From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1995:

WASHINGTON D.C.––At deadline the
Humane Society of the U.S. had neither confirmed nor
denied a report reaching ANIMAL PEOPLE from an
HSUS source that the board of directors, responding
to a petition signed by 41 staffers, agreed over the
Columbus Day weekend, October 7-9, to prosecute
David Wills, 48, for allegedly embezzling at least
$16,000 from an expense account purportedly used to
pay informants in cruelty cases––and to negotiate the
termination of both HSUS president Paul Irwin and
Humane Society International president John Hoyt.
According to the unconfirmed report, Hoyt,
the top HSUS/HSI officer since 1970, is to retire soon
with a “golden parachute” severance. Irwin, hired in
1975, is to depart after the appointment of a successor.
Three members of the HSUS staff would seem to be
candidates: Dennis White, former head of the
American Humane Association’s Animal Protection
Division, who recently left AHA after 19 years; John
Kullberg, head of the American SPCA for 14 years,
1977-1991; and David Ganz, head of the North Shore
Animal League for six-plus years, 1986-1993.

The HSUS board is also supposed to have
begun looking into various financial arrangements
involving Irwin, Hoyt, and HSUS/HSI, which provided
them benefits beyond their official compensation
(salary plus pension contributions) of $195,288 for
Irwin and $210,611 for Hoyt, as of fiscal year 1993.
At press date, however, ANIMAL PEOPLE
sources at all levels of HSUS/HSI said they still
hadn’t been officially informed of any board or executive
decisions––and none acknowledged either signing
or knowing about a petition, leaving the possiblity that
ANIMAL PEOPLE had received a planted rumor,
perhaps designed to identify leaks.
Yet another report, reaching A N I M A L
PEOPLE hours before press time, held that Hoyt and
Irwin were not terminated, but were instead voted big
raises, as happened in the wake of 1988 and 1991 Jack
Anderson exposes about their compensation. The
source didn’t have information pertaining to Wills.
A top source at HSUS explicitly told A N IMAL
PEOPLE that Wills was fired on August 11,
but Wills officially remains “on administrative leave.”
All ANIMAL PEOPLE knows for sure is
that in the two weeks before the Columbus Day weekend
board meeting in Seattle, labor relations attorney
Joel Bennett of Washington D.C. and colleague Laurie
Phillips interviewed a number of people on behalf of
the HSUS board, including some ANIMAL PEOPLE
sources, about alleged sexual harassment and embezzling
by Wills. Questions were asked not only about
Wills’ tenure with HSUS, but also about similar allegations
that arose during his time as executive director
of the New Hampshire Humane Society, 1972-1978;
the Michigan Humane Society, 1979-1989; and the
defunct National Society for Animal Protection, 1989-
1991. Certain sources denied events described to confidants
on repeated occasions over the past seven or
eight years––and reliably witnessed in some
cases––because of concerns for personal security.
Two days before one of the two dates ANIMAL
PEOPLE was given for the board meeting, an
anonymous caller ordered copies of our October edition
for all board members. The October “Watchdog”
column detailed Wills’ history of questionable associations;
his proximity to missing money at other humane
societies; and his role as Hoyt’s longtime protege and
rumored eventual successor. The caller asked that the
copies be rushed by courier to board member Anita
Coupe’s hotel in Seattle––but was apparently not
Coupe herself. An invoice for the courier charge was
promptly paid with a U.S. postal money order made
out on behalf of “B. True.”
The Booby Hatch
The case was meanwhile described in lesser
detail by U.S. News & World Report, The Chronicle of
Philanthropy, CHAIN Newsletter (a California-based
magazine for humane officers), an Associated Press
article syndicated on October 1, most major Alaskan
media, and other publications ranging from daily
newspapers to dogsledding periodicals. Many
accounts reached Washington D.C. in time to have
been seen by members of the audience at an October 2
address Hoyt delivered to a World Bank gathering.
Hoyt’s address was titled, reminiscent of his former
career as a Baptist and Presbyterian minister, “Ethics
and Spiritual Values and the Promotion of
Environmentally Sustainable Development.”
