The daughters of Carole Baskin’s first husband trampled the Tiger King star’s Dancing with the Stars debut last night with an ad offering a $ 100,000 reward for information about his disappearance.
Don Lewis – who along with Baskin started the animal shelter that later became Big Cat Rescue Corp. in Tampa, Florida, disappeared a day before a planned trip to Costa Rica in 1997.
In the Netflix phenomenon Tiger King, Baskin’s rival Joe Exotic raised suspicions that she gave her husband to tigers after Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison for plotting against her.
Last night, when Baskin danced the pasodoble to the Eye of the Tiger, Lewis’ three daughters Gale, Lynda and Donna, along with his former assistant, Anne McQueen, made heartfelt pleas for information about his disappearance.
Last night, when Baskin danced the pasodoble to the Eye of the Tiger, Lewis’ three daughters Gale (back right), Lynda (front right) and Donna (back left), along with his former assistant, Anne McQueen (front left), made a genuine plea for information. about his disappearance, as they were accompanied by family attorney John Phillips
Animal activist: Carole Baskin, 59, a big cat rights activist appeared on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars last night, wearing a tiger print dress and dancing the pasodoble
Baskin is pictured with Lewis. She declined to take a lie detector test regarding his disappearance in 2011
Baskin is the rival of Tiger King star Joe Exotic who gained worldwide fame on Netflix this year. A federal judge in June granted control of the Oklahoma Zoo formerly operated by Maldonado-Passage – aka Joe Exotic – to Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue Corp.
During the commercial, family lawyer John Phillips said, “Don Lewis mysteriously disappeared in 1997. His family deserves answers, they deserve justice.
“Do you know who did this and if Carole Baskin was involved?”
Baskin, 59, has not been charged with any crime and has repeatedly denied the allegations made in the hit documentary.
The family’s ad appeared during a commercial break when Baskin, 59, wore a tiger print dress to carve across the floor with professional dancer Pasha Pashkov for the premiere of season 29 of ABC’s celebrity ballroom competition.
Baskin freed Pasha from a cage filled with stuffed tiger animals while performing for the Eye of the Tiger, the theme of the 1982 sports movie Rocky III.
They received a score of 11 points from the judges and ended at the end of the premiere at the bottom of the rankings.
“Hey, cool cats and kittens,” Baskin said, using her catchphrase during her introductory video from Tampa, Florida. ‘My life was turned upside down by the documentary Tiger King. If someone had told me last year that I was going to be on Season 29 of Dancing With The Stars, I would have laughed out loud. ‘
Then she was shown meeting Pasha for the first time and greeted him with a handmade wreath that she placed on his head.
“The whole outfit is screaming cats,” Pashkov said after meeting Baskin who wore a leopard print top and pants.
Baskin danced with Pasha Pashkov on Dancing with the Stars last night
Baskin dances with Pasha Pashkov on Dancing with the Stars last night while Bruno Tonioli and Tyra Banks watch
Season premiere: Baskin performed on Monday for the Eye Of The Tiger with pro partner Pasha Pashkov at the season 29 premiere of Dancing With The Stars on ABC
Last month, Lewis’s family held a press conference in Tampa and announced an independent investigation into his disappearance.
Lewis’ van was found near the airport after he went missing and he was declared legally dead in 2002.
Baskin was offered a lie detector test in 2011, but she declined to take it.
She is now married to Howard Baskin.
Lewis’ body has never been found and Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister recently reopened the case.
“We’re going to serve (Baskin) with a lawsuit, but not a lawsuit for damages, it’s a lawsuit for fairness,” Phillips said during the briefing at Riverhills Church of God on Aug. 10.
The discovery letter would allow them to get information before deciding who to charge. It means that deposits or subpoenas can be on the cards.
“In general, you announce a $ 150 million lawsuit and how we will get justice. And we’re all going to do that on time, ”Phillips continued. ‘But our office wants to invite reason, invite a civil conversation where possible.’
The Lewis family attended a press conference at the Riverhills Church of God in Tampa, Florida in August
Lewis’s family offers $ 100,000 in exchange for information to solve the case
The family also focuses on Kenny Farr, Don’s handyman who appeared in Tiger King, and a woman who witnessed the signing of Lewis’s will.
That woman, Susan A. Bradshaw, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2005 that Baskin told her she was there to sign the will, but she claims she wasn’t.
‘It is in everyone’s interest to resolve this matter. I believe it is in the interest of Carole Baskin. I invite her to the table, ”Phillips said. “I invite her to talk and let us know what really happened.
“I’ll ask for courtesy sometime. I’ll ask one time that we get together to shut this whole thing down. If that is not possible, I am a lawyer. I sue people. We also go that route. Make no mistake, if the family’s offer of courtesy is turned down, if the insults continue, the next step is to bring justice, for justice is love. ‘
In addition to the Dancing with the Stars ad, the family has already paid for billboards in the Tampa area asking for information about the case.
It comes after the popular Tiger King documentary about Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as ‘Joe Exotic’, an eccentric former Oklahoma zookeeper.
Earlier this year, Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder plot.
Carole is now married to Howard Baskin (pictured left) and she has not been charged with Lewis’s disappearance
He was convicted of trying to hire someone to kill Baskin, who tried to shut him down, accusing the Oklahoma Zoo of abusing animals and selling big cat cubs.
In retaliation, Maldonado-Passage asked questions about Baskin’s former husband. The documentary dealt extensively with Maldonado-Passage’s repeated allegations that Baskin had murdered her husband and possibly fed him to her tigers.
Maldonaldo-Passage is currently in prison. In June, a federal judge granted Big Cat Rescue Corp. control of the Oklahoma Zoo previously operated by Maldonado-Passage – aka Joe Exotic.
Baskin previously sued Maldonado-Passage for trademark and copyright infringements and won a $ 1 million civil suit against him. The judge ruled that the zoo’s ownership had been fraudulently transferred to Maldonado-Passage’s mother in an attempt to not pay the verdict.
In March, the Hillsborough County sheriff asked for tips in the Lewis case and announced a reopening of Lewis’s case.