Grifters Gonna Grift Open Thread: Someone Left the Ark Out in the Rain…

… I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to fake it
And I’ll never have that many gulls again…

Ark Encounter, which unveiled the 510-foot-long model in 2016, says that heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road, and its five insurance carriers refused to cover nearly $1 million in damages.

In a 77-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Ark Encounter asks for compensatory and punitive damages.

The ark itself was not damaged and the road has been rebuilt, according to the suit.

The park is open, said Melany Ethridge, a spokeswoman at the attraction’s Dallas-based public relations firm, who only laughed when informed that Ark Encounter had sued over flood damage…

But to Ark Encounter’s lawyer, Amanda Brooke Stubblefield, at the Cincinnati firm Keating, Muething & Klekamp, the suit is no laughing matter. “We are not going to comment to the press on this case,” she said…

Ark Encounter says its version in Williamstown was built to the dimensions in the Bible and is the largest timber-frame structure in the world. Tickets to the ark and nearby Creation Museum are $75 for adults and 24 for children 5-12.

The suit, which asks for a jury trial, names Swiss-based Allied World Assurance Co. Holdings, its use company and three other carriers.

When I read the headline to the Spousal Unit, he said, “That is a Murphy story on SO many levels… “

And in my head I heard the voice of the Trickster God: Dude, the state of Kentucky is a long-running trickster story!






47 replies
  1. 1
    MattF says:

    The insurance company now must argue that rain damage was an Act of God. Please? Pretty please?

  2. 2
    Douglas P Gardner says:

    I’m waiting for the loaves and fishes museum, at which an arbitrary number of people can be fed from a few scraps. If we’re going to do Biblical literalism, can we at least do something to benefit humanity?

  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    Wait. Hang on. It costs SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS to see the stupid thing?

    SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS!?!?!

    For perspective, it’s currently about $150 for a one-day pass to Disneyland, and there’s a hell of a lot more to do at Disneyland.

    And if you’re dying for a Noah’s Ark experience, fhe Skirball here in LA has a super cool one that’s only $12:

    https://www.skirball.org/noahs-ark

  4. 4
    debbie says:

    Clearly frivolous. I am no fan of insurance companies, but I hope the judge makes the ark people pay all costs incurred.

  5. 5
    pinacacci says:

    What Mnem said! 75$?? These people know their patsies if they can get that kind of money out of them for…THIS.

  6. 6
    JGabriel says:

    Louisville Courier-Journal via Anne Laurie @ Top:

    Ark Encounter, which unveiled the 510-foot-long model in 2016, says that heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road, and its five insurance carriers refused to cover nearly $1 million in damages.

    In a 77-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Ark Encounter asks for compensatory and punitive damages. …

    … The suit, which asks for a jury trial, names Swiss-based Allied World Assurance Co. Holdings, its use company and three other carriers.

    Of course they asked for a jury trial. They’re hoping to get a jury of fundamentalist rubes who will just be shocked and dismayed that insurers wouldn’t pay out to the good and holy people who rebuilt Noah’s Ark.

  7. 7
    Emma says:

    @Mnemosyne: That is a fantastic place!

  8. 8
    JGabriel says:

    @MattF:

    The insurance company now must argue that rain damage was an Act of God. Please?

    HA! I’m guessing it depends on the nature of the insurance. If the insurance is supposed to cover ‘Acts of God’, which seems likely, then the insurer will probably have to argue for some sort of negligence on the part of Ark Encounter.

    But yes, it would be a fine irony indeed if the insurer could get out of paying the claim due to an ‘Act of God’ not covered by the contract.

  9. 9
    Mike in NC says:

    Waiting to read how Mike Pence and a handful of other religious zealots will try to get the American taxpayer to pay for this bullshit. Of course Mitch McConnell will be onboard, possibly with a Russian oligarch as well.

  10. 10
    trollhattan says:

    The Great Flood of Fail.

  11. 11
    p.a. says:

    Once in a while this timeline pans out.
    OT:55 minutes of meh, then chaos: UVa-Duke lacrosse. 2nd overtime starting soon.

