Saturday, August 1, 2009

Open Letter to William Gill of the US Consul, Milan

TO: William Gill of the US Consul Office, Milan

cc: David H. Thorne Ambassador-Designate to the Italian Republic and the Republic of San Marino

cc: Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

cc: Barack Obama, President of the United States of America

Love is so powerful that it always wins.
Truth is so powerful that it always wins.
All it takes is Time.
----------Cat Bauer

Dear William Gill,

I am writing to you from my heart. We have never met, which I is why I am puzzled by what appears to be an adversarial attitude directed toward me by the US Consul Office in Milan. Prior to that, I had a good relationship with A. Daniel Weygandt, and was surprised to learn that he was no longer the Consul. After you called me Catherine "von Brauer" or "von Bauer," I told Megan Jones, the local Consul here in Venice, that I thought you had the wrong file! Megan Jones told me the Consul had no file on me. Therefore, I was even more surprised when I called the emergency number in Milan this past Friday because I could not access my personal possessions -- including my American passport -- and was told by a man who refused to give his name that: you were not in; that they were aware of who I was and of the problems I was having in Venice; that I should speak to my "many friends" and to the Italian police; and that there was nothing they could do to help.

Since you and I have not met, I researched you on the internet and discovered you are from Roanoke, and have a passion for reading. From the Roanoke Times, LOVE OF READING FUELS A DIPOMAT'S CAREER by Shannon Flowers, May 11, 2006:

"Gill's journey begins as a first-grader, when he traveled to faraway places in an imagination fueled by a love of reading instilled in him by his mother and later nurtured by his teachers at Huff Lane Elementary School in the early 1970s.

'I think books are important. I think not just what they represent, but what they can do for a person. It's traveling without moving, as the song goes...'"

To read the entire article, please click here:

UPDATE: January 19, 2014: This link works. There is one less "w" -- making it "ww" not "www":

Have you read my books, HARLEY, LIKE A PERSON and HARLEY'S NINTH? If you had, you would know that we are on the same side. I promote imagination, creativity and hope. I hold the same values dear that you expressed in the article. That is why I am becoming more convinced that there misinformation about me at the State Department.

I also researched the Ambassador-Designate, David H. Thorne, and read his testimony:
"If confirmed, I hope to harness this love for Italy with my pride in being a citizen of our great nation to promote American interests abroad. At this critical juncture in our foreign policy, President Obama has set a new tone for our engagement with other countries. In his recent speech in Cairo, the President emphasized the “need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.” If confirmed, I will take on that charge personally and work to convey an America that listens to and collaborates with our allies and friends around the world."

To read the entire piece, click here:

Again, these are the same values I hold in high esteem. As I am sure you are aware, I have been approached on more than one occasion because America wanted to have a stronger presence here in Venice. Foreigners have always been a solid part of the Venetian infrastructure. In every part of town, you will find ancient buildings that housed a cornucopia of foreigners, important ingredients in the magical mix of Venice. The United States, too, was welcomed in the past. In fact, the Venetians were the first government in the world to recognize the existence of the United States of America. News of the signing of the Declaration of Independence traveled so fast that it reached the ears of the Doge by mid-August, 1776 (if I had access to my notes that are locked inside my house, I could provide the exact date.:) The house of the explorer Giovanni Caboto, aka John Cabot, can be found down on Via Garibaldi... Venice has always had a very strong interest in the United States of America.

However, I have always maintained that Venice belongs to Venetians, and I am firmly against anything that interferes with that delicate infrastructure. Living, breathing Venetians are the soul of Venice. With all the bizarre experiences I have had recently, perhaps one could conclude that this attitude is not appreciated by certain powers-that-be. To be very clear: real or imagined, many locals feel that there is an organized effort underway to destroy the Venetian infrastructure. There is an effort to encourage mothers to have their babies born on the mainland, not in Venice. There has been a sudden increase in the trafficking of cocaine and heroin -- the young people have spoken to me about this with pain in their voices; they speak to me because I write for them. I could go on and on about the rapid changes taking place here in Venice; that is just the tip.

