By | Rachel Brooks
Staff | Telegraph Local
Above, ABC7 broadcast image of Baskin. She has been awarded Joe Exotic’s zoo as lawsuit payment.
It seems as though Carole Baskin has won her bitter legal battle with Joe Exotic. A judge has granted Baskin the ghostly husk of what was once Joe Exotic’s infamous zoo. This story appeared in BuzzFeed News on June 2 at 4:14pm. The court order has turned over all 16-acres of the property, now barely gasping for breath as a business model that once belonged to Joe Exotic. At this moment, Joe Exotic himself is in a federal medical facility having been transported there from federal prison after he was exposed to COVID-19. Joe Exotic went into federal custody after he was convicted for attempting to solicit the murder-for-hire of Carole Baskin as well as for animal cruelty.
Once upon a time, however, Joe Exotic_whose legal name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was the owner of Greater Wynnewood Development Group. He had already lost his shirt so to speak to a lawsuit filed by Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue Corporation. Yet, it was not agreed upon how the settlement should be paid. Recent court documents obtained by Buzzfeed, shared to Big Cat Rescue.org, show that an Oklahoma judge has ruled the zoo itself is fair payment. This decision was reached when the judge realized the zoo had been fraudulently transferred to Joe Exotic’s mother Shirley M. Schreibvogel. Joe Exotic transferred the zoo ownership over to Mrs. Schreibvogel in an effort to dodge the $1M he was ordered to pay Baskin.
The lawsuit states that the current zookeeper Jeff Lowe has 120 days to vacate the zoo. Baskin will assume control of the big cats on property, the animal park, and the trucks/equipment.
Baskin celebrated the victory via Big Cat Rescue Instagram.
“Hey all you cool cats and kittens as some of you may know I have taken over joe exotic’s park
Now y’all will see how these tigers should of been treated from day 1 ❤?,” said the Instagram post by username carolebaskinofficial.
This post drew controversy from the fans of the Netflix show who hold Baskin in high suspicion due to her former husband’s mysterious disappearance in the 90s. Baskin’s former husband Don Lewis was declared dead in 2002. While police have not launched an official investigation into Baskin, the public pegs her as complicit in his assumed death. People Magazine stated that the police are currently reinvestigating the disappearance of Don Lewis. They personally believe he was murdered in an “extremely planned out” plot. As of April, the local Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is extremely suspicious of Carole Baskin. However, as of April, Baskin was not a suspect in the case due to lack of sufficient evidence.
That said, Lewis’s family is highly suspicious of Baskin as well. Chronister is convinced Lewis was murdered. He will continue to investigate to bring closure to the Lewis family.
Carole Baskin’s victory has been splashed across headlines, even appearing in The New York Times. It also appeared in Fox Business.
Fox Business has given more insights into the background of the case. Joe Exotic is serving 22-years in federal prison specifically for killing five tigers on top of plotting Baskin’s murder. Likewise, the decision to grant the zoo to Baskin was reached by the U.S. District Judge Scott Palk. Fox Business states that Baskin’s lawsuit against Joe Exotic was initially for trademark and copyright infringement. Baskin won this lawsuit, but it was later disputed how it should be paid.
Meanwhile, Joe Exotic, who remains in federal custody in Fort Worth, Texas, has tweeted a recent photocopy of a handwritten plea begging President Trump for a presidential pardon. The letter is captioned with #helpfreejoe.