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State dinner crashers owe a bundle, still might face charges

President Obama greets party crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi at the state dinner hosted for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House on Tuesday evening.

White House

President Obama greets party crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi at the state dinner hosted for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House on Tuesday evening.

The Virginia couple who crashed a White House fete and met President Barack Obama are not strangers to extravagance and controversy.

In 2007, the Washington Post likened them to characters on Falcon Crest, the 1980s prime time soap. No wonder reality TV's Real Housewives series came calling.

On Tuesday, Tareq and Michaele Salahi not only attended a state dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh uninvited, they stood in a receiving line to greet Obama after security failed to check if they were on the guest list.

The Secret Service said Friday it may pursue a criminal investigation of the Salahis, but events at the security checkpoint may determine whether the security breach is a crime or just an embarrassment.

Jim Mackin, an agency spokesman, said the possible turn toward criminal charges is one reason the Secret Service has kept mum about what happened when the couple arrived at the checkpoint Tuesday. They were not on the guest list for the dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Federal law makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully falsify statements on matters within the federal government's jurisdiction. It remains unclear whether the couple lied to the security officers and, if so, whether they violated federal law.

But before committing the high-profile party-foul-turned-security-breach, the Salahis were already well-known in Virginia legal circles. The couple are named in 16 lawsuits, including an ongoing feud with Tareq's mother, Corinne Salahi, over ownership of Oasis Winery, one part of the Hume, Va.-based family business.

In February, Tareq Salahi filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on behalf of Oasis Enterprises, another part of the business. Debts totaled close to $1-million, the filing says, with only $335,000 in assets.

In a 2008 article in the company's local paper, the Loudoun Times-Mirror, Tareq Salahi described Oasis Enterprises as the company that brings people to the vineyard.

The winery advertises rides to the vineyards via limousine, stretch Hummer or motor coach.

And though Oasis Vineyards, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008 with Corinne Salahi listed as principal, court filings indicate son Tareq owns a percentage of it.

Here's a glimpse of some of the debts, assets and items repossessed in Oasis Enterprises' Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which includes the most detail about the company's activities:

Repossessed

• 2004 Aston Martin automobile estimated at $150,000

• Carver 350 Mariner boat estimated at $90,000

Liabilities

• Personal property taxes owed: $10,969

• Federal income tax unpaid since 2006: Unknown

• Parking tickets owed: $475

• Unemployment insurance owed: $293

• Credit card debt: $61,599 (Capital One, Bank of America and Wells Fargo)

• Checking account overdraft: $3,813

• Deficiency owed on repossessed Aston Martin: $85,000

• Deficiency owed on repossessed Carver boat: $56,239

• Insurance premiums on repossessed boat: $1,296

• Owed for credit card machine: $28

• Owed for credit card chargeback claims: $8,739

• Magazine and other advertising expenses owed: $37,742

• Gasoline purchases owed: $2,932

• Telephone services owed: $549

• Legal services and fees owed: $145,601

• Owed to Loudoun County for security provided during America's Polo Cup, a charity polo match, fashion show and culinary competition organized by the Salahis: $13,292

• Court claim over limousine service provided: $7,355

• Airline mileage incentive program fees owed: $25,000

• Court claim by Salamander Middleburg, LLC, for catering services provided during polo event: $304,920

• Sound and lighting for America's Polo Cup production: $25,006

• Accounting services: $23,580

• Toll violation charges: $77

Assets/personal property

• Fountain in lake at business headquarters: $4,500 ("would require at least three men to remove")

• Pressurized cleaner, two wine storage tanks, 100 stacking chairs, 40 cafe tables, three electric bottle coolers, three stainless steel catering workstations, miscellaneous kitchen utensils: $5,000

• Four-year rental of catered suite at Washington Redskins' FedEx Field: $224,000, owed by Oasis Vineyards Inc. to Oasis Enterprises.

• General claims against Oasis Vineyards for services from 2005 to 2007: $50,000

• Leased 2005 Audi A8L 4-door sedan kept at Salahi's business: $15,325 (though the court papers indicate Oasis owes $53,845 on the car)

• Court claim by Oasis against Lynn Wiley and Lynn Wiley Real Estate for fraud, tortious interference with contract rights, seeking $3.2-million in damages

• "Potential" court counterclaim against Salamander Middleburg, LLC for breach of contract, fraud and libel/slander in connection with America's Cup of Polo charity event in May 2007, which the Salahis organized: Unknown amount.

• Two computers, printers, desks, filing cabinets, bookcases and other furniture: $500

• Broken 2000 Kawasaki motorized cart: $600

State dinner crashers owe a bundle, still might face charges 11/27/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 27, 2009 9:53pm]

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