  12. 12
    Just One More Canuck says:

    WaPo’s story on this mentioned that the insurance company said there was an exclusion for correcting design deficiencies or faulty workmanship. it also mentioned that the rain was barely above average. Sounds like the people to go after were the engineering firm who didn’t take the drainage into account

  13. 13
    Dr Ronnie James DO says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah, my eyes popped out when I read that as well. Meanwhile, admission to the local Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (aka “The Dinosaur Museum”) is only ~$20 for adults.

    Draw your own conclusions…

  14. 14
    Doug R says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Wait. Hang on. It costs SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS to see the stupid thing?

    SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS!?!?!

    For perspective, it’s currently about $150 for a one-day pass to Disneyland, and there’s a hell of a lot more to do at Disneyland.

    The Royal Tyrell Museum lets you bring your whole family for TWO days for $69 CANADIAN.
    http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/visit/admission.htm
    http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/e.....hibits.htm

  15. 15
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, as a final comment on the “Game of Thrones” finale, Screen Rant did a pretty funny pitch meeting video:

    https://youtu.be/jAhKOV3nImQ

    It’s one thing to have plot holes, but to forget that a character rode off on a horse in one scene and then is inexplicably on foot the next time we see her in the same location?

  16. 16
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dr Ronnie James DO:

    Fundies would probably refuse to go to the Skirball because it’s a Jewish cultural center and how could a bunch of Jewish people know the proper interpretation of a story from the Old Testament, anyway?

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    But to Ark Encounter’s lawyer, Amanda Brooke Stubblefield, at the Cincinnati firm Keating, Muething & Klekamp, the suit is no laughing matter. 

    At which point she turned into a pillar of salt.

  18. 18
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Mnemosyne: I was just checking; no wonder my niece told me everything in Boston was “cheap”.

    Children’s Museum: $17
    MFA: $25
    MoS: $28
    NEAQ: $31
    GoBoston one-day pass: $63

  19. 19
    SRW1 says:

    Ark Encounter says its version in Williamstown was built to the dimensions in the Bible and is the largest timber-frame structure in the world.

    Maybe the plan in the bibles was a bit unclear and they had a similar problem as the people who built what is still the largest wooden church structure of the world in the 1840s. The building is in Finland and can seat a gigant congregation of 3,000 people. The funds to built the church and the construction plan were donated by a Finnish expat who had made a fortune after emigrating to America. Rumors have it that while the architect was working in centimetres, the builders assumed it was inches.

  20. 20
    Ruckus says:

    @Dr Ronnie James DO:
    Are you saying that they have to charge more per person because no one is going?

  21. 21
    Jharp says:

    “Tickets to the ark and nearby Creation Museum are $75”

    I find that simply stunning.

    I wouldn’t enter the place if they paid me twice that.

  22. 22
    Martin says:

    If I as an atheist said that voices were telling me to do something, I’d get an immediate 5150 order.

    “As plain as day, God spoke to me,” Mr Hill, a Republican, told the group. “He said ‘that wasn’t my bill,’ talking about the heartbeat detection bill that I filed. He said ‘that wasn’t my bill.'”

    “I knew immediately what he was talking about,” the state representative confirmed.

    Mr Hill says he’s currently working on a new bill, with outside help.

    “[God] said, ‘you remove those exceptions and you file it again.’ And I said ‘yes Lord, I will’,” Mr Hill said. “It’s coming back. It’s coming back. We are going to file that bill without any exceptions, just like what we saw passed in Alabama.”

  23. 23
    Another Scott says:

    PZ went there in 2017:

    The parking lot is huge, at least ten times the size they need (I guess they were optimistic), and you get to pay $10 for the privilege of parking there, and then you take a shuttle bus to the actual ark. On the shuttle, you get to listen to Ken Ham bragging about how big it is, just how very big, O Lord. That’s the whole schtick. It’s gigantic, aren’t you amazed? It’s a bit counterproductive, though, because after all the pumping up, when you turn the corner and actually see it, it’s kind of a let down.

