Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue, gained worldwide fame following the release of the documentary series Tiger King, which premiered on Netflix in 2020. The show delved into the world of big cats, exposing the abuse and exploitation of these beautiful creatures. One of the mysteries that kept viewers engaged was the disappearance of Don Lewis, Baskin’s second husband, and the questions surrounding the vast wealth he left behind. In this article, we explore the possibility that Baskin inherited her wealth from Lewis legally, rather than being involved in his vanishing.
The Mysterious Don Lewis
Don Lewis was a wealthy real estate investor who married Carole Baskin in 1991 after she responded to his advertisements to purchase a bobcat. Together, they formed the Wildlife on Easy Street sanctuary, which was a forerunner to Big Cat Rescue. Lewis was an eccentric character who had a fascination with exotic cats and reportedly made shrewd investments in real estate, cars, and horses.
The Mystery of Don Lewis’s Wealth
Lewis had an odd and confusing financial history. In the 1980s, he was involved in a Ponzi scheme that targeted military veterans, and according to one former associate, he had amassed around $7 million before the scheme collapsed. Following the scheme’s collapse, Lewis declared bankruptcy, but he bounced back and became a self-made millionaire in the ’90s, investing in real estate and owning around 200 rental properties at the time of his disappearance.
Lewis was also a known horse trader and invested in several racehorses. He owned a private airport hanger and three airplanes, which he used for business ventures and personal travel. Lewis had an interest in exotic animals from a young age and became one of the biggest cat breeders in the United States by 1997, importing cats from the Caribbean.
Lewis went missing in 1997, and despite several investigations, his body has never been found, and the investigation into his disappearance remains open. After his disappearance, Baskin declared Lewis dead and inherited his estate, including several million dollars’ worth of real estate and assets. This led to speculation that Baskin may have something to do with her husband’s vanishing.
The mystery surrounding Don Lewis’s wealth is one that may never be entirely solved. While some have speculated that Baskin may have been involved in her husband’s disappearance, there is no concrete evidence to support these claims. Lewis was a successful businessman, investor, and animal trader, and his wealth could have been legally inherited by Baskin. Despite the controversies and rumors regarding Lewis’s financial dealings, his legacy continues to live on through his wife’s dedication to the protection of big cats.