Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue, walks the property near Tampa, Florida. Baskin was married to Jack “Don” Lewis, whose 1997 disappearance remains unsolved and is the subject of a Netflix series “Tiger King.” File picture: Loren Elliott/Tampa Bay Times via AP
Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue, walks the property near Tampa, Florida. Baskin was married to Jack “Don” Lewis, whose 1997 disappearance remains unsolved and is the subject of a Netflix series “Tiger King.” File picture: Loren Elliott/Tampa Bay Times via AP

Federal court hands 'Tiger King' Joe Exotic's properties to Carole Baskin

By David Matthews/New York Daily News Time of article published Jun 2, 2020

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New York - A federal court gave control of "Tiger King" Joe "Exotic" Maldonado-Passage's Oklahoma zoo properties over to his rival featured in the popular Netflix documentary as part of a $1 million trademark judgment.

According to Court House News, Maldonado-Passage fraudulently transferred the properties to his mother, Shirley M. Schreibvogel, in 2011 to keep the properties away from creditors in case Baskin's Big Cat Rescue won a lawsuit against Joe Exotic.

"Schreibvogel later admitted under oath that the zoo land was transferred to her by Joe Maldonado to remove it from the reach of creditors, including BCR, should BCR win its Florida lawsuit," the complaint stated.

"Schreibvogel also admitted in 2015, via a confession of judgment she entered into to resolve a lawsuit filed against her by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee overseeing Joe Maldonado's personal bankruptcy estate, that the zoo land was fraudulently transferred to her by Joe Maldonado in 2011 to avoid his creditors."

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as "Joe Exotic." Maldonado-Passage was convicted in an unsuccessful murder-for-hire plot against Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue, who he has repeatedly accused of killing her husband Jack “Don” Lewis. File picture: Santa Rosa County Jail via AP

US District Judge Scott L. Palk in Oklahoma City also awarded several cars and cabins on the property to Baskin and Big Cat Rescue and ordered Joe Exotic associate Jeff Lowe and others to vacate the premises within 120 days.

In 2019, an Oklahoma federal jury convicted Maldonado-Passage of trying to hire a hitman to kill Baskin, falsifying animal records and violating the Endangered Species Act, events that were chronicled in the Netflix documentary. He was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison in January.

Judge Palk also presided over Maldonado-Passage's criminal trial. He is also presiding over a counter lawsuit Maldonado-Passage filed against several federal agencies. He has accused the judge of being a biased animal rights advocate.

tca/dpa

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