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For better or for worse: D.C. 'Housewives' recap and fact-check (#6, Sept. 16)

Welcome back to "The Real Housewives of D.C.," the episode in which Mary's daughter raids her closet, Lynda gets a new house, Stacie searches for her parents and drama erupts at Oasis Winery... Uh, is this a rerun?

No. It's not. It just felt that way. This episode magically avoided the season's two other repetitive obsessions ("Did Lynda call Michaele anorexic?" "Is Cat a racist?"), but it was otherwise almost nothing but retread -- not to mention rewind. Yes, this week we once again caught Bravo pulling off some more sneaky time travel. More on that later.

The episode opens at Mary Amons's (for sale!) mini-mansion in McLean. She greets Cat Ommanney at the front door with a little faux-British accent of her own. "Caaahhhtherine! Welcome, dahhhling!" (Seeing this now will make you feel a little less awkward later in the hour when she greets Stacie with "gir'frien!") Glasses of white wine. Talk about marriage, mothering. Cat tells the camera that "the fact that Charles travels so much and has left me alone so much, sometimes I felt like a single mom again, except seven thousand miles away from everyone I loved." (Does she mean, in London? Because that's only about 3,700 miles away from Washington. Give her a break, though; it's tricky converting from kilometers.)

(Also, note that Cat, in her camera moment, is bangs-less -- unlike her moment in Mary's house, where she has bangs -- which means that she gave this interview just recently, after her split from Charles Ommanney. Note the past tense slipping in. Also note that Bravo has given her subtitles! Can the average Bravo viewer really not understand the accent?)

Mary says she struggles with "mother's guilt." And -- have you heard? -- "I've had a big struggle with Lolly staying out of my closet." She's installed a biometric lock to keep her out! (We knew this! From the first episode! And assumed then it was just supposed to be a one-shot joke, not a damned story arc.) She tells Cat that her mother had a baby after Mary had Lolly, and that she and Rich lived with her parents for the first year of their marriage. "My sister and my daughter are the exact same age. Because I was young and naïve, it skewed the boundaries."

(Can we stay on this topic? Please? Thus far we can count three things we'd rather be watching a reality show about: Mary and Rich's first years together; Lynda's career as an R&B backup singer; Cat's brief snog with Prince Harry. And we get this instead. Bravo just showed up at the wrong time in everyone's life.)

Stacie Turner, at home in D.C.'s 16th Street Heights, gets a call on the speakerphone (reality TV dictates that this is the only way to answer the phone) from Michaele Salahi -- who wants Stacie to help her search for a house in D.C. Stacie brags to the camera about her real estate business (a Sotheby's agent at the time of this taping, she has since returned to Long & Foster where she began her real estate career): "I'm the person to call because I know D.C., and I'm the best at what I do." (Other D.C. Realtors, please take this to our comments thread.)

Lynda Erkiletian, at home in Georgetown, meets with her new German shepherd puppy, in anticipation of her move to McLean. She explains that when she last lived in McLean, her house was broken into. She doesn't think Ichiban, a stout little pup that resembles Churchill, is up to the job of watchdog. (WASHINGTON INSIDER ALERT!!!) Lynda announces that Dawn, the dog trainer, "trains the White House puppy, Bo." (This is actually true: Dawn Sylvia Stasiewicz of Merit Puppy Training got the coveted Bo assignment, and has reaped a nice publicity bonanza ever since.) "I was impressed by your training at the White House," Lynda gushes. Says Dawn, "It's a very bright dog. And they're a wonderful family." Then Dawn takes the name-dropping to the next level: Bo "is related to Sen. Kennedy's dog Cappy." (True.) Ichiban meets the German shepherd, and there is sniffing of butts. Lynda says something about how men need training too, and maybe women, and... whatever. Next scene!

