Jeff Lowe Has No Plans to Clean Up 'Tiger King' Zoo for Carole Baskin (Exclusive)
By Zach Seemayer
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Carole Baskin may have been awarded Tiger King Park, but current owner Jeff Lowe says it's going to be a real mess when he gives it over. Lowe spoke with ET's Lauren Zima on Tuesday about the recent legal development, and said the zoo would be in a state of "complete hell" when she gets her hands on it.
"I mean, because I'm not taking care of it as we leave," said Lowe, who was given 120 days to vacate the property, including all animals currently living there. "The bamboo is about taking this place over."
Baskin was awarded the park on Monday, as part of a trademark judgment against former owner, and Baskin's nemesis, Joe Exotic, according to court documents obtained by ET.
The years-long contentious legal battle between Baskin and Exotic -- whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage -- was the subject of the megahit Netflix documentary Tiger King. The latest development comes nearly seven years after Exotic was first ordered to pay Baskin $1 million for trademark infringement.
Lowe, who currently operates the park, told ET that Baskin, who runs Big Cat Rescue Corp., "has no idea the amount of work it is to keep this park up."
According to Lowe -- whose own complex legal and personal relationships with Exotic and Baskin played a large role in the documentary and Exotic's eventual incarceration -- he'd been expecting this ruling for some time.
"We have anticipated this for almost two years. As soon as we came into the picture, Carol kind of automatically wrapped us under the same umbrella as Joe and tried to get me included in his judgement for a million dollars," he said. "I think she expected I could pay it when Joe never could so she fought long and hard and wasted a lot of money to get me named in her lawsuit."
Lowe went on to address his ongoing efforts to open a large animal park in Thackerville, Oklahoma, in September.
"It’s always been our intention to leave this place," Lowe said of the Wynnewood location. "We don’t particularly like it here, because of its geographical location. It’s not a great place for a business, it was poorly constructed, so we’re happy to let her have it… I wish her all the luck in the world, and she can have these 16 acres of haunted memories."
"We don’t care about the TV show, we don’t care about Carole Baskin, we care that these animals finally get the life that they deserve," he said of himself and wife Lauren, who joined him for the interview. "That’s why we’re anxious to get down to Thackerville."
Currently, Exotic is behind bars serving a 22-year prison sentence after he was convicted on multiple charges -- including two charges of murder-for-hire, related to his attempts to pay a man to kill Baskin. He also convicted of additional charges related to animal cruelty, including the killing of five tigers on his property.
For more on the now-infamous battle between Exotic, Baskin and Lowe -- all of whom became household names due to the unprecedented popularity of the Netflix documentary series -- see the video below.