‘Tiger King’: How Exactly Did Carol Baskin’s Missing Husband Don Lewis Earn His Millions?

by Jeremy Spirogis
Tiger King: Carole Baskin

While investigators dive again into the case of Carole Baskin’s lacking husband Jack “Don” Lewis, some Tiger King followers surprise how he made his cash. Reports state that Lewis was value tens of millions when he met Baskin, however the place did it come from?

Carol Baskin denounces new seek for Don Lewis in a post-‘Tiger King’ world

Tiger King: Carole Baskin
Carole Baskin | Netflix

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On Aug. 10, members of the family of Lewis held a press convention with their attorneys to debate particulars of the case shifting ahead. The success of Netflix’s Tiger King thrust the chilly case again into the highlight.

Lewis was final seen in 1997 simply earlier than a visit to Costa Rica. Tiger King viewers alleged Baskin was concerned in Lewis’s disappearance. Investigators haven’t but discovered proof connecting her to the case.

“We really need someone to come forward in the case with information,” household spokesman Jack Smith mentioned on the press convention by way of WFLA. “And there’s a lot of people out there that have information but they’re scared to come forward. There’s people with animals — exotic animals — that are scared if they come forward, they’re gonna lose their animals somehow.”

Baskin despatched an announcement to the outlet by way of e-mail following the convention.

“I consider it’s a publicity stunt orchestrated by Jack Smith to bolster his YouTube views however do hope that the entire consideration from Tiger King and the aftermath will result in us discovering Don,” she mentioned.

$100,000 reward provided for info

RELATED: ‘Tiger King’: Mega-Reward Offered for Information About Carol Baskin’s Missing Husband Don Lewis

With the anniversary of Lewis’s disappearance approaching — Aug. 18, 1997 — Lewis’s household had 4 billboards put up round Tampa providing a $100,000 reward for info concerning the disappearance.

With the assistance of household legal professional John Phillips, one other legal professional provided free companies to encourage folks to return ahead.

“You’re looking at a criminal defense attorney over here who’s ready to make someone a deal if you have information,” Smith mentioned on the convention.

Lewis’ youngest daughter, Gale Rathbone, has blended emotions about her father’s consideration via Tiger King.

“Amazingly, our little family tragedy has become your tragedy. Our search for closure and truth has become your mission also,” she mentioned.

“We all know by now that he was not a perfect man. But do only the perfect among us deserve justice? We’re asking that anyone with vital information please come forward so that progress can be made on his case.”

That mentioned, Baskin stood to inherit Lewis’s property within the occasion of his passing.

How did Lewis earn his tens of millions?

Attorney John PhillipsAttorney John Phillips
Attorney John Phillips | O. Jones/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Tiger King’: Carole Baskin Says ‘People Have Totally Missed the Point of the Series’

While investigators look to uncover what precisely occurred to Lewis, it brings many Tiger King followers to surprise how Lewis was value a lot within the first place.

Lewis labored quite a lot of odd jobs all through his teen years corresponding to mechanic and farmhand. He ultimately moved into the automotive business the place he met Baskin. According to her, that’s the place he first made massive cash.

“He had a business cutting the axles off of trailers pulled by tractors and selling the boxes as storage and the axles back Great Dane. If you search the property records you will find her only owned two real estate properties at the time,” Baskin posted to her web site.

“He may well have been worth six figures and, coming from a very modest background, would have felt he was rich. No one, including Anne McQueen who had access to his books, has ever provided any bank records or other evidence that he had more than that.”

She continued: “One day at the bank he overheard a bank officer say he had a $20,000 loan in default he would be glad to sell for $2000. He got the information and, because he could not read beyond a first-grade level, asked me to look into it. In brief, we bought the loan, foreclosed, and sold the property for a substantial profit.”

This, she mentioned, started their enterprise into the real-estate business.

“We started buying defaulted loans from banks and going to tax deed sales. This was before this became a popular business. There were few people doing it. With me doing the research, negotiations and title clearing on the properties we built this to a portfolio of properties to rent or resell that was worth around $5 million dollars at the time of his disappearance.”

After Lewis’s disappearance, his property was divided between Baskin and Lewis’s kids.

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