Last year, Creationist Kent Hovind sued the U.S. government for more than half a billion dollars.
That lawsuit has now been tossed out of the courtroom after District Judge Thomas Kent Wetherell II (a Trump appointee) called it “frivolous and delusional” and adopted a magistrate’s recommendation in full.
Some background is helpful here because… where the hell did Hovind get that number from? (And who knew Creationists could count that high?)
He was 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.
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 was criminally prosecuted for his refusal to play by the rules and for constantly playing the “Christian Persecution” card even when it made no sense. He 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 last year.) Hovind also releases daily livestreams in which he spouts insane pro-Creationist talking points, like when he argues that various food items disprove evolution.
Back to the lawsuit.
According to the complaint he filed last summer, Hovind and Hansen decided to go 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 said the defendants were imposing law illegally on land that did not belong to the United States. (This is known as a sovereign citizen argument.)
The lawsuit said that, because the government went after Hovind and his ministry, Creation Science Evangelism, his life had 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.
Guess what? In 2020, I also spoke at zero live events. It’s almost like there was something happening… But Hovind made no mention of that. More to the point, he doesn’t have some magical right to speak everywhere.
The lawsuit also said Hovind was falsely imprisoned, the victim of religious persecution (“Just as practiced in communist China”), subject to unlawful seizures, and more. There were 60 separate counts.
There was also this attachment to the lawsuit, suggesting the amount of proposed damages that he hoped to recover. (Click to enlarge.)
That page claimed that Hovind was owed money that amounted 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” came out to $536,041,100.00. More than half a billion dollars.
In April, however, his attempt hit a major roadblock when U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Frank recommended that the entire case be dismissed. Frank’s 26-page ruling said Hansen lacked standing to sue over some of his claims, that the statute of limitations prevented the men from suing even when they had standing, and that even if that wasn’t a problem, a criminal like Hovind isn’t allowed to sue the prosecutors, judge, government, or an IRS agent just because he’s unhappy with how the case turned out.
And earlier this week, Judge Wetherell adopted that recommendation:
… the Court agrees with the magistrate judge’s determination that this case is due to be dismissed for the reasons articulated in the Report and Recommendation. Indeed, the objections demonstrate the frivolous and delusional nature of this suit when, among other things, they assert that Plaintiff Hovind and his ministry were beyond the jurisdiction of the United States and that the obligation to pay income taxes is tantamount to being conscripted into involuntary servitude as “a tax collector for the United States.”
He also dismissed the lawsuit “with prejudice,” meaning Hovind can’t file it again.
Hovind always deserved to be laughed out of the courtroom. Now he has been. Couldn’t have happened to a worse person.
As far as I can tell, Hovind hasn’t mentioned his loss during his daily livestream yet. There’s virtually no chance he would win an appeal, but if anyone’s dumb enough to try anyway, it’s him.
(Thanks to Robert for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)