In 2015, Alene Anase, who was employed by Alpha Omega Winery, was asked to serve guests on a cruise for charity on the San Francisco Bay. The Fresno Bee writes that the court documents from Anase’s 2016 lawsuit say that the guests were openly using cocaine and “drawing straws” to decide which sex workers to hire.
Alpha Omega settled with Anase for an undisclosed amount. The winery is owned by Robin Baggett and Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) is an investor.
During the cruise, Anase allegedly heard sexual activity from the bedrooms in the yacht and saw men “fondling and suckling” the breasts of sex workers, some of which appeared “too young to consent.” one of the anonymous defendants also allegly suggested Anase should “provide services of a sexual nature.”
Anase called the winery for help, and was told to “lie low,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit continues that when the cruise ended, the men “lined the prostitutes up on the deck of the yacht, reviewed out loud and in detail the sexual services performed and paid them in front of Plaintiff.”
Those aboard the yacht were “important investors in Alpha,” according to court documents.
The Director of communications for Alpha Omega, Kelly Carter, distanced Nunes from the lawsuit in an email.
“Rep. Devin Nunes is one of a few friends (Baggett) invited to invest in the winery in 2005. None of the investors has ever been involved with the management of the company. Robin is the sole managing partner and ultimate decision maker at Alpha Omega,” Carter said. “Robin has made a point to never mix politics with the business of Alpha Omega. Our business model is simple: grow great grapes, make great wine, hire great people and provide our customers with a great experience.”
Nunes invested between $50,000 and $100,000 in Alpha Omega, which opened in 2006. He also served as a limited partner in the company.
Anase sued for civil rights violations, intentional infliction of emotional distress, sexual harassment, and violation of fair employment laws.
Read the full story here.