Tim Stark of Wildlife in Need loses Indiana appeals case
CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WAVE) - Tim Stark, known for his appearance in Netflix’s Tiger King documentary and as the owner of Clark County’s Wildlife in Need roadside zoo, is being found liable for misappropriated funds from the nonprofit organization.
In May 2022, an order was issued by a Marion County court to distribute assets of Wildlife in Need after a trial found the nonprofit had been using funds for Stark’s personal use and failed to notify a board of directors that Stark intended to transfer assets to a new business in Oklahoma.
Several lawsuits were filed against Stark and Wildlife in Need for treatment of animals used during Wildlife in Need’s “Tiger Baby Playtime” events and causing dozens of violations of animal welfare regulations and standards.
Indiana’s Attorney General filed a complaint with intent to remove Stark from a directorial position at Wildlife in Need, require him to return the misappropriated funds and to prevent Stark and Wildlife in Need from obtaining or exhibiting exotic or native animals.
Custody of the animals within Wildlife in Need was transferred to the Indianapolis Zoological Society on Sept. 10, 2020, and the Board of Directors voted to dissolve Wildlife in Need ten days later.
Stark filed an appeal for the order, claiming that he was entitled to use “the proceeds of WIN to handle personal obligations, such as utilities for the properties.”
However, an appeals court stated that there was evidence proving Stark routinely used WIN funds to pay for personal expenses, including credit card debt, personal property improvements, and taking equipment and animals purchased in Wildlife in Need to Oklahoma while he lived there.
“Despite his 15 minutes of fame in the Netflix documentary Tiger King and Tiger King 2, Stark was still required to abide by the law – just like any other citizen,” Attorney General Todd Rokita said in a release.
The attorney general said the case should serve as an example for other nonprofits to use their donations for intended purposes and not misrepresenting donors.
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