Entrance to Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola
The Florida-based ministry of creation-science evangelist Kent Hovind apparently will be able to retain properties set for seizure by the federal government in the tax-related case that sent the founder and his wife to prison.
Hovind’s son, Eric, who has taken over leadership of Creation Science Evangelism, told supporters the federal government indicated Friday it will work with the ministry to retain properties a federal judge ordered seized as a substitute for payment of fines.
“Upon completion of property appraisals, CSE will begin to negotiate the acquisition,” Hovind wrote in a donor letter. “We ask for your patience and prayers during this process.”
As WND reported, the federal government had given the ministry notice that the properties – which include the popular theme park Dinosaur Adventure Land – were to be vacated by Sept. 15 if a forfeiture amount of $380,000 was not paid. The properties also include three homes.
Kent Hovind, known as “Dr. Dino,” is serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for failing to collect and pay withholding taxes, obstructing tax laws and other related charges. His wife, Jo, the bookkeeper for the Hovinds’ ministry in Pensacola, Fla., was convicted of evading bank-reporting requirements and began serving a one-year sentence in January. Kent Hovind has argued he took a vow of poverty as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and, therefore, owns nothing and receives no income.
Eric Hovind told WND that donors to the ministry provided the $380,000 necessary to retain the properties. There were a few larger gifts, he said, but most were smaller donations from “lots and lots of people.”
“We are praising God for his faithfulness during this transitional time,” he said. “God has blessed, and we are ever so grateful.”
Hovind has said that with a new board of directors, he looks forward to a “great start to a new ministry that has no legal problems.”
Kent Hovind is appealing his case to the U.S. Supreme Court after a final rejection Feb. 25 by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. The high court is expected to announce next month whether it will accept the case.
The Hovinds’ ministry was launched in 1989 with the aim of winning people to faith in Jesus Christ through debunking evolution and presenting evidence for divine creation. Kent Hovind has offered $250,000 to anyone offering sufficient proof of Darwinian evolution.
Kent Hovind argued he owned nothing and all of his needs were taken care of by the ministry. He said he understood that as a registered 508 non-profit organization, he was not required to withhold taxes, leaving IRS obligations with each worker.
In November 2006, however, he was convicted of failing to collect and pay $470,000 in withholding taxes, obstructing tax laws, structuring transactions totaling $430,500 to avoid financial reporting laws, filing a frivolous lawsuit against the IRS, filing an injunction against an IRS agent and threatening investigators and others who cooperated with the investigation.