At least that's what two brothers from Boise, Vince and Ammon Covino, intend with their plan to bring a full-scale public aquarium to an old Lacks Home Furnishings store site at 13530 U.S. 183, just over the Williamson County line. But whether their plan is legitimate, a fish tale – or something darker – is at issue after the death of more than 200 aquatic species at another of the brothers' aquaria made headlines in Oregon and found its way to the inboxes of Austin reporters, sparking renewed interest in the pair's questionable business dealings – including one brother's federal indictment for illegally procuring animals, and their present compliance (or lack thereof) with city ordinances and state and federal laws as they yet vow to open their doors to the public by the end of the year.
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More than 200 marine animals died at Vince and Ammon Covino's Portland Aquarium over a three-month period earlier this year, prompting an ongoing investigation from the . The Covinos are attempting to open their third aquarium (they also have one in Boise, Idaho) in Austin at 13530 N. US 183 in the former Lack's Furniture store space.
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And so it was until June, when the court did grant Ammon release, first to travel to Portland and then, on June 15, to move to Steiner Ranch – where, presumably, he has come to work toward the opening of the Austin Aquarium. Indeed, that's where we found him on Aug. 21, inside the Lacks store with a host of contractors from KDR Electrical Services, Inc. Ammon Covino declined to comment on the allegations of shoddy care in Portland, and said he has been busy because "five to 10" reporters stop by the site each day. Covino said that the contractors were there only to make an estimate for work, despite the fact that the interior of the store was strewn with building supplies and several men walked in and out of the facility with tools as Ammon stood talking to us from just inside the front door.
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