Michaele Salahi ‘pretended to be Redskins cheerleader’
And the couple’s annual polo event is mired in controversy and ‘unpaid bills’
Michaele Salahi’s notorious visit to the White House state dinner on November 24 was not her first gate-crashing adventure, it seems. According to a report in the Washington Post, the Virginia socialite, eager to be chosen as a contestant on the reality show The Real Housewives of DC, also crashed a get-together of former Washington Redskins cheerleaders two months earlier.
It happened on September 20 when the cheerleaders performed at halftime in the Redskins v St Louis Rams game. Salahi, followed by a TV crew just as she was on the day of the state dinner, somehow managed to inveigle her way into the cheerleaders' routine.Only afterwards did it transpire that none of the other cheerleaders could remember her from whichever year she was supposed to have been a member of the squad, and she was unable to perform some of the cheerleaders’ most basic routines.When Michaele and her husband, Tareq Salahi, hit the headlines last week following the dinner for Indian President Manmohan Singh, some of the cheerleaders decided to check out Salahi’s credentials. Terri Lamb told the Washington Post: "We have no record that she ever was a Redskins cheerleader.”Another former Redskins cheerleader, Sheryl Olecheck, said she was "unnerved" by the episode. "It takes a lot of time and heart and practice to be a Redskins cheerleader, so I'm resentful. For her to get out there and think she can just shake her pompoms is upsetting."The cheerleading episode is not the only new scandal to envelope the Salahis. According to the Washington Post, the couple are not the successful polo entrepreneurs they claim they are.The paper has discovered that the two-day annual polo championship, the Land Rover America’s Polo Cup, and a charity foundation run by the Salahis, are mired in controversy, unpaid bills and financial problems.The three ‘sponsors’ listed on the three-year-old polo cup’s website - Land Rover, Cartier and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company - have told the Post that they are not, in fact, sponsors. Meanwhile contractors from previous years have said the Salahis have never paid them for their services, and owe around $500,000 in total.Most seriously, Tareq Salahi told the Washington Post last year that the 2007 polo cup - which drew 5,000 spectators including Virginia governor Tim Kaine - raised $250,000 for a charity, the Journey for Cure Foundation. But official tax records show that the foundation received only $18,608 in 2007. It appears the foundation was Tareq Salahi’s own creation, says the paper.The Salahis had also promised patrons that members of the British royal family - including polo-playing Prince Charles - would attend the 2007 event. But none of the royals materialised. Nor, it seems, has payment from the Salahis to the caterers, who have filed a still unresolved lawsuit for $300,000.The next America’s Polo Cup is scheduled for June on Washington DC’s Mall, with the gala event a polo match between the United States (captained by Tareq Salahi) and India. 'VIP tickets' cost up to $1,000 and the cup website claims the event has been "patroned every year by the President of the United States”. In fact, there is no record of such patronage.Neither the Salahis nor their attorney, Paul W Gardner, have commented on the Washington Post’s allegations. ·
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