Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli signals he won’t resign as outraged constituents, congressmen say he must go
Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli has informed other local lawmakers that he intends to defy growing demands for his resignation and has said he can refute detailed allegations made by four women who say he sexually assaulted them over a 16-year period.
Foppoli, who has declined to be interviewed since the allegations were first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, made his comment in text message to The Press Democrat on Friday.
“I will have a full statement out refuting each charge individually,” he said.
The statement never came as of 10 p.m. Friday, and the 38-year-old winery owner and politician remained out of public sight Friday, even as more than dozen demonstrators rallied outside his home carrying signs and calling for him to step down at once.
The county’s two congressmen, Reps. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael and Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, have added their voices to those calling for his ouster.
“These multiple, corroborated accounts suggest a pattern of predatory sexual misconduct that is deplorable and totally unacceptable,” their joint statement said. “It is not possible for Mr. Foppoli to credibly or effectively continue serving on the Windsor Council. We call on him to resign immediately.”
Demonstrators gathered at the Windsor Town Green and amassed at the town’s main Highway 101 overpass before heading to Foppoli’s westside home, where they placed some of their handmade signs on a white Tesla parked in the driveway and against the home’s exterior.
Veteran Windsor Councilwoman Debora Fudge, who underwent a hip replacement surgery on Thursday and had not weighed in substantively on the scandal, said she agreed with the town’s other two council incumbents, Esther Lemus and Sam Salmon, that the mayor was no longer fit to serve.
A close political ally of Foppoli’s in the past two years, Fudge had backed his hold on the mayor’s post through two appointments and last year’s direct election. Now, she called him “a predator.”
“Dominic Foppoli must be removed from office if he fails to step back on his own,” she said in a written statement. “He must be brought to justice and held to the highest standards — no one is above the law, and I hope those he has wronged are vindicated, and that Dominic is held accountable. He is not a leader, he is a predator … and he must go — now.”
The fifth seat, vacant since Foppoli’s election last fall, is to be filled by special election next month. Several candidates for the post also have called for him to quit.
But Foppoli’s fellow eight mayors in Sonoma County, all of whom called for him to quit on Thursday, were among the first to hear that he has no intention to step down.
Cloverdale Mayor Jason Turner, head of the Sonoma County Mayors and Councilmembers’ Association, said Foppoli informed him Thursday afternoon that he would not be resigning.
Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers said he and the other mayors can only think Foppoli doesn’t understand the seriousness of his situation.
“The word that sticks out in our mind (is) he’s delusional if he thinks things are going to be business as usual,” Rogers said.
He said those who have worked with or endorsed Foppoli in the past are “looking at him in a different light and can’t in good conscience continue to work with him as if these allegations don’t hang out there.
“Just being really blunt, many of us read that article … and were completely sickened, and the least that we can do to try to help our community is to support the survivors and make sure he is not able to normalize remaining in office after such significant charges have credibly been brought against him. And I think that’s the key there: The evidence that was presented in the article was credible. It was meticulously documented, and we can’t ignore that.”
The League of California Cities stripped Foppoli from a post on a leadership committee. “Given the nature and seriousness of the accounts, we felt we had no other choice but to remove Mayor Foppoli from his Cal Cities’ position,” the group said in a statement.
Rumors of an explosive story about some sort of misconduct involving Foppoli have circulated for the past two weeks or so, local politicians have said. But Foppoli’s fortunes continued to look up as late as Tuesday, when the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors signed off on his board appointment to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Supervisors on Thursday signaled the county would move quickly to try to rescind that appointment.
Wednesday night, Foppoli attended a bimonthly Town Council meeting, even as Chronicle reporters sought last-minute comments from Windsor public officials.