Updated: Salahis in court over unpaid lawn service debt judgment

Tareq and Michaele Salahi walk down Main Street in Front Royal, VA after a court appearance in Warren County General District Court. Warren County Report photo by Matt Kreitz/Landov. Copyright 2009. Reproduction only with permission.

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Tareq Salahi’s $325,000 Patek watch (if it’s not bootleg) seized to satisfy $2,000 debt

By Roger Bianchini
Warren County Report

Warren County’s most famous socialite couple was in Front Royal on Friday morning for an event not likely to be found penciled in on their social calendar.

Rather than a state dinner for a foreign dignitary, on Dec. 4 White House State Dinner party crashers Tareq and Micheale Salahi were invited guests for the 9 a.m. docket of Warren County General District Court. The couple faced legal interviews over non-payment of a year-old, $925 judgment against them for lawn care services at their Overlook Drive home in the Mosby Estates subdivision near Linden, in eastern Warren County. The couple’s total debt to A1A Home Improvement and Lawn Care Service is actually around $2,000, including plaintiff legal fees, court costs and interest.

Plaintiff attorney J. Daniel Pond III interviewed the Salahis separately outside the first-floor courtroom in second-floor conference rooms in the presence of their attorney, David Silek. Pond spent 45 minutes with Tareq, then another 20 minutes with Michaele Salahi before returning to the courtroom at 10:20 a.m.

Pond then requested Judge W. Dale Houff to allow the seizure of personal property from the Salahis to satisfy the debt. With the ever fashionable Mrs. Salahi dressed down somewhat from her Nov. 24th White House appearance in what might be termed “destitute chic” – sans even her wedding ring – Pond looked to Tareq Salahi for the requested property seizure.

Front Royal Police Traffic Enforcement Officer Donald Orye tickets the car of Tareq and Michaele Salahi for an expired Virginia inspection sticker Dec 4. Warren County Report photo by Matt Kreitz/Landov. Copyright 2009. Reproduction only with permission.

If not the shirt off his back, Pond asked the court take the watch off Tareq Salahi’s wrist for resale to satisfy his client’s unpaid judgment.

Silek noted his client had informed him the value of the watch was considerably more than his debt in the matter.

However, Houff allowed the watch to be taken into the custody of the court clerk’s office and instructed the attorneys to work out a method of sale and payment. Any excess proceeds from a sale, whether made by the Salahis or the plaintiff would be reimbursed to the Salahis, Pond later explained.

As he left the courthouse, Silek was asked if his client’s watch was a Rolex. – “It makes a Rolex look like a Swatch,” the attorney replied.

Court Clerk Rhonda McDaniel later identified the watch as a “Patek, Phillipe Geneve.” A quick Internet search of the brand by staff at WZRV, 95.3 FM, prior to this reporter and publisher Dan McDermott’s News at Noon appearance to discuss the Salahis’ day in court led to this appraisal – “the cheapest ones start at $325,000.”

However, prior to any sale by either party, court or Warren County Sheriff’s Office personnel will first verify the watch’s authenticity and value.

Tareq Salahi removes an expired inspection ticket from his car Dec. 4. Warren County Report photo by Matt Kreitz/Landov. Copyright 2009. Reproduction only with permission.

Following the court ruling, the Salahis, who remained upstairs during the court discussion of the property seizure, left the courthouse to a flurry of local and D.C.-based national media attention. They walked about a half block to the nearby East Main Street law office of John J. O’Neill, utilized locally by the Manassas-based Silek, without response to a flurry of questions hurled their way by FOX 5 DC news reporter Claudia Coffey. Among those questions were, would the couple be appearing on Saturday Night Live this weekend? Did they feel they owed apologies to either the White House staff or the Washington Redskins cheerleaders over their conflicting claims of a White House State Dinner invite or Michaele’s disputed claim of having once been on the Redskins’ cheer squad?

Earlier upstairs in the courtroom, Salahi smiled but said nothing when asked about a pending SNL appearance.

While they were sequestered in the O’Neill law office, media covering the backdoor discovered the Salahis’ Audi parked with not only its temporary tags, but an expired inspection sticker as well. When Front Royal Police Motorcycle Patrol Officer Donald Oyre pulled into the Front Royal Town Parking Lot to view the media hubbub, some standers by mentioned the November ’09 inspection sticker, leading to Oyre’s ticketing of the vehicle after a quick check with headquarters.

