Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli resigns after sexual assault allegation by reality TV personality Farrah Abraham
Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli abruptly resigned from office Friday, bowing to widespread calls that he step down amid criminal investigations fueled by public claims from what are now nine women who say he sexually assaulted, abused or mistreated them.
Foppoli, the politically ambitious scion of a wealthy Sonoma County wine family, announced his move a day before his 39th birthday in a written statement released through his attorney, provoking a mix of bitter relief and irritation in Windsor and beyond that he didn’t leave sooner.
“It is with heavy heart that I am resigning, effective today,” Foppoli wrote. “I have always and will always maintain that I did not engage in any non-consensual acts with any woman. I recently learned that a woman in Palm Beach, Florida is accusing me of non-consensual acts while I was visiting there in March of this year.”
He said he wanted to spare Windsor “undue national attention” brought about by “lawful, but poor choices, I have made in the recent past,” and said he hoped to see the town flourish “unimpeded by the unfortunate distraction these exploitative allegations will cause.”
His statement referred in part to the latest allegation against him — made by a social media influencer and former reality TV personality, Farrah Abraham, who filed a police report in Palm Beach, Florida, on April 2 alleging what her attorney said was “very serious” misconduct “of a sexual nature” that he declined to describe lest it jeopardize the investigation.
Attorney Spencer Kuvin, who represented at least nine victims of the late prominent sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, said the incident occurred when Abraham was in Florida at the end of March for a charity event in Palm Beach for an animal rescue organization called Big Dog Ranch. He declined to say exactly where the assault took place or if anyone else was present, but said Abraham had physical and digital evidence from the incident that has been turned over to police.
He said neither he nor Abraham would release details until the investigation was concluded, though rumors about the case reached Sonoma County more than a month ago, according to two people with ties to Foppoli who asked not to be named to discuss what they’d heard.
Abraham, 29, who lives in Los Angeles, had spoken with Sonoma County investigators, Kuvin said, but he wouldn’t clarify the extent of their communication.
For now, “she is still incredibly upset, trying to stay away from media and publicity,” Kuvin said.
Foppoli, in his statement, falsely accused Abraham of making her allegations after the San Francisco Chronicle’s initial story April 8, detailing accounts of the first four women who came forward to accuse Foppoli of sexual assault over a span of years from 2003 to 2019.
“I have no doubt she is making these allegations in an attempt to leverage the situation to her advantage,” Foppoli said in his statement.
Kuvin said Abraham went to law enforcement six days before the exposé about Foppoli’s conduct was published.
Sonoma County sheriff’s detectives, who are investigating local claims against Foppoli, in collaboration with the California Attorney General’s Office, have compared notes with police in Florida, though the investigations are proceeding separately, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Sgt. Juan Valencia said.
“During the scope of the investigation, we became aware of it and spoke to detectives about it,” Valencia said.
Foppoli’s departure has been sought by constituents and demanded by Town Council colleagues since the first hour in which news of sexual assault allegations were first made public in the initial Chronicle story. Beyond his colleagues and Windsor residents, all of his fellow Sonoma County mayors, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, state lawmakers and both congressmen representing the region have all called for his resignation.
He was swiftly ousted from leadership posts outside of Windsor, including a just-bestowed appointment as the mayors’ representative to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, as well as a post affiliated with the League of California Cities.
Foppoli has been stripped of roles within his family’s Christopher Creek Winery, which he ran with his brother and brother-in-law. And he’s been booted from the Active 20-30 club, to which one accuser belonged, and been dropped from the Leadership Santa Rosa civic program.
His departure from Town Hall was long overdue, officials and residents said Friday. They said the scandal and Foppoli’s defiance in the face of calls for his ouster had caused deep hurt, especially for survivors of sexual assault. A recall campaign had moved quickly to begin gathering signatures to put the matter on the ballot.