The Four Seasons in Georgetown, where Stacie is meeting Tareq and Michaele. They are, believe it or not, staying in the "Royal Suite." (This is the Four Seasons' top-end suite, where Oprah is widely assumed to have stayed during the Obama inauguration. 4,000 square feet, massive private terrace. Goes for about $15,000 a night. How can the Salahis afford it, you ask? Well, the Four Seasons is a discreet place, and we'll never know for sure, but one can speculate that for the amount of camera time lavished upon the suite, this was a promotional arrangement for the Four Seasons, agreed to at a time before the Salahis were known for showing up uninvited to the White House with a trail of debts in their wake.)

As Stacie wonders to the camera where the money is coming from, Tareq explains that they're tired of staying in hotels when they come to D.C. for business, that they want to buy their own place. What kind of place? Michaele winces at the word "condo." Tareq says they need to "have 200 to 250 guests on a regular basis." What's their price range, Stacie asks? Says Michaele: "It could be the $100,000 home, or it could be the $12 million home." (Quick and sloppy D.C. real estate tutorial: $100,000 gets you a one-bedroom in Anacostia, the city's poorest sector. $12 million gets you an embassy. A NICE embassy.) Stacie wonders how they intend to finance this. "Through the business," says Tareq. Stacie tells the camera, "The winery is defunct. Do they think I'm stupid?"

At Cat's home in Chevy Chase, Md., she is doing the dishes, and explaining to the camera that she learned that morning that one of her friends back home had taken his life. "The girls woke up to hear me crying." Mary consoles her over the phone. Lots of "love you, love you" back and forth.

Lynda goes to check out her new McLean mini-mansion with Mary and a woman named Deborah, identified as her designer. (This is Deborah Kalkstein, a Georgetown-based decorator -- at one point, an early contender for a larger role on this show -- and owner of Contemporaria, where Mary, Cat and Jason Backe drank-and-shopped in episode four.) "Mary and I are going to be neighbors!" Lynda cheers. "We're so close, we're a stone's throw away." (They're just under a mile away from each other, in fact -- well, until Mary moves. Lynda actually now lives much closer to Colin Powell, whom Mary bragged in episode one lived just down the street. As the crow flies, Lynda's about 200 yards away from the former Secretary of State's house... Is this stuff interesting to you? Let me know and I'll keep going.) Lynda says that the house needs a lot of work, and "that's where astrology becomes of value." She never makes any big decision without consulting an astrologer. She burns a bunch of sage and smudges it around the place: "Whenever I purchase a new property, I think it's important to clear the energy." (Bravo plays whimsical music over this -- your cue to go ahead, laugh!) Lynda explains that she was raised Baptist, converted to Judaism at 20. She sprinkles holy water outside the house and declares "I love everything holy!"

Michaele and Tareq pick up Stacie in a white stretch limo. (Remember: They operated a limo service for a while, which explains all the limos in their life). Stacie takes them on a tour of Washington real estate. Spring Valley, the far western corner of D.C.where, says Stacie, "a lot of politicians live" (sure, some do); then, without announcement, an area that looks more like Foxhall or Embassy Row. Michaele sighs over a home that Stacie pegs at $20 million and not for sale. Stacie tells the camera she wants a bank statement or other evidence that the Salahis can afford this kind of real estate. Then she asks him straight out what the deal with the winery is. "Most of the rumors are true," he says, explaining that his mom sued him (true; as we've discussed before, she sued alleging he ran their business into the ground, he countersued; the winery and Tareq's businesses based there both filed for bankruptcy). "She came back after never being in the winery at all and really made a mess of things." Adds Michaele, "It became where the mom was wanting to push Tareq out." (Note: "the mom"?) Stacie offers that maybe they'll patch things up, and Tareq says no, "that chapter is closed." Stacie is horrified. The limo pulls up to the Four Seasons and Michaele exclaims, "we're home!"

Back in McLean, Mary interrupts Rich watching an unspecified sporting event on TV to complain, again, about Lolly taking clothes from her closet. Again. Apparently, "I forgot to close it." Says Rich (sounding like a man who has already seen season 1, episodes 1-5) "Do I need an Internet counter on my forehead for the number of times we're going to have this exact same conversation?" Mary tells the camera she doesn't like his sarcasm.

