Tales from the

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2000:

Bill Wewer, the far-right tax attorney and direct mail fundraiser who formed the Doris Day Animal League in 1986 and the anti-animal rights group Putting People First with his wife Kathleen Marquardt in 1990, was reported dead in San Francisco on April Fool’s Day 1999.

ANIMAL PEOPLE has repeatedly identified Cetacean Freedom Network founder Rick Spill as apparently being a Wewer alter ego, based on clues that Wewer himself provided in a taunting 1997 fax, many eyewitness identifications of photographs of each one as the other, and much other circumstantial and behavioral evidence.

But Spill reportedly appeared during the late November/early December protests against the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, helping longtime close associate Ben White and others to build sea turtle costumes.

If Wewer is dead but Spill is alive, A N I M A L PEOPLE must be wrong, right? Right, but looking into the circumstances of the alleged Wewer death, ANIMAL PEOPLE found that the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office never actually saw or identified a body.

The death report was recorded as having been telephoned to the Medical Examiner’s office by one nurse Carolyn Schultz at the Coming Home Hospice, and the death certificate was signed––or appeared to be––by oncologist Bertrand Tuan, M.D., of San Francisco. Having no reason to consider the death suspicious, the Medical Examiner accepted it as “official” without asking questions.

However, the death certificate makes no mention of Schultz, identifying Marquardt as the “informant” that death had occurred. The remains were allegedly then cremated, leaving nothing for anyone else to identify.

Neither Tuan, addressed at his office, nor Schultz, written to in care of the Coming Home Hospice, responded to a request to identify photos of the alleged deceased from among packets of photos of both Wewer and Spill sent by ANIMAL PEOPLE with prepaid reply envelopes on November 19, 1999.

ANIMAL PEOPLE meanwhile found writings by Wewer and Marquardt, published in the early 1990s, taking strong positions against the establishment of world trade regulation on the theory that it could lead to global bans on whaling, sealing, and fur trapping.

Having clashed often with the IRS, Wewer and Marquardt might have found an incentive to feign Wewer’s demise in the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. Better known as the “innocent spouse act,” the law enables spouses whose absent or deceased partners cheated on joint returns to escape responsibility for resultant tax debts.

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