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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Vallis, Avalons Hurled Insults, Owner Testifies

April 08, 1999|COLL METCALFE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Randy Valli's unmentionables were mentioned in a Ventura courtroom Wednesday, as attorneys heard testimony from a Moorpark restaurateur who alleges she was slapped by the wife of '60s teen idol Frankie Valli.

The woman's black satin bra was a key piece of evidence in the case brought by Sandra "Alex" Sofsky, who took the stand to recount how Randy Valli allegedly assaulted her during a dispute over a pricey meal.

"I asked her to please leave the restaurant because of all the profanity," Sofsky said. "When I turned her chair she got up and smashed me."

Valli, a Calabasas resident, is charged with one count of misdemeanor battery for allegedly slapping Sofsky, owner of the Secret Garden restaurant in Moorpark, last October after Valli and her party complained about the bill. If convicted, Valli could face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

For more than six hours, Sofsky and her husband and business partner, Robert, testified about the evening when the Vallis dined at the restaurant with Frankie Avalon and his wife, Kay.

According to Sandra Sofsky, she was busy throwing a surprise party in honor of her chef when a waiter approached her to say there was a problem.

As soon as she reached the table, she said, the situation got worse.

"I had never run into anything so hideous in my life," Sofsky said. "I couldn't believe what they were saying to me."

When asked to recount what the Vallis and Avalons said, a sobbing Sofsky said they called her "white trash" and a number of other expletive-laced phrases.

At that point, she said, the Vallis and Avalons were asked to leave, and they refused.

Sofsky said she then reached down to turn Randy Valli's chair at which point the woman allegedly stood up and slapped her.

"It really upset me," she said. "I was crying. I was very shaken."

Defense attorneys maintain that Valli was the one who was assaulted that evening and that the Sofskys are using the incident and trial to launch a civil suit against the actor/singer and his wife.

To buttress that assertion, defense attorneys exhibited Valli's black satin bra, or rather its broken clasp, they said proves that Sofsky attacked their client.

When asked by Valli's attorney, Louis "Chuck" Samonsky, how the clasp broke, Sofsky said she didn't know.

"I've worn bras all my life and I have never seen one broken like that," she said.

As to whether she recognized Frankie Valli, the 44-year-old Sofsky said she was from a different generation and wasn't familiar with the man who sang such hits as "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Walk Like a Man."

She testified that Frankie Avalon told her who Valli was and that the name still didn't register.

"I thought he said Frankie of the Valley," she said. "I didn't know who he was."

Robert Sofsky, who took the stand after his wife, testified that he was the one who seated the Vallis and Avalons and said the group seemed to be in good spirits when they arrived.

He recognized Frankie Avalon because both are members of the North Ranch Country Club and said that early in the meal he knew there was a problem.

"We stood and talked for a number of minutes and it was more of an inquiry into the prices," he testified. "He was disenchanted and said that we were trying to be something we're not, something to the effect of why are we charging Westside prices in a hick town like this.

"He said that I should take a picture of them because this was going to be the last time we'd ever see them."

Sofsky also said that after the alleged incident, Kay Avalon threatened to file suit, saying she would own the place tomorrow.

The party then left without paying the bill, Sofsky added.

Through most of the testimony, Valli remained quiet and appeared somewhat uncomfortable when her bra was taken out and shown to jurors.

The trial is expected to last through the week in Superior Court Judge Herbert Curtis' courtroom. Both Frankie Valli and Frankie Avalon are expected to testify, attorneys said.

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