By Dale Kasler
Published: Thursday, Jun. 16, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 6B
Say this for Alfred Villalobos, the man accused of bribing CalPERS officials: He doesn’t skimp.
The Lake Tahoe businessman has amassed a wine collection valued at a staggering $85,000. Now he’s trying to sell it.
Villalobos’ lawyers have asked a U.S. bankruptcy judge for permission to sell his 856-bottle collection, which includes such high-end brands as Beaulieu Vineyard and Opus One. A court hearing is set for Monday in Reno.
The California attorney general filed a lawsuit in May 2010 accusing Villalobos of bribing top officials with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. The lawsuit said Villalobos was trying to steer pension fund investments to his Wall Street clients.
The suit seeks tens of millions of dollars from Villalobos, who earned $50 million in fees from his clients.
A month after the suit was filed, Villalobos filed for bankruptcy protection. In the months since, he’s been liquidating some of his assets, and now he’s turning to his wine collection. Any money raised by the sale would have to be used to pay creditors.
In court papers, his lawyers Stephen Harris and Chris Nichols said Villalobos tried to sell the wine to a handful of wine brokers as well as several area casinos. Villalobos pegged his gambling debts at more than $3 million in court filings last year.
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