MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 04: Tareq Salahi speaks at a press conference with the USA Polo Team on February 4, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. Tareq Salahi is the captain of the USA Polo Team who will play against the Victorian representative team. Michaele and Tareq Salahi are the infamous couple who gatecrashed a White House state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
A lawsuit has been filed against Tareq Salahi and two related entities involved in a wine tour venture for alleged violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced Monday.
Among the alleged violations: not delivering tours as promised, not providing refunds for tours they canceled, and misrepresenting reputable businesses as "official partners."
Salahi and the other two defendants, Virginia Wine Tourism, Inc. and Celebration Entertainment Productions, LLC (collectively, "VirginiaWineTour.com"), offer wine tour services in the Northern Virginia region through the web site VirginiaWineTour.com, according to Cuccinell's office.
Cuccinelli said that Salahi is the sole officer and director and presumed sole owner of Virginia Wine Tourism, Inc. and the presumed sole member and manager of Celebration Entertainment Productions, LLC.
The Attorney General's Office said that VirginiaWineTour.com "offers to provide transportation to and prearranged tours with individual wineries. The tours offered range from four-hour tours for small groups to week-long charters for up to 45 guests. Tour prices range from $200 to $1,350 for day tours, or more for weeklong charters."
Based on complaints filed with the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau and his own investigation, Cuccinelli alleges that VirginiaWineTour.com has not been delivering wine tours as promised.
In Cuccinelli's complaint, he alleges that VirginiaWineTour.com violated the VCPA in the following ways:
The lawsuit, which was filed with the Fauquier County Circuit Court, asks that the court enjoin VirginiaWineTour.com from violating the VCPA and that all money acquired from consumers in violation of the law be returned. The suit also seeks civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each violation of the act.
Consumers may file complaints regarding VirginiaWineTour.com with the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs. Complaint forms can be obtained by clicking here or by calling the Office of Consumer Affairs at (800) 552-9963.