Rebuttal to Netflix
Tiger King; Murder, Mayhem and Madness
You probably came here looking for truth and I’m glad you are someone smart enough to consider the underlying motives behind what you see on TV. I go into a lot of detail on this page, but this video done by someone else is the best place to get straight to the truth. If you are someone who seeks out truth, I’d recommend you subscribe to their channel because they really do care about fact checking, even if it isn’t the popular thing to say.
The Secret Episode 3
I spent five hours going through the episode lie by lie. The following will seem to jump around a bit, but if you want the real story about how I treated Don Lewis, Anne McQueen and his daughters, then you might want to do what I just did and play a minute of the film, and see the corresponding notes below. If you care, it’s worth watching and reading in unison. Attached are case numbers and dockets to prove my statements. If you want a concise summary, without all of the links and documentation go to: https://bigcatrescue.org/refuting-netflix-tiger-king/
Given my character assassination that is about to take place, it is no mystery as to why this episode opens with a tiger chewing on a large bone in slow motion while growling.
0:17 Who accused me of killing Don? Tiger cub pimps: Kevin Bhagavan Antle and Joe Schreibvogel. Scene cuts to Don Lewis petting 2 lion cubs who were in their feeding lockout as if to mean that was all the space they had.
0:41 The 1996 footage of Don with the lions, is Mufasa and Sarabi, for those who would know them later. They are in their feeding lockout, which is a tiny box compared to the rest of their enclosure. The space they used to have was over 10,000 square feet.
00:45 Mark McCarthy who breeds and sells cubs for photo ops says he saw Don a month before and says Don told him his life was in danger. What no one points out is he was there buying 2 leopards and 2 snow leopards to bring home to me to raise. Don said the snow leopards were a birthday gift to me for my recent 36th birthday.
1:07 Vernon Yates who has physically tried to attack me on at least 2 occasions at FWC meetings to try and intimidate me into being silent about animal abuse. Yates says Carole has some finger in it and the scene cuts to me walking a tiger on a leash. I refused to give Tiger King producers any photos of me touching cats, because I oppose that behavior now, but those types of photos, which were owned by me, show up through out. I don’t know how they obtained them, but they don’t have my permission, nor Jamie’s permission, to use photos that were taken by my daughter. Yates goes on to say, “but nobody can prove it” and the camera cuts to a slow motion sideways glance and smile by me to make me look evil.
Don also paid Marc McCarthy $10,000 for Hercules the snow leopard who had been born on 6/2/1997 and a female snow leopard, Chloe who was sent to the Dallas Zoo, but was to come to us when she outgrew being a cute cub. Don claimed the snow leopards were a birthday gift to me because he knew I thought they were pretty. (I had plates in the kitchen with snow leopards on them but never told him I wanted a leopard of any kind.). Don had maintained that he only wanted small cats, so I asked why he’d brought home leopards and he said, “They’re small.” I could only shake my head in disbelief that he wasn’t thinking about how big they would be in just a few months. McCarthy said Don told him his life was in danger, but didn’t say by whom, and if he was in danger, why did he bring home more cubs for me to raise calling them gifts to me? https://911animalabuse.com/mccarthy-wildlife-sanctuary/
2:20 Gladys Lewis Cross says the last day she saw Don he told her he was divorcing me because I was one of the worst people he had ever met. The last time Gladys saw Don was a year before, at a Sept. 1996 deposition where she was suing Don for more money, six years after their divorce. Don disowned all of his daughters for siding with their mother in that lawsuit, so it seems totally unbelievable that Don would be saying anything of the sort to her. Then Lynda says Don came to Gladys to tell them all to stay away from me, so that indicates Don did not speak to the daughters and they are just taking their mother’s word for both the visit and the conversation. 1997 phone records show there were no calls to or from any of Don’s children or ex-wife in all of that year.
2:43 Wendell Williams said Don indicated that he was going to tell me that he wanted a divorce and Wendell never saw him again. Wendell doesn’t say when he last saw Don. On Saturday night 8/16/97 I overheard Don on the phone with Wendell Williams saying that the signs would be delivered for the 26 lots on Monday morning. Sunday 8/17/97 Don was busy getting stuff ready for the barge he was sending out of Miami to Costa Rica all day. I didn’t see him leave, but when it was time to go to church that night I couldn’t find him. Wendell wasn’t around. Don was home when we got back from church so did he go see Wendell during that couple of hours, or did he see Wendell Monday morning when he dropped off the signs? If so, that makes Wendell the last person who is known to have seen Don. On 7/9/97 is the last mention of Wendell before Don disappeared. That was the day Anne McQueen had Don sign a notarized affidavit, that I witnessed saying that if he ever gives Wendell Williams any more money without accounting to Anne first, then Don will owe her $10,000.00 which tells me that she has caught him giving it away again.
I’m pretty sure Wendell Williams has a criminal history as I remember coming across a mug shot of him once while searching something, but can’t find it now. Wendell is the person who dug out the lake at the sanctuary, sold the dirt and then began back filling the place as an illegal dump site for construction debris. When I found out what he was doing, and he stopped making payments, I foreclosed on him and that’s how we obtained the first 40 acres of what is now the 67 acre sanctuary site on Easy Street. Of course he had a reason to lie. More about what he and Anne McQueen were doing to Don here: https://bigcatrescue.org/joe-exotic-wondery-don-lewis/ And now they appear to be business partners and have been ever since Don’s disappearance.
My diary entry On 6/16/97: Don tells Wendell to get all his junk off the sanctuary grounds. My notes from 6/3/97 said Don was calling everyone, including my father Lynda Sanchez. I was trying to get him to see a specialist, but Don kept telling me that Anne McQueen was telling him not to do it.
3:40 I misspoke when I said I was 20 in Jan. 1981 when I met Don. I was born 6/6/61 so I was 19. I shouldn’t try to do quick math in my head when there are variables like months.
3:52 Yates paints me as a home wrecker and puts me on the hooker stretch of Nebraska Avenue when I met Don. I was on Hillsborough Ave, which is not known for street walkers. Yates goes on to say Don deserted his wife and kids and no one points out that his daughters were all older than me and out of the house AND Gladys had thrown Don out (probably for some other girlfriend she found out about) and that’s why he was out driving around at night with nowhere to go. Yates ties our meeting in Jan. 1981 directly to our marriage in 10/10/1991 as if it happened immediately to paint the idea of Don leaving his family for the younger, blonde woman. That’s not a typo, it was more than 10 years later. In fact, Gladys asked Don for a divorce in 1989 because she wanted to marry Mr. Cross at her church and Don and I waited until 1991 to marry to make sure she was happy in her new life.
Having Vernon Yates be the person to tell the story of Don and I meeting was so bizarre given the fact that Don hated Yates more than just about anyone on the planet, after Yates, assisted by the Florida Wildlife Commission took two leopards from Don and sold them. The FWC had told us Don’s Class 1 permit had been issued and it was OK to rescue two young leopards who were about to be euthanized. They immediately showed up with Yates to confiscate the cubs. Vernon Yates has physically tried to attack me twice. More about his motive to lie about me: https://911animalabuse.com/wildlife-rescue-and-rehab/
5:14 Gladys says Don told her he had met me, but Lynda Sanchez says she knew about the affair, so does it seem plausible that Don would admit it before the daughter would tell on him? Gladys says she told Don it was over as soon as he told her about me, but she didn’t ask for a divorce until 1989 and Don and I had been investing in real estate together since 1984 and having an affair since 1981. Don wasn’t good at hiding his indiscretions, so I find it very hard to believe that Gladys divorced Don because of me. Don told me it was because he had sex with Gladys’ 15 year old niece and she found out about that. Why would he lie to me and say something so awful about himself in the process?
5:41 Don did call me Angel but I just figured he called all of his girlfriends and his wife Angel so he wouldn’t slip up and call someone by the wrong name. Then it cuts to Anne taking angels from her curio cabinet. Anne always said that she was probably the only woman Don never had sex with but her obsession with angels makes me wonder otherwise. There again, is it because that seems plausible or was TigerKing just trying to make it look plausible?
6:13 Joe Schreibvogel, who is famous for saying, “I’m broke as shit” is the voice of authority saying that Don was a millionaire and didn’t like me spending “his” money. Anne then says I was very ambitious but more as an insinuation of one who would climb over others, rather than just having a strong desire to succeed.
Don Wasn’t a Millionaire When I Met Him
Everyone repeats the lie that Don was a millionaire when I met him. He had a business cutting the axles off of trailers pulled by tractors and selling the boxes as storage and the axles back Great Dane. If you search the property records for Jack Donald Lewis you will find he only owned two real estate properties at the time. His house and his used car lot in a bad part of town so his real estate holdings were under $113,000 in 1981 when I met him.
He may well have been worth six figures and, coming from a very modest background, would have felt he was rich. No one, including Anne McQueen who had access to his books, has ever provided any bank records or other evidence that he had more than that. Conversely, the Social Security office showed that the most Don Lewis ever made before I met him in 1981 was $17,100.00. Some people have seen this and tried to deflect saying that Don was just a tax evader but our wealth was built on buying, developing and selling real estate. Don might have been able to hide illegally gotten gains from selling drugs (I don’t know that he did) but it would have been much, much harder to hide money made in legitimate real estate transactions like ours were.
One day in 1984, while standing in line at the bank, Don overheard a bank officer say he had a $20,000 loan in default he would be glad to sell for $2000. Don got the information and, because he could not read beyond a first grade level, asked me to look into it. In brief, we bought the loan, foreclosed, and sold the property for a substantial profit. That is what got us into the real estate business. We started buying defaulted loans from banks and going to tax deed sales. This was before this became a popular business. There were few people doing it. With me doing the research, negotiations and title clearing on the properties we built this to a portfolio of properties to rent or resell that was worth around $5 million dollars at the time of his disappearance. My maiden name was Stairs and I was the person all the bankers and people in the industry dealt with. I told everyone my name was Gilda Goldman and that I was working for a tough businessman named C.Stairs, because a woman couldn’t get the time of day in that field in the 80s. My business card said C.Stairs on it and I’d answer the phone as if I was just the secretary. When Don and I married people were always calling him Mr. Stairs because they figured he’d been the shrewd man behind the curtain all that time.
We kept the properties in land trusts. During the roughly ten years we were partners before his divorce and our marriage there were properties we bought together and some Don bought on his own or with another woman, Pam Enriquez. When we married I put all of those I had not worked on into one trust. The ones from our joint efforts were kept in a separate trust. The trust holding the properties I was not involved in was set up with his children as beneficiaries if he passed and called the PRSL Land Trust. I was the beneficiary of the trust holding the properties I was involved in. Anyone can search his name in the public records from 1950 – 1997 to see this is true. Anyone can also check the conservatorship case to see that the Will, Power of Attorney and Trusts were all authenticated by three reputable firms and stipulated to be authentic by all parties to the conservatorship, including Don’s daughters. 1998-Agreement-Stipulation-Daughters
I had to stay in the background from 1981-1991 because Don said he didn’t want to rub his family’s nose in our affair. I was fine with that and was happy to plow every dime right back into building the real estate portfolio. You can search the public records yourself. Don lived in Pasco and Hillsborough counties and never owned property outside those counties until we invested in other counties together.
The Marriage and Money
I feel for Gladys because every woman in Don’s orbit, who he chose to flatter, adored him. He could make you feel like you were the only woman in the world; the only one who understood him; the only one he ever really loved. In the 1998 Dateline / People Magazine article Anne McQueen said she was probably the only woman he didn’t try to have sex with. Gladys makes it sound like she told Don it was over as soon as she learned about me, but Don had relayed two incidents of Gladys trying to run him over with a car and shoot him with his own gun from the glove box after learning about previous girlfriends. He’d explained to me that wrestling the gun away from her was why he had claw marks across his face. I knew about his other girlfriends, his staff all knew about his other girl friends, his daughters said they knew about his other girlfriends. Heck, even some guy named Dale Lively, who said he was Don’t mechanic (I never heard of him) knew about Don’s girlfriends, so it’s disingenuous for Gladys to now take the position that I was the cause of their divorce.
Don told me Gladys divorced him, after learning he’d had sex with her 15 year old niece, because that was just too embarrassing now that he’d brought that shame into her own family. Don said Gladys claimed he raped the girl but she probably used the term “statutory rape” and Don didn’t understand the difference. I didn’t think Don would rape anyone, because he was so good at wooing women, he didn’t need to and I’d been sexually active since I was 14, so that didn’t seem so young to me at the time. I find it repulsive now.
The following is long, but it’s an entry from my diary dated 8/16/96:
I read the Cross Vs. Lewis 95-DR-005258 case today, including depositions by both her and Sheldon Wind, Esq. These are the highlights from Gladys Lewis Cross’ deposition.
Sheldon Wind, Esquire alleged that Don agreed to forgive a $40k mortgage on his building if he would help cheat Gladys Lewis Cross out of her rightful share in the 1990 Divorce case. (Sheldon Wind, Esq. said he received only $500.00 for the divorce in his depo).
Gladys Lewis Cross remarried 3/2/91 one year to the day that she and Don divorced. In her complaint she said that it had been “several years” before she remarried and that she had not received alimony during all that time.
