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Joe Exotic Files $94 Million Lawsuit Against Government And Former Business Partner
Former wild zookeeper Joe Exotic of "Tiger King" fame claims he has been the victim of discrimination from the government.
Exotic, whose legal name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving 22 years for plotting to kill Carole Baskin. Both are controversial figures in the big cat world who publicly battled each other after Baskin, an animal rights activist who runs a big cat rescue center, became critical of Exotic’s roadside zoo. She accused him of running an unethical operation.
In addition to getting convicted on two counts of murder-for-hire, Exotic was also found guilty of eight counts of violating the Lacey Act for falsifying wildlife records, and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act, according to a statement from The United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Oklahoma.
Now, Exotic has filed a $94 million lawsuit, targeting both the government and his former business partner, from behind bars, Entertainment Tonight reports. Exotic is currently in a county jail, awaiting transfer to a federal prison.
He is suing both the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Federal Wildlife Service for $78,840,000 for loss of personal property, according to documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight. He claimed that both departments placed the "generic tiger" on the endangered species list for the sole purpose of targeting businesses like his zoo, TMZ reports.
In the filing, Exotic alleged he is the victim of discrimination and of an unjust prosecution.
He claimed that he was "discriminated against because he is the only person charged with this statute because [he] is an openly gay male with the largest collection of generic tigers and crossbreeds,” according to TMZ.
Exotic is also suing former colleagues for $15 million. He's suing Jeff Lowe, his former business partner featured in the docuseries, for allegedly lying to the government and planting evidence against him. He’s also suing another former colleague who turned informant. James Garretson brags about being an informant in “Tiger King.”
Exotic’s former zoo, Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, and Lowe were not available for comment.
The U.S. Department of Interior has not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment. The U.S. Federal Wildlife Service has declined to comment.