How exactly did Carole Baskin earn her net worth? This is what we know
“That bitch Carole Baskin” has not left our minds since we met her in Tiger King this past March. While the internet continues to debate if she killed her second husband Don Lewis or not, we’re interested in a more intricate question: Where did Carole Baskin earn her net worth from?
We know that a large portion of her funds were made from Don Lewis’ real estate empire, that she received after he was legally declared dead. But she’s not just a rich widow: Carole Baskin has made her net worth what it is through her own hard work over the years as well.
A bed and breakfast turned animal sanctuary
Big Cat Rescue wasn’t always a non-profit wildlife habitat, but instead, a unique vacation opportunity for those daring enough. When Baskin opened the business in 1992, it was named Wildlife on Easy Street. Offering a unique bed and breakfast experience, guests could host a young wild cat in their cabin for the night.
By 1995 though, Baskin rebranded her animal project into an animal sanctuary, where guests could come and visit the animals. Still calling it Wildlife on Easy Street, the animal sanctuary wouldn’t be rebranded to Big Cat Rescue until sometime after Don Lewis’ disappearance, in 1997.
Remaining as CEO with the sanctuary, the organization became a non-profit, promoting freedom for big cats and not letting them sit trapped in cages. But considering the amount of deals Baskin struck up with the organization, we’re assuming that there’s some major money coming her way as CEO.
Inheriting Lewis’ real estate portfolio
A big part of Carole Baskin’s net worth though is the money from her husband she took after he was declared legally dead. Five years and one day after the real estate mogul’s disappearance, Baskin began the procedures to declare her husband legally dead so she could move on.
But naturally, with a portfolio that was worth well over $5 million, a big part of moving on was cashing in her due change. Carole Baskin wasn’t the only one desperate for a piece of Lewis’ net worth though, as his ex-wife and children were looking for their piece of the pie.
Working out a deal, Lewis’ children got $1 million split between them, while Carole Baskin walked away with the rest. She had already dipped into his fund though, as she was given a court-ordered $152,000 to help her run Big Cat Rescue.
Going after Joe Exotic for a million and some property
We can’t forget the big court case that we saw in Tiger King either. Joe Exotic stole the name Big Cat Rescue, which Carole had trademarked, as part of a travelling animal show to try and belittle her name and her mission.
It didn’t work though, because as soon as she caught wind, Baskin tried to go for Exotic and all of his money. Suing him for $1 million over trademark infringement, we know there was a settlement made somewhere. How much of that $1 million Carole got, we don’t know. But we do know Carole Baskin definitely kicked up her net worth from the case.
While it’s not physical money, getting Joe Exotic’s former zoo property is a huge gain for Baskin financially as well. We don’t know the official value of the GW Exotic Animal Park, but knowing what Joe did with that property, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was worth a lot. Carole Baskin knows how to diversify her net worth and wealth.