INDIANAPOLIS - FEBRUARY 24, 2023 - Attorney General Todd Rokita and his team announced a win in the case against Tiger King’s Timothy Stark in the Court of Appeals of Indiana.
“These majestic animals should be treated with respect and properly cared for, as they are all God’s creatures,” Attorney General Rokita said.
The court affirmed Stark is personally liable for funds and assets misappropriated from his nonprofit corporation Wildlife In Need (WIN).
This case should serve as an example to all nonprofit organizations that they must use donations for their intended purposes and cannot misrepresent their activities to would-be donors.
“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 Rokita said.
A Marion County Court ordered the priority distribution of assets to the State and the Indianapolis Zoo. In September 2020, the Attorney General’s Office in conjunction with the zoo as a receiver removed approximately 161 animals from WIN, which operated in Charlestown, Indiana. In the same month the animals were removed, WIN’s board of directors voted to dissolve the nonprofit organization.
In May 2022, a Marion County Court issued an order addressing the distribution of WIN’s assets being held for distribution. In its order, Judge Dreyer wrote, “The Attorney General, Animal Receiver, and Corporate Receiver have gone to extraordinary lengths to perform their duties under this Court’s Orders and Indiana law. Due to their efforts, the animals rescued from the conditions at WIN that would have not survived and/or would have continued to be subject to abuse and neglect without the intervention of the Attorney General and Animal Receiver, are now living healthy and enriched lives.”
The attorney general made it a point to thank the hard work of Deputy Attorneys General Michelle Alyea and Tamara Weaver for their efforts and dedication to this important case.
If Hoosiers believe a nonprofit has exceeded its authority or violated the law, they are encouraged to file a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
Our Office looks to and relies on Hoosiers filing complaints to know what companies or individuals to investigate and go after. A consumer complaint can be filed at indianaconsumer.com.
Attached is the Court of Appeals’ Order.
Stark COA Decision (2-23-2023).pdf