Sunday Jan 04, 2009
Autographed pictures of Lion Man Craig Busch and his big cats are being sold on an internet auctions site.
It's Busch's last-ditch attempt to drum up some cash for the costly court battle with his mother Patricia over the future of the Zion Wildlife Park near Whangarei.
He is offering the 14 x 21cm photos on eBay in a bid to be reunited with the 42 lions, tigers and other species kept at Zion, the Sunday News reported today.
The photos feature a lion, tiger or cheetah under the heading 'Signed lion man photos - help Craig Busch return to Zion'.
In the advert, the Lion Man asks bidders to buy a photo to help him buy back the park.
He has written on the auction site that his employment dispute with his mother goes to court later this month. In the meantime "he has to ask permission every time he wants to go to and from the Lion Park where he lives, and is denied access to the animals he loves and who love him".
Some of the photos have already been snapped up, with the first going for $79 and the second for $262.
More photos will be put up for auction in the coming weeks.
Last month, a High Court judge refused to grant Mr Busch an interim injunction, as he tried to get control of his Whangarei wildlife park back off his mother.
TV personality Busch had alleged Patricia Busch had overstepped her authority in sidelining him from the business he built up, after she injected money to keep it operating.
Busch agreed to let his mother take over in 2006 after a period of personal difficulty. He was convicted that year of assaulting his partner.
Mrs Busch raised a loan of about $1.7 million against her own property to repay her son's company and personal debt.
In exchange, she was given power of attorney, sole directorship and her son's shares in the wildlife company.
Justice Heath suggested Busch sell his shares, or have Mrs Busch buy them, or sell the park to a third party.
It is likely to return to court later this month if mediation does not resolve the conflict.