WINDSOR (KPIX) — The small Sonoma County town of Windsor is reeling over accusations that its mayor has engaged in numerous sexual assaults on women spanning 16 years.
At age 38, Dominic Foppoli, of the Foppoli family wine business, is young and wealthy — one of the young lions of the North Bay wine empire. Now, at least the public side of all that is crashing down.
The mayor has been publicly accused, in graphic terms by four women, of aggressive, even predatory, sexual assaults.
“Those are really detailed and it’s not like they’re one particular group — they go across years,” said Windsor resident Roxi Janes. She met Foppoli a couple of times at local events and said she came away with a strange feeling.
“You just kind of got this vibe of like, um, spoiled frat boy? And I just didn’t dig it,” she said.
Foppoli is well known and well connected in the community and is sometimes referred to as a “prince of Wine Country.” But support for him is drying up quickly even before an official investigation gets going.
Local congressmen Jarred Huffman and Mike Thompson have already called for his ouster. Eight local mayors have signed a letter demanding his resignation and the League of California Cities has stripped him of his leadership post. And it is in his own town that many people are drawing a hard line.
“I mean we’re cleaning house on many levels,” said resident Christine Maltrud. “It’s happening everywhere and I think it’s a good thing but there’s a heavy price. There’s a lot of sadness in this town. There’s a lot of anger and there’s also a lot of sadness that this happened.”
“I think there are people in the city government that did know things about it — maybe not as dramatic as was really going on — but I don’t know how they could not know, to tell you the truth,” said Windsor resident Charles Jaeger.
There are reports that Foppoli’s alleged actions were reported to City Hall back in 2017 but nothing was done and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper just published an apology for not following up on a tip they received. In big cities, that may be considered “politics as usual” but in small towns, where everyone knows each other, there is less tolerance for it, said 17-year-old resident Regan Janes.
“I think there are a lot of men who think they’re entitled and they can get away with stuff like this,” she said. “Just because he’s mayor of a town and he’s, what? ‘the prince of Wine Country’ or something like that? Like, that’s not a real title, buddy. That doesn’t give you the right to do this to women,” Janes said.
Calls and e-mails to Mayor Foppoli went unanswered Saturday and his Facebook page appears to have been taken down. For its part, the city announced it has turned the matter over to Windsor police for investigation and is “in the process of evaluating its duties and options under the circumstances.”