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"Tiger King" star Jeff Lowe is being sued by the state of Oklahoma for not paying at least $50,000 in back taxes.
Lowe is being sued in both his personal capacity and his professional role as president of the animal park for “withholding, collecting, and remitting taxes owed by Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park LLC to the state of Oklahoma,” according to a petition filed in Garvin County and obtained by PETA.
“As of May 27, 2020, Great Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, LLC owes approximately $50,274.01 in delinquent taxes,” the petition states.
Despite the back taxes, Lowe — who appeared on the hugely popular Netflix docuseries “Tiger King” alongside his wife, Lauren — still continues to have “direct control, supervision and responsibility” for filing tax returns and making payments on behalf of the park, according to the petition.
Tax warrants against both Lowe and the animal park were filed in December for negligent taxes amounting to $47,892.91 for the animal park and $47,928.91 for Lowe, according to the petition.
After failing the pay the delinquent taxes, the park’s application to renew its sales tax permit was denied on May 1. The order, which is included in the petition, instructed the park to “cease and desist all business operations” until a valid permit could be obtained.
However, Lowe appears to still be running the park, writing in a statement on June 2 on Instagram that “we are still open for business!” and urging fans to come and visit the park.
A recent complaint filed with the state of Oklahoma described the animal park as a “zoo of horrors,” citing multiple examples of alleged animal abuse and neglect, including animals who had only been fed once in a five-day period, tigers covered in flies, and a stench of “death” that permeated the park, the local paper reports.
In fact, the Garvin County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, US Fish and Game, and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife are now probing the G.W. Exotic Animal Park in response to allegations of animal neglect, according to a June 25 press release from the Garvin County Sheriff’s Department.
The animal park had once been run by Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage. However, Exotic is now serving 22 years in federal prison for hatching a murder-for-hire plot to kill Baskin, his longtime enemy, as well as 17 counts of animal abuse.
Exotic had given the business park to his mother and Lowe, who had been his new business partner, before heading to prison.
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