We’ve been following the many legal struggles of Ammon Covino, the former president of the Idaho Aquarium and co-founder of the Portland Aquarium who was recently sent to prison for illegal wildlife trafficking, casting significant doubt on those two institutions for their potential involvement. Despite his colorful legal history that has been like a black hole sucking in all of the associates and companies that he’s worked with, a third aquarium is opening up that has strong ties to his family name. The Austin Aquarium, located in the Texas city by the same name, is scheduled to open before the end of the month, and while Ammon is said to not be involved, his brother Vince sure is…and he’s played some part in both the Portland and Idaho installations. We guess the third time is the charm right?
Beyond the legal issues of Ammon, just one man in the grander scheme, the aquarium itself has been under fire all on its own. According to YNN, the aquarium has seen a slew of permit issues, including not obtaining permits to pour concrete and keeping fish on site without any permits. These two violations prompted the City of Austin’s Code Compliance Department to issue a “stop work order” and the removal of the fish from the site.
Despite these permit violations and protests from a small group of residents, the aquarium has pressed on and expect to open its doors to the general public on December 22nd. Vince Covino, co-owner of the Austin Aquarium, says that aquarium will be a voice of conservation and he hopes it will raise the “raise biology scores at schools”. The aquarium expects to draw 3,000 visitors per day for the first month or two, which is expected to drop to about half that as the excitement calms down.
The Austin Aquarium management states that Ammon Covino is not affiliated with this facility, but we can’t help but think that he hasn’t had some influence. After all, he and his brother Vince have partnered together before and things didn’t work out so well.