Creationist Kent Hovind is suing the U.S. government for more than half a billion dollars.
(That’s the largest number a Creationist has ever seen.)
He’s basically seeking revenge on the government for convicting him, in 2006, of not paying income taxes — something he bragged about both privately and publicly, only to play dumb in the courtroom — and “structuring” bank transactions so that he would always withdraw just under $10,000 at a time (since anything above that would have required reporting by the bank). He always insisted he didn’t have to pay taxes because his money and property belonged to God, not the government.
A bit more background is helpful here: For his crimes, Hovind was sentenced to a decade in jail, while his then-wife was sent to prison for a year. He got out in 2015 after eight years. He and his wife divorced a year later.
In addition to the prison time, Hovind had to give up 10 properties, including his precious “Dinosaur Adventure Land.” But when the government tried to sell those off, Hovind’s co-defendant and church trustee Paul John Hansen was given a separate prison sentence for criminal contempt for getting in the government’s way. (Hovind avoided punishment for that one.)
In short, Hovind’s been criminally prosecuted for his refusal to play by the rules, constantly played the “Christian Persecution” card even when it made no sense, and has basically dragged everyone in his orbit down with him.
If you’ve seen his name pop up in the past couple of years, it’s because he created a brand new very low-budget recreation of Dinosaur Adventure Land. (A child drowned there earlier this year.) Hovind also releases insane pro-Creationism videos in which he says that things like various food items disprove evolution.
That’s just a taste of his run-ins with the law. I’m skipping over a lot of details. But let’s get into what’s going on now.
According to the lawsuit, filed two weeks ago in federal court, Hovind and Hansen are going after — you ready for this? — the government, the judge in Hovind’s two cases, the U.S. attorneys who prosecuted them, an IRS agent, and Hovind’s own attorney from 2006 by saying they violated the plaintiffs’ “First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.” The men also say the defendants were imposing law illegally on land that does not belong to the United States. (This is known as a sovereign citizen argument.)
The lawsuit says that, because the government went after Hovind and his ministry, Creation Science Evangelism, his life has been ruined:
CSE lead speaker HOVIND was generally invited to speak at approximately thirty (30) churches worldwide weekly on the average in 2006, but in 2020 it is zero. HOVIND is striving daily to regain his, and like ministries, popularity since his release on August 7th, 2015. HOVIND soon after being greeted at home to a notice of divorce, forced removal by his own son with aid of police to get off the once `CSE Ministry’ land, ending with close to full separation from all his family members, and immediate family, including all his beloved five (5) grandchildren.
Ummm… many people who give talks for a living haven’t been able to travel at all in 2020 because of the winter weather, followed by the pandemic. Hovind makes no mention of that. He doesn’t have some magical right to speak everywhere.
Anyway, the lawsuit also says Hovind was falsely imprisoned, the victim of religious persecution (“Just as practiced in communist China”), subject to unlawful seizures, and more. There are 60 separate counts.
And then there’s this attachment to the lawsuit, suggesting the amount of proposed damages that he wants to recover. (Click to enlarge.)
That page claims that Hovind is owed money that amounts to:
- Whatever his ministry would have made each year between 2004 and 2020, assuming a “conservative” 12% growth rate. His ministry took in $2.5 million in 2006, so by 2020, he says, he would have made $12.22 million had the government not interfered with him. All together, that comes out to $90.7 million.
- $3,500 per day of “false imprisonment,” which comes out to $10,860,500.
- $300 per month for commissary and phone privileges while in jail. That’s a total of $30,600.
- Seized property valued at approximately $3 million.
- All the “emotional distress and anguish” and punitive damages, and financial damages… which amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars.
In sum, the “total proposed damages” come out to $536,041,100.00. More than half a billion dollars.
It’s a lot of money that he will never ever see because there’s no way in hell this case won’t be tossed out like a “missing link” at Dinosaur Adventure Land.
CPA Peter J. Reilly has an excellent rundown of the case at Forbes. He also spoke to one of the U.S. attorneys who prosecuted an earlier case against Hovind:
Michelle Heldmyer, one of the defendants wrote me;
“The suit will be dismissed quickly, for a number of deficiencies. Hovind has been trying to ruin my life for 15 years. Hasn’t succeeded yet.”
I couldn’t get anything for attribution from my legal brain trust, but their off the record comments indicate that the case is pretty hopeless.
“Pretty hopeless.” That’s really a perfect description of Creationists.
(Thanks to Valentin for the link)