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$3K: Joe Exotic cat breeder (part time politician) hires hit man to kill woman suing him

Joseph Maldonado-Passage
Pictured, Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka Joe Exotic.
Joseph Maldonado-Passage
Pictured, Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka Joe Exotic.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage indicted. Animal breeder and former political candidate, Joe Exotic indicted for hit job payoff of Big Cat Rescue founder, Carole Baskin.

A big cat breeder and former Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate has been indicted in an alleged murder for hire scheme following claims a Florida animal sanctuary founder was the intended victim.

In a released statement on Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Joseph Maldonado-Passage, 55, best known as Joe Exotic after allegedly trying to pay two different people to kill Florida woman cited only as ‘Jane Doe’.

The indictment also listed alternate names, Joseph Allen Maldonado and Joseph Allen Schreibvogel which Joe Exotic is also known as.

A regard of Exotic’s twitter handle listed the man describing himself along as an animal breeder, running for Oklahoma Governor,  Country music artist, TV actor, talk show host, Joe Exotic TV persona as well as championing legalizing marijuana. 

According to huffpo, Exotic formerly owned G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park, an Oklahoma zoo now called the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. Current zoo owner Jeff Lowe bought the venue and took over as CEO in 2016, but Exotic remained on staff as the ‘entertainment director’ until last June.

While the indictment declined naming the intended ‘hit job’ victim, the founder of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Carole Baskin said she was the intended victim.

In a released statement, Baskin cited multiple threatening statements Exotic made over the years (see video directly below), largely in online videos uploaded to his YouTube channel, JoeExoticTV. Big Cat Rescue posted a clip on Facebook showing Exotic shooting the head off of a blow-up doll made to look like Baskin.

‘I was surprised he didn’t want to do it himself,’ Baskin told News 9, of the alleged murder plot.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage indictment follows public vitriol with Big Cat Rescue founder, Carole Baskin.

According to the DOJ, Exotic gave an unidentified person $3,000 in November 2017 to murder his target, agreeing to pay the hit-person more when the deed was done. Prosecutors also allege that in 2016, Exotic repeatedly asked a second person to find him someone who could carry out the murder. That second person connected Exotic with an undercover FBI agent, who the DOJ alleges met with him to talk about the details of the plot.

The hit job brokering follows off the heels of back and forth counterclaims Baskin and Exotic made against each other over recent years. Baskin has repeatedly accused him of mistreating animals and endangering visitors during his stint as operator of the zoo in Wynnewood.

The cat breeder in turn accused accusing Baskin of mistreating animals at Big Cat Rescue and calling her a hypocrite.

in 2013, Exotic lost a $1 million trademark infringement lawsuit against Big Cat Rescue after reportedly lifting images and logos from the Florida sanctuary.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage
Pictured, Joseph Maldonado-Passage aka Joe Exotic police bookings.

Joseph Maldonado-Passage: ‘Libertarian for the people’.

Under Joe Exotic’s Leadership, the Wynnewood zoo drew the constant ire of animal advocacy groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It was also the subject of multiple Department of Agriculture investigations.

In addition to allegations of animal-related mistreatment, Exotic has also made bids for political office. Last year, Exotic ran for Oklahoma governor, ultimately coming in third in the state’s Libertarian primary, The Associated Press reports. In 2016, Exotic campaigned as a write-in candidate for president and was featured on John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight.’

According to jail records cited by USA Today, Exotic is currently being held in Florida’s Santa Rosa County jail without bond.