Virginia's attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, has filed a lawsuit against the White House party crasher Tareq Salahi, claiming he defrauded customers who bought wine tours from his website, VirginiaWineTour.com. As reported on thedrinksbusiness.com, Salahi and his then-wife Michaele gained notoriety in 2009 when they gatecrashed a White House state dinner hosted by president Obama for Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh.
The controversial stunt landed the pair on reality TV show The Real House Wives of D.C. for a season. The lawsuit, filed on Monday in Fauquier County Circuit Court, accuses Salahi and his Virginia Wine Tourism Inc. and Celebration Entertainment Productions LLC of not delivering promised tours, not providing refunds for cancelled tours and misrepresenting businesses as “official partners.” Some customers reported their tours were cancelled the morning they were scheduled to begin due to a "vehicle malfunction.”
Others complained they were not taken to the wineries they were promised, that the mode of transportation wasn't what was advertised, or that that refunds, even those promised in writing, were never delivered. Cuccinelli said VirginiaWineTour.com displayed logos of several businesses, including United Airlines and Facebook, but that he had reason to believe that many, if not all, were not official partners.
Salahi is the sole director and presumed sole owner of Virginia Wine Tourism and the presumed sole member and manager of Celebration Entertainment Productions. The companies offer winery tours through VirginiaWineTour.com ranging from $200 to $1,350 per day. An attorney who represented Salahi in the past has not returned messages seeking comment.