There's a New Twist in the Tiger King Saga

Judge gives control of the Okla. zoo once owned by 'Joe Exotic' to his foe Carole Baskin
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2020 8:22 AM CDT
Biggest Foe of 'Joe Exotic' Just Got Awarded His Former Zoo
In this July 20, 2017, file photo, Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, walks the property near Tampa, Fla.   (Loren Elliott/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage's worst nightmare—other than landing in prison, which is where he already is—just came true. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Carole Baskin, depicted as the archenemy of "Joe Exotic" in Netflix's Tiger King, has been awarded his former zoo in Wynnewood, Okla., after a judge found Maldonado-Passage had fraudulently transferred the properties to his mom so he wouldn't have to pay Baskin under a $1 million trademark judgment. Per the decision cited by Courthouse News, US District Judge Scott L. Palk ruled that Baskin's Big Cat Rescue "has sufficiently traced funds to allow for the imposition of a constructive trust under Oklahoma law," meaning she now gains control of the 16-plus acres currently owned by Jeff Lowe, who was also featured in the documentary series.

Big Cat Rescue filed suit against Shirley M. Schreibvogel, Maldonado-Passage's mother, in 2016, with its complaint noting that "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." BCR was also awarded multiple cabins and vehicles on the property. As for Lowe, his attorney says the ruling came as no surprise. "We anticipated Carol Baskin getting the title to the former park that once belonged to Joe Exotic, and we did not challenge her attempts to do so," the lawyer tells CNN, noting his client's focus is on opening a new park sometime over the next few months. Per People, Lowe has 120 days to vacate his current one. Maldonado-Passage is in federal prison serving a 22-year sentence after being convicted last year of trying to hire a hit man to kill Baskin. (More Tiger King stories.)

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