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Carole Baskin, foe of the Netflix ‘Tiger King’ awarded Joe Exotic’s zoo

Carole Baskin, whose longstanding feud with Joe Exotic was chronicled in the hit Netflix docuseries "Tiger King," has been awarded the zoo once owned by her nemesis. (Big Cat Rescue via CNN)

OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal judge has granted the control of Tiger King Joe Exotic’s zoo to Carole Baskin.

The G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park in Oklahoma was one of the main settings for the Netflix docu-series ‘Tiger King’ released in March that followed a number of big cat owners across the US. The two most notable owners were that of Joseph Allen “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage and Carole Baskin.

Exotic and Baskin had a lengthy public feud documented in the Netflix series that eventually led to Exotic’s arrest on two counts of murder-for-hire. 

Before his arrest, Baskin sued Exotic for trademark infringement in 2013 for manipulating and repurposing the Big Cat Rescue logo. Big Cat Rescue and Baskin were awarded a $1 million judgment in that case. 

In 2016, Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue sued Exotic’s mother Shirley M. Schreibvogel claiming that the 16.4-acre property in Oklahoma had been fraudulently transferred.

See also: Nicolas Cage could play Joe Exotic in CBS TV Studios limited series

Exotic’s mother admitted under oath that the zoo was transferred to her to remove it from the reach of creditors. Creditors including Big Cat Rescue.

It was in this case of a fraudulent transfer that US District Judge Scott L. Palk ruled on Monday that the Florida-based Big Cat Rescue “has sufficiently traced funds to allow for the imposition of a constructive trust under Oklahoma law.

“Big Cat Rescue’s constructive trust and equitable lien in and to the Buildings shall survive any physical or title transfer of the Buildings and shall follow any proceeds, except as to a good faith purchaser for value.”

Courthouse News reports that Big Cat Rescue was also awarded a number of cars and cabins on the property. Not included in the judgment were any of the zoo animals. They and the current tenants have been given 120 days to vacate the property. 

Palk also presided in the 2019 trial where a federal jury convicted Exotic on two counts of murder for hire. During the trial, prosecutors said in 2016  he offered undercover federal agents $10,000 to hire a hitman to kill Baskin have Baskin killed.

Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison in January. Exotic is now held in the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth after inmates at the Oklahoma jail he was held in tested positive for COVID-19.