At about 11:30 a.m. the Salahi’s exited the law office escorted by FRPD Officer J.R. Dove. Asked if he planned to pay the expired inspection ticket, Tareq Salahi said, “Oh no,” and reached out from the driver’s seat and removed it from his windshield before driving off with his wife.

The Dec. 4 non-payment case may be only the tip of sinking financial iceberg for the Salahis – unless of course a rumored six-figure price being sought for their “inside story” gets picked up by a tabloid media source. A debt to Winchester Electric has also been cited in recent media reports; and while in the Warren County Courthouse on Dec. 4, we were approached by both an attorney and individual claiming recent non-payment cases or experiences with the Salahis. The couple’s financial problems could also suffer from the Dec. 2 announcement that the Commonwealth of Virginia has opened an investigation of the finances of Salahi’s non-profit polo association.

During a break in his clients’ interrogatories, Silek declined to respond to questions about how he was being paid for his legal services to the couple, whom he said he has represented off and on since 2002. –

“Are you being paid by Bravo or NBC?” Silek was asked.

“If I had an answer for that I wouldn’t answer it – it’s a totally inappropriate question,” Silek replied.

Roger Bianchini: rogerb@warrencountyreport.com

Listen to a discussion of this story on DC 101.

Follow Dan on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. I am so happy to see that the Salahi’s are starting to have to pay their debts. My son and daughter and a friend worked for them at the Polo Cup on Sept. 19th and did not get paid as well. I have sent them several emails and the paperwork they needed to get paid but never got any money. We still have the paper work filled out to sue them. One of their other employees did sue them and they bullied him outside the WC court house a few weeks ago and he dropped the suit. I have been waiting for this day when they are stopped for all of their dishonesty.

    • My guess is that you can find a lawyer who will fill this for you for free, the dog pile has began…

  2. Final question dodged by the lawyer: Great question! Somebody in the media pack out there is thinking. The TV show is coming, people. To the Warren County Report: Keep rocking on.

  3. Folks who are owed money by these people should start lining up and get what they are due…don’t be afraid of them and fear being bullied or sued…like everyone else, they need to pay their debts. I don’t think anyone needs to fear them or the thought that some high powered attorney is going to come after you. THEY are the “little people” now!

  4. This is just so precious as I grew up in Front Royal and now live in Wasilla Alaska (gee looks like between the Salahis and Sarah Palin I just can’t escape the grifters!)

    Glad I stumbled upon your site. Thanks for the good muckraking!

  5. they give all new meaning to the phrase (trailor park trash), i wish them the worst of luck in life scumbags

  6. The sad part, the really sad part, is that this classic example of trailer trash could so thoroughly bully so many people with their hollow threats of lawsuits that they got away with it for so long.

    Need an example? Here’s a really good one.

    Ask the publishers of the Fauquier Times-Democrat why they pulled a totally factual story down off its website in May reporting the action of the Commonwealth warning the public about the Salahis’ so-called “charitable foundation”. Because they were bullied with unfounded legal chest-pounding by Salahi’s lawyer. That’s the only reason.

    Gee, I think, and I tend to think most people might agree, recent events sort of make that publication look pretty darn foolish in retrospect.

    Just my opinion.


  8. “dear” ED, for one thing, Tareq is only half Persian, the other half Germanic (sorry I forget where his Mom is actually from) Secondly, I see the Hand of Michaele more active in this type of scam–or at least a good half of the blame is with her. Ergo, although I doubt that either math or logic are very active in your prejudices,”Persians” are only responsible for maybe 1/4 of this stupid behavior.

  9. so much utter nonsense,… but I wonder if White House send them a bill to compensate for the dinner… or how would they approach these people

  10. I guess this is as good a place as any to plug in links to the other stories on the debts.

    Salahis didn’t pay for the parking service in 2008’s America’s Cup:

    Didn’t pay for generator repair at their home:

  11. Another unpaid worker and Salahis filed bogus lawsuit with ridiculous claim over lost video footage seeking $65K, with Michaele saying it’s worth one million dollars:

    There are so many people that could be interviewed. Why haven’t more people that have been shorted come forward?

    It would be nice to trace this back to the very first person who wasn’t paid. Was this common BEFORE the two hooked up? Did Tareq and Michaele refuse to pay people before they met? And why wasn’t anything done, why wasn’t the rest of the public made aware? Maybe like filing through the Better Business Bureau.

    Guess who? At Halloween this year:

    I suggest this pair of outfits for them next year:

  12. true… you know what they say…If CNBC reported it this morning, it’s already factored into the price of a stock

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