WYNNEWOOD, Okla. – A federal judge in Oklahoma has awarded ownership of the zoo made famous in Netflix’s “Tiger King” docuseries to Joe Exotic’s chief rival.
In a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Scott Palk granted control of the Oklahoma zoo that was previously run by Joseph Maldonado-Passage – also known as Joe Exotic – to Big Cat Rescue Corp.
The Florida group was founded by Carole Baskin, who also featured prominently in the hit Netflix series. Maldonado-Passage is currently serving a 22-year federal prison term for killing five tigers and plotting to have Baskin killed.
Baskin previously sued Maldonado-Passage for trademark and copyright infringements and won a $1 million civil judgment against him. Palk’s judgment Monday found that ownership of the zoo was fraudulently transferred to Maldonado-Passage’s mother in an attempt to avoid paying the judgment.
The decision said the zoo animals must be removed from the property within 120 days but it does not detail what should happen to them.
Attorneys representing Big Cat Rescue Corp. did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Maldonado-Passage remains incarcerated in Fort Worth, Texas. In a handwritten letter posted Monday on Twitter, he repeated his plea for a presidential pardon.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.