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Posted on Oct 17, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Jeff Lowe

Jeff Lowe

Jeff Lowe

Jeff Lowe Threats to Breed More TigersJeff Lowe first came up on our radar when he was seeking to exhibit big cats in a flea market in Beaufort County, SC.  He reportedly was seeking to purchase a Colorado facility, Serenity Springs, and bring a large number of cats from there to his flea market in SC. Our understanding is that the County denied his request. Later we understood he was planning to purchase Serenity Springs and operate there. That purchase did not take place. In the course of all this there were posts online showing him developing a relationship with Joe Schreibvogel of GW Zoo (aka Joe Maldonado), who in our opinion is one of the most notorious abusers of tiger cubs.

Big Cat Rescue won a consent judgment for a little over $1mm against Schreibvogel personally and his zoo in 2013.  Schreibvogel then set up a new entity and moved the operations of the zoo into that entity. Big Cat Rescue won a consent judgment against the new entity in early 2016. Since then, Lowe set up yet another new entity that now claims to run the zoo with Lowe reportedly living at the zoo.

Lowe at one point announced he was going to build a drive-in theater with an animal exhibit on 10 acres south of the zoo but that has not happened. In the post at the right, which we believe was made by Lowe, he said he was going to buy  a 70 acre horse farm across the street from the zoo and breed more tigers.  That appears not to have happened.

Lowe brags about his alleged wealth and stated he was going to pay Schreibvogel’s legal fees.

As reported in the articles below, Lowe has a history of conflict with Beaufort County and, according to the article, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in 2008.

It is unclear if Lowe has a USDA exhibitors license.  This pre inspection report indicates he had sought one, but no license shows up under his name in the USDA online database.

 

The important thing to understand about Lowe is that he supports Joe Schreibvogel and his tiger cub breeding and petting. This activity in our opinion results in a miserable, unnatural life for the cubs during the few months they can be used for this purpose, after which there is no tracking of where these animals end up, if they survive.

Jeff Lowe has fraud conviction on his record

By REBECCA LURYE – rlurye@islandpacket.com

A Beaufort business owner fighting the county for the right to display his big cats has faced legal trouble before.

Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe — who requested a jury trial on Thursday to determine whether exhibiting lions and tigers violates the zoning ordinance for his property — pleaded guilty in 2008 to mail fraud, according to federal court records.

The conviction stemmed from a scheme in which he posed as an employee of Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse to get more than $1 million worth of goods for a fraction of their value, according to the court records.

Lowe declined to speak about the outcome of that investigation, saying the case was nonsense in 2004 “and it’s even more of a crock now.”

“I was never arrested,” Lowe said Thursday.

The court records, however, show he was indicted in 2007 on four counts of fraud and accused of falsely acquiring goods meant for CODA between 2003 and 2005, and selling them in his warehouse.

He was released on his own recognizance, according to his bond agreement, and pleaded guilty one year later to one count of fraud as part of a plea agreement to provide “detailed financial information to the United States Probation Office.”

Though the charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, Lowe was sentenced only to one year of probation. He also agreed to make a $10,000 donation to CODA in lieu of a fine, according to court records.

USDA SCRUTINY

His FBI case has not hindered Lowe from growing his business.

Lowe also continued to operate his warehouse business in Beaufort and launched a short-lived discount clothing venture with Mayor Billy Keyserling and Keyserling’s brother.

Lowe claims his Beaufort Liquidation store is the smallest of 13 partner companies in Florida and North Carolina, and that his operation in Charlotte has also been the site of filming for a reality television show.

While Lowe said in 2012 the show began filming in Beaufort and was slated to air on A&E, a spokesperson for the network said Thursday A&E is not filming any show with Lowe. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg County’s tax office also said it had no record of a business license for Lowe.

Still, Lowe says filming for the show moved to Charlotte after he was forced to close the outdoor flea market in the spring of 2014 because it was too close to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, he said.

When his Liquidation store reopened as an indoor market in March, it featured a home for his cats, a United States Department of Agriculture license to display two tigers and one lion, and free guided tours that immediately came under scrutiny by Beaufort County.

Deputy county administrator Josh Gruber said the county has now received more than 100 letters from residents and interest groups concerned about Lowe’s animals. Those comments are being reviewed by Beaufort County Council, Gruber said.

He did not know when Beaufort Magistrate Court would schedule Lowe’s jury trial.

