop

Lamar Smith has given me another guest post.  Since it mentions me explicitly I will give some extended commentary at the end.


The day after the President’s personal attorney Michael Cohen’s office, home and hotel room were searched by the FBI executing a properly derived search warrant, Mr. Cohen was expected to speak in court on another matter. I recall talking heads opining on this particular point after the presiding judge found Mr. Cohen’s absence “disappointing.”

All the pundits I saw felt that Cohen, by not appearing in court that day, had broken no laws that day.

Kent Hovind is set to open his new Dinosaur Adventure Land in less than a week at his compound in Alabama. As an aside, Kent positively loathes that word applied to his property, that is surrounded by a fence and contains buildings used for different purposes, which is the textbook definition of ‘compound.’

I had intended to hold off on writing about Kent until after the opening until I viewed some of Kent’s latest videos in which he’s mentioned Peter Reilly by name and title.

If you don’t want to sit through all of the nonsense in the clip above, start at about 4:10 in.

Kent told his followers that “Peter Reilly, writer for Forbes Magazine, has gone over our financial information and found that the only mistakes we’ve made are a couple of misspelled words.” Kent’s takeaway was that Peter Reilly concluded that “you guys really know how to take care of your financials.”

I’m going to try and set aside why, exactly, a man claiming a PhD. in Education (Christian) would misspell any words on a document and focus on a larger issue.

Now, Peter Reilly has followed the Hovind case for a significant amount of time and is quite knowledgeable about all the financial moves Kent has made and tried to make.

Peter confirmed in an article, to which I’m sure he can provide a link, in which Mr. Reilly examined Kent’s current filings, found a significant number of misspellings, but no obvious flaws or contraventions of standard accounting practices and apparently reported to Kent, the same. Whether it was really in the panting tones portrayed by Hovind, I’ll let Peter say.

An equivocation, in logical argumentation, is an intentional mixing of terms. Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First,” is the most famous and hilarious example of a series of equivocations used for humorous effect.

Now, when the pundits on cable news said “Michael Cohen broke no laws,” did they mean, specifically, he’d broken no laws by sending a surrogate to appear in court for him that particular day or did they mean that Michael Cohen, though being actively investigated for bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, had never broken any laws?

Any reasonable viewer would conclude that the scope of their opinions was limited to Mr. Cohen’s failure to appear in court on that one day only.

When Kent presents the information, rather gleefully to his followers, that “Peter Reilly, of, has looked at what we’re doing and found only a couple of misspelled words,” he leaves the viewer with the impression that Kent thinks or is saying “Peter Reilly has found we’ve never done anything wrong other than misspell a word or two ever in our entire history.” If those who follow him draw the larger conclusion, I don’t think Kent would mind in the least.

I’ll end here in anticipation of following up after the launch of the new DAL. As you’ll read then ‘launch’ was a carefully chosen term as it reflects Kent’s plans for children who visit Kent’s compound.


A couple of things.  I mentioned that given the number of typos that creep into my work, I should not be one to critique spelling issues.  It actually was not a spelling error.  The 990 used the word "principal" when they clearly meant "principle".  For some reason that common error drives me a little crazy, perhaps because I have seen it made in notes to financial statements where both words will occur.  Other things that really bug me are confusing imply with infer and e.g. with i.e. 

I had a couple of other nits to pick on the Form 990, but overall even though it would not have gotten out of my office as it was, it did not look so bad.  Of course I did not compare it to underlying data or anything like that.

Kent going on to say he pays taxes that are owed is just hilarious. What he means, I guess, is that he pays taxes that he agrees that he is owes not taxes that the IRS, confirmed by the Tax Court and the Eleventh Circuit have ruled that he owes.

Anyway,I appreciate the plug and hope it will lead to more traffic.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Doc Dino Dollars - CSE Form 990 Now Available

The Creation Science Evangelism Ministries Inc. Form 990 is finally up on guidestar.  Bob Baty put out the word on Facebook.  Form 990 "Return of  Organization Exempt From Tax" is an informational return.  It is filed with the IRS, but it is a public document.  It is essentially a financial statement with a good amount of supplemental information.  The period covered is calendar year 2016.

Form 990 is due four and half months after the end of the year covered with a six month extension being allowed.  That makes the due date November 15, which is when the return was filed.  It takes a while to get it up on guidestar, so this is about when you would expect it to be available.

The preparer is listed as Brian R Finch CPA of Geneva, AL.  For whatever it is worth the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy shows a Brian Ross Finch holding Certificate Numbe 9331 issued on February 3, 2003.  I was thinking of giving him a call, but it is tax season and I'm busy and he is probably busier.

Some Numbers

Big picture CSE took in $680,103 in contributions and grants.  There were a total of $224,055 in expenses.  The biggest category was computer expense which when combined with "information technology" came to over $42,000.  Next up was over $28,000 in "food for vendors", which struck me as an interesting way of putting it.

$466.798 went into land, building and equipment, which is capitalized rather than expensed leaving only $342 of cash at the end of the year.

The Board

The board consists of President Ernest Land, Secretary Diane Hommel (The famous Lady Di), Treasurer Cody Land, Director Gill Sardi, Direcotr J R Hughes and Pastor Kent Hovind.  There is probably a slip-up in the return, as it shows Ernie working 20 hours per week and the others all at zero. Schedule O disclosure tells us that Cody is Ernie's son.  According to a note at the end of the return the board was emailed the 990 on November 14 and it was filed the next day.

Some Nits to Pick

Given the number of typos that worm their way into my writing I should not go grammar Nazi, but the mission statement\significant activities hits on one of my biggest bugaboos
To educate society on bible creation, and biblical principals.  This purpose was to help generate a better society by teaching these principals.  The teaching includes scientific support of the bible teaching.  (Emphasis added)
I'm pretty sure they mean "principles".

On Page 10 the expenses are supposed to be divided into three categories - Program service - Management and general - Fundraising.  The put everything under program service, which I understand is generally frowned upon.

Schedule A is pretty interesting.  It is where you say why you are not a private foundation.  They chose "church".  Now as it happens, if they do qualify for church status filing Form 990 is optional so you could say they are being extra transparent.  On the other hand, if they had checked Box 7 rather than Box 1, they would have had to give more detail about the contributions, basically indicating how much of the contributions were large donations.

Schedule O at the very end is how we know that Cody is Ernie's son and that the board had little time to review the Form 990.  It also tells us that Ernie owns 100% of the common stock.  I am not used to not for profits have stockholders, but maybe things are different down in Alabama/

The other matter of interest on Schedule O is that Governing documents are available by request to the board of directors.  I don't know if an enterprising Hovindologist will test that.  If you do let me know how it goes.

Not A Bad Job Overall

If you have never dealt with Form 990 before, trust me when I tell you that the nits that I just picked are pretty common.  I don't see anything in here that is inconsistent with Kent Hovind's messaging.

Well, it's nearing one of the high points of tax season, so I am moving on.


Dee Holmes noted that travel expenses were over $60,000 which I somehow missed.  She is a little suspicious about that.  Whether it is high or not depends on how many people travel with Kent. 
Peter J Reilly has been following the Kent Hovind story for a long time and has not made any money doing so, much as he would be pleased if he did.