Virginia regulators probe Salahis' fund-raising

AP News
Posted: Dec 03, 2009 2:05 PM

Virginia regulators said Thursday they are investigating the fund-raising practices of an enterprise run by Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the couple that got into a White House state dinner without an invitation.

The probe is focused on the Salahis' annual polo cup event, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a two-sentence statement.

The state regulatory agency enforces Virginia law on charitable fundraising, which prohibits solicitors from making misleading statements designed to defraud donors.

The Salahis say that money raised through their America's Polo Cup undertaking goes to their nonprofit Journey for the Cure.

The polo event and the foundation that the Salahis run have been mired in controversy and financial disarray.

Three vendors who served the annual polo cup event, created in 2006, said they hadn't been paid, The Washington Post reported. The organizer of a separate polo tournament in Aspen, Colo., told The Aspen Times the Salahis owe him $19,500 for their entrance fee to last year's tournament.

The Salahis' nonprofit Journey for the Cure, established in 2004, didn't register with the state of Virginia to raise money until last month, a spokeswoman for the state regulatory agency said.