Throughout late September and early
October, ANIMAL PEOPLE received calls from new
sources offering stories of Wills allegedly using donated
funds to entertain himself (and Hoyt in some versions)
at a Michigan bar called The Booby Hatch; to
buy Franklin Mint gold and silver ornaments; and to
engage in other pursuits unrelated to helping animals.
Longtime Wills foe Barbara Schwartz, a
New Hampshire horse and collie fancier/breeder,
added spice with an account of attending Central High
School in Detroit in the mid-1950s with Audrey Rose,
the former MHS board president who hired Wills and
later resigned after finding out he had faked his
resume; her husband Irving Rose; Sonny Bloch, an
HSUS board member from January 1991 until early
1995, who is now in federal prison awaiting trial for
allegedly helping to defraud 280 investors out of $21
million, and is reportedly also under investigation
for statutory rape; and Ivan Boesky,
another financeer with a checkered past.
Bloch and Boesky, Schwartz said, got their
start in finance by running poker games. She
suggested that Wills might have met Bloch in
Detroit and introduced him to Irwin and
Hoyt, who have reputedly done much decision-making
over the years at a weekly poker
game with other HSUS executives.
“But Wills did do some good things
for animals,” several callers insisted, citing
his abolition of decompression chamber
euthanasia at both NHS and MHS.
944 Porsche
Current MHS executive director
Gary Tiscornia didn’t hedge his few but quite
specific words. “Whether or not Wills liked
Corvettes,” as reported in October,
Tiscornia said, “he left here driving a 944
Porsche,” a much more costly vehicle.
Tiscornia joined MHS in August
1983, under Wills, but quit in protest of
Wills’ management in February 1989. A
straight shooter who remembers with admiration
that his father stood up to an attempted
organized crime shakedown, Tiscornia was
brought back on June 19, 1989, at the same
board meeting that accepted Wills’ resignation
after funds were discovered to be missing
from the MHS accounts. Former bookkeeper
Denise Hopkins was convicted of
embezzling $65,000; up to $1.6 million was
never accounted for. Insurance covered
$50,000 of the loss, Tiscornia said, and
Hopkins is supposed to make some restitution,
but though now out of prison and gainfully
employed, he added, she has not made
any payments.
Tiscornia also confirmed that shortly
after Wills’ departure, the Teamsters
Union made an unsuccessful attempt to organize
at MHS. Two of Wills’ alleged associates
were involved in the Teamsters: John
Burge, nephew of Teamster boss Jimmy
Hoffa and former business agent for
14 – ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1995
Ethics, Spiritual Values and the Promotion of Sustainable Development (from page 13)
Teamsters Local 124, who was convicted in
1991 of taking kickbacks from trucking companies
at Detroit’s Metro Airport in exchange
for insuring labor peace; and Rolland
McMaster, Hoffa’s longtime aide, who was
convicted of a similar charge nearly 30 years
earlier. Burge was also president of Atlantic
Western Personnel Leasing Corporation, in
which McMaster and another reputed Wills
associate, Dean Turner, were executives.
Wills intimated to then-NSAP volunteer
Sandra LeBost, when Atlantic Western went
bankrupt in March 1990, that he had lost an
investment in the company of $40,000.
LeBost on June 30 of this year won a mediation
judgement of $42,000 in settlement of
unrepaid loans to Wills, but has not yet
received the money.
Turner’s mother, TV personality
Marilyn Turner, was questioned about the
Atlantic Western case by a Michigan grand
jury. She and her husband John Kelly served
on the board of MHS, resigning when Wills
did and joining him on the board of NSAP.
Kelly also served on the board of HSUS
when Wills folded NSAP to join HSUS.
Another of Wills’ longtime associates,
DeDay LaRene, was attorney for reputed
Detroit crime boss Vito Giacalone and his
son Billy-Jack Giacalone during a 1975 grand
jury probe of Jimmy Hoffa’s still unsolved
disappearance. LaRene and Giacalone pleabargained
sentences for concealing income
from the IRS in December 1993. They were
first charged with conspiracy and tax evasion,
but key witness Albert Allen vanished on the
eve of the trial and U.S. Justice Department
lawyer Theodore Forman was convicted of
leaking grand jury documents including witness
lists to LaRene. Now disbarred,
LaRene and his wife Joan Witt––a Wills
employee at NHHS, MHS, and NSAP––
both currently work for HSUS.