    [ Tweets ]

    At the entrance, you’re told that Noah was 600 years old when he started building the boat. It also leads in to the conceit of the entrance: as you file in, there are sounds of a thunderstorm played at loud volume, that get louder as you proceed. Hurry! The Flood is coming! Get into the boat quickly!

    You won’t get in quickly. The entrance is a winding maze intentionally designed to slow the crowds down. You get to shuffle slowly inside, under the watchful eyes of the guards.

    [ Tweets ]

    That’s right, rent-a-cops with police dogs. I don’t know why. Either they’re paranoid, or they’re concerned about all the Trumpkins in the crowd.

    All you do is plod, plod, plod a winding route through a landscape of crude crates. See, all the animals are here, but you can’t see them because they’re all caged up, but instead there are noises piped in. So you get pigs squealing and snuffling noises, together with these stacks of wooden boxes everywhere. I guess it’s setting the mood, which, if that mood is supposed to be one of bored exasperation, they succeed at very well.

    I do have to say one thing: despite the immense parking lot dwarfing the number of cars there, attendance was good.

    [ Tweets ]

    Comparing this to real museums I’ve gone to, the numbers here would be considered a good day at the Science Museum of Minnesota or the Franklin Institute. Lots of old people, but also lots of families with kids. That’s especially remarkable given that the Ark Park is not in an urban location — it’s a long drive, almost an hour away from Cincinnati. Many of the kids were part of church groups that were getting bused in. Also remarkable because of the low quality of the contents.

    [ Tweets ]

    I was trudging along for about 45 minutes just through this entrance part. I was momentarily excited by the sight of an EXIT sign, but we actually hadn’t even entered the ark proper yet. What you see in that photo is what is exactly there throughout this section: wooden boxes. Nuffin’ but boxes. Made of wood.

    But then we get to the first “deck”, and I momentarily anticipate something to see. I would be proven wrong.

    […]

    I’m sure the tour groups got a discount on the tickets, but I’m also sure that it still wasn’t cheap.

    :-(

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  24. 24
    Duane says:

    If the floodwaters had surrounded that arc and set it afloat, full of animals, for forty days, now that would have been impressive.

  25. 25
    oatler. says:

    God said to Noah, there’s gonna be a floody floody
    Rain comin down, it started gettin muddy muddy

  26. 26
    Martin says:

    @Another Scott: You can tour the Queen Mary for $20, and it’s twice as big. The USS Midway is $22 and it’s bigger yet. If you carry an Iowa drivers license, you can come to Long Beach and tour the USS Iowa for free ($20 for the rest of us). That’s a very cool promotional idea, btw. The Intrepid is $33, but it’s NYC, so it’s worth it.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Scott:

    Actually, the crowds make sense to me: it’s literally the ONLY field trip fundies are allowed to make. No natural history museums, no art museums, probably not even any national parks because the park rangers might answer any questions about geology honestly. And they’re CERTAINLY not allowed to go to that godless Dollywood!

    So this is it. This is their Disneyland. They get nothing else. What a sad, constrained life they lead. At least Hasidic and Orthodox kids get to see the various Holocaust museums.

  28. 28
    suffragettecity says:

    The place sounds like it’s a huge fire hazard.

  29. 29
    Mike in NC says:

    @FlyingToaster: I could be misremembering here, but I thought most of the museums in Boston that I frequented as a kid were free admission.

  30. 30
    HypersphericalCow says:

    If you’re traveling east from Chicago on I-90, a good indicator that you’ve left the city is when you see the billboard with a big dinosaur (I think the kind that was at the beginning of Jurassic Park), that says, “Turn onto Exit 5 for the Creation Museum!” (or whichever number it is)

    Assuming the billboard is still up. I have not had occasion to make my way through Indiana in a while.

    ETA: And as Mnemosyne say above, this enough of an attraction to require a billboard.