Back at the Turner house, Stacie is cooking dinner when Jason comes home and, apropos of nothing (or, perhaps, as if nudged by an invisible hand, perhaps belonging to one of the many Bravo/Half Yard personnel hanging around the family home but unseen by us the viewers -- and do you ever stop to think how weird that must be?), asks when Stacie is ever going to find her birth father. "It's been two and a half years!" Stacie tells the camera (for those of you who missed episodes 3-5), "I was surprised to find out my mother was Caucasian and my father was Nigerian." Jason says Stacie's birth mother will never help her find her father, that they need to go to the next level and confront her son -- Stacie's half-brother -- on Facebook. (This seems kind of drastic. It's also the most intriguing plot development on this episode. So of course, they drop it for the rest of the hour.)

Lynda, back at her Ritz-Carlton apartment, getting dressed, in a poufy silver trench-coat-style dress. (Familiar? For a while, one of the few photos we had of Lynda was in this dress. It's what she wore in Washingtonian magazine when they put her on their best-dressed list last year.) She calls to K.C., who is both her assistant and her son's girlfriend, to ask her for help buckling her shoes. Then she sweeps off to a gala with two of her sons, Sam, 16, and Mihran, 19, and boyfriend Ebong. (Leaving poor K.C. behind. Cinderella!)

The gala turns out to be the annual fundraiser for Men Against Breast Cancer. (And now... wait a minute! This event was held last Oct. 20 at the W Hotel. That was several days before Paul Wharton's birthday party, portrayed in episode two. And the gala was nearly three weeks before Oasis Winery grape-stomping party, of episode four. We know, however, that you, the sophisticated viewer, are up to the challenges of the non-linear narrative. I think Bravo enlisted David Lynch to direct this one.)

Mary and Cat are also there, and the highlight of the gala is a men's fashion show. "Women behave badly at men's fashion's shows," Lynda notes. "It's like they're at a strip club." Look, there's Paul Wharton walking the catwalk! (We missed our friend Paul the Plot Engineer the last two episodes; sadly we only glimpse him briefly this week. His hair is flat-ironed and somewhat longer than usual) Also: Fox5 anchor Will Thomas! (Will, you rascal you! No wonder you managed to break the story of the non-invited Salahis getting tossed out of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gala -- after, of course, we broke the White House story. Seems that Will was embedded with the Housewives!) Mary glares at Lolly on the far side of the room in a black bustier -- Mary's of course.

A man described as Lynda's ex-boyfriend comes by the table to say hi. (And this is true: Christopher Reiter, now 42, dated Lynda for a couple years. He owns Muleh, a furniture boutique and importing business in D.C. and is currently dating Juleanna Glover, the uber-hostess and GOP lobbyist who helped Half Yard Productions make some of the original introductions around town to find their "Housewives" cast.) Cat is struck by Reiter's groovy '70s Euro-chic style. "You dress absolutely identically to a very good friend of mine... who just died really recently, and it's like, whoa." She starts to cry, and tells the camera "it was just like a spirit or an angel coming to the table." Lynda tells the camera "it gave her the opportunity to just open up, let go, cry, and feel the pain." Lots of hugs.

Back at home, Cat tells 11-year-old Jade about crying in public and wrestles with her decision to skip her friend's funeral. "I think just go with your gut," Jade tells her. Cat tells the camera: "I know people say mothers shouldn't be best friends with their children, but we've been through a lot together."

In McLean, Mary and Rich have the Turners over to dinner. Mary greets Stacie with "my gir'frien!" (Producers decide not to linger on this; they hazed Mary enough in episode one, apparently.) Mary is a big fan of the Turners after they stood up for her at Oasis when Tareq started making bizarre charges about Lolly. Mary says that Jason's response "was a high five." And, "he definitely was the tender warrior in the group. His feather" -- at this, Mary wiggles her hand from behind her head -- "was like rrrrrwahahah!" Everyone smiles and laughs as if they get the references. (I don't.) Anyway, her point being, "you had our back." Stacie expresses surprise at the Salahis' recent behavior, having enjoyed them in Paris. Mary tells the camera "it's just a matter of time before Michaele and Tareq burn the bridge with Stacie and Jason, because they do that with everyone." She tells the Turners that she knows people who grew up with Tareq and that "there's a reason he was sent to military school." (In fairness, the Post in its extensive bio of the couple didn't find any noteworthy bad-teenager stories.) She adds that they have a "track record" of not paying their bills. (Post stories did find that.) But she defends Michaele, whom Mary sees as "lost" and trapped "in a co-dependent relationship."