Gladys Lewis Cross claimed that in March 1994 she was at Lynda Sanchez’s house and just happened to see the books on the computer and that Lynda Sanchez searched back, on screen and showed her that Don was worth 5 million now, and showed her that he was worth 5 million (nearly six, she said a dozen times) back in 1990, the year of their divorce. She said Lynda Sanchez wrote her dad a letter and quit the same day that she showed her all of the records. She said Lynda Sanchez made her a print out of all of the years accounting and she was holding this at the depo. Gladys Lewis Cross said she seethed over it until September and then called Ron Reed, Esquire out of the phone book.
Almost in the same sentence she said that Don was now (1994) worth 5 million and that “knowing him” he could easily have doubled his net worth since the divorce. Gale Porter, Esquire pointed out to her that this would have made Don worth 2.5 million in the year of their divorce based upon her calculations and then she started saying that the copies of the tax returns she got from Ziegler for 1990 showed Don’s net worth to be 5 million back then. Gladys Lewis Cross said that if Don truly was worth only 3 million in 1990 then she would be happy with what she got. Her Attorney nearly broke his neck trying to cover her mouth.
Gladys Lewis Cross said that Don had as much as $200,000.00 buried in jars in the yard along with gold and silver. She had been saying all along that the divorce settlement was unfair, because she was not allowed to know anything about the business and that she was not allowed in the office and that her daughters were instructed not to ever let her know anything about the money Don made, but then under cross examination admitted to knowing about all of the money buried. She said she wouldn’t go to the office because Dorothy was there and she said Don had children by her and that Don essentially fired Gladys Lewis Cross so that he could be at work alone with Dorothy all day. How long has Dorothy been gone? 11 years? Gladys Lewis Cross also went on to admit that she did not know if Don told the daughters to not discuss his business with Gladys Lewis Cross before or after the divorce, which negated all of her claims all along that she could not find out before the divorce what Don had due to her allegation that her girls were not allowed to talk to her.
Gladys Lewis Cross claimed to have asked Don for a divorce on Nov. 13, 1989 and then she said he moved in with me Feb. 14, 1990. I remember her asking Don for a divorce on Valentine’s Day (not before) because I thought that was exceptionally cruel to pick a Lover’s holiday for such a blow. Nonetheless, she claimed throughout that she accepted Don’s settlement and terms only because she was so afraid of him, but Porter pointed out that according to her own testimony, Don had moved out five months prior to the divorce, so what was she afraid of? She said she was afraid he might yell at her. She said that she had found out about him having two mistresses and the attack on her niece because Don had come to her and confessed the whole thing.
Gladys Lewis Cross kept saying in all of her written complaints and answers that she was never allowed to talk to Sheldon Wind, Esq. alone about the divorce, but she and Sheldon Wind, Esq. both admitted to at least two occasions on which they spoke without Don present, one of which being the hour drive to Sumpter County. She admitted to meeting Sheldon Wind, Esq. alone in his office, going over the settlement agreement and said that she did not sign out of fear. She got really carried away at one point and admitted that she had told Anne McQueen, Gale Rathbone and Lynda Sanchez to “go through Don’s stuff and pick out all the good mortgages for her”.
Porter, nearly fainted and tried to readdress what she had just said, but she began saying she did not know how Anne McQueen and the girls arrived at their figures. She admitted to Anne McQueen and the girls coming to the house and sitting around the dining room table (after denying it a bunch of times), but she maintained that all of the evidence presented to her was a piece of scratch paper and a list of the properties and mortgages she would get. Porter asked her several times about all of the files and she kept saying that none of those were ever where she could see them and were “absolutely never in the house”.
Gladys Lewis Cross has insisted all along that Sheldon Wind, Esq. misrepresented her because he did not disclose to her how much Don had, but she and Sheldon Wind, Esq. both said in their depositions that she had told Sheldon Wind, Esq. that the settlement agreement was what she wanted and that she did not want anything else.
In her complaint she only referred to the real estate and mortgages, but Porter asked her about, and she admitted to getting the Mercedes, the Chrysler, jewelry, $18,000.00 in silver, $20,000.00 in gold and $20,000.00 in cash. She kept complaining that Don bought properties in other peoples names and therefore his daughters did not know about it, but these would have to be included in a 1990 report showing Don worth 5 million done by Lynda Sanchez.
Sheldon Wind, Esq. made a valid point be saying that although he knows Don buys properties in names other than his own, still a check must be written to pay for these and that would be included in reports seen by the girls. Sheldon Wind, Esq. said that Don does a lot of his own legal work (that would be me, as the one of us who can read) and because of that he would have had no way of knowing Don’s net worth in 1990. He went on further to say that he knew Gladys Lewis Cross was in and out of the shop all the time and that “nothing could have kept her from knowing all about Don’s business”. Sheldon Wind, Esq. said that he knew Don did not keep double sets of books and that any file Gladys Lewis Cross would have ever wanted to see would have been kept at the office, where her daughters worked. – end of diary quote
Back to Episode 3
7:21 a whole string of people guess about the value of the estate, but it was a gross of 5 million dollars and there were regular accountings to the court, with copies to Anne and Don’s daughters each time because we had all stipulated to the management of the estate via the conservatorship that was established in Sept. 1997. Don or Anne, hadn’t been paying the property taxes so when I learned about it, after his disappearance, there was a huge threat of losing everything as the cash flow was barely sufficient to keep everything from going up for public auction. Part of what I considered to be embezzlement was I discovered was that Anne would take money from our checking account to buy those tax certificates in her maiden name, so that she could control if the properties were sold to pay her lien. She said Don told her to, but that doesn’t fit with Don demanding she deed back our properties I’d found in her name.
I love Kenny Farr like a son. He was someone I could trust to keep Don from getting lost or going into cages with cats who could kill him, while I worked. His estimation of Don being worth 20 million made me laugh out loud. That was four times what our holdings had ever been worth prior to Don’s disappearance on Aug. 18, 1997.
7:58 Joseph Fritz holds himself out as being Don’s lawyer and he may have handled a few cases for him, but Sheldon Wind was Don’s lawyer. Fritz became Anne McQueen’s lawyer, after hers quit, during the time she was resisting a number of court orders and sanctions for not complying with the orders to return money to me. If Fritz had been the attorney for Don and me, surely he would have had to deny Anne’s request to hire him, based on a conflict of interest. No one ever points this out despite the fact that I told the producers about Fritz very limited role in our lives. See this letter where Joe Fritz talks about Anne being the owner of a $1,250,000.00 life insurance policy on Don Lewis and about complying with the court’s order that she return the money and properties she was still holding. Joe Fritz Was Anne McQueen’s Attorney
Sheldon Wind, Esquire was Don’s Attorney if it was something I couldn’t do pro se for us. He was not in Tiger King. The first time I met Joe Fritz, I was doing a foreclosure on a person who wasn’t paying and Fritz was their attorney. He came to Don and I and said that a case like this could drag out for months and cost us $1500.00 to pursue so if we’d just pay him that money he’d throw his client under the bus. I never wanted anything to do with him after that, but it’s no doubt what attracted Don to use him for cases that didn’t involve me; if he did. I’d be curious to see what cases Joseph Fritz, Esquire handled for Don. I remember Don being slapped with a racketeering charge for something he’d done with one of his girlfriends, Pamela Enriquez and Richard Perez. I wasn’t involved in it, and don’t know the details, other than Don said he paid Pamela a million dollars not to testify against him.
Right after Fritz opines on Don’s wealth and mental capacity you hear the voice of Debra Sandlin saying Don had money when I met him “he had something she didn’t” insinuating that I targeted Don for his money. Debra Sandlin was a red shirt (our lowest level of responsibility) volunteer here for just a few months. We’ve always had 80-110 volunteers at a time. I would not have ever even known who she was except that she was one of the first people to start telling lies about Don’s disappearance and trying to implicate me. She’s a monkey mom primate owner who hated that I was speaking up against the keeping of wild animals as pets.
8:30 Producers told my story in part about my parents not having money, but everyone who knows me knows that I always talk about being raised by two moms; my biological mother and her mother. I lived the dichotomy of a trailer park life and the life with my grandmother, where everything was gold gilded, white carpeted, and replete with hired servants. They left that part of my upbringing out because it didn’t fit the portrait they wanted to paint of a poor girl taking advantage of a rich, elderly man. In fact, they even lay over my saying that I never knew how poor we were until I was a teenager, where they show me posing in front of a shack, owned by my great grandmother, but in the arms of my wealthy grandmother who kept me during the days while both my parents worked.
9:43 Joe Schreibvogel is again in charge of our origin story and says we started out by going to exotic animal auctions. I go on to explain that origin, but what was the necessity of showing Joe telling our story, other than to give him credibility? Personal note at 10:15 the two leopard cubs in the cage are the ones the FWC confiscated and gave to Vernon Yates.
10:33 To make sure everyone thinks we are no different from the roadside zoos we now oppose they pull in McCarthy to say we were buying, breeding and selling, but failed to mention that it was from him, or that we stopped almost entirely by 1997. In fact, he says we did it “for years” which may be technically right, but it was only from 1992-1997. There were a couple of small cats born in 1998 and one in 1999 due to accidents that we address on our page about our evolution and history. Mark McCarthy said when we started Wildlife On Easy Street in 1992 we bought, sold and bred big cats for years. Yes, we bred smaller cats; never lions or tigers, from roughly 1994-1996 when I started spaying and neutering cats while Don was in Costa Rica. Don bought and sold cats up until 1997. The incident that supposedly started this whole quest for Eric Goode was a snow leopard in a van in south Florida. The only people in possession of snow leopards there, to my knowledge are Mark McCarthy and Mario Tabraue of Zoological Wildlife Foundation. The scene in Tiger King of the snow leopard in the van shows it to be McCarthy opening the door and his zoo name is on the side of the van, but nowhere in Tiger King does it expose that even though the entire premise of the show was supposed to be about the mystery of how that could have happened. Instead the perpetrator is the voice of authority on the evils of Carole Baskin.
10:42 The $94,000 Joe refers to as money spent buying animals was from stolen book keeping records where each cat’s price, if we bought them, and their vet care, food and other expenses were compiled each year. I’ve seen copies of what Joe passes around and it’s been changed over time with all sorts of notations and handwriting that was not mine. After those records were stolen, I had to start over with digital records from what I could find, but the price isn’t relevant. Joe tries to make the case that we mislead people and that was never true. We’ve always disclosed our cats’ origins accurately on site, on our tours, online and in our mailings. These are the same old lies the bad guys have told for years and have been refuted for years online here. They let Joe Exotic get away with saying we illegitimately referred to the cats as rescues with no rebuttal for the fact that the bobcats and lynx were destined to be turned into fur coats, and that we were always honest about where our cats came from and how. He goes on to say that we were “frauding the public”. Instead of all of the rebuttals that could have followed that segment from experts in the animal rescue field about our integrity or the charity watchdog groups like Charity Navigator giving us a 100% rating for transparency and fundraising practices, they cut straight to Dennis Hill who sold us our first tiger.
Dennis Hill and the story of Shere Khan (Scrappy), our first tiger is here: https://911animalabuse.com/dennis-hill/ He’s the first of the backyard breeders that I remember threatening to kill me. On Jan. 17, 2006 at 2:10 PM Dennis Hill called my cell phone from an unlisted number and threatened to have some of his friends in Florida track me down and kill me. At that time Bhagavan Kevin Antle and Tabraue were both operating out of south Florida. They had been friends since the 80s.
12:14 Joe Schreibvogel laughs about the fact that the people who oppose breeding now (me) used to do it too. Instead of leaving the viewer with just Joe’s opinion on that, they could have cut to my talking about how that’s exactly why all of these breeders and dealers hate me. I know exactly what they do. I oppose it and and expose it every chance I get. I told the producers that. I tell everyone that because it is how I am the most credible witness against their crimes against nature.
12:37 Joe Schreibvogel insinuates that many cats died because we didn’t know what we were doing. The 1994 video called Exotic Cats as Housepets was my attempt at improving the survival rate for cubs and kittens because the industry standard was 30% mortality and our mortality rate was 3%. The clip of the two black leopards are Jumanji and Black Magic. I later wrote a self published book by that same title in the hopes of dissuading people from getting exotic cats by showing how much work and expense was involved. Turns out you can’t educate people out of doing something selfish and dangerous, and why we currently seek better laws. See BigCatAct.com
12:59 Lynda Sanchez says her father looked at the cats as a business, but that shows she had no idea how expensive it is to care for exotic cats and there is no way anyone could sell enough cats to make a business of it. It’s clear here and elsewhere that his family couldn’t figure out how Don made money, because it wasn’t him making it.
13:27 Debra Sandlin was a red shirt volunteer, back in the 90s, which at that time would indicate she had less than 6 months with us, or she would have been graduated to yellow. Why she ever thought she knew anything about Don and me is a mystery. She’s a monkey owner. She said I didn’t want to take the cats to Costa Rica and that turned out to be true. Originally, I was keen on the idea but couldn’t find a decent big cat vet or a food source that would support our cats. Between Debra Sandlin and Lynda Sanchez, they said Don wanted to go to Costa Rica so he could avoid regulations prohibiting breeding, but there were no such restrictions in the U.S. and still aren’t. That’s the point of this series, right?
