What is Joe Exotic’s Net Worth?
Joe Exotic is an American former zoo operator and convicted felon and reality TV personality who has a net worth of -$1 million. Joe Exotic who operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma. He rose to fame after the park and the various controversies surrounding it were featured on the 2020 Netflix documentary series, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness.”
In 2019 he was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of murder for hire for his role in the plot to kill Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin. He was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison.
Joe previously was ordered to pay Baskin a $1 million judgment in a trademark dispute. As a result of that judgment, Baskin was awarded control of his zoo properties. Joe attempted to hide ownership of the zoos by transferring rights to his mother. Baskin was able to overturn this transfer. The judgment also gave Baskin control of several cars and houses on the property. It’s highly unlikely that Joe will ever recover financially from the judgement.
Joe Exotic was born on March 5, 1963 in Garden City, Kansas. His birth name is Joseph Allen Schreibvogel and his parents are Francis and Shirly Schreibvogel. He grew up in Kansas with his four siblings before the family moved to Texas, where Joe attended high school. After graduating from Pilot Point High School, he joined the Eastvale police department and was promoted to chief of the department in 1982. However, he allegedly got into a car accident in 1985 which left him injured, eventually leading to him leaving the police force. Reports of the accident different across a number of interviews that Joe gave in the decades that followed.
Exotic Animal Career
Following the 1985 accident, Joe moved to West Palm Beach, Florida and began managing a pet store. During this time, Joe was able to handle baby lions for the first time, which developed an interest an exotic animals. He then returned to Texas and eventually opened his own pet store with one of his brothers, G.W., in Arlington in 1986. After his brother died in a car accident in 1997, Joe sold the pet shop and then purchased a 16-acre farm in Oklahoma.
Over the next two years, he developed the land and opened the Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Memorial Park in dedication to his brother in 1999. Two of his brother’s pets were the zoo’s first inhabitants. Joe then acquired his first two tigers, which had been abandoned, in 2000. He also acquired some of the alligators that had been owned by Michael Jackson. Over the next 20 years, Joe owned and operated the G.W. Zoo. After meeting a traveling musician in 2002 who handled tigers during various illusions he performed, Joe realized that he was also interested in developing a similar act. From that point on, he began acquiring more and more large cats and began staging traveling magic shows, using the name “Joe Exotic” as a stage name.
A key part of the show was allowing audience members to pet the lion cubs and take pictures with them. The shows eventually evolved into cub petting events and he began breeding the cats in order to ensure that he had a consistent supply of cubs. In order to attract more people to the show, he also began dressing more flamboyantly and adopted what became his trademark bleached mullet hairstyle.
Over the years that he owned the zoo, Joe was featured in a number of different documentaries. Most notably, he was featured in the Netflix documentary series, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.” The show centered on his rival with Carole Baskin, another large cat owner in Florida. The show was released during the Covid-19 pandemic and became a viral sensation.
Outside of his time running the zoo, Joe also was an aspiring country music artist. Some of his original music can be heard on “Tiger King.” He also ran for president in the 2016 election, though he lost. He then ran in the 2018 Libertarian Party primary election for Governor of Oklahoma.
Legal Troubles and Conviction
Over the course of his life, Joe had several run-ins with the police and federal authorities and ultimately ended up in jail. Many of the investigations surrounding Joe involved his feud with Carole Baskin, as well as his treatment of the animals at his zoo. In 2018, he was arrested and accused of attempting to hired hitman to kill Baskin. He was ultimately found guilty of hiring someone to murder Baskin as well as falsifying wildlife records, and violating the Endangered Species Act by killing five tigers and selling tigers across state lines. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January of 2020. He has since sought pardons from President Trump and President Biden, neither of which have been successful.
Joe is openly gay and he has referred to a number of his past partners as his husband, despite only marrying one of them. He was ousted as being gay by one of his brothers in his early life and since then has been very open about being gay, especially in a generally conservative state like Oklahoma. Joe’s first known partner was Brian Rhyne who died of complications from HIV in 2001. He later had relationships with various employees of the zoo, including John Finlay and Travis Maldonado. The three were unofficially married to each other within a month of Maldonado’s arrival to the zoo in 2013. However, Joe and Finlay had a falling out, which led to Joe legally marrying only Maldonado. In 2017, Maldonado fatally shot himself at the zoo. The same year, Joe married Dillon Passage. They remained together until 2021 when Passage began a relationship with another man.
Outside of his romantic struggles, Joe has also had a variety of health problems over the years. Most recently, in 2021, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer while he was in prison. He was moved to the Federal Medical Center in North Carolina to seek treatment.