INDIANAPOLIS — Wildlife in Need founder Tim Stark has spent much of the last month in jail — first in New York, then in Clark County and now in Indianapolis. During a sanctions hearing Thursday, a judge gave Stark five more days in jail as a penalty for his violation of court orders.
Stark was brought into the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, representing himself in the case between the Indiana Attorney General's office and Wildlife in Need.
The state argued in its lawsuit filed in February that Stark neglected animals, misused non-profit money and took advantage of the system.
"Not only is it not fair to the people who donate to an entity like this, we want to send the message that you can't in Indiana form a non-profit, get the advantages and then use it as your own piggy bank," said Joan Blackwell, general counsel for the Indiana Attorney General's Office.
Inside the courtroom, Wildlife in Need supporters got emotional as Stark teared up and blamed bad medication for much of his behavior over the last nine months.
He said he was sorry for the threats made on social media and outbursts in the courtroom, but stood by his stance that this case has been based on misinformation and lies.
"I think when he got into it he may have had good intentions but he let greed get the better of him and I think that's why we're here today, that's really why we're in Indianapolis and why he's in cuffs and why he's behind bars," former volunteer Aimee Perry said.
The state's lawsuit was filed with the intention to shut down Wildlife in Need for good, which has been accomplished after the court ruled the board of directors' file to dissolve the non-profit would stand.
But the case against Stark and Wildlife in Need has become more complicated than that with multiple violations of court orders and new motions filed by the state to hold him accountable.
"You're supposed to comply with the rules, you're supposed to comply with discovery, you're supposed to identify the animals, you're supposed to do a lot things that haven't been done here so its been an usual road," Indiana Attorney General's Office Chief Counsel Scott Barnhart said. "And you're dealing with a character, a character who doesn't feel that he needs to subject himself to the authority of the court and he's indicated that multiple times."
Even though the non-profit is dissolved, the case is not yet over. The judge decided during the hearing he did not have enough evidence to rule on the assets involved in the case so he set a trial date for December.
During that trial, he will hear evidence from Stark and the state to decided what belongs to Stark, and what belongs to Wildlife in Need. The assets that the judge determines to belong to Wildlife in Need will then be "called back."
Stark is set to be released from jail on Nov. 8.