I’m curious how Lynda Sanchez would know about Don’s love life in Costa Rica as he’d been estranged to her since Sept. 1996. He first started investing in Costa Rica in July of 1996 and by September he wasn’t talking to his wife or daughters any more due to them trying to extort more money from him for the divorce in 1989. I’m guessing Anne knew something and was telling them. Gladys Lewis Cross and Lynda say that I thought I was going to change Don and that I was jealous, but our affair had always had a huge array of his indiscretions, so I knew what he was like. I chose to believe him when he said I was the only woman in his life after we married, but I did so by ignoring obvious signs; like why he’d fly to Costa Rica every month during my period. Except for that week each month Don and I had sex daily and sometimes more often. I couldn’t imagine that he had any need that I wasn’t filling, other than that monthly excursion he’d take.
15:03 Gladys contradicts her story about me being the woman she found out about and divorced Don over by saying he’d never been faithful. Even Don’s daughter Lynda refers to Don’s condition as being a sexaholic. After Don’s disappearance there was a long line of women who contacted me saying they were his girlfriend, and / or the mother of more of his children.
15:35 Anne and Wendell both say they think Don was preparing his estate to divorce me, but that’s self serving and they were caught with our money and properties in their names without payment to Don and me. They both position it as Don trying to steal our assets from me by using them as title holders but they both knew that Don wasn’t the golden goose. If we divorced and he got even half of it, he wouldn’t have had a dime the following year, given his mental state, but I think they thought it was more money than they’d ever get their hands on, if I was able to get Don the medical / mental help he needed. Fritz, McQueen and Williams all said Don was not suffering any sort of mental issue, but here is Don Lewis’ diagnosis on 6/20/1997 of BiPolar Disorder and Altered Mental Status, Don Lewis’ patient form from the same day, and Don Lewis’ receipt for services at St. Josephs Hospital for an MRI on 6/23/1997. Note that Don was diagnosed with BiPolar Disorder and Altered Mental Status just 8 days after applying for an unnecessary restraining order. McQueen and Williams knew I was trying to get Don the mental help he needed but were telling Don that I was just trying to get him locked up. If I’d wanted to have Don Baker Acted it would have been easy because he was doing crazy, dangerous things all the time. I was trying to preserve his dignity and let him feel like he was in control of getting the help he needed. Don hid this diagnosis from me so he wasn’t getting the medication he needed. I still thought it was Alzheimers and had gotten him to agree to see a specialist in late August, which was the first available date, but by then Don was gone.
The producers bring in Kenny Farr who is a mechanic and Joe Schreibvogel again to bolster those claims when neither of them knew what is involved in building a real estate business. They leave the scene with Joe saying I’d found a way out and dramatically cutting to a close up of a hissing black leopard.
16:52 Anne McQueen’s story about Don giving her an envelope and saying, “If anything happens to me, give it to the police,” doesn’t hold water. Don had filed for, and been denied, a restraining order on 6/12/97 and presumably gave it to Anne, but she didn’t tell me or the police about it until 9/9/97 when she sprung it on me in a court hearing with Judge Sexton, as a way to try and have herself appointed as conservator of our estate. Right after Don disappeared Anne and Don’s daughters had a secret hearing with Judge Alvarez appointing them in charge of our business and bank accounts. They told the court they didn’t know where I lived, but I’d lived at the sanctuary for the past 6 years and they all knew it. I was able to have that set aside a week later. I believe Don’s only reason for having filed for a restraining order was in an effort to be able to stop me from hauling off all his “good stuff” if he got a call from Wendell Williams, while Don was in Costa Rica, ratting me out for hauling off some of the debris. When it happened before, and Don called the police to ask them to stop me from hauling off junk from our marital home, they told him he’d need a restraining order, for them to put me off our property.
Anne McQueen later admitted that the restraining order was only done for that reason. But now, 20 years later, it fits her story better to say that she forgot she had it. Really? Someone says “If anything happens to me, give it to the police” and 2 months later they are gone, how would you not think about the letter, unless you knew it was a lie. I feel bad that Anne apparently has lied to Don’s family about the origin of that restraining order complaint.
17:15 I never threatened to kill Don. He called me his Guardian Angel because I was always the one protecting him. I loved him and protected him from those who would take advantage of him to the best of my ability. Anyone who looks at the spelling and handwriting on the application would seriously doubt that person was capable of reading complex real estate documents. I doubt that Anne, even though she knew, ever told Don’s daughters the real reason was about protecting scrap metal in the yard. That made the daughters the victims the producers needed, to convey the narrative of a greedy new wife robbing the old man’s family.
20:04 Anne acts like Don being missing for two days (that she hadn’t heard from him) was odd but there are plenty of diary entries to remind me that he did that all the time. Anne claims Don always told her where he was, but again there were several times when she called me because she couldn’t find him for days on end. Her sarcasm about me not calling the police until the next day was unwarranted, but again, the producers chose not to air Don’s common behavior at the time. I had seen Don the morning of the 18th and by noon the same day she was all over me to call the police, which I did the next day.
21:17 They pull Vernon Yates the wildlife dealer, back in to be the authority on what was or wasn’t in Don’s van. I’m sure the police did not consult with him about their findings, so why was he considered a credible witness for Tiger King? The police didn’t share their findings with me, so why would they be sharing them with Vernon Yates or any other exotic animal dealer, or even a family member?
21:26 Kenny seems to be saying that Don meant to disappear and it would have been dumb to leave his van at the airport, but why did anyone think Don was trying to disappear? Because Don couldn’t fly legally he had to take off and land at airports that were closed. He had actually lost his license the day after he got it by doing touch and go landings at the closed Vandenberg airport. After all these years I think the most likely scenario was that Don left early out of Pilot Country Estates, headed out over the gulf to fly somewhere under the radar where the air is smoother, and crashed. Don couldn’t file flight plans or let anyone know he was flying or he would have been in trouble. After Don’s disappearance I got a call from a man saying Don never delivered the cat he was bringing, so we let the police know and assumed they followed up on that lead. When I found clues I gave them to the police and stayed out of the investigation because I didn’t want to taint their findings.
21:49 I don’t know why Kenny said the cops didn’t investigate the van at the airport, because they were the ones who found it, went through it and then told me about it. The police who found the van were in Pasco County, but connected it to Don’s missing person report. I assumed they were in communication with the Hillsborough County Sheriff.
8/20/1997 (My diary entry) My Dad drove me to Pilot Country Estates and we talked to the cops and to the people at the airport and I got a list of every owner on the runway, some nearby homes and every plane’s owner on the field. I contacted everyone on the list to see if they had any knowledge as to Don’s whereabouts, but only one person even knew him and that was the airport manager and he did not know anything.
The police officer, a Mr. Elliot said when we got there that he had been watching the buzzards, but it was windy and they were acting confused. He said he had canvassed the perimeter woods and had checked the sight over for any signs of a struggle, and had checked the van good for signs of blood, but had come up with nothing. He had looked through the van and the only thing he thought was odd (and I did too) was that in Don’s huge garage sale collection, there was a brand new, never opened Spanish/English Dictionary. Don can’t read, so what did he need with that?
When I told Anne about it later, she said that Don had Madeline calling every used book store in town for one and Anne, thinking that was a huge waste of time had Madeline buy a new one for less than $4.00. The police would not finger print the van because they said it was not suspicious and said that even if they did finger print it there would not be any comparisons made because “you have to have a bad guy to compare it to” and no one was sure a bad guy existed.
Dad pointed out that the seat was too far back for Don to have driven and I pointed out that the turn signals were on; something Don would never do, but it was still not considered suspicious.
8/25/1997 (My diary entry) Detective Lingo at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office called about case number 97-069358 and asked if I have any more info on Don. I told him about the van being found and about the credit card purchase of the tickets for the 31st to Costa Rica. He asked if the office would be hiding Don’s whereabouts since he has done this to me before, and I told him I didn’t think so, because Anne keeps calling here looking for any news. I gave him her name and number. – end of diary quote
Maybe Kenny didn’t know the Pasco officers had already been through the van, and when he saw the Hillsborough officers look at it a couple days later at the sanctuary, he thought it was the first time. Obviously the police found prints and followed up because Dale Lively says that’s what brought them to his door. I’m wondering why his prints were in the system? Was he a criminal too?
22:53 I don’t know if Detective John Marsicano left it out, or if the editors of Tiger King did, but I was trying to get the police to investigate every possible lead. People were reporting to me that Don was in Costa Rica, so I asked the police to search there. They said it wasn’t in the budget. I told them I’d pay all the expenses for them to go, and they said they can’t do that and be seen as favoring victims who could pay. I have a $100,000 reward out for finding Don, and asked if they could accept that if they found him and they declined. Finally, I think due to so much noise coming out of Costa Rica that he was there, they finally went there to investigate on their own dime. I hired a bounty hunter / private detective who knew Don, but he couldn’t find him either.
24:29 I’d like to know who told Joseph Fritz that Don was heading out to evaluate a new plane to buy, because that’s the only theory that makes sense to me. The part about throwing Don out of the plane seems absurd, as that seems like a risk no one would want to take to their own life. I’ve had 23 years to run theories through my head, and the only one that makes sense to me is that Don asked someone to bring an ultra light to Pilot Country before hours, as that’s what Don had been shopping for. Don had tried to convince me to trade my 1961 Cardinal for an ultralight and I told him I didn’t want him flying around in something built out of popsicle sticks and powered by a lawn mower motor.
If Don met the person at the airport, bought the plane and flew the person back to their home, then if Don flew back home, over the gulf, under the radar, as he was prone to do, and crashed, we’d likely never find the wreckage. Don had already crashed one plane into the water off Cedar Key a few years before. Don had two other plane crashes; one for forgetting to put the landing gear down at the Zephyrhills airport and one where he flew into power lines trying to escape Hurricane Helena. Since Don didn’t have a license to fly, he only took off and landed at airports after hours and stayed under the radar (200 feet) so he wouldn’t be picked up by Tampa International Airport or any open airport.
25:28 Wendell lied when he said Don wasn’t having problems remembering from one minute to the next what he had done. In 1997 I had caught Wendell telling Don, “Remember that two grand you owe me?” and Don peeled off two thousand dollars and gave it to him. A few hours later, I saw Wendell do it again, and because of Don’s dementia, he peeled off two thousand dollars again and gave it to Wendell. I confronted Wendell about it, so I believe he did all he could to get rid of me by lying to Don. I was trying to get Don to an Alzheimer’s specialist, but Anne McQueen intervened. All of this has been documented in my diary over the years and is my recorded opinion of the matter. I’ve given the information to the police and to the press and to these documentarians. It always seems more enticing to attract viewers by leaving these details out. I believe Anne knew Wendell was cheating Don because she threatened to quit if he made her write any more checks (these were over $60,000 each) to Wendell unless Don would make Wendell give us proper security.
26:27 Fritz wants to make this a murder and says somebody wanted to get rid of Don Lewis. He should tell us who then because it wasn’t me. If I wanted to be rid of him, I could have divorced him and come out financially secure. I could have let him keep going in the cats’ cages until one of them killed him, but instead I put locks on all the cages. I could have let him fly solo and not trained to fly to keep us both safe. I could have let him run wild in Costa Rica, but instead found an attorney to try and keep him as safe as possible. Don did make a lot of enemies, and Fritz seems to know who they were, but the producers seem to use his trash talk as being incriminating toward me.
26:50 The documentary never does reveal that Joe Exotic only lip synced to songs written and recorded by Vince Johnson and Danny Clinton. Despite the producers being told otherwise, and them recording his voiceover in the car, and after we gave them the lead to find the singer / songwriter at https://911animalabuse.com/gw-exotics-animal-foundation/. The mix softened Joe’s voice against Vince’s voice on the CD in the car so much that I don’t think the media or most viewers figured out that it wasn’t Joe singing the song. The same was done in the funeral scene. I have all of the emails back and forth with Vince Johnson telling me that he wrote and recorded these at a price of $7000 each for Joe and that he didn’t know Joe would pretend it was himself. I think this portrayal of Joe Exotic as this amazing vocal artist is a huge factor in his fan base. I can’t tell you how many people have contacted me to say his music videos are better than ours, as if we were somehow competing in that arena.
27:40 Joe Schreibvogel says, “So the whole world’s wondering, would you actually grind your husband up and feed him to the tigers, so there’s no evidence? I’m gonna show you some stuff that will put that right in your head.” The producers don’t show what Joe was going to do to try and plant that seed of doubt, but they did use the music again to do it themselves. They promoted Joe’s outlandish claims to 34 million viewers in the first few weeks of airing. Joe’s media producer, Rick Kirkham, said Joe could never get an audience of more than 80 people to watch him say it, so Tiger King said it for him…and pretty convincingly through their clever editing, omitted facts and choice of witnesses.
The meat grinder in the video was enormous. Out meat grinder was one of those little table top size things, like you’d have in your kitchen at home. Meat had to be cut into one inch cubes to go through it. I don’t have a photo of our meat grinder but it was exactly like this one in size and shape, as far as the intake mouth went. It was attached to a large stand with a tray. The Sheriff’s office said the meat grinder had been disposed of prior to Don’s disappearance. All these years later, I don’t remember what happened to it, if I ever even knew, as that’s the sort of thing Don might have sold when we couldn’t use it. At the time of the investigation we all (me, workers, volunteers, the police) seemed to be in agreement that it wasn’t at the sanctuary when Don disappeared and had likely been gone since about 1994.
