Viewpoint: Hovind is being prosecuted, not persecuted
A few days ago, Kathleen Green wrote a Viewpoint (“The real victim is Kent Hovind,” March 4) expressing her great support for Kent Hovind as a man of God and calling him a victim of the governmental system. However, Ms. Green did not explain how Kent Hovind became imprisoned in the first place and why he is on trial today. Hopefully this Viewpoint will fill in those gaps.
Since the Hovinds did not have the money, Judge Casey Rodgers issued an order in 2007 allowing the government to substitute property. The government returned to Judge Rodgers in 2009 and asked her to allow it to take and sell nine parcels owned by various trusts managed by Glen Stoll to pay the judgment. Judge Rodgers ruled Stoll did not exercise the usual duties expected of a trustee but, rather, the Hovinds held extensive control over the properties. Consequently, the judge allowed the government to seize the nine parcels. However, she also ruled that each parcel was to be sold separately, up to the $430,400 judgment amount, and any remaining parcels and extra money were to be turned back to the Hovinds.
In fall 2011, after the government had taken possession of the properties, Paul Hansen filed liens against the parcels in the public records of Escambia County. This action put a cloud on the ownership of the parcels, essentially making them impossible to sell. The government went back to Judge Rodgers in 2012 and asked her to void the liens and enter an injunction telling the Hovinds or their representatives not to file new liens. Judge Rodgers granted the requests.
It’s unfortunate, but Kent Hovind is in a situation entirely of his own making because he holds to tax protester and sovereign citizen beliefs. Had he been compliant with the tax laws, he would not be in prison now, nor would he be facing more jail time. Kent Hovind is not being persecuted for his religious beliefs by the government. Rather, he is being prosecuted for his actions, which have nothing to do with religion.
Dee Holmes holds a juris doctor from the University of Houston Law Center. She works as a systems analyst for a financial institution and lives in Arizona.