Former reality TV star Farrah Abraham sues Dominic Foppoli over rape allegations
Reality TV star Farrah Abraham sues disgraced former Windsor mayor Dominique Foppoli in Sonoma County Superior Court on charges that he drugged and raped her at his friend’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida in late March 2021.
The lawsuit, which was filed in December but released on Tuesday, marks the third active civil lawsuit against Foppoli, who has been publicly accused of rape, sexual assault or misconduct by fourteen women and appears to live in Italy. It was not officially signified with the most recent suit.
Abraham is represented locally by attorney Traci Carrillo, who separately litigates the case of seven anonymous womenwhose accounts match those documented in news reports after the allegations against Foppoli were first made public through a San Francisco Chronicle investigation in April 2021.
But the lead attorney on the On trial for Abraham is Spencer Kuvin, a high profile litigator who successfully brought civil lawsuits for the victims of serial financier and sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. Palm Beach-based Kuvin is currently suing Prince Andrew on behalf of a woman who claims the prince abused her when she was 17.
Like Foppoli’s other two lawsuits, Abraham’s complaint also names Foppoli’s Christopher Creek Winery as a defendant. Abraham accused Foppoli of drugging her during a tasting for the winery in uptown Florida.
The lawsuit “is going to show consistent and predatory behavior,” Carrillo said. “You see drug and sexual assault concerns and taking advantage of the opportunities that (Foppoli) creates in a predatory way. It’s just one more consistent piece of a very clear pattern of predatory behavior.
Via text message on Wednesday, Foppoli said there was “absolutely no truth in (the trial)”.
Abraham told the Palm Beach Police Department that she woke up with no memory of a night with the mayor of Windsor after tasting several wines and drinking part of a cocktail, according to a report by the agency last March.
Abraham, who appeared on real estate TV shows such as “Celebrity Big Brother,” “Couples Therapy” and “16 and Pregnant,” was living in Los Angeles but, like Foppoli, was visiting Palm Beach at the time of the incident.
Kuvin previously told The Press Democrat that Abraham “passed out” after a few sips of an Old Fashioned Foppoli gave him. According to the complaint, in the morning Abraham woke up in a bed next to Foppoli with no memory of the previous night. When she went to the bedroom, she noticed broken jewelry and “a few cuts and bruises,” according to the complaint.
“She knew she had been raped,” by Foppoli, the complaint reads.
Abraham filed a police report on April 2, six days before the Chronicle published the allegations of four other women and sparked a firestorm of public opprobrium and other allegations. Detectives did not search the Palm Beach home until April 21, where they found it cleaned but discovered broken jewelry.
Palm Beach detectives suspended their investigation on January 26, 2022 due to “insufficient evidence”, citing Abraham’s memory loss as an issue. They were unable to interview Foppoli despite multiple attempts. Doug Duncan, an attorney who said he represented the Sonoma County winemaker, sent police a letter acknowledging that Foppoli and Abraham had spent the night together, but that everything was “done freely, voluntarily and consensually”.
In his text message on Wednesday, Foppoli wrote that “the case has been closed because I have done nothing even remotely wrong.”
Foppoli remains under criminal review by the California Attorney General’s officewhich received an investigation into the California allegations from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office in March 2022.
Foppoli also faced a criminal investigation in Reno, Nevada. The Press Democrat was unable to immediately determine the status of that investigation on Tuesday.
He has proclaimed that he is innocent of all charges against him, and in a precedent statement to The Press Democrat on December 7 said: “It has been over a year and a half and I have been investigated by numerous government and law enforcement agencies and I do not ‘ve never been accused of a single thing.”
Carrillo called this characterization inaccurate. “It’s still a viable possibility that he faces criminal charges,” she said.
Last fall, Foppoli posted social media posts describing a luxurious life in Italy, where he socialized at his family’s castle. Christopher Creek Winery still offers the “lavish castle” for rent on its website, noting that the 11th-century tower structure has seven stories, a dungeon and “a cozy jacuzzi.” As of Tuesday, the property was listed at $491 a night on Airbnb.
Kuvin told The Press Democrat he doesn’t believe Foppoli has become a permanent resident of Italy, though he declined to say what information gave him that understanding.
“He can only stay in Italy for so long,” Kuvin said.
Ultimately, if Foppoli continues to avoid service, the courts can accept that the plaintiffs made a good faith effort and the trial can proceed, Berkeley Law professor Andrew Bradt said.
“If the defendant intentionally dodges service of a proceeding, the state cannot be utterly powerless to render judgment,” Bradt said.
Carrillo’s law firm successfully served Foppoli last spring in the lawsuit seven women filed in April last year. In this lawsuit, Foppoli continues to represent himself and has not appointed a lawyer.
But in a separate case, brought by a anonymous woman from Montana who accuses the former mayor of having raped her at the age of eighteen, the lawyers could not mean it.
“Foppoli went to Italy,” wrote attorney Deborah Mallgrave, who is representing the woman, in a Dec. 5 filing in that case, “the plaintiff is working on new leads regarding his location.”
And in Abraham’s case, they haven’t served Foppoli yet.
“We’ll get it, it’s only a matter of time,” Kuvin said.
You can reach editor Andrew Graham at 707-526-8667 or [email protected]. On Twitter @AndrewGraham88