While a domestic dispute may not be out of the ordinary in Lewes, add nearly 200 grams of cocaine and more than $3,000 in cash and curiosity begins to pique.
When it turns out one of the two arrested is a notable Washington, D.C. chef who has cooked for former President Barack Obama and was nominated for chef of the year in 2018, the story reaches a level unseen since former newscaster Sam Donaldson was pulled over in Lewes in 2012 for driving under the influence.
Massimo Fabbri could not be reached for comment, but a woman who said she is the publicist for Fabbri's restaurant, San Lorenzo, said Fabbri can't comment because the case is still under investigation. “As far as we're concerned, it's no news,” she said.
The woman, who did not want to identify herself, said Fabbri's attorney expects all charges will be dropped because he was not in possession of the cocaine.
On May 30, Fabbri, 40, was charged with felony drug possession after Lewes police found 191 grams of cocaine – a street value of $19,100, police say – and $3,201 in cash in a 2013 BMW X5. Police were called to the area of Savannah Road and Sussex Drive, a school zone that includes Shields Elementary and the Lewes School, after someone called 911 at 7:30 a.m. saying a woman was yelling for help. Police found Christina Lombardi, 36, walking in the 900 block of Mauri Drive with cuts and scrapes from a fight, police said. Fabbri was found sitting in the BMW, also with cuts and scrapes. Both were committed to Sussex Correctional Institution in default of cash bond – $32,100 for Fabbri and $27,100 for Lombardi.
Fabbri's mugshot is a far cry from the professional photo adorning the website for San Lorenzo Ristorante + Bar, his Shaw neighborhood restaurant where he is executive chef. Glowing reviews from the Washington Post, Washingtonian and other Washington, D.C. publications can't say enough about Fabbri's fabulous Tuscan-style cooking.
About three weeks before Fabbri's arrest, a Facebook post for San Lorenzo gushed about a visit from Obama and friends that included former White House press secretary Jay Carney.
“Obama is known to be a foodie, and he's a fan of the Italian hotspot's chef, Massimo Fabbri. Obama has previously dined at Tosca, Fabbri's original power-dining restaurant, and Fabbri even cooked for the former president at the White House,” the Facebook post states.
Another article notes Ivanka Trump has dined at Fabbri's new restaurant.
Carl Kanefsky, spokesman for the Delaware Attorney General's Office, said both Fabbri and Lombardi posted cash bail June 6 and were released from custody. They both have preliminary hearings scheduled June 20 in Sussex County Court of Common Pleas.