Fight over phony French royalty, faked death, Parlier ranch
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A bizarre court battle has begun.
As Action News first reported earlier this month, the simple sale of a Parlier-area ranch uncovered mysteries dating back decades, and brought a former Raisin Queen back from the dead.
This court battle is basically about a horse ranch, but it's also about phony French royalty, and a faked death.
The plaintiffs claim a local doctor spun a web of lies to sell the property.
His wife's phony life and fake death are a big part of the argument.
A 15-acre horse ranch along the Kings River is the center of a bitter court battle, and the former home of a ghost.
Genevieve de Montremare is seen in the picture from her obituary in 2007.
But the woman also known as Genevieve Weilert is still alive, although her attorney says she's too sick to come to court.
Her husband, Dr. Michael Weilert, is the director of pathology at Community Regional Medical Centers.
On the witness stand, he admitted to lying about his wife's death.
But he denied using her death to manipulate a southern California family into overpaying for the ranch.
Dr. Weilert tried to explain an email in which he said he felt badly that Genevieve didn't see the property finished.
"Once her health didn't allow her to participate in any horse training of any kind any more, it was just too painful for her to see the property being finished, but not being able to enjoy it," he said.
The doctor's wife grew up in the South Valley town of Lindsay and was once named the Raisin Queen.
But as an adult, she started speaking with a French accent and claiming to be from a French royal family with centuries of expertise in horse training.
One horse show even gave out an award as a memorial to de Montremare after her reported death.
And the plaintiffs say Dr. Weilert continued with his wife's phony life story after her phony death.
Weilert admitted that he claimed he was selling the ranch on behalf of Genevieve's French estate.
"It's clear. You were trying to create an impression in my clients' minds that this was a family of unlimited wealth, weren't you?" asked plaintiffs' attorney, Daniel Spitzer.
"No," Weilert responded.
Dr. Weilert claimed his lies about Genevieve were just to protect her privacy, not to artificially inflate the ranch's sale price.
The doctor will be back on the witness stand Tuesday.
His wife is not likely to appear in court after getting a doctor to say she could possibly die if forced to testify.
parlier, fresno county, local, corin hoggard
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