29:19 Vernon Yates is trotted out to back up Joe’s claims about Don being in the septic tank. Anyone who wants to put up a hundred thousand in escrow against our 100k, for winner take all, depending on the outcome of digging Judy Watson’s old septic tank up, is welcome to do so.
30:00 Joseph Fritz rightly says there are a lot of people speculating as to what happened to Don Lewis with no facts to back it up, which is ironic given him spouting crazy theories and insisting there was foul play and someone will come forward. There just isn’t any reason or evidence to believe murder was more likely than a tragic accident but it seems Tiger King wants the viewer to believe there is.
30:53 Anne’s attorney, Joseph Fritz and some mechanic I never met named Dale Lively, said that Don trusted Anne McQueen more than anyone, (as they flash a glamour shot of her) but I had confronted Anne and Don in May of 1997 about Anne putting our properties in her maiden name of E.A. Riggs, and Don was shocked and said he’d never authorized that. He told her to sign them back over but she never did and it took five court motions and threats of sanctions and contempt of court to get her to do so during the Conservatorship case #97-CP-002001 that followed Don’s disappearance three months later. Anne also says that Don always told her where he was, even if he didn’t tell me, but my diary entries show a number of times that Anne couldn’t find him for days either.
Just an editing note, the camera now contrasts Anne McQueen’s glamour shot to one of me holding Raindance Bobcat. It was a photo taken and owned by my daughter and not given to Tiger King producers to use because we don’t want people thinking it’s cool to pet a wild cat. Not only was using this photo a direct slap in my face, because I’d explained why I wasn’t giving the producers these kind of images, but it also seems to say, “Which of Don’s girlfriends do you believe? The homely one that the attorney and the mechanic are backing, or the pretty homewrecker?
31:20 Wendell casts aspersions on my brother saying he was a member of the Sheriff’s department and opined as to what he thought my brother may have done to intervene in the investigation. Anne is trotted out to validate what Wendell just said about my brother working there, but did say she didn’t think there was collusion. There wasn’t. My brother was known as “The Preacher” and worked in the jail. He was always trying to get wayward inmates to turn their lives over to God. He wasn’t in a position, nor of an inclination, to obstruct an investigation and I didn’t talk to my brother about it because I didn’t want there to be any perceived impropriety.
32:18 Detective Marsicano seemed to find it weird that I was driving to a 24 hour grocery store in the middle of the night, but we were feeding kittens every 4 hours, around the clock, so we weren’t keeping regular hours. He says I drove there at 3 AM, which wasn’t accurate. My diary says that after the 11 PM feeding I drove to Albertson’s for feeding supplies. I didn’t say what, but it was probably Pedialyte as the kittens were sick and dehydrated and I was probably thinking that Pedialyte, mixed in their milk, at their next feeding might give them the boost they needed. I thought Albertson’s was open 24 hours, but am pretty sure that when I got there I found it to have been closed at 11PM. My car had overheated, so I was fussing around with it for a while before giving up and starting the walk home. That was 6 miles in the dark along Sheldon Road and would have been a two hour walk, so the 3 AM mentioned by Marsicano was probably around the time I ran into Chuck and the other deputy. I heard my brother’s voice in the distance off Sheldon Road and saw all of the police flashing lights. I was curious to be sure he’d be OK. I am his big sister and protecting others is what I do. I had to go a fair bit out of the way to approach my brother and the other deputy(s). If I was up to something nefarious, I would have just slinked past in the darkness. I don’t remember having bottles of Pedialyte, which would have been heavy by then, so that’s what makes me think the store was closed when I arrived.
The movie keeps showing a late model white van but ours was a blue and grey 1986 with bullet holes down the side and a broken window. My parents replaced Don’s van in 1998 with a white Dodge Ram van after the old one caught fire while transporting my crew and some cats. No one was hurt, but the van was toast.
33:13 Kenny said maybe Chuck was the person who told the Sheriff’s that Don had dementia, but it was me and I had given them all of the information I had gathered at the time to show that he was suffering from some sort of mental issue, that he’d been diagnosed as bi-polar and prescribed an MRI (once I found that out). Don had disappeared before I could get him to the Alzheimer’s specialist because that appointment was set for later in August.
33:20 Kenny Farr, Debbie Sandlin and Gladys Lewis Cross all said my parents didn’t like Don, and they didn’t, because they thought he was a drug dealing criminal. They were nice to him because I loved him. They’ve tolerated worse than Don for my sake.
33:42 It’s noteworthy that Gladys’ main concern seems to be that everyone was after the money she was trying to extort from Don, and later the estate, through her daughters. If we were all greedy and taking advantage of Don who was being heralded as this golden goose, then why did my parents live in a trailer? Why do I live in a wooden house, built in the 70s that I paid $45,000 for and drive an 2012 year old pick up truck my father gave me?
33:53 Kenny says there was nothing the police could do to keep me from hooking the trailer up and bringing it to the sanctuary to protect the documents inside. I showed the police that I had Power of Attorney to do so, and told them they could come go through the trailer as much as they wanted at the sanctuary, but I couldn’t let Anne keep hauling boxes of our files off as she’d been seen doing by my dad. My diary entry from 8/28/1997 reads:
I spent the day in our real estate office quizzing Anne McQueen about the title search I did on her showing 500,000.00 + of our properties titled in her maiden name. This had all been done in just the past few months. I asked for the alarm code and a set of keys (ours were with Don) and I had never had to open the office before. Don would go into the office maybe once a week or every other week and I didn’t go there much at all. The last few months I had been there much more than usual trying to convert our sloppy record system to computer. Anne was fighting that every inch of the way. When I asked for a set of keys, Anne was suddenly very sick with a headache and had to go home. Since she claims she was the only person with a set of keys and the code, everyone would have to leave so she could lock up. I knew something was up then. She said she had to rest, but that she would make me a set later that night and bring them to me in the morning. She gave me a bogus alarm code.
My dad, Vernon Stairs, drove by around 5 pm after everyone had left at 4 pm and saw Madeline Gavinni and Jesse McQueen (Anne’s son) carrying files out of the office. (Anne claims later this couldn’t have been Jesse, but it was a teenage boy going to and from Anne’s house, so my father assumed it was Jesse). They stopped when they saw he was watching them and drove back to Anne’s. Later that night I called Anne and asked what she had removed and she quit. She told me to meet her at the office at 9:00 am and she’d turn in her keys.
The next day 8/29/1997: At 9:15 Donna Pettis drives up and tells me that Anne did not want to give me the keys to the office and that she was meeting with her attorney. Donna Pettis wanted me to come with her to her Attorney’s office to appoint a conservator, but I told her that I was not comfortable speaking with her attorney since I am still un-represented. We drove off and I called my dad and asked him to get guys and trucks and come to the office.
Suspecting there would be a huge fight, I drove home to get my Power of Attorney. The code for the alarm that Anne gave me the night before, must have been changed, because we could not shut off the alarm and the police arrived. I showed them the POA and my dad explained the situation to him, so he left. We loaded all of the file cabinets and drawers that we could fit into the two pickup trucks and the Jeep… (many more paragraphs of text here, but not included as they weren’t critical to this subject.
…I was last in our convoy and picked up Burger King meals for everyone as we approached the refuge. It was about 2:00 pm at the latest when we ate and then began unloading. I spent the rest of the day and most of the night separating the old from the new and our business records from Anne’s personal life. One box seemed to hold nothing but the tax and medical records of the last few years for her and all of her children.
I started to just set that box by the door for her, but remembered how adamant she had been and resigned myself to the boring task of going through it a page at a time. Hidden within the pages I found a treasure trove of documents that would be worth a small fortune to the highest bidder. Foremost, was the Will and Power of Attorney that Don executed in 1992 naming me as his attorney and sole heir (the one she said never existed, despite the fact that she notarized the thing), secondarily was the original 1988 GALTA Trust which left the remainder of our estate to Don’s children (even though this had been revised and originals left with Anne that removed his children entirely) and last but not least the most recent original PRSL Land Trust.
I can’t think of any reason why she would need to hide these in a box filled with only her personal documents. They have no trash pickup there so Don brings the office trash here and it is often burned, which means someone could accidentally stumble across these documents if she were to try and throw them away. The safest way to dispose of them would be to slip them into a box from her home and destroy or hide them there. This box was under her desk and had nothing else in it, except her personal stuff… (more irrelevant text to this issue is here in my diary)
…The detectives asked me to fax them maps to the properties in Costa Rica when they called me at the office earlier today. Donna Pettis had called them raising Cain because I was moving the office. I asked the detectives if they had a problem with that, and they asked if they could look at it when it gets to its new location. I told them they could and they said there was no problem with me moving stuff then. I also faxed them the long distance calls that Sprint sent and asked if they want me to check them out, or asked if I should wait until they do a preliminary search. I reminded them of how weird I thought it was that Alvin Coulter and Joe Ryan were the first to call and ask me to keep them posted on any news about Don. – end of diary quote
35:23 Anne and Joe talk about a “new” Power of Attorney, as if I made one up, but it had been created in 1996. Tiger King seemed careful not to show the date, but rather did show the day I recorded it in the public records for the purpose of preserving it which was 9/2/1997. Had someone stolen or destroyed it, I needed to insure there was proof of its existence by recording it in the public records. Some people made a fuss about using the word “disappearance,” but Don had told me about people going to Costa Rica and disappearing, there were news reports about it in the Tico Times, and he was dealing with the mob down there, so I thought that seemed like a potential threat and included the word. I also included disability because of Don’s increasingly strange behavior. Our Costa Rican attorney, Roger Petersen said the Helicopter Brothers were their version of the mob and Don was loaning them money. On the same day that Don filed for the restraining order he wrote a check for $100,000 to First Union Bank for a cashier’s check to the Costa Rican mafia run by Luis Enrique Villalobos Comacho of the Helicopter Brothers.
In Episode 3 of Tiger King you see only part of the Power of Attorney. I saw the OR Book and page and went to the public records of Hillsborough county and immediately discovered that they had edited the line containing the word disappearance. You can see in the Netflix version where it looks like a line above and below the area, where someone overlaid the text with a piece where the rest of the sentence had been whited out.
The word disappearance is in the document, for good reason, which I’ve explained, but given all of the focus on that word, and failing to point out that the document had been signed, witnessed and notarized on Nov. 21, 1996 (9 months before Don left) seems to have been disingenuous. Anne McQueen says in that same scene that she was the executor of the Wills for Don and me and that she held Power of Attorney for both us, and that she kept those in a box under her desk.
Our office was full of fire proof filing cabinets, so why would they be under her desk in a open topped cardboard box? The reason I came and took the trailer was because she had been seen by my father to be hauling off boxes of our files to her house. If she had a document that would give her control of everything, wouldn’t that be the first document she’d remove? Anne had agreed to give me the keys to the office that morning, but didn’t show up and instead decided to file a lawsuit to try and seize control of our property. That’s why I took the trailer.
This was my diary entry from Nov. 21, 1996:
Today was the closing on the 600 acres that I nearly had to force Don into buying and where he had offered to let my whole family have a couple acres each and had even taken them to the property several times to pick their spots out. When I told him that I would not make Jamie share a trailer with us he sold the property to Mr. Vincent Sultenfuss.
The property was in my name and the closing today was also in my name, but I allowed Don to make the mortgage back (480k) to his Costa Rican corporation, with the provision that he show like faith and consideration and put me in his will and give me power of attorney for him so that if anything ever happens to him, all of the money that I am sending down to Costa Rica will not be tied up in courts forever. He agreed.
Turns out he had already had Anne McQueen forge my name on the closing documents and then she notarized it. – end diary quote
36:12 Kenny said I “got rid of everybody who worked for Don” but I kept Kenny. I fired all of the office staff because I believed they knew Anne was moving our properties into her name and didn’t trust them. My mother did the work of all six of them for the next 20 years without help. Kenny had asked for Don’s closet full of guns and I gave them to him in May of 1998 but Don’s clothes hung in my closet for years. I did get rid of every broken down piece of junk Don had piled up around the sanctuary.
36:25 Gale Rathbone smiled saying her sister Donna Pettis told them there was a note on my refrigerator saying, “Never speak that man’s name again in this house.” That never happened and Donna (nor any of her sisters) were ever in our house after Don disowned them in September of 1996. In fact on 8/20/1998 (a year after Don’s disappearance) I followed up with David Karp at the St. Pete Times saying:
You asked what was still being done to find Don and probably the most notable, I didn’t even mention because I see it every day. The poster of Don and Nyla (leopard) that we distributed for months following his disappearance was also circulated in Costa Rica and is still in the windows of my car, our house keeper’s car, my daughter’s car and many of our volunteers. After you left, I looked around the parking lot at all of the signs and couldn’t believe I didn’t think to mention them.
This full page ad is run gratis by Fred Timby, owner of the Hillsborough County Hot Sheet and the Pasco County Hotsheet, twice a month in both of his publications. These publications go out to a lot of investors and people who know Don and with whom Don would likely be in contact.
