Tiger King star Carole Baskin facing lawsuit as missing ex-husband’s family offer reward
Tiger King star Carole Baskin is facing a lawsuit from the family of her missing husband Don Lewis, who are also offering a reward for information on the presumed dead millionaire
On Monday, Lewis’ three daughters held a press conference with attorney John Phillips where they announced a fresh search for answers surrounding the 1997 disappearance of millionaire Don Lewis.
They also announced a $100,000 (£76,500) reward for information on what happened to Lewis after he went missing after leaving his home in Tampa, Florida on 18 August, 1997.
Lewis was declared dead in 2002 but his remains have never been found.
Local police had reopened the case into Lewis’ disappearance in June after the release of the hit docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness on Netflix earlier this year.
In the popular series, Baskin’s longtime rival and exotic animal keeper Joe Exotic accused Baskin of killing Lewis, an accusation which she firmly denies.
Four billboards have now been erected around Tampa advertising the cash reward for information on what happened to Lewis.
Tip-offs have been arriving from cold case groups on Facebook, which have been described as “promising leads”.
“We’re going to serve (Baskin) with a lawsuit, but not a lawsuit for damages, it’s a lawsuit for equity,” revealed Phillips on Monday.
This suggests that depositions and subpoenas could possibly on the cards for Baskin.
“Generally you announce a $150 million lawsuit and how we’re going to get justice and we are going to do all of that in time,” Phillips added. “But our office wants to invite reason, to invite civil conversation where it can be had.'”
Phillips invited Baskin to join with Lewis’ family to find answers about his fate, but they will take different avenues if she chooses not to.
“I will ask one time, for civility. I will ask one time that we come together to find closure of this whole thing,” said the lawyer. “If that can’t be done, I’m a lawyer, I sue people. We’ll go that route too.”
He noted: “Make no mistake, if the family’s offer for civility is rejected, if the insults continue, the next step is to bring justice, because justice is love.”
They will also focus their efforts on getting answers from Don’s old handyman Kenny Farr and Susan A. Bradshaw, who is said to have witnessed the signing of Lewis’ will.
Lewis’ daughters raised the money for the reward, but recently received a large donation from an anonymous patron.
Donna Pettis, Lewis’ eldest daughter, said: “An anonymous donor came forward guaranteeing the $100,000. We’re hoping that with these funds someone will have the courage to come forward and provide the information to solve this case.”
Pettis’ younger sister Gale Rathbone went on to add: “For 23 years I have gone to bed at night knowing the only chance I have of seeing him again is in my dreams.
“Hopefully one day soon we – and you – will know the truth.”
Mirror Online has reached out to Carole Baskin for comment.