Michaele and Tareq pull up to Oasis Winery, this time in an ordinary SUV. Tareq talks about "our family war" but his hopes for "a grand reopening, bringing it back to life." Michaele says she ran into Tareq's mother Corinne, who she said was mad that Michaele was talking to his father Dirgham, whom Michaele insists is a fan of Michaele. "Corinne, I don't know why she's so mean to me." Cameras pan over empty vines, shriveled fruit. Tareq talks about the "over-the-top designs for renovations." (It's one of those awkward reality-TV conversations clearly arranged for the sake of the cameras, otherwise, why would these two people deeply involved in the matter for so long need to deliver so much exposition to each other?) The two say Dirgham wants them to carry with the family business: "A new generation is here," says Tareq.

And then: Sirens! Sheriff's cars show up to the winery, and Tareq goes out to talk to them. Michaele tells the camera, weeping, that Corinne called the police trying to have them (and presumably, the production crew) removed from the place. Michaele gets very emotional: "It's affected my life greatly. It's affected my health, my well-being." (Note that the week this episode is airing is the week that the Salahis, in promoting a new book, announced that Michaele has multiple sclerosis.) She adds: "I've stayed because I love Tareq, and I got into it for better or for worse... Life's short and being cruel or making fun of someone or suing them or attacking your own child -- the whole thing is devastating."

Coming up next week: Michaele attends out at a Redskins cheerleader alumni event, and it's clear that Bravo will gleefully reveal what the Post months ago revealed -- that she never was a Redskins cheerleader, despite claiming to be one. Oh, and a big screaming match over whether Cat is a racist or whether Cat is simply a jerk -- yes, THAT old story.

Who won this round? We're no longer keeping score.



See earlier: D.C. "Housewives" recap and fact-check (#5, Sept. 9)
"Housewives" recaps of episodes 1-4

See also: The Washington Post's coverage of "The Real Housewives of D.C."

By The Reliable Source  |  September 17, 2010; 4:00 AM ET
Categories:  Housewives recaps , Real Housewives of D.C.  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: White House, French Embassy denies report that Michelle Obama called her life "Hell"
Next: Flashback: How we knew it was all an act for Joaquin Phoenix

Comments

Best place to find quality quality bankruptcy info online is http://bit.ly/avB0jI

Posted by: robertellis17 | September 17, 2010 5:01 AM | Report abuse

Please fix your subject-verb agreement in "We know, however, that you, the sophisticated viewer, is up to the challenges of the non-linear narrative." It should be "you are". I care only because these columns will become the most important artifacts of our times.

Posted by: ghdavid | September 17, 2010 6:11 AM | Report abuse

Here is also a good source to get Real Housewives DC. visit here. http://download-real-housewives-episodes.edogo.com/

Posted by: momsen123 | September 17, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse

So at the end of Episode 5 we have Edwina Rogers being taken from her party in an ambulance, sort of a cliff hanger for the next episode. This week, nothing. They seemed to drop this story.

