Sunday, November 30, 2014

God's Property Radio And Kent Hovind - Not A Great Source For The Whole Truth

This is another follow-up to Monday's post about the challenge I received to interact with Kent Hovind.  For some background on Doctor Dino and his tax woes, you can check out this coverage recap.  You may also want to check out the coverage at quatloosBob Baty's facebook pageKent Hovind's 2 Peter 3 and the Kent Hovind wikipedia entry which is quite thorough and well sourced, even though I get dissed on the talk page.

Update: Since I posted this Sam and Dan have issued a very nice apology and good wishes, which I find very touching.  Here it is if you would like to listen.

In a Thanksgiving interview with Kent Hovind, Sam from God's Property Radio mentioned me again.  His mention was not all that critical, because he was contrasting me with Robert Baty, who was his main target. For myself I was annoyed that he indicated that I had backed down from having a discussion with Kent.  That is not what happened.

Sam and Dan challenged me to have a call with Kent that they would record on their nickel (More like a fifty dollar bill I guess). I contacted them and had a discussion with Dan to get the wheels in motion, I told him that I would be assisted by Jonathan Schwartz of Interlock Media.  Interlock Media does documentaries on environmental and human rights issues.  Among them are two powerful prison pieces.  Turned Out which covers sexual assault in prison





and Faith In The Big House which is about prison ministry



Then Dan contacted me with the following message

Peter thank you for being willing to do the phone call with Kent we will not be able to meet Saturday or Monday. We have received advice from several good friends that for us to facilitate this discussion may not be wise. We are not withdrawing the challenge at this time but we are delaying it until further notice. We will be in touch to let you know if and when we are going to move forward on this.

Please have a wonderful thanksgiving and thank you for your time.

In Christ
Dan

Then I heard from Ernie Land, who is managing Kent's legal fund and we started over. So I haven't backed out at least not yet.

About Robert Baty

As I wrote, I was only briefly mentioned and the focus was on Bob Baty.  The discussion starts around the 25:00 minute mark on the podcast.  Here is a piece of it

Sam Swanson (Interviewer)

- Did you ever heard of a guy named Robert Baty?

Kent Hovind

- I have.
- He's written on Forbes.
- Apparently he's a blogger.
-
- I don't know how much qualification
- it takes to be a blogger.
- I suppose a finger and a keyboard.
- And you are qualified to be a blogger, right!

Sam Swanson

- Yeah!

Kent Hovind

- He seems to be an IRS blogger, OK!

Sam Swanson

- He, he has really got it out for ya.
- I mean, if anybody is targeting you
- and your family it is him.
-
- Peter Reilly I feel is like very light
- on you compared to Robert Baty.

Kent Hovind

- Sure.
- Well, they say you can judge a man by
- his enemies so I guess I look pretty good.
-
- ...I think he is embarrassed because I did
- answer him one time.
-
- Robert Baty wrote something and they sent
- it to me...50 some people had read his blog...
- He's an IRS blogger...Exactly what is an IRS
- blogger, what...certificate...what allows me
- to be an IRS blogger...and if only 50 people
- are following it anyway, it's probably not
- worth it to answer him, but I gave an answer
- to his questions and I think he felt kind of
- embarassed and stupid and he should have
- because his comments were embarrassing
- and stupid, but if he has something intelligent
- to say then I'll be glad to answer it.

Sam Swanson

- Yeah, he

Kent Hovind

- Answer a fool according to his folly.

Sam Swanson

- Sure, he, with this whole Peter Reilly debate
- thing or, or, talk that we were going to issue
- for you and him Peter has backed off, but it
- sounds like he has got somebody, in quotations,
- a friend to talk to you instead of himself.
-
- So he can't step up.
-
- But I'm pretty sure that is going to be Robert Baty,


As noted, I haven't backed out, but here's the thing.   Kent seems to have me and Robert Baty a bit confused.  Bob is not really what you would call a blogger.  He runs a couple of facebook sites and had a yahoo discussion group.  He also has done a couple of guest posts both on this blog and on forbes.com.  Also he comments on my forbes blog - a lot.  I have dubbed him a couple of things one being my most constant commenter.  We both communicated a bit with Kent sometime ago, Bob more than I and were cut off by him.  Kent mocked me for having so few followers.  I'm still in recovery over that.  Regardless I thought it would be good to let Sam and Dan and whoever else is interested know what our qualifications are and how we ended up interacting so much.

Peter J Reilly - The Tax Blogger

I have a bachelors degree in history, a bachelors degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting and a masters in applied mathematics with a concentration in computer science from the College of the Holy Cross, Clark University and Worcester State College (now Worcester University) respectively.  I am a CPA with licenses in Massachusetts and Florida. I started working in public accounting in 1979 and went from staff in a large local firm to partner in a large regional - all without changing jobs. As the years went by I focused more and more exclusively on tax. I finished my full time career as a managing director in a national firm.  Now I work part time exclusively in tax in a boutique practice.

That is kind of the baseline, but my real qualification to be a tax blogger is that I read a lot of original source tax material - decisions of the United States Tax Court, tax decisions of other US Courts and decisions of state courts.  Then there are the IRS pronouncements and scholarly articles on SSRN.  I find in all this material things that I find interesting.  My criteria are practical utility, humor and "matter for reflection". With respect to the third category it indicates that tax cases often raise other issues - such as church and state.  That's what I write about.  If nobody else is writing about it so much the better. Sometimes the story behind the tax case is more interesting that the tax issues and I will try to contact the parties involved or do other research.

Kent is right that all you need is a computer and an internet connection to start a site like this one (Although, I would recommend that you pick up Blogging For Dummies).  To get on a prestigious platform like forbes.com, you have to approach an editor and have them like your stuff enough to let you be a contributor.