Lowe is allowed to display any number of big cats at 5 Parker Drive under his license, according to Tanya Espinosa, a spokeswoman for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services.

However, license-holders must also tell the USDA about any other locations where they own big cats for the purpose of exhibition, regardless of where the animals are displayed there or moved to an approved location, Espinosa said.

She said the USDA was not aware Lowe claims he owns big cats in other locations or that he was cited by Beaufort County for a zoning ordinance violation and is currently looking into his compliance with the Animal Welfare Act.

‘FILL IT WITH ANIMALS’

If a judge rules he cannot display his big cats, Lowe said he has a plan.

He will close his flea market and convert it into an animal sanctuary that will be closed to the public.

“I’m going to fill this place. Absolutely fill it with animals,” Lowe said. “They (the county) think they’re going to discourage me because I can’t show them to people, but that’s not what this is about. This is about housing animals and giving them lives that are safe and secure.”

Nick Sculac of Serenity Springs Wildlife Center in Calhan, Colo., said Lowe’s inventory will soon grow beyond the 12 big cats in his Beaufort warehouse.

Sculac plans to finalize the sale of his zoo — home to 160 lions, tigers, leopards and other big cats — to Lowe by the end of the summer.

Lowe also claims he has animals in a facility in Wynnewood, Okla., which is also the location of the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park — a nonprofit zoo with more than 100 big cats on display, according to its last USDA inspection report.

Lowe said his animals are in a separate facility, though he has plans to buy the zoo as well.

That facility’s owner, Joe Schreibvogel, said Wednesday that Lowe has visited his zoo, though it’s not for sale and he’s not aware of any other big cats in Wynnewood — a city of about 2,200 people — other than at his facility.

“(Lowe) has absolutely no ties to us,” Schreibvogel said.

On Thursday, Lowe maintained he is a partner of the zoo and declined to comment further.
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article33646743.html#storylink=cpy

Jeff Lowe may have the last laugh on that claim by Schreibvogel now though, as he seems to co-own the property underneath the GW Zoo.   ShirleySchreibvogel2JeffLowe

Jeff Lowe’s wife, Kathleen Ellen Lowe is the Registered Agent for Club Returns, Inc. which appears to own their home and flea market building.

ClubReturnsTaxLien

MechLienAgainstFleaMkt

 

Beaufort Liquidation owner scoffs at threats of fines, vows to display lions, tigers

 

By ZACH MURDOCK – zmurdock@islandpacket.com

Despite threats that he could be fined almost $2,000 a day, Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe plans to display a dozen lions and tigers at his U.S. 21 flea market this weekend.

“This is my building, my private animals, and I will let anybody I want look at them,” Lowe said Friday afternoon.

Not so fast, Beaufort County officials counter.

Displaying the exotic pets is “tantamount to operating a zoo” at the flea market, which is not permitted under the zoning for the 5 Parker Drive location, county attorney and deputy administrator Josh Gruber said.

“The fact he’s going forward with it is a direct and flagrant violation of county zoning,” Gruber said. “He can own and possess the animals at that location because he’s had them reviewed and approved by federal authorities. But he cannot use those animals for any kind of commercial purposes.”

Earlier this week Lowe posted to the store’s Facebook page that he would be reopening Saturday at the Parker Drive location.

Beaufort Liquidation moved back there earlier this year from a retail shop on Robert Smalls Parkway, but has yet to resume its weekend flea market, he said.

The announcement set off a firestorm online about whether Lowe should be permitted to display the animals, and it tipped off county leaders to what they say is using the felines for a commercial purpose, Gruber said.

On Friday afternoon, a county code enforcement officer served Lowe with a written warning that the county will fine him for zoning violations if he opens Saturday, Lowe and Gruber said.

It wasn’t Lowe’s first warning, Guber said.

That came during a meeting Jan. 6 with county zoning administrator Hillary Austin, Austin wrote in the letter Friday.

During that meeting, Austin approved only retail use, not a zoo or petting zoo, which are regulated commercial enterprises, according to Gruber and county documents.

Advertising the flea market by noting the animals will be on display turns that display into a commercial zoo that Lowe is making money from, Gruber argues.

Lowe scoffed at the warning and said he will “happily” pay the fine.

“We’re as legit as we can get, and it’s driving Hillary (Austin) nuts that we’ve figured out something to do that she can’t get us for,” he said. “I’m loving it.”

The fine can be up to $500 per violation, and up to $1,920.50 when statutory fees and court costs are included, Gruber said.