Posted by: twb6yz | September 17, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Observations: The fake tans on some of the cast are horrendus! Mary looks like she has TB...Quite frequently this show seems to be one big contradiction. For instance last night, Stacie says she is "the best in DC" at selling homes while a poster under the RHODC section says she has sold one $500k house this year...Glad it's not just me that has tired of the never ending sagas of Lynda and her house, Stacie and her lineage, and Mary and her effing closet. It's gotten for me that if one of the aforementioned goes into their never ending themes, I hit the mute button. Love Mary's hubby's comment! Her effing "closet" looks like a small boutique! Gawd the excess!...I would, from the bottom of my heart, like to thank the Salahis for their neva' ending entertainment. What a massive train wreck they are! I cant but help to study them in wonderment knowing what I know about them and ask myself, "How is it possible?" According to another poster under RHODC, supposedly Ms. Anorexia has a court date today regarding non-payment of a bill with a plastic surgeon. Big shockeroo there! And Tar-Tar tells Stacie that they had to file bankruptcy and that they were $8 million in debt but then they "always stay at the Four Seasons when they are in DC", according to Ms. Anorexia, as mentioned above in the recap.Um yeah. Ok. It would take someone like the Sultan of Swing, or some other kind of Sultan to be able to afford that suite! There's that contradiction thing again but then that's the norm for Tar-Tar and Ms. Anorexia (henceforth known as T&A). Did anyone else fall on the floor in side splitting laughter when he appeared in that Nehru jacket? I believe that is worse than those double breasted ones he always wears. His subscription to Esquire and/or GQ must have expired at the end of the 80's. My God man! Look around you and take notice, says the master of understatement...Did anyone else catch that absolutely pathetic half hour show that came on right after the RHODC? Normally I turn the TV off right after the RHODC but last night didnt and this "thing" comes on and there was Cat, some other woman and this flamer for a host. The show was soooo bad it was funny! Cat had some interesting answers and non-answers but due to my CRS (Cant Remember S**t), I've forgotten what they were...Um, guess I've rambled enough. Rambling is one of my few character strengths btw...;)

Later...

Posted by: semilost44 | September 17, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I watch the show but love your recaps! So hilarious. Please keep up the good work with the real details of places and dates. I wonder why Bravo felt the need to rearrange the chronology so much? I'm anxious to hear whether Stacie contacted her half-brother on FB. What a shock that would be to get that message.

Posted by: drl97 | September 17, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I hope that German Shepard is like mine. Loves the mailman and all else that venture to our home.

Posted by: TheDubb | September 17, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I love this blog... in spite of its occasional spelling errors and bad grammar. Anyhow, I'm fairly new to the whole "Housewives" drama, and look forward to each new episode. Why is a whole other mystery. These women (and men) are OBNOXIOUS!

Mary is clearly a drunk. In fact, most of them are - but I think she's the worst. I have yet to see her without a glass of wine in her hand (at any given time of the day) slurring her words and eyes half shut. Personally, I think she and her husband may be having some financial difficulties. Otherwise, having the maid a few more days a week would not be an issue and she seems to be aging more rapidly which could mean that she has cut down on the costly Botox treatments.

Lynda is just weird with her all of a sudden astrology claims, buying an enormous house so her children can all be together (how many does she have, and the ones I've seen look old enough to live on their own). Also, if she converted to Judaism, why does she wear a cross around her neck? Shouldn't it be the Jewish Star? Why did she even bother to call Stacie about the purchasing of her new home? I don't remember her asking any difficult questions or ANY questions for that matter, plus it was almost like a slap in the face to Stacie since she didn't use her "friend" to make the purchase.

Stacie is from what I can tell, fairly normal. I'm getting a little bored with the "finding her birth parents" bit though. I've done it... it's NOT that dramatic - especially if you were raised in a nice, normal home and you live a privileged life now. Get over it!

A better name for Cat would be "female dog" because that is what she is. I don't care if you're "being honest", have some class and just keep your mouth shut if you don't have anything nice to stay to someone's face. She is just a miserable person and needs to go back to England... after I've seen all the episodes of course. It does not surprise me one bit that her husband left her.

Michaele and Tareq are just bizarre. I don't know what else to say about these two. It must be so stressful to have to try and remember all of the stories and lies that they tell, and the challenges they must go through just to keep up appearances. On the other hand, look at what it's done for them. "Bad press is better than no press" really seems to be working in their favor.

Posted by: RealHousewifeFL | September 17, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

When you're suing your parents for control of the winery that they built, and everyone else is suing you for not paying your bills, perhaps it's YOU who have the problem.

