‘Tiger King’ Star Slams Court Order Giving Zoo to Rival

Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, walks the organization’s property near Tampa, Fla., in July 2017. (Loren Elliott/Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

FORT WORTH, Texas (CN) — Netflix star Joe Exotic lamented behind bars Tuesday a court order turning over his former Oklahoma zoo to nemesis Carole Baskin to satisfy a $1 million trademark judgment.

“Carole Baskin taking my zoo is a tragedy,” Exotic said in a statement posted on Twitter.

U.S. District Judge Scott L. Palk in Oklahoma City ruled Monday that Baskin’s Tampa-based Big Cat Rescue can impose a constructive trust on the 16.4-acre property in Wynnewood formerly owned by Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage aka Exotic. The judge concluded Exotic fraudulently transferred the property to his mother, Shirley M. Schreibvogel, to shield it from a BCR trademark lawsuit against him. Baskin’s rescue sued Schreibvogel in 2016 for the property.

It is unknown what Baskin will do with the zoo. Her attorneys did not respond to an email message requesting comment Monday afternoon.

Palk also awarded Big Cat Rescue several cabins and cars that are on the property. The judge is giving the current tenant, Jeff Lowe, 120 days to leave the property and take the animals with him.

Exotic, Baskin and Lowe became pop culture stars when the true-crime docuseries “Tiger King” debuted on Netflix in March, when much of the nation was under stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of Covid-19. The show features several eccentric personalities in the big cat enthusiast community and focused on Exotic’s obsession with Baskin that resulted in an Oklahoma federal jury convicting him in 2019 of trying to hire a hitman to murder her.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka Joe Exotic. (Santa Rosa County Jail via AP, File)

Prosecutors said during trial that Exotic offered undercover federal agents $10,000 to do the hit and tried to have Baskin killed since 2016.

Palk presided over Exotic’s criminal trial, sentencing him to 22 years in federal prison due to his reluctance to accept responsibility for his crimes.

In a handwritten letter posted to his Twitter account late Monday, Exotic pleaded with his new fans to lobby President Donald Trump to pardon him.

“Please keep my story alive and please keep asking our dear president to make this right and pardon me,” Exotic wrote. “I will continue to advocate for a fair and honest justice system for years to come. The world came together on its own to support a gay redneck and his husband. So I know the world still has hope.”

Exotic’s supporters have pushed for a pardon since Trump joked at the White House two months ago that he would “take a look” at pardoning Exotic.

“Do you think he didn’t do it? Are you on his side?” the president asked reporters. “That’s Joe Exotic.”

Exotic is currently being held at Federal Medical Center Fort Worth in Texas. He was transferred to the medical prison in March when the Oklahoma county jail he was at had other inmates test positive for Covid-19.

Serving as his own attorney while behind bars, Exotic has filed a $93 million lawsuit against several federal agencies that he claims are in a vast conspiracy to take his animals away from him.

Palk was assigned to that case as well and declined Exotic’s request to recuse himself. Exotic accuses the judge of being a biased animal rights advocate.

The “Tiger King” star hinted that he will go into detail about the loss of his zoo to Baskin at a later time, tweeting instead about the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last week. Peaceful protests and violent looting have plagued cities nationwide since the killing.

“But today is a day to stand in solidarity with those that have been hurt, killed, and worse because they’re standing up for what they believe in,” Exotic said. “Stay strong. #blackouttuesday.”

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