(LEX 18) The Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet has notified the operators of the Ark Encounter that they have suspended an $18 million tax incentive for the attraction due to a recent business dealing that breached the park's agreement with the state.
The park is accused of breaking the agreement for state funding by transferring the property to its non-profit, Crosswater Canyon, without any notification. A notice of breach of tax incentive agreement letter stated that the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet became aware of the quit claim deed transferring the Ark project land on July 10. The letter says the execution of this quit claim deed was on June 28.
The money is a portion of sales tax from the attraction, which was then given back to the park. This comes as the park tries to negotiate its way out of a safety tax from the city of Williamstown, which the mayor said could lead to a lawsuit. The Ark is accused of transferring the multi-million dollar property for just $10 to avoid paying the safety tax.
The Ark Encounter released a statement reading, "We have been in contact with the counsel for the Tourism Department regarding the recently received letter. We don't believe the transfer of the property created a default, but we will comply with concerns that the Tourism Department may have related to the transfer. We are appreciative of the support we have received from the governor and tourism officials, and look forward to maintaining a positive relationship with the state long into the future."