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'Friends of Fabian' help former Assembly speaker stock his wine cellar

May 4, 2011 | 10:54 am

'Friends of Fabian' help former Assembly speaker replenish his wine cellar

Fabian Nunez, the former Assembly speaker whose love of fine wine landed him in controversy some years ago, is getting a little help from friends to keep his wine cellar stocked now that he is out of office.

A group calling itself "The Secret Society of F.O.F." which identifies itself as "Friends of Fabian" has sent out an invitation to Capitol insiders and others to attend a "christening of the Nunez Wine Cellar," in Sacramento Wednesday night.

"Suggested Offering: a Magnum of Wine,'' the invitation says, and urges attendees to RSVP to a local lobbying firm. Those behind the invite said it was prepared to look like a political fundraiser invitation as a joke.

"This is not political. It is just a group of friends," said Kevin Sloat, a lobbyist hosting the christening.

A spokesman for Nunez said it was just a chance for friends to get together and drink some wine.

Nunez represented Los Angeles in the Assembly but left office in 2008 and now works for the Mercury Public Affairs consulting firm. He was the subject of controversy in 2007 when The Times reported that he spent tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds on luxury travel, gifts and his own wining and dining at exclusive restaurants. Expenses Nunez charged to his campaign account included $5,149 for what he reported as a meeting at Cave L'Avant Garde wine cellar in the Bordeaux region of France.

The state’s ethics watchdog agency investigated Nunez's campaign spending but determined he did not break the law.

-- Patrick McGreevy

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