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White House gatecrasher runs for governor

The Virginia winemaker who famously gatecrashed a White House dinner has announced his intention to run as state governor.

Tareq and Michaele Salahi before the estrangement

Tareq Salahi, who with his now-estranged wife Michaele turned up uninvited at a 2009 White House state dinner where they met President Obama, will run for the Virginia governorship in November 2013.

Salahi, proprietor of the Oasis Winery in Hume, Virginia, is also being sued by Ken Cuccinelli, Viriginia’s attorney general who is also a candidate for governor, for allegedly defrauding customers who had purchased tours at the winery.

Cuccinelli filed the lawsuit, accusing Salahi and his companies of violating the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, two months after his office reached a settlement with Salahi and his ‘Journey for the Cure Foundation’ over concerns that the non-profit organisation made false statements, submitted inaccurate financial statements, and solicited donations without proper state registration.

The Salahis have been seldom out of the spotlight since the White House dinner incident.

Michaele Salahi was a cast member of the one-season reality show Real Housewives of DC, and starred briefly in Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew, until it became apparent she was not addicted to anything.

Last year, Salahi reported that his wife had been abducted but it turned out she had eloped with guitarist Neal Schon of rock group Journey.

Salahi later sued Michaele for US$50m, claiming her affair with the guitarist was part of a calculated attempt to make money for herself and the band at his expense.

Written by David Furer

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