If you go to our web site the first page you will see is a family portrait of Don, Jamie and I, along with Perfection (ocelot) and Sundari (leopard) and a notice about Don’s disappearance and a plea for information. Thank you for taking the time to try and help us find him. I remember thinking during the investigation that if the police had been as thorough as you were in following up leads we should have found him. For the Animals, Carole Lewis – end diary quote
36:46 I find it funny that Anne apparently understands probate better than Fritz who falsely stated that all of our assets were distributed by the terms of the Will when Anne is correct, that a Will couldn’t be probated for 5 years or until there was proof of a death. Fritz and McQueen talk about the Will, but almost all of our properties were held in trusts, which do not have to be probated via a Will.
37:37 Even though Gladys lied when she said I took the bad properties out of the estate and gave them to Don’s daughters and kept the good properties for myself, I appreciate that they noticed there was a huge difference in the properties in the PRSL Land Trust and those in the Guardian Angel Land Trust. At the time I married Don, I took all the properties he’d invested in on his own and put them in the PRSL Land Trust. PRSL was the initials of the last names of Don’s kids. Everything that Don and I had worked on together, I put in the Guardian Angel Land Trust or in subsets of that trust. As properties sold and were re invested, the money and new properties bought from the money, went back into their respective trusts. Don was not good at investing in real estate because he was always looking for a quick buck and wouldn’t check into things like contamination, liens that couldn’t be extinguished, etc.
During the conservatorship I am the one who suggested that Don’s kids be allowed to manage their own trust because I didn’t want them saying that I wasn’t giving it as much attention as my own trust. They apparently blew through 1.3 million dollars worth of property I signed over to them and are now saying they should have gotten more. That was just a lie when Gladys said I took property out of their names and put it into mine. I wouldn’t have done that, and wouldn’t have been able to do that, because all transactions had to be approved by the co conservator, Douglas Stalley, everyone’s attorney (including the daughters) and the court.
If I were greedy, I would have jumped at Don’s insistence of completely disowning his kids and would have made transfers at that time in 1996. I never intended to take what I felt was their inheritance even when their own father didn’t want them to inherit a dime.
38:23 Lynda Sanchez proclaims that I would have benefitted the most by Don’s disappearance, but if they and Anne McQueen had been successful in taking over our estate, by appointing Anne conservator and cutting her in, then you know who really had the most to gain. Lynda goes on to say the daughters only got 10% of the estate, but she was a party to all of the accountings that I had to provide monthly to the court, which all had to be verified by the co conservator, and reviewed by all of the attorneys involved. She knows that’s not true. It was more than 20%. I offered them half of everything in Don’s name if we could do this without the court oversight and they refused. All of the attorneys for me, the co conservator, the daughters and Anne McQueen were paid from our estate which is why there was hardly anything left by August of 2002. They made a big deal out of declaring Don dead 5 years and 1 day after he disappeared, but they were the ones pressuring me to do that because they wanted the life insurance proceeds as quickly as they could get their hands on it. Don’s daughter Donna Pettis applied for Don’s death certificate.
39:25 Debra Sandlin, who has always been so hateful and critical of me, seems to either have had a “come to Jesus moment” of consideration for just how unjust these unfounded accusations against me are, or she was taken out of context.
40:37 When I learned The Secret and read Wallace Wattles book in 2006, The Science of Getting Rich, I wanted to share it with everyone because I feel we draw into our lives what we think about. I find it sad that people try to use it to paint me as being greedy or weird. It’s especially troubling that of all the chapters I read, they focused on the line, “…whether on purposely or accidentally, get rich.” as that feeds into their storyline of homewrecker turned, turned forger, turned murderer for money. On a side note, I feel like I drew all of these liars back into my life by trying to help the producers create a film that would expose the abuse suffered by big cats and their cubs. By reliving all of these sad years, I drew it all right back to me. Lesson learned. I am not going to focus backward for the benefit of any future producer or reporter. They almost always twist it to fit their own salacious storyline and I think the seven part mockumentary ended perfectly by saying the cats did not benefit from any of this so far. I do think out federal bill to end cub handling and phase out private possession of big cats will pass, but it will be in spite of what Tiger King did and not because of it.
41:54 Anne says “We all feel that Carole knows more than what she’s tellin’,” and that is true only to the extent that I never publicly shamed her or Don’s daughters or his ex-wife for their greed. I never exposed the fact that Don was not the breadwinner in our family. His family and friends all referred to Don has “having the Midas touch” or being the “golden goose” but both of those are myths and reveal the fact that they couldn’t figure out how it was that Don was always flashing huge wads of cash. I was the person who made us rich and I let him tell everyone it was all him, even long after he left. It’s only now, 23 years later, when I’m being falsely accused, on a global scale, by people who were misled by what Tiger King portrayed, that I am setting the record straight. The public records and tax returns all bear out my claims. As the primary breadwinner, and as the owner and co owner of our properties, if I wanted Don out of my life I could have placed a well timed call to the authorities because Don was always looking for a way to skirt the law, or I could have divorced him. I didn’t do either because I loved him and wanted to get him the medical attention he needed for his dementia. During one of Don’s arrests he admits to the officer that he can’t read the report they were asking him to sign.
42:10 Following on tearful complaints that I never provided a funeral (for a man there is no evidence is dead) and the accusation that I know more than I’m telling, I’m seen saying, “There’s nothing that I really want to say to any of these people. I know that the only reason that they’re saying the things that they’re saying is because they see me as a threat to their livelihood and to their ego. And with that being their driving motivation, there’s nothing that I’m going to say or do that’s going to change that.” Clearly Eric Goode had asked me if there was anything I wanted to say to Joe Exotic or “doc” Antle and others in the exotic animal trade. My answer doesn’t make sense if it were him asking what I would say to Anne or Don’s daughters. 22 years after we had settled amicably during the conservatorship, I’m no threat to those ladies livelihood or ego but I am to anyone who is abusing big cats.
42:41 I was never referred to as “the prime suspect” by law enforcement. Tiger King producers have shown clips of law enforcement saying that I was never a suspect or person of interest, but despite that, at the close of Episode 3 they chose to leave the lie told by Lynda Sanchez hanging in the air. John Marsicano and other detectives have always held in previous articles that the only people who insinuate that I was involved in Don’s disappearance are those in the animal industry and the others you heard from in this documentary.
43:24 Lynda lied when she said I threatened them if they spoke to the media. The first time, to my knowledge, that Don’s daughters made hateful accusations against me publicly was in the People Magazine article dated 12/5/1998. It was at the same time as the Dateline piece. Hard Copy saw that and wanted to piggyback on the crazy claims they were making about their father being fed to tigers. It’s important to know that on 8/28/1998 (4 months earlier) we had all stipulated to an agreement whereby they were given ownership of everything that would have passed to them via the trust I had created to protect them and $400,000 from the life insurance policy. I got 250k and Anne got 200k under this stipulated agreement. The rest of the money was specified to pay bills and the remainder to go to the cats. See the signed agreement here.
If I’d ever made any such threat against her, she would have it framed on the wall and be showing it to anyone who would look. Don wouldn’t talk to his ex wife, nor his kids after September 1996 so all of the statements they made about him being afraid of me, or about any note on my refrigerator saying not to mention Don’s name, were false. In contrast, I had a missing reward poster to find Don everywhere in the house, on the sanctuary grounds, on my car and on our volunteers’ cars. I never had the power to take anything away from her and her family as I’d agreed to the co conservatorship process where they had an outside, unbiased person involved in every transaction. I’ve never given them any reason to fear. I dealt honestly and more fairly with them than their own father had instructed me to do. I eventually gave them all of the photos I had of their father. Even as recently as April 2020 when I found more photos, I offered to mail them the ones I’d found. They never responded. This was even after knowing all of the hateful and hurtful things they’ve said about me. Later I found it interesting that a UK article says Lynda Sanchez had put the ones I gave her in storage and then let the storage be sold to a stranger after not paying the rent. I think that pretty much sums up how his kids really felt about him.
This concludes the minute by minute rebuttal of the lies told in the Netflix documentary Tiger King; Murder, Mayhem and Madness Episode 3. The following is a recap of the Conservatorship docket I found online in January of 2020. It’s a letter to the filmmakers of this docu-series:
Recap of the Conservatorship Online
Letter to producers, Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode:
When you said your treatment of the accusations against me by Anne and Don’s girls would “leave people scratching their heads” I found that pretty unkind. I assumed that given the level of investigation you have put into finding people that you would take me up on the suggestion that you just look at the public records if you need any assurance that I’ve told you the truth.
Today I figured I’d do some online research and then maybe contact the courthouses to ask them if the records I want to see are available, or if they have to order them from storage. I remembered that Don and Gladys’ divorce was final on May 8, 1990 but Don had said they had gone to another county to do it so no one would be snooping in their business. I never did go looking for it until today and can’t find it in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk or Sumpter counties. Since Gladys was accusing him of raping her 15 year old niece, I figured he didn’t want anyone reading about it.
While searching for it, I did find the lawsuit Gladys filed against Don on 4/26/95 trying to get more money. At the time of the divorce Gladys told everyone she just wanted one million dollars and a quick divorce and I assume that’s what she got. Five years later, according to Don, their daughter Donna Pettis who did nails for a living but decided to be a day trader with her mother’s new wealth, had lost it all. Donna and her sister Lynda Sanchez teamed up with their mom to sue Don for more money in case #95-DR-005258.
Don was certain that Anne McQueen and his favorite daughter, Gale Rathbone, would side with him, but they didn’t. When Gale was deposed in September 1996 Don was so mad he told me to dissolve the PRSL Land Trust that I set up for them when he and I married so that his assets owned outside of our union would go to them. I didn’t do it even though he refused to talk to his daughters after that. They never reconciled. (That can be proven by phone records)
These dates were pulled from my diary entries:
6/12/1997 I get Don to agree to see an Alzheimer’s specialist, (Dr. Gold) but Anne intervenes and sets Don’s appointment with her internal medicine doctor (Dr. Blasini) instead. This is the same day Don goes down and applies for a restraining order against me.
6/16/1997 Don tells Wendell Williams to get all his junk off our property.
6/20/1997 Don has a psychiatric evaluation w/ Dr. Blasini who sends Don to Dr. West upstairs in the same building. He’s not there, so we see a psychiatrist Dr. Russell. I don’t find out until after Don is missing that Dr. Blasini diagnosed Don with Bipolar Disorder and sent him to have a MRI at St. Joseph’s. I found the little slip of paper in Don’s bedside table as I was searching for clues as to where he might be. (Later note: We have the Blue Cross Blue Shield receipt from showing Don had the MRI done on 6/23/97 along with blood tests done on 6/20/1997 presumably in preparation for the MRI. (Howard found it in on 5/24/2020))
Don keeps doing weird things, like bringing a homeless man home with him to stay in our house, and he keeps getting lost while dumpster diving. He gets stuck in a dumpster and calls crying because he doesn’t know where he is. He refuses to use restrooms and starts defecating outside. I didn’t log the date, but I rescheduled Don to see Dr. Gold and that appointment was in late August after Don’s disappearance.
8/28/1997 My father sees Anne carrying boxes and boxes of our records from the office to her car and then to her home.
8/29/1997 Anne refuses to allow me in the office. Expecting a fight, I drive home to get my Power of Attorney, so I can take possession of our office and records. Donna Pettis tells me that she, Anne, Lynda Sanchez and Gale Rathbone are all meeting with a probate attorney to have Anne appointed as the Conservator of the estate. I hook a tractor to our east Tampa office trailer and take it to the sanctuary.
8/30/1997 In searching the files in the office I find that Anne has transferred $508,969.71 of our money into her name and $435,273.24 of it has been just in the last year while Don has been spending a lot of time in Costa Rica and I have been busy trying to get the sanctuary paying for itself. The day Don disappeared was the date of the last transfer that I have found and that was for $3431.31 for a tax certificate. If Don wasn’t around, then who okayed this?
Someone pulled the Conservatorship files in November of this year. Was it you? If so, I’m glad you did, but I would have been happy to go with you to help you wade through the grocery basket full of paperwork that was involved in the Conservatorship. Finding this recap in the public record was great because it creates a timeline of events after Don’s disappearance during a time when I was too busy to document much of it.
I went through and highlighted the important parts and then put notes on each to tell you what was happening. Just hover over the highlighted text by the little note icon to see the comment. Most of the filings were attorneys getting paid and real estate transactions and accounting. The brief recap is:
8/18/1997 Don goes missing
8/29/1997 The Conservatorship case begins because Anne tries to get Don’s daughters to have her appointed as the Conservator of the estate.
9/16/1997 All of Don’s children agree to the arrangement that I will be a co-conservator of the estate with an outside person named Doug Stalley. I don’t see a consent from Anne McQueen, but she wasn’t an heir, so maybe her consent didn’t matter.
4/30/1998 I’m trying to compel Anne to turn over $435,273.24 in properties and tax certificates she had put in her maiden name of E.A. Riggs back in May of 1997. She had been my friend for 11 years prior to this and the only name Don and I knew her by was Elizabeth Anne McQueen. That’s followed by five more motions to compel, to find her in contempt and levy sanctions.
8/31/1999 The court makes me the sole conservator of the estate.
12/22/1999 I allow Don’s kids to manage their portion of the estate during the time of the Conservatorship. It’s the PRSL Land Trust.