LaRene’s main job in recent
months seems to have been negotiating a deal
to take over the Washington D.C. animal
control contract, relinquished by the
Washington Humane Society at least in part
because the city was slow to pay for contracted
services. HSUS pulled out, however, on
September 18.
“There was no one specific thing
that did not allow this marriage to occur,”
HSUS spokesperson Wayne Pacelle told The
Washington Post, but the P o s t said HSUS
informed the city that it would not go ahead
to build a proposed “$10 million state-of-theart
shelter,” because HSUS could not “own
absolutely” the building site, leased by the
city from the federal government.
Other sources indicated that HSUS
seized on a handy excuse to get out of having
promised more than it could deliver. HSUS
policy since it was founded in 1954 has been
to avoid doing hands-on animal care.
press, the city-owned shelter run by WHS
since 1980 was being prepared for shutdown,
and Washington D.C. appeared likely to be
without animal control at the stroke of midnight
on Halloween. Volunteers were reportedly
patching together a service similar to the
one Legislation In Support of Animals provided
when New Orleans left animal control
unfunded from January through June 1990.
Whether or not anyone who was
purportedly harassed and/or compromised by
Wills actually had reason to fear that testimony
to Bennett and Phillips might be leaked,
someone did anonymously sandbag Michigan
Anti-Cruelty Society chief investigator
Michael Killian during the week before the
HSUS board meeting.
Faxed to ANIMAL PEOPLE a n d
some of our sources was a flyer headlined
“Kill ‘Er’ ian.” The flyer described how on
November 24, 1982, then-Lincoln Park
police officer Killian joined in pursuit of
Benjamin Davis, 36, a father of three, who
had run a red light. Killian shot Davis twice
in the back and buttocks, then handcuffed
him as he died. Police policy called for firing
Killian when in 1985 he was convicted of
manslaughter, but instead he was discharged
with a disability pension of $17,584 a year.
“Michael Killian’s cost for this
human life,” the handbill stated, “was $825
in court costs, five years on probation, and
psychiatric therapy. He was released from
probation on January 15, 1992.”
The Davis family was in 1986
awarded $1.6 million––and another $1.6 million
in 1989 when Mission National
Insurance Company of California, which
held the Lincoln Park policy, paid $500,000
on time but was four days late paying the balance.
Mission National then went bankrupt.
Lincoln Park taxpayers were assessed $80
apiece over a two-year period to cover the
Wills hired Killian as a cruelty
investigator in July 1988. “I can verify that
he was employed by MHS through April
1991,” said Tiscornia. “In accordance with a
former employee’s right to privacy, I am not
able to share any further information.”
MACS board president Linda Tuttle
told ANIMAL PEOPLE that Killian joined
MACS in April 1991. “We didn’t know
about the shooting,” she said. “We got an
anonymous call about it three or four months
later. He told us he’d taken early retirement
from the Lincoln Park police department to
spend more time with his horses.” Tuttle said
Killian’s job performance has been “pretty
good,” despite some friction with the board
and senior staff, and that the flyer would be
discussed at a November 8 board meeting.
Tuttle suggested that the handbill
might have been connected with the October
1994 seizure of 169 allegedly neglected dogs
and 25 cats from breeders Richard and Nancy
Yuhasz of Deerfield Township. “This is
absolutely the worst case of cruelty I’ve ever
seen,” Killian told media soon after the raid.
But another possibility was that
Killian might have been misidentified as an
ANIMAL PEOPLE source for information
about Wills and Wills’ Detroit associates,
targeted for discrediting, and made an example
of. If the flyer was faxd in response to the
Yuhasz case, there was no reason it should
have come to ANIMAL PEOPLE. Nor was
there a clear reason why it went to some of
the other recipients.
“If Mike goes down as result of this
and it hurts MACS,” said Tuttle, “the only
ones who are going to suffer are the animals.”
MACS, which has no paid administration,
serves the Detroit inner city. An architect is
currently donating services toward renovation
of the shelter, including expansion of the cat
care facilities. Tuttle said her husband, an
attorney and general contractor, would
donate much of the labor.
“We could move to a more economically
promising area,” Tuttle said, “but here
in Detroit is where we’re needed.”

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