Images of Tareq and Michaele Salahi gatecrashing last week's White House dinner have saturated the media, but who, exactly, are these two seemingly shameless "socialites"? As the couple tries to parlay their notoriety into cash and TV celebrity, Americans are scrambling for harder facts. Here are some things you may or may not to know about the Salahis. (Watch the Salahis share their side on the "Today" show)
Tareq Salahi is a director of a pro-Palestine lobbyist organization: Salahi is nominally on the board of directors for the American Task Force on Palestine, but his name vanished from its Web site shortly after the gatecrashing story emerged.
The Salahis owe thousands of dollars to creditors in Washington DC and Virginia: Tareq Salahi was involved in a bitter legal dispute with his parents over Oasis, a family vineyard in Virginia, and his wine company has outstanding debts as high as $1 million.
Tareq Salahi was going to sell his vineyard to basketball star Shaquille O'Neill: The former Lakers star's company attempted to buy the Oasis Vineyard for $4 million, but was outbid by a West Coast realtor.
The Salahis are under investigation by the State of Virginia: The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is probing "America's Polo Cup," a business run by the Salahis that the couple claims raises funds for their charitable organisation.
The Salahis have appeared on TV before: Tareq interviewed Black Eyed Peas star Will.I.Am in May (accompanied by Michaele, who stares unswervingly at the camera); Michaele acted as a video anchor last year for a channel named Plum TV.
Contriving to be photographed with celebrities is a favorite Salahi pasttime: Long before they posed with vice-president Joe Biden, the Salahis had already amassed photographs of themselves standing next to (among others) Donny Osmond, Prince Charles, Matt Damon, Senator John McCain, Senator Mark Warner, and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Michaele Salahi erroneously claims to be a model: Salahi's Wikipedia page asserts that she has modelled for magazines including Vogue and Elle. But friends of the couple dispute the claim.
Michaele Salahi "misrepresented" her way into a Washington Redskins half-time show: Though Salahi was filmed rehearsing with the Washinton Redskins cheerleaders alumni by a documentary crew following her for the reality-TV show, "Real Housewives of DC," and actually performed with pep-team on September 20, 2009, the group's president has since confirmed that Salahi was never an actual Redskin cheerleader, and gained entrance to the alumni group in 2005 through a "misrepresentation."
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