12/22/2000 The court orders Anne McQueen to turn over the assets to me. I think by this time we found it to be closer to 550k or 600k through discovery, but I can’t be sure.
I didn’t highlight it and make notes, but there was property stolen by Wendall Williams as well that was dealt with favorably to me during the course of the Conservatorship. I can’t imagine anyone using him to try and make a case against me given his criminal history and long list of deceitful real estate transactions.
I’m curious now, so I’m going to keep looking for Don and Gladys’ divorce file. Don always said he gave Gladys a year for her marriage to Norman James Cross to work out before we married, but today I learned that Gladys Lee Lewis married him on 3/2/1991, just 7 months before Don and I married on 10/10/91. Hillsborough County Instrument #: BK428PG348 SearchQuarry.com lists the Gladys / Don divorce as being in Pasco County, but I’ve checked and rechecked and can’t find it there.
This just seems so obvious to me that the people who have made such cruel accusations against me are just doing it out of greed.
As a weird aside: Mar. 26, 2012 Brandi Paine views the files. She is the judicial assistant for family law judge Jennifer X. Gabbard. There was also a Brandi Paine in OKC in Jan 2019 arrested for ID theft. Maybe a coincidence.
For the cats, Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
Episode 1 Not Your Average Joe
Where IS That Snow Leopard from Tiger King Now?
4:30 Eric Goode says he was investigating reptile dealers (Isn’t he one?) when a man comes in to buy venomous snakes, but he never reveals who that man is.
4:43 Eric says he discovered a snow leopard in the back of a hot van. Stop the video and you will see that the van says McCarthy’s Wildlife Refuge on the side. At no time do the producers tell you that one of the people they depended on for their accusations against me was, the same Marc McCarthy who had a snow leopard in his van. On 6/27/97 Don went to Mark McCarthy’s place and came back with Jade and Armani the leopards and Hercules the snow leopard, who had been born just a few days prior.
11:08 Reinke admits that 9 out of 10 Joe’s broadcasts were trashing animal welfare groups and Carole Baskin.
Was There Every Really a Feud between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin?
A feud is to take part in a prolonged quarrel or conflict. From Joe’s perspective it was personal and people around him said my name was on his tongue all day every day. I hardly ever even thought about him, despite his provocations. Even though I always expose people who abuse big cats and their cubs, I only report on the issues and do not make personal attacks. The reason Tiger King had no video, audio or social posts of me trash talking Joe Schreibvogel or any of these other cub abusers, is because that didn’t happen. Many members of the media have interviewed me to learn more about what they thought was a feud and everyone, including Tiger King producers got exactly what I said in the Access story above.
The lawsuit against Joe was long and expensive because he kept ignoring court orders and kept transferring the zoo assets to keep from paying his debt. Joe knew that Howard Baskin was the one to file the cases and interact with the attorneys and Joe. It was Howard and Joe who were in depositions together, in court together and in mediation for settlement together. I only showed up twice during the 9 year course of the lawsuit; once at Joe’s deposition in Tampa and once at a Bankruptcy hearing in Oklahoma because Howard had just had open heart surgery and couldn’t fly. Jeff Lowe lied when he said I was on the phone in the post mediation call asking for more collateral. I overheard the call, but didn’t say a word, nor did I direct anyone to speak on my behalf. Tiger King producers knew all of this, but pitting someone like Howard, who is a Harvard MBA with a law degree, and no background in possessing wild animals, against Joe didn’t yield any of the salacious accusations that cub abusers could make about me due to a tragedy in my past when my husband went missing.
If Tiger King was going to be a show about a feud, and they couldn’t get me to participate in hurling insults on camera, despite much prodding by the producers to do so, then they had to portray me as equally vile. No one considers it a feud when good overcomes evil.
12:46 Joseph Lion who suffered from pancreatic cancer and was thin and losing his mane had just walked across 6,400 square feet of his cage space and into the feeding lockout when Eric asked me to go stand by that tiny feeding area. Little did I know that the editing would leave people around the world thinking that magnificent lion lived in a box that was roughly 4 feet wide, 7 feet long and 4 feet high. The following hateful voice mails were just a sampling of what my life has become like daily from people who believe that misconception.
13:15 Tiger King reinforced that misconception by having me talk in front of other cats in their feeding boxes.
Hate Mail and Death Threats Resulting from Tiger King’s Portrayal of Carole Baskin and Big Cat Rescue
13:50 They let me say what differentiates a sanctuary from a zoo. They show me saying we have cats in cages to protect them until they die, but failed to mention where the cats come from; which is all of the cast offs from the cub petting trade. This makes it easy to believe Joe later when he says we are the same. Then the view cuts to all of the cats in our cemetery. Instead it could have cut to all of the footage of us going into horrific back yard menageries and rescuing cats. It could have been any one of hundreds of our videos of us providing emergency medical treatment to the many cats who came in on death’s door, but instead shows our “failures” by recounting the names of the dead. It’s important to note that Eric Goode staged this entire scene down to asking me to pick flowers and lay them on the headstones, which is not something I do. In fact, I made clear that I don’t spend time in the cemetery because I have to stay positive and focused on ending the trade and not be pulled down in sorrow for all those lives lost due to the greed and ignorance of people who interact with wild cats. I think he was also trying to lay the foundation for the ending of Tiger King where Anne bemoans the fact that I never had a funeral or headstone for Don. These headstones are paid for by specific donors and the money goes to the medical care and cremation costs.
How Is Big Cat Rescue Different from a Zoo?
15:51 Eric Goode again resets the scene because he seems to want to show me as being totally unrelatable in cat prints when he shows up to film and I’m not wearing any. He goes in my closet to try and find something more exotic for the filming instead. I laughed at him, took off the spots and insisted we film in my brown logo shirt instead. You know they are trying to make Joe and I seem the same as they cut straight to Joe talking about everything he’s branded with his face and phrase Tiger King.
18:10 Joe likes to talk about driving his car off a bridge because his father wouldn’t accept he was gay and then says he broke his back and was in braces for 5 years in W. Palm Bch, FL. I don’t think it’s true. His family say it’s not. They say Joe likes to show people the crushed remains of a Firebird that three people died in during a high speed crash and say he survived that crash, but Joe wasn’t in the car. Sometimes Joe says it was his car, with the Phoenix on the hood and sometimes he says it was his police cruiser. Did that tiny town even have a police car? I think Joe’s capitalizing on my story, like he did so many others who would report they had cancer or some ailment. I leaped off a bridge to commit suicide in the 70s and later broke my neck in a car accident that left me paralysed for six months. He plays the sympathy card saying the animals pulled him through. 18:58 but the animal rights people say he can’t have his animals. Joe’s family said no such thing ever happened.
19:11 Antle backs him up saying something he clearly thinks is clever in that the animal rights people want the lion’s share and they don’t want to share their lions. What? That is not at all what’s happening so why not cut in some animal welfare people to talk about what our real mission is rather than having the abusers guide the conversation?
19:23 It’s a small thing but it bothers me. Goode didn’t like any of our real settings for his depiction, so he asks us to take him to every building on the grounds, including my parent’s home. He decides having Howie and I sitting on their couch, in their living room, fits his vision better than our actual offices.
33:22 As I’m talking about the tiger crisis in this country the viewer is seeing Vernon Yates hauling a tiger in an open cage on the back of a flatbed trailer. The person Tiger King used as the authority on how I met Don and our marriage is the person abusing animals this way but that isn’t spelled out for the viewer and there is no way for them to connect the dots unless they happen to know that’s Yates’ equipment.
38:40 Jon Reinke says they never beat animals at their zoo which would have been a great time to cut to all of the existing footage online to the contrary. Instead they cut to Eric Cowie to back up Reinke’s claims and use photos of screaming PETA models with blood all over them. They then go on to have Joe talk about how scared they are of people who don’t like animal abuse by detailing all they do to protect themselves with guns, cameras, etc. Antle too jumps in with his comment about sleeping w/ an AK47 under his mattress. Just in case that isn’t enough, they trot out Marc Thompson the sniper, who Joe tried to hire to kill me, to say how scared they all are because someone took pictures on the grounds to try and discredit Joe. Reinke says the reason people are mad is because they have tigers in cages and then it cuts to Joe calling me a hypocrite because I have tigers in cages. In an effort to make it look like we are the same, they show scenes from our one day a year event where 600 people come for 3 hours to see the cats unescorted. All other visits to Big Cat Rescue are on small guided tours, but our regular way of educating the public didn’t fit with trying to show us as the same as exploitive big cat breeders and dealers. They sum it all up with Rick Kirkham saying “Carole Baskin was as bad as Joe” but he had never been here and only had the lies of those he worked for and with to rely on. In the aftermath of Tiger King, it is this false portrait of us that has caused a huge percentage of the hateful posts and voicemail threats.
41:47 Joe follows Kirkham’s false claim that we were profiting off each other by saying I am profiting off Big Cat Rescue. I funded the sanctuary for the first 11 years of its existence while building programs to make it self sufficient. I didn’t take a salary, nor any other benefit for the first 20 years. Once the sanctuary could easily afford to pay me I began taking a paycheck in 2012 or 2013 that was in the 50’s and rose over time to be in the 60’s, but when COVID-19 hit and I had to let go of 10 of our staff, Howie and I both stopped taking a paycheck for 8 months. I don’t live on the grounds. I gave up my home there to the non profit to use as a gift shop. How anyone can say I am profiting from either the sanctuary or the hassle involved with trying to stop big cat abuse is ludicrous.
43:00 Antle refers to me as ruthless in my attempts to end the practice of breeding big cats, exploiting their cubs and then discarding them and says people in his industry love the animals. Tiger King has no shortage of footage of the people who are causing the most harm and abuse to wild cats kissing, cuddling and playing with the cubs and young adults.
43:28 Antle says if the Big Cat Public Safety Act is passed it will destroy private zoos across America and that isn’t true. Only a handful of operators like him, Tabraue, GW Zoo, Tim Stark, etc., would have to change their profit model to be like the thousands of zoos that are successful without doing cub petting.
Episode 2 A Cult of Personality
9:17 Joe loved to say I was obsessed with him, when I was going after all of the people I think are abusing big cats. While he was one of the most prolific breeders and dealers of cubs, he was just one of about 8 that I would put in that same tier.
10:37 I say there is no way Eric Goode is going to get inside Mario Tabraue’s place to see what really happens there, and they immediately cut to them getting inside his house, but they only show one play yard for the cats, where the cats obviously did not have access until Mario opens the door. You saw nothing of the rows and rows of barren cages full of big cats and primates that whistleblowers report.
14:19 Tabraue says the “The judge gave me a 100 years, but I won the appeal.” That’s not the way it was reported in the press, which was that Mario turned state’s evidence in order to reduce his time to 12 years. I’m no armchair detective, but for those who think they are that’s something real you can investigate. Then Joe makes the ridiculous claim that “as long as you’re really good at heart, they don’t care what you’ve done in your past,” all overlaid with Mario playing with some cubs that are about 6 months old. Why are there no adults interacting with him? Where do they go when they aren’t fun anymore? His wife, Maria Tabraue, says they have 28 species of primates so why did we only see one? Were those concrete bunkers where the rest are kept and if so, why couldn’t the cameras show what that looked like? At least the Tabraues’ who are likely Antle oldest friends, finally reveal that he calls himself “doc” based on being a doctor of mystical science. A PhD in Mystical Science is not a thing. Kevin (that’s his real name) Antle claims to have earned a “doctor of natural sciences” degree from the Chinese Science Foundation which is not an accredited university.
26:56 While I’m talking about how big cat exploiters lure young people into labor camps they are showing images of Antle’s women in the pool playing with oversized cubs. Even when Eric interviews Moshka and she says she works 8am till midnight every day, it’s done with images of her playing with cats. They do circle back to the woman who escaped saying they worked for only 100.00 a week, but you look at the idyllic images that were being shown to the viewer during that exchange and I’m sure a lot of people would say they’d sign up for that.
28:37 It then goes to Joe and Antle saying I am just the same and quote me saying I don’t pay anyone to do animal care because people will do that for free. This video explains that.
31:17 Out of thousands of videos we have posted online, I think three are music videos which were made by artists who wanted to donate their singing in exchange for us adding a backdrop of the sanctuary. This is another case of Eric Goode staging the viewing of Beautiful Wild and Free by asking if they could play it on our TV, and film Howie and I watching it. Sounded like a dumb thing to do, but we were so accommodating. Little did we know that we were being set up to be ridiculed as if we were trying to compete with Joe’s lip syncing music videos. Goode uses our good naturedness to lead into Antle accusing us of brainwashing children with the idea that our cause (saving big cats from abuse and extinction) is wrong.
32:34 Despite having filmed at Big Cat Rescue many times over a five year period, almost all of the footage they chose to air was our cats in their feeding lockouts and Joe Schreibvogel’s carefully staged angles to make it look as if our cages are small and unkempt. All I can say is watch and learn:
Antle and Joe both make the claim that we only had 12 cats; which has been parroted back to me by thousands of people who saw Tiger King and believed it. Our cats cages are so large, and the cats are given so much room to avoid being seen that you might only see 12 cats, or even zero cats on a tour, but that doesn’t mean we are lying about who lives here. Our cats bios are all online at BigCatRescue.org/catbio
40:51 after showing the horrible conditions that people at GW Zoo lived in, eating only expired meats meant for the cats, they have me say that not only did they abuse the people but also the cats, and then cut to a scene of tigers romping around a field. Even when I am given air time to express my beliefs they are constantly countered by the images the producers chose to overlay my audio with so as to absolutely negate my stance. It’s not like they didn’t have reels and reels of filthy conditions they saw at these breeders compounds to use during such a statement.
