Sonoma developers lambasted for anti-gay comments
A pair of newly prominent Sonoma developers who are husband and wife faced mounting backlash in the city last week after a series of anti-gay posts made previously on the wife’s Facebook page were circulated widely this month.
Stacy and Ken Mattson have spent $80 million in the past three years purchasing 26 properties throughout Sonoma Valley, including the Cornerstone Sonoma marketplace and gardens, Ramekins culinary school and the General’s Daughter event center.
The controversial comments were posted on Stacy Mattson’s Faecbook page stretching back at least six years. In one post, she described herself as “disgusted” by the 2013 Rose Bowl Parade being “high-jacked by the gay agenda,” adding that “the last thing I want to see in the parade is promotion of sin by being forced to watch a gay marriage ceremony.”
In a 2015 post, she wrote that upon returning from a trip to China, she “found our country in an even bigger mess than when (I) left thanks to some truly horrible Supreme Court filings… Obamacare, gay marriage.”
Her most recent public political post was a photo of the couple in early 2017 as they prepared to attend President Trump’s inauguration. The posts are no longer viewable as her Facebook settings were changed to private last week.
The Facebook posts began making waves several weeks ago when screen shots of the anti-gay remarks first started to spread through the community.
The posts came under wider scrutiny after the Sonoma Index-Tribune published an April 8 story about the couple’s real estate buying spree in town. Since 2015, the Piedmont couple have assembled a giant portfolio of Sonoma Valley properties, with the latest wave of purchases in January.
They also own Cottage Inn & Spa in downtown, Sonoma’s Best deli and cottages and the Sojourn tasting room building on East Napa Street, Boyes Food Market on Highway 12, a portion of the Mercado property on the Plaza and the Leland Fishing Ranch on Arnold Drive.
As the extent of their holdings became known this month, the couple and their online profiles attracted even closer attention from local residents. A week after the Index-Tribune story ran, Sonoma food writer Sarah Stierch posted screen shots of Stacy Mattson’s Facebook posts, which have since been shared almost 100 times.
The resulting backlash has been vocal and increasingly public, even coming from within some of the Mattsons’ new properties.
Kyle Kuklewski, executive chef of Ramekins and General’s Daughter, raised rainbow flags on Tuesday to show solidarity with the community.
“We 100 percent disagree with their personal beliefs and we told them that,” said Ramekins general manager David Daniel, referring to an email he said he sent to the couple on Tuesday.
Ken and Stacy Mattson declined to be interviewed but provided a statement on Thursday that sidestepped the content of the posts. Originally from Rancho Cordova, Ken Mattson has worked in the financial services industry for 35 years, most recently as a financial planner. Stacy Mattson is originally from Fairfield. They have been married for almost 30 years and have four children, all of whom are in their 20s.
“The businesses we have purchased in Sonoma have a proud history of being inclusive in terms of employees and clientele,” he wrote. “As new owners, we have insisted that this history of inclusion continue. We also know that a truly diverse community benefits from the discussion of a broad range of ideas. We hope that all our guests, clients and employees will join in on this discussion.”