The King Has Been Dethroned: Controversial Carole Baskin Wins Custody of Joe Exotic's Tiger Park

This photo provided by the Santa Rose County Jail in Milton, Fla., shows Joseph Maldonado-Passage, an Oklahoma zookeeper, who was indicted on federal murder-for-hire charges. Carole Baskin, the operator of a Florida-based animal sanctuary, says she was the target of Maldonado-Passage, who goes by the nickname "Joe Exotic." Maldonado-Passage, who remains jailed in Florida, also ran unsuccessfully for Oklahoma governor as a Libertarian this year. (Santa Rosa County Jail via AP)

 

To those of you who believe Carole Baskin murdered her husband, this’ll be bad news.

On Monday, a federal judge in Oklahoma placed a major victory in the lap of Tiger King saga lead Carole Baskin — that mighty and suspicious foe of now-imprisoned Joe Exotic.

The girl scored Joe’s entire tiger park.

CNN reports Carole was awarded “control of about 16 acres of land in Garvin County, Oklahoma, that is home to an animal park with an array of big cats.”

As per the order, Joe’s Greater Wynnewood Development Group, LLC, must “vacate the Zoo Land premises within 120 days of service of this Order.”

Though Carole got the property, she lost out where the tigers are concerned:

Vacation of premises shall also require removal of all zoo animals from the Zoo Land.

And how many animals might that be? Well, as relayed by CNN, Joe — whose actual last name is Maldonado-Passage — purportedly owned over 200 large cats.

If you’re unaware of the backstory to all this, here’s a quick recap with the help of CNN:

Baskin, who owns an animal sanctuary in Florida, had for years been a vocal critic of Maldonado-Passage’s animal park, a feud that escalated into a court battle.

Maldonado-Passage argued that Baskin was trying to destroy his business with an online smear campaign in videos she posted to her YouTube page and social media channels. Meanwhile, Baskin argued that Exotic was abusing his animals and crusaded against his use of tigers for profit.

He was convicted last year in a murder for hire plot against Baskin and is serving a 22 year sentence for the hit attempt and other crimes that include animal abuse.

Court documents allege Joe tried to hire a hit man to kill Carole — and also that he shot five tigers, sold baby lemurs, and used phony paperwork so it would appear they were donated.

He also stole her company’s name:

In 2011, Baskin won a trademark infringement lawsuit against against Maldanado-Passage — who was ordered to pay her $1 million. In a second suit, filed in 2016, she claimed he had subsequently transferred the Oklahoma property to his mother in a bid to evade creditors. On Monday a federal judge in Oklahoma City ordered that the property be turned over to Baskin.

Good grief — what a mess.

Joe’s park is currently owned by Tiger King quasi-villain Jeff Lowe.

His attorney, Walter Mosley, explained that the verdict was 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. All of Jeff’s focus is on opening the new Tiger King Park in Thackerville, (Oklahoma), which should be opening in the next 120 days.”

Meanwhile, as fans of the Netflix hit know, some folks believe Carole killed her missing millionaire husband, Don Lewis.

In fact, as reported by Time, the popularity of the show caused the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to reopen the case.

So perhaps we haven’t seen the last of Carole Baskin.

We certainly haven’t, in scripted form — as I covered last month, two related series are on the horizon, one starring Nicolas Cage as Joe.

That, my friends, like both Carole and Joe’s parks, will be wild.

Stay tuned.

-ALEX

 

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