43:40 I’ve just explained how the breeders only rely on their innermost circle to hide the bodies of the cats they can’t use any more when they show McCarthy saying that I think I am Cleopatra, that I’m not good and that I go after people who I disagree with using the millions “that she inherited from her husband who’s dead and missing now.” Eric seems to pretend to be surprised and coaxes McCarthy to say something even more inflaming by saying, “How does someone’s husband just go missing?” The camera cuts to another slow motion scene of me to make me look evil as Mario Tabraue’s voice says, “Carole Baskin is full of shit…in my opinion. She’s got a missing husband that’s supposedly buried on her property. That’s a real true story. Her husband disappeared.” They are going to use the credibility of the man who just told you a few scenes back that his employees brought the dead body of a law enforcement official to him and they cut him up, burned him up and buried him on Tabraues’ property? To validate the comments of McCarthy and Tabraue they pile on Antle, Joe and headlines from the media at the time as well as a news reporter saying that Anne McQueen and Don’s daughters have been quoted as saying they think I fed Don to a tiger. This is the cliffhanger before totally diving into all of that in Episode 3 above so here I’ll pick up with Episode 4.
Episode 4 Playing with Fire
0:00 Since this is going to be the episode about who really burned down the recording studio full of alligators and the producers seem to want to protect Joe’s image as a music legend, it starts with him singing (lip syncing) to a song about how people are trying to push him around. They play Joe singing along with “himself” in the truck, but his voice is so muted against the track most people don’t get that he’s not the singer. Joe launches in again that he and I needed each other to make money, but there is no way that’s true. Our donors give to Big Cat Rescue to help us with our mission of ending abuse and caring for cats, but our goal is that we succeed in ending the abuse and thus won’t need their donations.
2:49 The discussion is made about how the lawsuit started which was Joe using our name and logo to confuse the public about who he was. We explained to Eric Goode why Joe did it and showed him the Facebook post where Joe said he’d done it so that when we spoke out against Big Cat Rescue Entertainment it would ruin our own name. That post never shows up in Tiger King.
Joe Exotic posts: and I did not change my non profit name look at our website www.gwpark.org, if you must know I registered Big Cat Rescue Entertainment and leased the name out so you could ruin BCR on google all by your self, and it is working. LOL
Instead, Reinke, Antle and Joe all claim it was so that they would rank right at the top in search engines when people searched for “Big Cat Rescue.” Seems the producers had to tell a story about how the lawsuit began, but chose this path, instead of the truth, to make Joe seem more sympathetic to the viewers. If the producers had the deposition footage, they could have used that far more damning part of the interview, so why did they choose instead to focus on Joe’s claims that Don is under the septic tank and paint him as some kind of modern day Robin Hood to protect the rights of anyone who uses animals for their own pleasure or gain. They let Joe rant on, lying about the results of our Fur Ball and accusing us of fraudulent fundraising practices, when all of the real watchdog groups praise our integrity and transparency.
6:34 Rick Kirkham is brought back on screen to reinforce the idea that there is a feud and falsely claims that it was like the Hatfield’s and McCoys. He says we were accusing each other of wrong doings and fighting over who had what and summed it up as a crazy little comedy of exotic animal owners. That shows that he really didn’t know what our role in this was. We had to protect our name and brand and our entire mission is to end the abuse inherent in captive breeding and private possession of exotic cats. That’s not a petty feud.
11:58 We had sued Joe for posting the misleading photo of the rabbits, and when we won in court he was forced to remove it, but Tiger King producers gave Joe a platform of 34 million people to see that photo and hear Joe’s lies about it all over again. While they might argue that they gave me the opportunity to explain the photo they did it while zooming in tighter and tighter on the disturbing image so that my voice was lost to the impact of people thinking they were seeing what Joe had just described as our heinous murder of innocent rabbits. In the background they are playing this weird, hillbilly music like you’d expect to hear in the background of a Hatfields and McCoys saga.
14:19 Joe lies when he says everyone driving by was yelling “murderer.” Before Tiger King Big Cat Rescue and I were so beloved in our community that we couldn’t go anywhere without people running up to hug us and tell us how much they loved our work, but no one (and there are thousands who could testify) was brought in to counter Joe’s accusations. As the sheriff’s had pointed out before, no one makes allegations of me killing Don other than people in the exotic animal owning community.
16:27 Sylvia Corkill backs up Joe’s claims that we only pursued the lawsuit to protect our name and brand to bankrupt him and seems shocked that we would try to collect on the judgment. Who goes to court just to get a judgment and NOT collect on it? What would that ever do to set things right? Using a news reporter, albeit one that now doesn’t have a clown like Joe to follow around town, to give credence to Joe’s claim is powerful and detrimental. Despite the producers being told time and time again that Joe could have ended this before it began, they chose not to focus on the fact that:
- Joe could have just stopped using our name and photos and it would have been over.
- Joe could have held up his end of the bargain when he agreed to a million dollar settlement, but instead he filed for bankruptcy protection thinking he could get away with harming our reputation and not paying.
- Joe could have held up his end of the mediation agreement that he worked out with us to stop breeding cubs and pay us back a modest amount over a long period of time so that it was affordable for him. Instead he brought in Jeff Lowe to continue the fight.
The producers end that segment by letting Joe get away with convincing the viewer that I sued him to stop him from talking. That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t matter what he said. No one was listening. What mattered was that he was violating animal welfare and trafficking laws and regulations.
21:27 Joe blames me for burning down the studio with the crocodilians in it and eludes to it being a conspiracy between me and Kirkham to do it, which makes no sense. Kirkham claims to have reels upon reels of Joe’s evil deeds so why would either of us want those destroyed? While Tiger King does give Howie and I the chance to say, we didn’t offer Kirkham any money, they could have also corroborated that w/ Kirkham but didn’t. In fact, right after Howie and I say we never offered Kirkham money or asked him for anything and then the camera cuts to Joe saying, “I have him on video tape.” Joe’s not talking about whether or not we were negotiating to buy footage and/or burn the studio. Joe is talking about a piece of fuzzy surveillance film of someone walking through the zoo that night that Joe claimed was Kirkham. I think that was purposely cut that way to make the viewer think Howie and I were lying and that Joe had proof to the contrary.
23:30 You have to really watch closely; maybe even three times, like I did, to see what most likely happened. It’s such a quick sequence, with no explanation, that the average viewer is not going to notice that:
- Joe goes to his attorney to see if he can stop Rick Kirkham from using the video.
- The attorney tells Joe that Kirkham can do what he wants with the film.
- The attorney says, “Where is the film?”
- Joe says, “In my recording studio.”
- The attorney says, “And they don’t have copies of it or anything?”
- Joe says, “no”
- After a long silent pause the attorney says, “Do you see what I’m saying, Joe?”
- Joe says, “I hear you”
- The next scene is Joe getting in his car saying, “I can find somebody that needs ten grand…”
When you see it in slow motion, like the steps above, there can’t be any doubt that Joe filmed his attorney, which I believe eliminates the attorney / client privilege, suggesting that Joe destroy the footage so Kirkham can’t use it against him.
29:55 We were painted as being litgeous by suing everyone involved, but when you sue a corporation for the fraudulent transfers they were doing, it’s common to include the board members which were the people Joe was closest to. Much ado was made about Joe’s mom being sued but she was the one on the other end of Joe’s fraudulent transfers. This video will tell you more about that:
31:36 The producers knew that and knew that Shirley Schriebvogel admitted to the court that she had fraudulently transferred assets to keep us from collecting against Joe. We released her from the lawsuit when she came clean. That whole thing about her furniture had nothing to do with us.
32:14 John Reinke says Joe had no way to make money other than cub petting and the scene cuts to pulling cubs away from a mother tiger who was in the midst of giving birth. They drag the newborns across the cage with a hook and then squish the baby’s head under the wire, to do a quick evaluation of the sex (to know how valuable the cub would be) before sending it off to be bottle raised. The fact is that thousands of back yard zoos do fine without cub petting. I always kind of liked Reinke before seeing that he was just as complicit in the abuse by the way this cub and mother were mistreated.
33:20 This and the scene above were the closest I think the producers ever got to painting the person Joe Schreibvogel really is. Joe robs the cubs from their mothers and complains that the never stop screaming. The following scenes show the deplorable, overcrowded conditions the tigers are in, and how there isn’t enough food, but instead of laying blame for that at the foot of the person constantly breeding more big mouths to feed, it seems instead to be an indictment of us suing Joe.
34:29 I know that was the intent because this is the follow up scene where Reinke says “Things had got so bad he started negotiating with Carole and Howard on how to get out of it.”
35:07 Joe starts out telling the truth, saying, “Me and Howard came to an agreement…” but then lied when he said that I got involved asking for more. All we ever asked Joe to do was sign the agreement that he and Howie and the mediator had worked out, which was to stop the cub breeding and handling and make modest monthly payments to pay down the debt. It was at a rate where we would never collect a million dollars, but the main thing was to stop the abusive breeding and handling. Instead of signing the agreement Joe brought in Jeff Lowe to keep fighting us instead of upholding his part of the deal.
40:17 Jeff Lowe comes in with the same lie Joe just told when I wasn’t involved in the mediation nor the call a week or so later to find out why Joe was stalling on signing what he had agreed to with Howie and the mediator.
Episode 5 Make America Exotic Again
11:45 The Big Cat Public Safety Act is positioned by Joe as imposing on his rights as an American to live any way he chooses. A couple minutes later Antle echos Joe’s position saying that taking away their right to have big cats is “un-American and entirely un-Constitutional”.
12:21 Joe appeals to his demographic by saying the only way people like me can get a law passed is by “sucking ass to the politicians” as he said it. There is the underlying implication that it comes down to money.
15:44 Joe says his people tried to kill him by putting cologne on his shoes. Eric Goode must have had this scene in his head when he asked if I’d take him into our Enrichment Center where we make daily enrichment for our cats. He was trying to get me to say that if someone sprayed cologne on their clothes that it would cause a cat to attack. I was resisting that because it wasn’t true. Finally, not getting the answer he wanted, Eric asked what you would have to put on a person’s shoes to make them go after the person. I had to think for a moment, and saw a bookcase of tuna and sardines that we blend into frozen blood ‘cicles for our cats. I suggested maybe sardine oil. Who knew that statement would become so meme worthy and believed by the tens of thousands of people who suggested afterward that I’d covered Don in sardine oil so the cats would kill him.
Episode 6 The Noble Thing to Do
6:01 In order to illustrate Joe’s frantic departure from the zoo he used footage shot a year before where Joe had illegally accepted 22 tigers from Kathy Stearns in Florida who was hiding them from a court proceeding she was embroiled in. It was cleverly edited to make it look like Joe was loading tigers to go, but in fact, he was unloading tigers, using drugs that require a DEA license holder (his vet) to be there when I don’t believe she was.
What is interesting is that the footage in TigerKing is high quality 16:9 landscape mode whereas all of the footage I ever saw Joe post was vertical from a cell phone. Was Eric complicit in hiding the 22 tigers from the authorities in the PETA vs Stearns case? If not, then who was filming this and got it into the hands of Goode? Of course, in order to make Joe look sympathetic, even in the theft of animals to sell for his escape from the feds, the next scenes is Joe lip syncing the, “This is goodbye” music video. “This is goodbye, my last farewell, to all of my fans, you were my biggest thrill…” The next scene is Joe at an “undisclosed location” but he’s obviously being filmed by Goode, who you would think knows Joe is running from the feds for the murder for hire and wildlife trafficking violations, if he’s interviewing Jeff Lowe and James Garretson, so why doesn’t he turn Joe in? At the very least, why doesn’t he warn me that Joe is on his way to Florida?
8:33 Instead, Joe is telling everyone he is responsible for the tiger cub in his lap and has to steal him from the park to make sure he’s safe and secure. No one challenges that with an exchange of money between him and whoever he left the cub with along the way. It’s never shown for sure, but it appears there are two tiger cubs brought to the “undisclosed location” and left there. Joe admits to using burner phones to hide so how does Eric Goode stay in touch w/ Joe?
10:04 Eric asks Joe who the winner is and gives Joe another chance to say the animal rights people won because they are the ones who can afford the legal battles. When he doesn’t get the answer he’s fishing for, Eric says, “What about Carole?” giving Joe one more chance to say, “I still think she deserves to sit in jail for killing her husband.” Then there is long tearful moments of Joe reflecting on his loss until he vomits.
13:59 Reinke is telling Goode that Joe might be running because of campaign fraud, fear of Jeff Lowe, or because he’s heard that Joe hired a hitman to kill me. John Finlay confirmed that Joe was always talking about killing me. Saff says Joe must have said a hundred times that I should be dead. The sniper, Marc Thompson, who’s wife told me Joe tried to hire to kill me says he wouldn’t take Joe up on the offer. Others told us Thompson was keen to do it until Joe shot the blow up doll in the head and he told Joe that everyone would know it was them if he did it now.