If I write about something and it generates a lot of comments, I'll tend to look further into it.  That's what happened with Kent Hovind.  If I end up being the only tax blogger following the issue, I feel a certain obligation to stick with it.  That seems to be the case with Kent Hovind.

In their challenge to me, Sam and Dan indicated that I write about Kent Hovind daily.  Dan acknowledged verbally that that was an error and indicated they would correct that. I guess they will get around to that.  My first post about the issue concerned the Tax Court decision on his wife's case. That was in October 2012 Since then he has been mentioned in 24 posts.  That is quite a bit of attention, but hardly daily.  Monthly is a closer approximation, although, the posts are not evenly spaced in time.

It happens that at that point in time I had known Bob Baty for about nine months.  He had been trying to get me interested in Young Earth Creationism, but I was not biting.  The Tax Court case got me started though and I have stuck with it since.

So how do I know Bob Baty?  He comments on my posts more than anybody else.  He started in February 2012 when I wrote about Phil Driscoll's parsonage exclusion for his second home.  Meaning no disrespect but Bob is kind of obsessed with the parsonage exclusion.  Particularly a peculiar ruling from the seventies that allows faculty and administration at Church of Christ colleges to get the favorable treatment of "ministers of the gospel" regardless of their role, as long as they are church members. So my other sobriquet for Bob is "bane of the basketball ministers".

Being a valued commenter on my blog is even easier than starting a blog.  Just log on and make reasonably coherent comments.  You can insult me but try to be kind to the other commenters. To make your way up to Bob's exalted status will take you a while though.

I no longer can do guest posts on forbes.com, but I do take them on this blog and my other tax blog.  I once had the ambition to be the Tom Sawyer of blogging, maybe I can revive it.


About Bob Baty Who Is Not Really A Tax Blogger

I asked Bob for a brief outline of his qualifications.  Here is what I got.

Graduated College Bachelor Degree Business Administration - 1972
Began IRS work as auditor - 1973
Began IRS work as appeals officer - 1983
Retired - 2005

As to how he got interested in Kent Hovind, he wrote.


Here goes, briefly.

I've had an interest in things Hovind for a long, long time.  He caught my attention while I was still working for the IRS.

I remember having a very brief exchange with him during that time when I asked him something or 'nother about his tax position (that's my recollection).  Maybe it was related to his young-earth creationism.

In any case, at that time he was a free-wheeling big time preacher and one of his common retorts was that he didn't engage in written debates, and that was the end of that.

I retired in 2005.

I did try to get you interested after we ran across each other over the IRC 107 issue, but it wasn't until Jo's case came out that you determined that it qualified for some Forbes.com coverage.

And the rest, they say, is history.

Bob administers a facebook site about the Hovind case.

Since I first contacted him Bob has sent me a few more items about his activity, but I think I'm going to make him do a guest post, if he wants to get the rest of them in.

What This Says About Kent Hovind And His Supporters


Ironically I have been accused of being a Hovind supporter myself.  I've decided to call those critics the militantly rational.  I agree with them on the probable  age of the earth and the reality of evolution and things like that, but I just don't get as upset at the likes of Kent Hovind who has never met a conspiracy theory that he didn't like.  It is understandable that someone who thinks Kent is a whackadoodle might be pleased that his whackadoodle tax theories have put him in prison and the longer the better, but that is not my view.  Very few tax crimes are prosecuted and I think further prosecution of Hovind is a bad idea.  The current case against him seems a little weak, so he might get acquitted which would appear to be a vindication.  On the other hand if he is convicted he appears to be a martyr.  Neither outcome is good for promoting tax compliance

Sam and Dan's casual inaccuracy about their interaction with me is sympotmatic or their resistance to doing any fact checking on what Kent Hovind tells them.  I mean Sam said I was backing out after Dan sent me an e-mail indicating that they were deferring indefinitely.  Hovind goes on and on about how wrong his conviction for structuring was, but none of his interviewers seem to be capable of getting out the indictment and mentioning that there were thirteen counts other than structuring.  He also is pretty vague about the amounts and the purpose.  The withdrawals were all for either $9,500 or $9,600 and sometimes were within three days of one another.  According to my discussion with Ernie Land one of the reasons was so that the "missionaries" could be paid in cash.  Since they were required to punch a time clock, there was no justification for not considering them employees, subject to withholding.  It will be interesting to see how that discussion goes, if I get the chance.

Everybody who gets prosecuted for federal tax crimes can ask the "Why me?" question since so few are prosecuted.  You don't have to go very far in the case of Kent Hovind to make a reasonable assumption.  His codefendant John Paul Hansen who is the trustee of Christian Science Evangelism states on his blog

I file no Federal Income Taxes (1040 Form) since the year 2000. (No filings in any form.)(Always demand a 6203 Assessment when confronted.)  I do not pay STATE income tax, or sales tax on major purchases. I pay no COUNTY property taxes though I owned over 28 properties (28 buildings). ( I believe I have discovered a “filing for record” process that takes my Land off the tax roles. ) I do not vote for UNITED STATE, or NEBRASKA STATE, County, or City governing officers. I am a sovereign American by birth right. (Not a US citizen.) I believe in full support of the “perpetual Union” as found in the second of four constitutions, “Articles of Confederation”.  I have discovered that a “free American” has the lawful standing to choose to live independent of the corporate US governments, and its legislative statutory courts in the vast majority of his daily life, and to be forced to do otherwise is slavery.
That is more than your garden variety non-filer.  It would be great to learn how Hansen became trustee for CSE.

Well, that's it for now.  I've got quite a few other things to deal with so things may be quiet on the Hovind front for a while.