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In an extraordinary emergency town meeting conducted virtually, the Windsor Town Council gathered Wednesday evening to demand that current mayor Dominic Foppoli resign. The meeting and request came at the end of a tumultuous week that followed a San Francisco Chronicle story in which 4 women accused Foppoli of sexual assaults in incidents that allegedly took place between 2003 and 2019.

The unprecedented and dramatic virtual gathering saw Fippoli initially preside as mayor, listening as first his Town Council colleagues and then scores of Windsor residents criticized him and demanded his resignation. Many of the statements by the public were intense and emotional, and some were laced with profanity. Then, after listening to the comments for more than two hours, Foppoli abruptly left the virtual gathering leaving his Windsor town colleagues to carry on without him.

In yet another surreal moment, a hasty vote was taken before the mayor could depart, with the other two council members present, Fudge and Salmon, voting to demand his resignation, and Foppoli himself voting against it.

Since the initial newspaper story broke on April 8th, 2 additional women have come forward to accuse the mayor of sexual assault, including fellow Town Council member Esther Lemus. A chorus of elected officials have also publicly asked Foppoli to step down, including all members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Congressmen Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman, and the other 8 mayors of cities in Sonoma County.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office says it is investigating the assault allegations and the possibility of filing criminal charges against Foppoli. Prosecution of the case has been sent to the state Attorney General after Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch recused her department from participating since Lemus is a deputy district attorney in the department.

City manager Ken MacNab began the meeting by saying that the city had no power to force the mayor out, and that as an elected official he could be removed only by recall or felony conviction.

Despite that, emotions ran high during the meeting as Foppoli denied that his actions were criminal in any way, and Town Council members Sam Salmon and Debora Fudge called for his immediate resignation as a step toward rebuilding public trust.

The meeting was extraordinary in many ways, not the least because as mayor, Foppoli presided over a virtual hearing that was called to ask for his very resignation. After his departure, other Town Councilmembers and staff were left to continue on, even as public comments condemning the mayor continued uninterrupted for hours more.

Ultimately, scores of Windsor Town residents joined the meeting virtually, using up to three minutes at a time to vent their anger at Foppoli and his alleged assaults over the course of many hours.

Also mentioned was a controversial 2017 email sent to then Mayor Debora Fudge in which a woman charged that Foppoli abused she and her friends while they were guests at the Christopher Creek Winery, at which Foppoli served as CEO. The town manager said he reached out to the author of the email who confirmed that she had preferred to remain anonymous and not pursue criminal charges.


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