Pharyngula

Pensacola hilarity

If you’ve been following the news from Florida, you must know that Kent Hovind’s trial has begun. We’ve learned how profitable it is to be creation science evangelist…

Heldmeyer said from 1999 to March 2004, the Hovinds took in more than $5 million. Their income came from amusement-park profits and merchandise — books, audiotapes and videotapes — they sold on site and through phone and online orders, she said. About half the money went to employees.

…and that the IRS doesn’t like him very much.

Hovind attempted to manipulate funds from the start of his ministry, she said.

In 1996, he filed for bankruptcy, a move Heldmeyer said Hovind designed to prevent the IRS from collecting taxes.

The IRS later determined Hovind filed under an “evil purpose,” Heldmeyer said.

She called Hovind a “very loud and vocal tax protester,” recalling a number of lawsuits he filed against the IRS over the past decade. Each was deemed frivolous and was thrown out, she said.

And on April 13, 2004, when IRS officials issued a search warrant for Hovind’s property, he resisted.

Some of his employees have testified about his wacky beliefs.

Popp testified that Hovind warned employees not to accept mail addressed to “KENT HOVIND.” He said Hovind told the workers the government created a corporation in his “all-caps name.” Hovind said if he accepted the mail, he would be accepting the responsibilities associated with that corporation, Popp testified.

He was kind of sleazy about forcing his employees to sign away their rights.

After the Dinosaur Adventure Land was raided on April 2004, Kent Hovind required his employees to sign nondisclosure agreements if they wanted to keep their jobs, she said.

“I was uncomfortable signing it, I guess, because of not having a full understanding,” Cooksey said.

Hovind also has an interesting approach to dealing with IRS investigators.

Hovind tried several bullying tactics against her, Powe testified. A recording that Hovind made of a phone conversation was then played. In the phone conversation, Hovind tried to make an appointment with Powe by 10 a.m. that day. When Powe said she couldn’t meet him because she had a staff meeting, Hovind threatened to sue her, which he did.

“Dr. Hovind sued me three times, maybe more,” Powe testified. “It just seemed to be something he did often.”

She testified that the cases were dismissed.

Now, in the latest news, we learn that Kent Hovind was too crazy for Pensacola Christian College, that bulwark of traditional religious thought. Testimony from Rebekah Horton, a PCC vice president, shows that he wasn’t very highly regarded by even the fundamentalist extremist Christians in his neighborhood, and she was advising people to stay away from him.

Horton said her first concern was that the woman was breaking the law. Horton also testified she was concerned about Pensacola Christian College students who worked at Hovind’s ministry.

“The day could come when you’re going to be in trouble,” she told the woman. “Because Mr. Hovind is going to be in trouble.”

Horton believed it was the college’s duty to report the misleading doctrine. Administration called the Internal Revenue Service and gave the tape to officials, she said.

“I didn’t want to see innocent people get led astray,” she said.

Pensacola Christian College then decided its students no longer were permitted to work with Creation Science Evangelism, Horton said.

I confess that I’m starting my mornings lately by turning to the Pensacola News Journal and searching for “Hovind” to pick up the latest stories about this creationist debacle. I do it even before I read my favorite web comics. And I laugh and laugh.