INDIANAPOLIS — Editor's Note: The above video is from July 2021.
Tim Stark, the former owner and operator of Wildlife in Need, was held in contempt of court Tuesday after he asked for his scheduled hearing to be delayed.
Stark was set to appear before an Indianapolis judge Tuesday to defend himself after auctioning off what was left of the self-proclaimed wildlife refuge in July.
Prosecutors with the Indiana Attorney General's office filed an emergency motion after learning about the auction, worried that Stark would profit off of the sale of items that belonged to Wildlife in Need.
Despite a court order to appear in person, court officials said Stark was tending to other business more than 800 miles away.
When the judge asked where Stark might be the answers varied. The prosecutor said he believed Stark was traveling across the country in an RV.
A representative from PETA said they saw him on social media, posting from a casino parking lot in Oklahoma.
"See I'm standing here at in the parking lot at Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. See it there- there it is- there's the big sign," Stark said during a Facebook live.
Stark told the court his absence was tied to COVID. He filed a last minute continuance, explaining he had been exposed was starting to experience symptoms. It was the second motion of this kind. Court was cancelled at the end of last year when he told the judge he had tested positive.
The prosecutor on the case called proceedings involving Stark unusual.
"You don't know what you're going to get and I'll leave it at that," Cory Voight with the Indiana Attorney General's Office, said.
Voight said the AG's office had a big win in court, with the judge ruling to permanently place all of the animals that were taken from the property late last year. "We don't have to worry about someone file a motion in the court again, asking for those animals to come back to Charlestown, Indiana," Voight said.
Beyond Stark and his whereabouts, there's a completely separate issue at hand. Agencies are now working to collect, inventory and divide the money made from selling assets belonging to Wildlife in Need.
The judge set a hearing for that discussion on December 16.
Earlier this year, a judge ruled that Stark misused the funding for his nonprofit, and Wildlife in Need was dissolved. Stark also lost his license through the USDA to show animals after allegations of animal neglect and abuse.