Rialto is the heart of Venice. My apartment is located right on the Grand Canal, right at the Rialto Bridge, right in the heart of Venice. Again, perhaps one could conclude that what seems to be a simple eviction for non-payment of rent is something else entirely -- especially when defamation of character and violence are involved. In any event, I believe I have at least four solid causes of action as to why the eviction is not legal -- one of which is that I have been a resident of Venice for more than ten years, and am entitled to certain rights, not renting as a tourist as stated in the Order, etc., etc.... and I did pay the rent:)

It would be a great thing if the United States of America and Venice could work together as a unit. I strongly believe in what our Founders fought and died for, and I know that many Venetians support those ideals, too. Again, what I am against is the interference with Venice's right to self-determination. Venetian voices are being silenced. Since I often speak on behalf of Venice, one might conclude that my voice is also being silenced...

I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss these issues with you, in person, here in Venice. Since I have been having extreme difficulty accessing the Internet, it is best to call my cell phone: +39-347-772-0453. My friends in the USA tell me that when they dial my number, they cannot get through -- another puzzle to solve.

All the best,
Cat Bauer
aka Catherine Ann Bauer

(The above photo of the Rialto Hotel was shot from my balcony since that is most definitely my Venetian flag -- the pole is the handle of my mop. I am using the photo without their permission as I would love to know how it got in the brochure of the Rialto Hotel, and up on their website without MY permission!)


  1. It is absolutely appalling to me that the United States would turn their back on one of their matter what country they are living in. I think that William Gill should be ashamed to continue on with his regular
    day to day activities "knowing" that someone from his beloved country is out on the streets without a home, passport or any support. Perhaps he is not suited for his job?

  2. I have frequently thought about buying a villa in Italy. But if this is an example of the support American Citizens can expect from their Consulat - perhaps not.

    It's a bit frightening to realize that the consulat that is your only local tie to the states, would be so uncooperative. I have been alone in a strange country without money and without my passport. Luckily for me, it was in Belgium and not in Venice.

  3. Why are you morons blaming the United States and NOT Italy?

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    That is an excellent question -- WHY are we blaming the USA and NOT Italy? I would love to have the answer to that question! WHY is the USA behaving in such a fashion??? That is why I said they must have the wrong file. Did you see the Cohen Brothers' film, BURN AFTER READING? It feels a bit like that movie... except for the glass shoved into my foot during the pedicure. (Well, Brad Pitt DID accidently shoot George Clooney:) By the way -- since I am a writer, I realize I have opened myself up to slander, and am risking my professional reputation. I believe everything I have written publically can be supported by witnesses, facts and documents.

    The good news is that we have a new Chaplain at the Anglican Church for August -- and he is American! He spoke about the Constitution, and George Washington, and the ideals our country was founded upon... it was very moving, and I got tears in my eyes. THAT kind of American energy is most welcome in Venice!

  5. Because "we" morons have a certain expectation of our own country to look after us in times of need. The purpose of the consulate in a foregin country is to do just that. If you can not rely on your own country..who can you rely on? Obviously not the other country...Italy in this situation.
    And I do take offense to your attitude which I feel is entirely uncalled for. Why be so rude?

  6. What a crazy and awful situation, Cat! Did you have any build up to this situation or warning signals? It just seems so out-of-the blue?

    Why were you held by police last year? What are your suspicions?

    Maybe you can't disclose all this on the blog but the picture is just so bizarre, I want to know more.

    I hope your letter gets an adequate response from Milan.

  7. I honestly love this website. Your posts help to remind me why I love traveling on vacation soo much. You seem to really love your site. Aside from my medical practice, I love keeping up with the latest travel tips online. Keep up the great work and please visit by my health blog sometime. I would appreciate it. The url is

  8. If there is anything I can do that might help in any way please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm in Texas and I don't have any special contacts in government or otherwise but if you need a blizzard of calls made or letters written or anything like that I'd be happy to help! I've been a big fan of your blog and your writing and your Myspace page for ages and my heart just goes out to you! Please let us state-side folks know what we can do to help and please know that we'll be sending all good thoughts your way for a speedy and favorable resolution to everything you're having to deal with!

  9. Knowing Mr. William Gill personally as a man of incredible integrity, kindness and empathy, I am suspicious of Ms. Bauer's rants about this situation. Honestly, without hearing Mr. Gill's side of this story, we cannot know what is going on here. To be direct, she sounds defensive to the point that I wonder what she did to engender such a response from a person as caring and thoughtful as Mr. Gill. Sounds like the Consulate has had enough and is setting a limit on her. Most of you out there have never met or had contact with the person she is absolutely trashing in her blog but let me be the sole voice standing up for him. I am not related to him, but have had professional contact as an American through an embassy where he was incredibly helpful and kind. What have you done Ms. Bauer? Can we have details??? Why were you held by the police?