Hovind Trial, Day 2

It’s day two of Kent Hovind’s trial for tax fraud, and still no
Mike Argento or
H.L. Mencken
has emerged to report live the unvarnished snark. Still, the trial’s being covered by the Pensacola News Journal. It’s not much of a media feeding frenzy, but I suppose the national outlets have juicier stories to cover closer to Dennis Hastert’s gravity well.

At any rate, today’s episode is still fun:

Brian Popp, Hovind’s employee for at least eight years, testified that he preferred to be paid in cash and that Hovind said that was the preference of the other employees.

“He said if it was up to him, he’d prefer to pay us all with checks,” Popp said.

This seems out of character for Hovind. He’s exactly the sort of paranoiac to insist on paying his employees missionaries in cash, lest the big bad government find him through the orbiting mind-control laser homing chips embedded in the magnetic ink on checks, or something.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but not much:

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.

(See here for more information on this bit of wingnuttery.)

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.

Next, we have the government witnesses:

M.C. Powe, an IRS officer who investigates people who have unpaid tax returns or unpaid tax liabilities, testified she first attempted to collect taxes from the Hovinds in 1996.

Kent Hovind was not home at the time, so she gave his wife a summons and taxpayer rights brochure.

Powe said she then received a letter from Hovind that stated: “… this summons indicates that you assume I am a ‘taxpayer’ per the IRS code.”

Hovind denied in the letter that he was a tax protester, saying instead he was a steward over the property of the Lord, she testified.

Powe said Hovind never showed up at the appointed time and she returned to the home. When she learned Kent Hovind wasn’t home again, she informed Jo Hovind that their vehicles would be seized.

It seems to me that the simplest way to solve this would be to subpoena God and have him testify that he’s indeed Hovind’s boss. And if he really owns the church, he should have a title deed.

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.”

I didn’t know Hovind had sued the IRS. In my non-legal opinion, this isn’t going to jibe well with his “I didn’t know the law” defense.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Beard, who handled Hovind’s bankruptcy, filed after his vehicles were seized by the IRS, testified that Hovind opted for the Chapter 13 “wage-earner plan,” available only to those who have a regular source of income.

In his bankruptcy forms, Hovind wrote that he had no form of income, that he rejected his Social Security number and that his employer was God, Beard testified.

Go easy on that popcorn, now. This trial is expected to last at least two weeks.

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