To review, the Ark Encounter is a building that is shaped like a boat on one side, said to be built to the specifications in the Bible, though that's impossible due to the half a building bit. It is in Kentucky, and the company that built it, Answers in Genesis, owned by Ken Ham, got a ton of tax breaks, and a bunch of land for $1, from the nearby county. The county is really strapped for cash and made the mistake of believing Ham when he promised that the ark would revitalize the community, increasing tourism and bringing tens of thousands of jobs.
That hasn't happened. The attendance at the ark is hard to determine, largely because Ham keeps moving the goal posts and doesn't provide any evidence of his claims. For example, he says that close to 10,000 people a day visit the ark. While I've read reviews that say the ark is crowded, there's no photographic evidence. The photos and videos that are online show a place that's kind of dead. Also, 10,000 people a day for a year would be 3,650,000 people. But then, sometimes he says it's more like 8,000, and then sometimes he points out that attendance was slower during the winter months, which is natural, except during the winter months he kept talking about the amazing attendance. So he's all over the place.
The ark says it employs 900 people, which I have a hard time believing, but even if that's true, it falls far, far short of promises, and anyone who isn't a young earth creationist need not apply. Whatever the attendance at the ark, those who visit are not stopping by the local businesses.
Going back to the attendance, Ham initially claimed 2 million would visit the first year. Then he said from 1.4 m to 2 m, which is one hell of a lot of wiggle room. When the first anniversary came into view, and it looked like it would be only about 1 m, he started saying that the 1.4 - 2m estimate was for a normal year, without defining what normal means or why this past year isn't normal.
Within two weeks he went from claiming that attendance was higher than expected and was bringing business to the nearby community to blaming atheists and secular news for dissuading businesses from investing in the area to blaming the nearby town for not building the infrastructure needed to make the ark, and then the county, successful.
The next bit is vicious. The county created a tax to help pay for safety services. The tax on the ark would be 50 cents per $28/$40 ticket. Ham has gone to court to stop this taxation, claiming that the ark is a ministry. Except the ark is a for profit enterprise. So then, the for-profit part of the company sold the property to a not-for profit part of the company, just to avoid this tax. For $10.
How much of a scumbag is this guy? The county was incredibly generous to him, he knows they're barely hanging on, but he pulls an unethical stunt like this to avoid a tax that would provide services his ark would benefit from. Unless he's ok with the fire department watching his boat burn down because he hadn't paid for their protection.
But joy of joys, the state has declared that by selling the property to himself - really - he breached one of the agreements, and the result could be that the company would lose a tax incentive of $18 m. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving scum bag.
Side note, Ham really hates it that the rainbow is associated with the inclusion of the LGBTQA community and love and peace and all that. He's going to have the ark lit up with a rainbow every night to take back the rainbow from, you know, everyone who's a decent human being, to celebrate genocide.