On Monday, a federal judge awarded the Big Cat Rescue owner control of the Wynnewood, Oklahoma, properties after “finding they were fraudulently transferred to avoid paying her under a $1 million trademark judgment,” according to Courthouse News Service.
Baskin, a longtime critic of Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, has been granted roughly 16 acres of the Garvin County land used to house the large felines.
The order also turns over several cabins and vehicles to the animal activist, according to court records.
Maldonado-Passage is currently serving a 22-year sentence for his involvement in a murder-for-hire plot and animal abuse.
Prior to the judgment, the zoo — re-branded as Tiger King Park — was owned by Jeff Lowe, a rival-turned-business-associate, and Maldonado-Passage’s mother Shirley Schreibvogel.
The Baskin-Exotic Rivalry had Been Stewing for Years
Baskin and Maldonado-Passage dominated headlines this spring following the debut of their wildly popular Netflix series, Tiger King. The eight-episode docuseries hones in on Maldonado-Passage’s colorful life as a big-cat breeder, as well as his brewing rivalry with the Florida-based sanctuary owner.
Known for his flamboyant blonde mullet, Maldonado-Passage had gained a cult following on YouTube for his eccentric videos of himself firing guns, wrestling with animals and even lip-synching.
Throughout the season, Maldonado-Passage accused Baskin of trying to destroy his business with an online smear campaign. He claimed she posted defamatory videos to her YouTube page and social media channels.
Baskin fired back that Maldonado-Passage was abusing his animals and needed to be stopped.
She sued Maldonado-Passage for trademark infringement in 2011, claiming he used logos similar to those owned by her rescue company. The case ended two years later with the latter being ordered to pay Big Cat Rescue $1 million.
In 2016, Baskin struck again, this time suing Schreibvogel. She accused Maldonado-Passage of fraudulently transferring the zoo to his mother in an attempt to evade paying Baskin and other creditors.
“Schreibvogel later admitted under oath that the zoo land was transferred to her by Joe Maldonado to remove it from the reach of creditors, including BCR, should BCR win its Florida lawsuit,” the complaint stated.
Three years later an Oklahoma federal jury convicted Maldonado-Passage of trying to hire a hitman to murder Baskin.
Court documents allege he tried to pay a hit man $3,000 and also that he shot and killed five tigers, sold baby lemurs and falsified paperwork to say they were donated.
Tiger King Park Has 120 Days to Evacuate & Remove All Zoo Animals
According to court documents, Lowe has 120 days to vacate the zoo and remove all animals.
Lowe has remained relatively quiet on social media since the judgment. He posted this Instagram photo on Monday evening.
Maldonado-Passage is currently being held at Federal Medical Center Fort Worth in Texas. He was transferred to the medical prison in March when the Oklahoma county jail he was at had other inmates test positive for COVID-19.