Story at a glance

  • Joe Exotic was convicted of attempting to hire a hitman to kill Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue.
  • The rivalry between Exotic and Baskin was documented in the Netflix docuseries "Tiger King."
  • A federal judge has awarded Exotic's former zoo property to Baskin.

After a failed murder-for-hire plot against his archrival, Joe Exotic’s former zoo is now in her hands. 

Carole Baskin of Netflix’s "Tiger King" fame was granted control of Joe Exotic's former zoo properties after a federal judge found he had fraudulently transferred them to his mother in order to avoid paying Baskin under a $1 million trademark judgment. Exotic is currently serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison for animal abuse and murder for hire. 


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Judge Scott Palk concluded that Joseph Maldonado-Passage, whose stage name is Joe Exotic, had transferred property to his mother, Shirley Schreibvogel, “with the design and intent of removing the real and personal property from the reach of Big Cat Rescue,” according to the ruling. The original complaint said that Schreibvogel had admitted as much while under oath.

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“Schreibvogel also admitted in 2015, via a confession of judgment she entered into to resolve a lawsuit filed against her by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee overseeing Joe Maldonado’s personal bankruptcy estate, that the zoo land was fraudulently transferred to her by Joe Maldonado in 2011 to avoid his creditors,” the complaint said.

Baskin, owner and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, won a $1 million trademark judgement in 2013 over the use of logos and images by Exotic. The judge said Big Cat Rescue "has sufficiently traced funds to allow for the imposition of a constructive trust under Oklahoma law." 

The 16-acre property contains the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, several buildings and a fleet of vehicles. 


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Published on Jun 02, 2020