16:54 Why is Eric wearing an undercover camera in this scene? I can’t think of a reason, other than James saying he didn’t want to be filmed. Later he is filmed, but I wonder if they ever told him how they had gotten the undercover video, presumably before having him sign any kind of a release, since they were being sneaky. Now, if they had a release, would it apply to the footage they took without James’ permission?
23:08 Goode knows James Garretson is working for the feds and tells John Finlay, Joe’s husband, who clearly did not know before that moment. They go on to allow Joe to hurl all kinds of accusations of illegal activity against Garretson so as to discredit him. They use Reinke to back up Joe’s portrayal of Garretson.
31:08 TigerKing isn’t clear on the timeline, but using what they showed and what I know:
11/23/2017 approximately around Thanksgiving, Joe hired Alan Glover and gave him a false ID, a burner phone with my info and photos on it, and $3000 up front, with two grand more to come at proof of murder. James Garretson tells the USFWS agent Matt Bryant that Joe is trying to hire Glover to kill me, but that’s he’s told Glover he can get him a “goodbye” hooker, so to let him know before he goes. Meanwhile the feds decide it would be a lot safer to have an undercover agent take Glover’s place. Joe is slow to provide the new hitman with a gun, burner phones and cash, because he’s already provided all of that to Glover but no one knows that yet. Glover disappears the feds can’t find him until the following July 2018.
4/5/2018 approximate time that Jeff Lowe is released from prison in Las Vegas and he returns to the GW Zoo. Garretson had been trying to help the FBI get an undercover agent in touch with Joe because the feds wanted to be sure Joe didn’t hire another outside hitman. When Lowe gets back Garretson tells Lowe about the feds coming for Joe. Lowe decides to tell the feds what he knows about Joe hiring Glover by getting Glover to say, on a recorded call, what Joe had hired him to do.
32:25 Reinke is positioning this as Lowe trying to escape prosecution in Vegas by turning on Joe, but Joe had already hired Glover 5 months before and evidence at trial showed that Joe was hounding Glover to get it done during the same time that Joe was telling the undercover FBI agent “Mark” that he needed to sell some tigers to come up with the cash to pay him. Lowe’s hands weren’t clean, but he didn’t set Joe up. If he had, it would have been Lowe going to the feds, to tell them about Joe hiring Glover, not Garretson telling them in Nov. 2017. The part no one knew, until Lowe came clean, was that Joe had paid Glover. The authorities thought that deal had fallen apart and didn’t know there was a hitman in the wind. Instead of using four days of testimony from Joe’s trials to prove what Lowe and Glover said were true about the murder for hire, they chose instead to cast doubt via Reinke, Joe and Antle saying it was a setup.
35:08 Lowe, wearing an undercover camera says to Joe, “You paid somebody to kill Carole Baskin.” Joe doesn’t deny it. That’s when Lowe said Joe packed up the animals he stole and left.
35:38 Assistant US Prosecutor Amanda Green said when they learned that Joe had paid Glover they indicted him and began trying to track him down.
36:33 Amanda Green says they were able to ping Joe’s burner phone. She didn’t say how but it was Joe’s niece turning him in after she got the number from him calling her grandmother, Joe’s mother, Shirley Schreibvogel. In September of 2018 Joe was arrested in Gulf Breeze, FL on his way to apply for a nursing position even though he has no such training.
39:11 They seek your sympathy for Joe when he details the horrors of being incarcerated. It always seems that Sylvia Corkill tells the world whatever Joe wants the message to be, which is that he has mountains of evidence to prove he was framed. Of course that turned out to be a lie. Joe’s only evidence at trial was his own word. He was convicted by a jury of 12 of his peers (+2 alternates) and a judge after four days of evidence that he tried to hire at least two men to kill me and also killed 5 tigers just to make room for ones that would be paying board for a total of 17 wildlife trafficking charges. Not one person spoke on his behalf at the trial and his mother and siblings didn’t even attend. People who actually know him all say he’s right where he belongs, which is in jail for the next 22 years.
41:44 The episode ends where it began with Joe saying, “Let me show and tell the whole thing, and then you’ll get it. You’ll say Jesus, fucking Christ, why are you in jail?” And with that final scene Tiger King did just that; leaving the viewer to believe the words of a convicted felon as the truth.
Episode 7 Dethroned
4:22 Instead of using the mountains of evidence in Joe’s trials to show why he was convicted, TigerKing instead relies on Kevin Antle to say the government had not case and trumped up charges. In order to give credibility to Antle they choose to have Joe echo what he says as validation. Eric asks Joe point blank if he shot the tigers, but then relies on Joe saying it was euthanasia of sick cats rather than his vet’s testimony at trial to the contrary.
8:00 TigerKing plays recordings of Lowe telling Glover that the feds might offer him an immunity deal if he tells them all he knows, and the viewer is left to believe that is what happened, but Eric Goode was at the trial where that turned out to not be the case. Glover knew and said on the stand that he was not given immunity and presumably, if Goode was interviewing Lowe he knew that Lowe was not given immunity.
11:06 Trot out Sylvia Corkill to say that the government was strategic in combining the murder for hire with the animal abuse charges because people care about animals even if they wouldn’t care about him trying to kill me. No expert was given a voice as to why those charges were so codependent. The murder for hire was the direct result of Joe’s desire to silence me for exposing his wildlife crimes.
15:10 Joe is given another opportunity to say he was set up and that he wasn’t participating in the conversation between Lowe and Garretson about killing me on the bike path, but he and TigerKing leave out that Maldonado had offered at that meeting to kill me and Joe said it couldn’t be his husband to do the deed. Travis died 10/6/2017 so this plan was hatched prior to that day and was put into play around the middle of November 2017.
16:40 Goode is interviewing the hitman and asking whether Joe deserves to be in jail and the scene he sets for that is Glover cleaning and then sitting in his bathtub in his underwear? What more could you do to try and make a man who was hired to kill a woman look more ridiculous, while asking his opinion on something of that gravity? Corkill then attacks his veracity and so does Joe from jail.
17:31 TigerKing and Joe make a huge deal of Glover saying he didn’t come to Tampa and that he wouldn’t have gone on vacation to Florida as if to indicate that Glover never headed to Florida to kill me after being paid by Joe, given a cell phone with my info on it, and having had John Finlay drive him to Texas to get a fake ID so he could travel without a trace. TigerKing never mentioned the fact that Glover’s phone had been mailed to Lowe, by Joe, so they could turn it on in Vegas to give Glover an alibi. All of that was presented at the trial, but not by the producers of TigerKing.
19:32 Instead of showing any of the transcripts or exhibits from the trial, or interviewing anyone with an opposing view, other than Howie, the show relies on Antle again to make the case that Joe was set up. Just in case you don’t trust the guy who is accused of running a cult and cremating baby tigers, they bring the likeable Josh Dial out to say unequivocally, “Jeff Lowe set him up. That is the truth of the matter. It’s a tragedy. It’s a God damned tragedy because Joe was set up.”
22:38 TigerKing seems to portray those who testified against Joe as having some regrets that he was convicted, but in the after show Episode 8 that does not appear to have had the same editors, everyone said Joe was right where he belongs. These same witnesses have made the rounds on news and talk shows and have been firm in their belief that 22 years was an appropriate sentence.
24:46 Reinke tells the media that Joe wouldn’t have tried to have me murdered unless someone else pushed it and then talks about how sad it is that Joe will likely die in jail. That cuts to Joe crying in jail. The very next scene is a chilled bottle of champagne on a table on the porch of a mobile home at the sanctuary and a tray of shrimp. The voice over is Howie telling Eric how we often will have brie and a glass of champagne to celebrate our little victories but the video is showing Howie eat a shrimp. Neither of us can remember what Eric said to set that stage, but he set it to get that scene to contrast poor Joe in prison and the elitist Baskins celebrating his incarceration with champagne and shrimp. We don’t keep chilled champagne at the sanctuary, nor do we keep shrimp or brie there. Eric had to have brought those props with him and asked us to celebrate something with him in order to get the footage he wanted. My best guess is that he said it was the last time he’d be coming to film; which would have been a welcomed reason to party, but I can’t recall for sure.
Goode then cuts to Howie singing to me outside that same porch, as if to continue the party, but we are wearing different clothes so it wasn’t the same day, if even in the same year. When they cut back to Howie talking about the outcome of the trial we are wearing the clothes from the day he was singing, not the day with the shrimp and champagne.
32:23 It’s implied that Howie is talking about winning battle after battle in a feud with Joe, but the question asked of us was about the federal bill and if we were depressed that the bill had not passed. I’m sure of that because he says, “whether it’s five years or ten years we will make it happen.” Joe was already in jail at this time. To make sure the viewer thinks we are talking about fighting Joe they cut to a literal cat fight between tigers. Then to ensure the viewer thinks it’s about a feud they have Saff saying, “Nobody wins. Everybody involved is a so called animal advocate. Not a single animal benefitted from this war.” Then just to be sure that the viewer thinks we are all talking about the mythical feud, Reinke comes in saying, “I’m done with this he said, she said, stuff.”
And just in case that wasn’t enough, they end with Josh Dial saying, “Everyone has lost in this. What started out as this feud between two people…” while Joe is shown snuggling with tiger cubs like he really cares, “…good and noble fight to stop cub selling, cub petting turned into a personal legal court battle and it just became about them…” as the camera shows me laughing. Dial goes on to say all the money spent to pursue our collection against Joe should have gone to saving tigers in the wild. No one points out that we spend over $100,000 a year protecting cats in the wild. No one gives voice to the truth that in order to save the tiger in the wild, the first step is to end the captive breeding of them so that we have some level of authority on the global stage to stop tiger farming. This has been told over and over to the producers, complete with documentation of our state department being negatively impacted by the unregulated breeding and dealing in tigers. In these last few minutes the important points are so poorly made. Most with just text on the screen and no powerful voice to call attention to the fact that Big Cat Rescue has been leading the campaign to stop cub handling and phase out private possession so that we can save the tiger in the wild since the 90s.
36:54 Instead of ending with recapping how Joe’s choices to exploit big cats and protect others doing the same thing has caused us to have to spend so much money and time to both end his cruel actions and send a chilling message to others who abuse big cats for their own personal gain, they take this time to make it look like Joe has some sense of self reckoning about what he’s done by holding wild animals hostage. That will make him look like someone you can feel sorry for.
38:14 As Joe hobbles off into the sunset the text rolls across the screen saying Joe was sentenced to 22 years in prison and that the Big Cat Public Safety Act has not passed. If the producers cared at all about ending the abusive practice of mass producing cubs for pay to play sessions you would think they could have added a single line of text saying, “But you can change that by asking your member of Congress to support this bill at BigCatAct.com” They had one last chance to do something decent and chose not to do it.
Where Are We Today?
6/1/2020 Big Cat Rescue was awarded the GW Zoo and Back Payments. Judge Scott Palk ruled in case number CIV-16-155-SLP Big Cat Rescue VS Greater Wynnewood Development Group, LLC transferring ownership of the property and all of the assets (buildings, cages, vehicles, tools; not the animals) to our constructive trust which was an LLC we set up called 25803 North Country Road 3250 LLC. The judge also found the Zoo (Jeff Lowe’s LLC) owing us rents from February 15, 2016, to June 1, 2020, in the amount of $4,166 per month ($220,798), with pre judgment interest at the lawful rate from February 15, 2016 and post judgment interest thereon. He’s also been ordered to start paying $4,166 per month to us beginning July 1, 2020 until he vacates the property and removes all of the animals (which we never listed as assets). Lowe has 120 days from 6/1/2020 to relocate the animals.
This isn’t over. We still have a number of motions before the court in this case and are just waiting for the judge to rule. That’s why we cannot speak publicly about the case and are not doing interviews to rebut the outlandish claims of those we are suing. Legal matters should be decided by the courts and the expert witnesses and not the court of public opinion based on what little detail (and mostly wrong information) they are fed by the media and YouTube influencers.
It seems a lot of people don’t understand why we aren’t allowed to rescue all the animals with this order. It’s because the animals weren’t assets. They are liabilities due to the enormous cost of caring for them. They were never part of the lawsuit. We would have loved to have had them awarded to us, but that’s not how the legal system works. We can’t make Lowe give up the animals. He says he’s moving them to Thackerville and calling the new place TigerKingPark on Instagram. Neither Joe nor Jeff would have any reason to give up their “cash cows” so the only thing we can hope is that they no longer find a market, in ignorant people paying to see and pet cubs, and decide to place all of the animals in legitimate sanctuaries. There are plenty of sanctuaries, that are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, who stand ready and willing to provide permanent homes if Lowe will agree to never possess another exotic animal.
Even Joe’s origin story about his brother Garold isn’t true according to Joe’s family. Joe likes to say that he had to make the decision to pull the plug on his brother and donate his organs when the doctors said he’d never recover, but Garold was an adult and was married with children. Joe was not the person making those last decisions for Garold. The family also says that Garold never dreamed of going to Africa nor was he a huge animal lover. It appears that Joe seized upon the grief of his parents to have them finance Joe’s dream of ruling his own kingdom.