Each day the flea market is open with the animals on display would earn Lowe at least one new violation, he added.

The controversial businessman has butted heads with county leaders before.

Last spring he lost a heated battle with County Council to rezone the Parker Drive location to permit his outdoor flea market.

He even found himself in a physical scuffle with a uniformed Marine after one meeting.

Council members ultimately decided jet noise from neighboring Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort was too big a concern to allow the oudoor sales, and Lowe later closed the flea market.

Since then, Lowe has made waves with his growing roster of exotic animals, drawing both ire and support from local animal lovers.

Now Lowe says the latest tussle with the county is further evidence the county is “persecuting” his business.

“Once again Beaufort County is just spitting in the face of progress,” he said. “They don’t want anything here they don’t control.”
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/business/article33642009.html#storylink=cpy

Exotic animals banned from entering Beaufort County

By STEPHEN FASTENAU – sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com

Transporting certain exotic animals into Beaufort County became illegal Monday, under an emergency ordinance passed unanimously by Beaufort County Council.

The ordinance, good for 61 days, buys time for the county to craft a permanent rule amid uncertainty about the plans of a Beaufort business owner who recently purchased a Colorado wildlife center.

Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe, who has caused a stir displaying big cats on his property, said in a Facebook post last week he is closing his retail store and moving to Colorado, adding in a separate comment that he planned to start a zoo, a drive-in theater and a store there.

That followed an earlier statement about plans to bring more than 150 animals from Colorado to his Lowcountry property.

The ordinance describes a potential safety threat to residents if exotic animals are brought into the county. The language prohibits wild animals more than 50 pounds at maturity and venomous reptiles.

Lowe declined comment Monday.

He has a trial date in July to contest a county zoning violation. The county contends that Lowe’s land on Parker Drive near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort is not zoned to allow the display of Lowe’s 12 lions and tigers, though he has proper permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The county had no ordinance related to exotic animals. Monday’s move aims to allow time for a permanent ordinance to be put in place, in the face of what assistant count attorney Allison Coppage said are mixed messages from Lowe about his intentions with the recently purchased animals.

“What it comes down to is Facebook posts,” Coppage told council’s Governmental Committee. “So take that for what it’s worth.”

Lowe said on Facebook the flea market on his property would remain open “until the county forces its closure.”

He also announced his family’s move to Colorado, “where we look forward to working with all the beautiful animals for which we have committed to caring for.”

Lowe said council was unfairly targeting him and driving away business.

“Beaufort DOES have a lot of problems, but me, my flea market, nor my animals contribute to that problem,” he wrote.

Lowe first announced plans for a “Safari Flea Market” last November and in March said his facility would reopen.

In one day in early April, 1,000 people came to see the big cats, and Lowe gave 22 tours, he said.
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/business/article33693471.html#storylink=cpy

 

Warning of Fines for Exhibiting Big Cats

 

Beaufort Liquidation, big-cat owner heading to trial in July

 

By MATT McNAB – mmcnab@islandpacket.com

A Beaufort business owner battling the county over his right to display big cats will head to trial in July over a zoning ordinance violation.

The trial for Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe’s zoning violation was added to the backup roster for the July 16 court session and could be heard that day if either of the cases scheduled for July 16 are resolved, assistant county attorney Allison Coppage said Thursday.

Lowe’s attorney and attorneys from Beaufort County met Thursday morning to set a trial date. The county contends Lowe is in violation of a zoning ordinance for displaying lions and tigers on his property.

Lowe’s animal population could grow in the weeks before his court date. He posted pictures to Beaufort Liquidation’s Facebook page on Monday of tigers in transport cages, animals he said were being moved from a Colorado zoo. Last month, Lowe said he had completed the purchase of that zoo, Serenity Springs Wildlife Center, and planned to move the 150 animals to his property on Parker Drive near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

Even with a trial date now set, Beaufort County could still take emergency action if Lowe continues with his plan to move the animals to Beaufort.

Coppage said Thursday she was directed by County Council to write a proposed ordinance addressing exotic animals and was looking at several different options for the ordinance’s language.

Council members are still discussing how to respond to the matter, but it could be added to their agenda for Monday’s meeting, which begins at 4 p.m. in the county administration building, 100 Ribaut Road, Beaufort. The proposal could be added to the agenda as late as Monday; council members would need to approve adding it to the agenda by a two-thirds vote.
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/business/article33651018.html#storylink=cpy

 

County: Beaufort Liquidation owner on watch

By STEPHEN FASTENAU – sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com

County officials are prepared to take emergency action against a Beaufort business owner if he moves forward with a plan to move a zoo here.

Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe said last month he bought Serenity Springs Wildlife Center and plans to move more than 150 animals to his property on Parker Drive near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

Lowe has requested a jury trial for the county’s contention he is in violation of a zoning ordinance for displaying lions and tigers on his property.

County attorneys are set to meet with Lowe’s attorney Friday to set a date for the trial, assistant county attorney Allison Coppage said. She has heard the business is closing down and the animals would no longer be displayed at that location.

If that’s not the case, County Council could be asked to pass an emergency ordinance barring the wildlife center from being moved to his property, Coppage said.
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article33650757.html#storylink=cpy

 

Beaufort Liquidation owner confirms purchase of Colo. zoo

By MATT McNAB – mmcnab@islandpacket.com

A Beaufort business owner says he has finalized his purchase of a Colorado zoo and plans to move the center’s nearly 160 animals to his Lowcountry property.

Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe announced on his store’s Facebook page late Thursday he had signed a contract to purchase the Serenity Springs Wildlife Center in Calhan, Colo.

Lowe said he would relocate many of the animals currently housed at the Colorado zoo to his property on Parker Drive near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. In the same post, he asked for help building enclosures for the new animals and installing a walk-in freezer.

Lowe declined to comment on the purchase Friday.

Serenity Springs owner Nick Sculac said he would help Lowe move the animals to Beaufort, where Lowe currently houses 12 lions and tigers. Sculac said he can transport about 20 animals at a time using two large trailers he owns.

Sculac said Lowe was planning to travel to Colorado within the next few weeks, with the plan to move the animals as quickly as possible. In the Facebook post, Lowe alluded to closing on the purchase in the next week.

The purchase of the Colorado zoo comes while Lowe is still embroiled in a legal battle with Beaufort County over his lions and tigers display. Last month, Lowe requested a jury trial to determine whether exhibiting lions and tigers violates the zoning ordinance for his property.

An update on the status of that case was not available Friday.

Lowe said in April that if a judge rules he cannot display his big cats, he will close Beaufort Liquidation and convert it to a private animal sanctuary, filling it with the animals from Serenity Springs.
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article33648894.html#storylink=cpy

 

Altercation Involving Jeff Lowe at County Meeting

By ZACH MURDOCK – zmurdock@beaufortgazette.com

Beaufort police say they do not have enough evidence to make arrests following a brief scuffle outside Monday night’s Beaufort County Council meeting.

Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe and Lt. Col. Scott Manning of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort were involved in the altercation, according to an incident report from the Beaufort Police Department.

Lowe has said he broke a rod in his surgically repaired hip and has retained a lawyer. However, “the investigation has determined that there is not sufficient probable cause to obtain a warrant for the arrest for either of the alleged participants,” Cpl. Hope Able of the Beaufort Police Department said Wednesday.

Lowe has been involved in a months-long attempt at a zoning mendment that would allow an outdoor flea market outside his store. The exemption is required because Beaufort Liquidation is within three miles of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort main gate and is in a “compatible-use” zone that restricts activity on the property because of concerns about jet noise.

On Monday, County Council voted to disallow the outdoor flea market. While the council meeting continued inside, Lowe, Manning and supporters of Lowe who attended the meeting apparently exchanged words outside the county administration building.

Investigators found no physical, video or photographic evidence of the incident, Able said. Witnesses, including Lowe and Manning, also gave “pointedly conflicting” reports of what led up to the incident and who was the aggressor, she added.

“The statements varied from saying there was a completely unprovoked assault on Mr. Lowe, to a verbal altercation that led to an assault, to an attempted assault by Mr. Lowe (that) Mr. Manning intervened in,” Able said.

Manning attended Monday’s meeting in his official capacity as an attorney with the community liaison team for the air station, according to air station public affairs officer Capt. Jordan Cochran.

With no pending charges from the Beaufort Police Department, the air station will not investigate the incident further, Cochran said Wednesday.
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/business/article33567465.html#storylink=cpy

 

Exotic Animals Banned from Entering Beaufort County

By STEPHEN FASTENAU – sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com

Transporting certain exotic animals into Beaufort County became illegal Monday, under an emergency ordinance passed unanimously by Beaufort County Council.

