From time to time, Lovefraud readers have asked if sociopathic men and women ever hook up with each other. I’d say the answer is yes, and a truly entertaining example of what can happen when they do has been all over the news recently.
I’m referring, of course, to Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the White House party crashers.
Tareq in black tie, and Michaele in a stunning red sari trimmed in gold, waltzed past Secret Service officials into President Barak Obama’s first state dinner on November 24, 2009, even though they weren’t on the guest list. The Secret Service didn’t know they weren’t supposed to be at the party until the next day, when the Salahis posted pictures from the event on Facebook.
A week later, the Salahis insisted on the Today Show that they did not crash the party. “This has been the most devastating thing that ever happened to us,” Tareq Salahi said to Matt Lauer.
“Our lives have been destroyed, everything we worked for, Matt,” Michaele Salahi said. “For me, 44 years, just destroyed.”
Of course, a few days before the Today Show interview, a television executive said the Salahis were shopping their story, offering to talk to broadcast networks in exchange for a payment of $500,000. Networks do not generally pay interview guests—and the Salahis said on air that they did not get paid.
The White House event wasn’t the first time the Salahis crashed a party—on September 26, 2009, they attended, uninvited, the Congressional Black Caucus dinner. The couple entered through a door used by bus boys and caterers. When they couldn’t produce any tickets, they were asked to leave—although they deny it.
So who are these people?
Tareq Salahi’s father founded the Oasis Winery in Hume, Virginia in 1977. Tareq attended the University of California, Davis, and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and oenology (winemaking). In 1994, he was named managing director of the family’s vineyard, which produced some award-winning wines.
Tareq met Michaele Holt, who grew up in Virginia and did not graduate from college, at a party in 2000. They married in 2003. The wedding—postponed four times—finally took place at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington D.C. The bridal party included 28 bridesmaids and 28 groomsmen. The ceremony and reception were attended by 1,836 guests.
See a video of the Salahi wedding on YouTube.
The couple became a fixture on the Washington-area social scene. According to the governor of Virginia, Tim Kaine, they are “big self-promoters.”
Exaggerations by Michaele
Michaele Salahi claimed that she was a cheerleader for the Washington Redskins football team, and actually joined the cheerleader alumni association. In fact, she performed during halftime of the Redskins game on September 20, 2009—even though she couldn’t dance and didn’t know the standard choreography for the team’s fight song. The Washington Redskins cheerleaders deny that she was ever on the squad.
Michaele claimed to be a Victoria’s Secret model, which the company denies. She also claimed to be a former Miss USA, which pageant owner Donald Trump denies.
In November 2006, a legal battle erupted between Tareq Salahi and his mother, Corrine Salahi, over ownership of the Oasis Winery. Both parties accused each other of fraud and embezzlement. Tareq accused his mother of betraying the family. According to a 2007 article in the Fairfax County Times,
Tareq blamed his mother Corrine Salahi for causing turmoil at the vineyard, claiming she “abused” vineyard employees with “bullying tactics” and “fabricated claims,” and even wielding a pistol at times. Mrs. Salahi did not return calls for comment.
Since January the Fauquier Sheriff’s Office has recorded 26 incident reports at the vineyard, six naming Corrine Salahi, according to Major Paul Mercer, the Sheriff Office’s Public Information Officer. “We have sent deputies out there quite a few times this year,” Mercer said. “These cases involved everything from simple assault, motor vehicle theft, burglary and assault involving a family member.”
The lawsuit was settled in December 2007 when a real estate investor bought the property and then leased it back to Tareq Salahi. Since then, the winery ran into financial problems and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February 2009, claiming $335,000 in assets and $965,000 in liabilities.
Tareq Salahi is a polo player, and the couple was involved with charity polo events in the Washington, D.C. area, but others questioned what they were doing with the money they raised. According to Fox News,
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which oversees charitable operations in the commonwealth, issued a consumer warning earlier this year against the “Journey for a Cure Foundation,” of which the Salahis are listed as co-founders, the Fauquier-Times Democrat reported. The state regulatory and watchdog agency reportedly claimed that the foundation was soliciting money from Virginians for “allegedly charitable purposes,” but had failed to follow laws requiring groups soliciting money for charity to register and file necessary paperwork with the department.
Montgomery County in Maryland filed a lawsuit against the Salahis for bouncing a $24,000 check that they wrote to buy liquor for their America’s Polo Cup World Championship.
Legal and financial problems
CNN reported that the Salahis are named in 16 different civil suits in Fauquier County, Virginia, sometimes as plaintiffs and sometimes as defendants. A $15,000 judgment was won by a man who had his wedding at the Oasis Winery. He accused the Salahis of charging thousands of dollars to his credit card without explanation. The Salahis haven’t paid a penny of the judgment.
Tareq Salahi’s 4,000-square-foot home in Front Royal, Virginia, is in foreclosure.
An Aston-Martin worth $150,000, and a boat valued at $90,000 were repossessed. But in 2008, when a repo man came for the couple’s Audi A8, the Salahis threatened him. According to NVDaily.com:
Edward Beal, 44, of Front Royal, also has a pending case against Tareq Salahi stemming from an incident in which Salahi took the keys to Beal’s tow truck when Beal tried to repossess a 2006 Audi A8 from the couple’s Warren County home on Aug. 14, 2008.
Beal says in his criminal complaint form on file in General District Court that when he pulled into the driveway to tow the Audi, the Salahis came out of their house and asked him what was going on and he told them he was repossessing the vehicle for his employer, L & K Recovery of Woodstock.
Beal states that Salahi told his wife to go into the house and get a gun. “Then he took my keys out [of the] truck,” Beal says. “I had to run down the driveway [when] she went in the house [to] get the gun.”
Finally, last Friday the Salahis were in Warren County District Court because they failed to pay their landscaper for mowing their lawn. A year ago, the landscaper won a judgment for $2,063, which they didn’t pay. The court ordered Tareq to surrender the Patek Philippe watch he was wearing so it could be sold to pay the debt.
All this outrageous behavior, I believe, puts the Salahis somewhat higher on the sociopathic scale than most of us. Looking at the key symptoms of a sociopath, I’d say they exhibit the following traits:
- Glib and superficial—they must be, to talk their way past the Secret Service.
- Egocentric and grandiose—who has a wedding with 1,836 guests?
- Lack of remorse or guilt—they were thrown out of a party in September, and then crashed the White House party two months later.
- Deceitful and manipulative—fake cheerleader, fake Victoria’s Secret model and fake Miss USA.
- Need for excitement—why else would they try to secure a role on the reality TV show, Real Wives of D.C.?
- Lack of responsibility—they obviously felt no need to pay their bills.
They may have more sociopathic traits—media accounts don’t say anything about the Salahis’ degree of empathy or the depth of their emotions. But I’d be willing to bet that their relationship isn’t about emotional fulfillment.
Most people think sociopaths are hardened criminals, but it’s important to remember that people with this disorder can exhibit a range of behaviors, from sleazy to serial killer. A sociopath, in essence, is a social predator. It seems that this couple fits the bill.