  31. 31
    laura says:

    @suffragettecity: No kidding. One look, along with the lines and stacks of boxes, makes me think of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland that quickly killed 36. Kentucky – not the leading state for safety or ADA compliance. I couldn’t be dragged into a tinderbox like that, let alone pay crazy money to do so.

  32. 32
    randy khan says:

    So they’re saying the insurance doesn’t cover floods?

  33. 33
    Inventor says:

    The policy clearly states rain for 39 days and 39 nights MAXIMUM!

  34. 34
    Duane says:

    @randy khan: They may be saying, “We’re a business about to go under if we don’t get the insurance money.”

  35. 35
    Ruckus says:

    @randy khan:
    It is to question isn’t it?
    They couldn’t see it coming?

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, when you hear the “designed by Disney artists!” claim, remember to translate that in your head to “people who maybe freelanced for Disney a few times in the 1980s followed Ken Ham’s instructions to the letter.”

  37. 37
    Cathie from Canada says:

    George Takai’s tweet:

    The owners of a giant Noah’s Ark replica have sued their insurers for…wait for it…rain damage.

    Somewhere in heaven, a pair of T-Rexes are waving their little arms and laughing their asses off.

  38. 38
    Mike G says:

    It’s an impressive monument — to the pathetic gullibility of fundamentalists. They’re conditioned to shovel money at any con-artist who mentions the bible.

    I’m waiting for it to get hit by lightning.

  39. 39
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Mike in NC: Summer Fridays, they cycle through so that they’re all free at least a couple times. Not on the same Fridays, though.

    I was quoting the grownup prices; Kids under 11 are cheaper.

    Most tourists get one of the GoBoston packages and get into all of the Freedom Trail stuff (which runs from $5 to $15 for the NPS indoor venues, like the Old State House or Paul Revere’s or Old Ironsides) plus the museums and the Kennedy Library and a buncha suburban sites (Salem Witch Museum) and pay a lot less.

  40. 40
    Sab says:

    @Mnemosyne: Late to the party, but great summary. I spent all week on the internet reading theories about the meaning of Arya riding off on that horse at the end of the episode, and next week “Horse? What horse?”

  41. 41
    Ixnay says:

    Noah said, “There she is, there she is Lord”
    Lord said, “Noah, it’s time to get aboard.”
    Noah said, “Lord, it’s begining to pour.”
    Lord said, “Noah, hurry up and shut the door.”
    Noah found grace…etc…

  42. 42
    tokyokie says:

    To put the $75 admission price in perspective, admission to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence is 12 euros, and the admission to the Louvre is 15 euros.

  43. 43
    NotMax says:

    How did Noah get his hands on kangaroos and platypuses?

    Answers which include “works in mysterious ways” will result in an automatic failing grade.

  44. 44
    hotshoe says:

    A handful of the nicest people I know are seriously christian, pillars of their local churches, helpful and consoling in their larger community; one is an lifelong minister (now retired from preaching but still in the choir); they are each genuinely truly good folks.
    I have to remember those folks every time that christian fraudsters and hate-filled evangelists do something like this. I have to force myself to remember that #notallchristians.

  45. 45
    2liberal says:

    @HypersphericalCow:

    If you’re traveling east from Chicago on I-90, a good indicator that you’ve left the city is when you see the billboard with a big dinosaur (I think the kind that was at the beginning of Jurassic Park), that says, “Turn onto Exit 5 for the Creation Museum!” (or whichever number it is)

    I wanted to see this so I looked in google maps. There’s a creation museum in Kentucky but not finding one in indiana. I did see a “Noah’s ark preschool” in the map in Laporte , IN quite a ways down the road so that’s probably not what you were thinking of.

  46. 46
    HypersphericalCow says:

    @2liberal: Oh I know, it’s the one in Kentucky, which is a long drive from Chicago. That was part of the irony: “Our target audience is too stupid to read maps, so we literally have to tell them to turn right when they leave the city.”

  47. 47
    DaddyJ says:

    OK, so I am not a ship-builder, but it looks to me like that single door in the side of the ark would be at or below the water line. If the door is supposed to be above the water line, that looks like a pretty shallow draft.

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