In a huge new wrinkle to the labyrinthine “Tiger King” saga, Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin won a lawsuit against her imprisoned nemesis Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage and was granted control of the Garvin County, Oklahoma property at the center of the hit Netflix docu-series.
As detailed in “Tiger King,” Baskin had already won a trademark infringement lawsuit against Exotic in 2011, and Exotic was ordered to pay her $1 million. But prior to the judgment, Exotic transferred ownership of the 6.2-acre Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park property to his mother, which meant that Baskin could not take ownership of the zoo as payment for that judgment.
But in the subsequent lawsuit, filed in 2016, Baskin alleged that Exotic had transferred had fraudulently given the property to his mother Shirley Schreibvogel in order to evade his creditors, something his mother later admitted to under oath, according to the suit. And on Monday, a federal judge in Oklahoma city agreed, ruling that the transfer was “fraudulent,” and that Baskin had “sufficiently traced funds to allow for the imposition of a constructive trust under Oklahoma law.”
The park is currently under the control of Jeff Lowe, who was also featured in “Tiger King.”
Judge Scott Palk has given the Greater Wynnewood Development Group, the company that operates the facilities on the land, 120 days to vacate and to hand over title to the land, as well as control of all portable buildings and several vehicles. Greater Wynnewood Development Group must also remove all animals currently on the property, though the ruling did not provide any guidelines for doing so.
The development is unlike to make much of a difference to Exotic, who is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for hiring a hitman to murder Baskin.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.