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September 16, 2014

Who Are Michaele Salahi and Tareq Salahi?

by Leonard Jacobs, posted Dec 1st 2009 5:08PM
Everyone's talking about Michaele Salahi and Tareq Salahi -- but who are they?

They are said to have "crashed" the White House state dinner on Nov. 24.

They have gone on 'The Today Show' to deny they're crashers, yet haven't produced one of those much-sought-after embossed invitations.

They have appeared in photos with Pres. Obama, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Vice President Biden.

They have sent the Secret Service into a frenzy regarding the President's security -- and soon, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, will interrogate them before Congress.

What's their deal, exactly?Everyone's talking about Michaele Salahi and Tareq Salahi -- but who are they?

They are said to have "crashed" the White House state dinner on Nov. 24.

They have gone on 'The Today Show' to deny they're crashers, yet haven't produced one of those much-sought-after embossed invitations.

They have appeared in photos with Pres. Obama, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Vice President Biden.

They have sent the Secret Service into a frenzy regarding the President's security -- and soon, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, will interrogate them before Congress.

What's their deal, exactly?

Tareq Salahi, 41, is the polo-playing scion of the Israeli-born Dirgham Salahi and his wife, Corinne, who co-founded Virginia's famous Oasis Winery back in 1977.

Michaele Salahi, 44, is Tareq's wife. Her biography, by comparison, remains unclear. Some sources claim she was a cheerleader for the Washington Redskins and now is a lobbyist in Richmond, Virginia's capital. Other sources dispute that.

We do know, however, that the Salahis were under strong consideration to be cast members for Bravo's upcoming reality show, 'The Real Housewives of D.C.' Their eligibility for the show remains an open question. And given how today's news becomes tomorrow's entertainment, the Salahis' story could easily become a movie of the week.

But we also know the Salahis are prone to legal issues.

CNN.com reported, for example, that the Salahis' names appeared on "at least" 16 civil suits. They battled for control of Oasis Winery in 2007, winning it after a nasty legal battle between Tareq Salahi and his mother. But according to CNN, the winery "has run into debt" and "filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy" last February. CNN also cited some evidence that Oasis Winery declared Chapter 11 backruptcy in December 2008, "with Salahi's mother ... listing herself as president."

Bottom line: If law enforcement finds the Salahis lied to gain access to the White House, that is a federal crime, punishable by imprisonment.

Like the Heenes, whose fetish for the limelight gave us the Balloon Boy incident, we know the Salahis crave attention. In November 2008, the Washington Post called the Oasis Winery lawsuit a "saga." Indeed, the parents of Tareq Salahi also sued their son, charging that Tareq "interfered with the winery's sale and falsely advertised on the Internet that Oasis was closed." Shaquille O'Neal was trying to buy it at the time.

Related:
Salahis on 'Today': "We Were Invited, Not Crashers"
White House Gatecrashers Shopping Story to Networks?
Should the White House Gatecrashers Be Disqualified from 'Real Housewives'?

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