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Big Cat Rescue, owned by animal rights activist Carole Baskin, won control over Joe Exotic’s Wynnewood, Oklahoma property back in 2020 after a court ruling. Baskin honored her promise that the land never be used as a zoo again and ensured that the new owners abide by those terms … at least for the next 100 years.
Last June, Big Cat Rescue sold the property to Francisco and Nelly Vasquez.
The property, formerly named Joe Exotic’s G.W. Zoo when under the ownership of the titular ‘Tiger King,’ sold for $140,000, according to TMZ.
Before the popular Netflix series, "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness," documented the world of eccentric zookeeper Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin won a $1 million judgment in a 2011 trademark lawsuit against him, according to TMZ. Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, never paid up.
In 2020, a federal judge ruled that Joe Exotic’s 2016 transfer of land to zookeeper Jeff Lowe, as well as Joe Exotic’s mother, was fraudulent. The judge granted the land to Baskin to satisfy the debt owed by Joe Exotic.
Prior to the judge granting ownership to Baskin, Jeff Lowe briefly reopened the park in 2020 and renamed it "Tiger King Park" after the Netflix series’ success.
Adding to the 100-year stipulation that the Oklahoma property not be used as a zoo, Baskin has also barred the new owners from associating the land with anything related to "Tiger King," including Joe Exotic or G.W. Zoo, according to records obtained by TMZ. Baskin also outlined that words such as "tiger" or "big cat" be off-limits when naming any business on the property.
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice ordered Jeff Lowe and his wife to surrender any remaining animals from the land by Aug. 20, 2021.
“There had already been an order to remove all of the animals who were on the endangered species list,” said Baskin, according to KXII News 12. “All the cubs had been removed, but we were concerned about all these other animals that had been left behind — including some of the small cats like bobcats, links [sic], and caracals.”
Joe Exotic is currently serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison after he was convicted on two counts of attempted murder for hire, as previously reported.
Joe Exotic paid a man thousands of dollars to obtain fake ID cards and travel from Oklahoma to Florida to kill Baskin, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He also arranged for a second man, an undercover FBI agent, to kill Baskin. He was convicted on charges related to the murder-for-hire plots and was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
In July, however, a federal appeals court vacated Joe Exotic’s sentence and ordered him to be resentenced. The court ruled that Baskin shouldn’t have attended the trial in whole, and that the two murder-for-hire charges should have been combined.
“The district court erred by allowing Baskin, a listed government witness, to attend the entire trial proceedings,” the 2021 appeal records stated. “He [Maldonado] also disputes his sentence, arguing that the trial court erred by not grouping his two murder-for-hire convictions in calculating his advisory Guidelines range. On this second point, he contends that the Guidelines required the district court to group the two counts because they involved the same victim and two or more acts or transactions that were connected by a common criminal objective: Murdering Baskin.”
Resentencing has yet to be determined.
Joe Exotic recently claimed to have cancer in a Twitter post where he asked for US President Joe Biden’s help.
He remains in a federal prison in Texas.
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