The ordinance, good for 61 days, buys time for the county to craft a permanent rule amid uncertainty about the plans of a Beaufort business owner who recently purchased a Colorado wildlife center.

Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe, who has caused a stir displaying big cats on his property, said in a Facebook post last week he is closing his retail store and moving to Colorado, adding in a separate comment that he planned to start a zoo, a drive-in theater and a store there.

That followed an earlier statement about plans to bring more than 150 animals from Colorado to his Lowcountry property.

The ordinance describes a potential safety threat to residents if exotic animals are brought into the county. The language prohibits wild animals more than 50 pounds at maturity and venomous reptiles.

Lowe declined comment Monday.

He has a trial date in July to contest a county zoning violation. The county contends that Lowe’s land on Parker Drive near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort is not zoned to allow the display of Lowe’s 12 lions and tigers, though he has proper permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The county had no ordinance related to exotic animals. Monday’s move aims to allow time for a permanent ordinance to be put in place, in the face of what assistant count attorney Allison Coppage said are mixed messages from Lowe about his intentions with the recently purchased animals.

“What it comes down to is Facebook posts,” Coppage told council’s Governmental Committee. “So take that for what it’s worth.”

Lowe said on Facebook the flea market on his property would remain open “until the county forces its closure.”

He also announced his family’s move to Colorado, “where we look forward to working with all the beautiful animals for which we have committed to caring for.”

Lowe said council was unfairly targeting him and driving away business.

“Beaufort DOES have a lot of problems, but me, my flea market, nor my animals contribute to that problem,” he wrote.

Lowe first announced plans for a “Safari Flea Market” last November and in March said his facility would reopen.

In one day in early April, 1,000 people came to see the big cats, and Lowe gave 22 tours, he said.
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/business/article33693471.html#storylink=cpy

 

Beaufort County Aims to Make Exotic Ban Permanent

By SCOTT THOMPSON
843-815-0800, Ext. 13 scott.thompson@blufftontoday.com
After passing a temporary law to forbid the import of exotic animals weighing more than 50 pounds into Beaufort County, County Council has taken its first step toward a longer-term measure.

Council approved Monday an ordinance to prohibit exotic animals from coming into the county unless they are housed at a certified research facility.

The ordinance further defines exotic animals as those normally confined to a zoo or not used in South Carolina as household pets or domestic farm animals.

Other stipulations include animals not indigenous to North America and those that cause “a reasonable person to be fearful of significant destruction of property or of bodily harm … or one which causes zoonotic diseases.”

The ordinance requires two more readings for final approval. In the meantime, a 61-day emergency ordinance of the same nature is in effect after being approved Aug. 10.

That ordinance an earlier one in June were passed to guard against the transport of a zoo into the county, which several officials say would present a safety hazard.

Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe said in June he planned to move a zoo he purchased to his property, but later announced he was moving to Colorado after a zoning dispute with the county.

The ordinance comes as council mulls a new comprehensive animal control ordinance that would try to clear up several jurisdictional issues.

Council’s governmental committee is scheduled to resume discussions of that proposal at its Monday meeting in Beaufort.

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By SCOTT THOMPSON
843-815-0800, Ext. 13 scott.thompson@blufftontoday.com
After passing a temporary law to forbid the import of exotic animals weighing more than 50 pounds into Beaufort County, County Council has taken its first step toward a longer-term measure.

Council approved Monday an ordinance to prohibit exotic animals from coming into the county unless they are housed at a certified research facility.

The ordinance further defines exotic animals as those normally confined to a zoo or not used in South Carolina as household pets or domestic farm animals.

Other stipulations include animals not indigenous to North America and those that cause “a reasonable person to be fearful of significant destruction of property or of bodily harm … or one which causes zoonotic diseases.”

The ordinance requires two more readings for final approval. In the meantime, a 61-day emergency ordinance of the same nature is in effect after being approved Aug. 10.

That ordinance an earlier one in June were passed to guard against the transport of a zoo into the county, which several officials say would present a safety hazard.

Beaufort Liquidation owner Jeff Lowe said in June he planned to move a zoo he purchased to his property, but later announced he was moving to Colorado after a zoning dispute with the county.

The ordinance comes as council mulls a new comprehensive animal control ordinance that would try to clear up several jurisdictional issues.

Council’s governmental committee is scheduled to resume discussions of that proposal at its Monday meeting in Beaufort.

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