Posted by: postfan1 | September 17, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

First, parents pay attention: When your children call you by your first name instead of Mother or Father, they are bound to steal your money. We watched Taraq, and later along with his wife, treat his parents with total disrespect for years and it started with calling them “Corrine” and “Dirgham.” Like so many family sagas, the parents worked and sacrificed to build their business just to watch the child steal from them and ruin all they had worked for. We imagine the parents rue the day they ever gave this ungrateful son the 5 percent stake in the family limited partnership. He never acted like a partner and he never acted like a family member.

Posted by: SidelinesObservant | September 17, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Odd dynamics last night.

1. I watched the ½ hour webcast with Diane Dimond and the Salahis. Apparently they will be doing it EVERY THURSDAY NIGHT till the apocalypse from 8:00 to 8:30. Just their little way of turning RHODC into The Micheale Salahi show, to quote Lisa De Moraes.

How was it? Basically Dimond took our questions (via keyboard) and submitted the ones she knew they had decent answers for. Very puff, under the guise of being very investigative reporter.

The only mildly interesting moment was Michelle attempting to explain away the Redskins Cheerleader thing. From the news reports on the book, you get the feeling this topic was Dimond’s sacrificial lamb to preserve a shred of credibility: “MS may well have lied about being a cheerleader but all the WH caper stuff happened exactly as they said.” (My words.)

Michaele said was that back in the 1980s she had some role other than being a member of the squad. So when they called to ask her to come back, she was embarrassed about her age and ultimately she or they suggested she substitute 1991 or 1993 or whenever as her alumni year. She also explained that being a full member of the squad took would have taken too much time for a working girl – which may be true. I usually read people exceedingly well, but I honestly can’t tell when she’s lying. She seems amazingly sincere all the time. But this felt like the most likely “caught lying” moment on the webcast.

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

2. Then the RHODC. I guess the intent of this episode was to humanize anyone who had been cast as a bad guy in prior episodes. So Cat, Michaele and Tareq are shown at their most vulnerable. Frankly it worked on me. I have never seen Tareq look natural and human as he did talking about his family and the wine business. And between the show and Fox & Friends, Michaele playing the pretty girl crying card about as effectively as I’ve ever seen it. Well, maybe not on the Fox interview, but the RHODC sobs were devastatingly well played.

So what polls are the Bravo team reading that they put this odd episode in the middle of the action? I imagine they realize the show is not successful and are attempting to fine-tune our feelings about the lightning rod characters. Usually it’s enough to be hated – that pulls in the viewers. But they’re gambling that disgust is not as luring, so we did to feel more empathy for the Salahis before going back to demolishing them. Cuz then we would care, right?

3. Finally the live TV aftershow with Cat and some other “tell it like it is” housewife from NY or wherever. Wow. That was surreal. Whether you like Cat or hate her, she is classy. Maybe not in what she says, but certainly in how she looks and speaks. Watching her on stage with the host and the other gal was just too weird. Like watching a foul mouthed but still classy Jackie Onassis guest starring on the Benny Hill show. Just too weird!

Odd night indeed. My copy of Dimond’s book arrives today. Should be interesting, one way or the other.

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

On the Dimond/Salahi Q&A webcast, naturally my question was ignored:

To Tareq: Who are Roger Stern and David Mortz? Reports allege that these are fictional people you created to promote yourself and attack your enemies. In your PR material, you list Roger Stern as CEO of the National Polo League and the U.S. Commissioner to America's Polo Cup. Are these real people?

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm so happy to see Linda/Lynda leaving super safe Georgetown so she can start keeping it real in the ghetto of McLean. And wasn't that trench dress from Burberry Prorsum 2008? Nieman Marcus at Arundel Mills had it on the rack last summer. I know there's a delay in showing the episodes but shouldn't a DC style setter be ahead of the curve? Don't get me wrong, I like Lynda but style setters arent seen at events in the same outfit twice let alone on tv.

And I can't even begin to comment on the Salami's. Their whole existence is nothing but squeaky, shifty-eyed smoke and mirrors. They lost all rights to Oasis Winery in 2008, hence the reason the cops keep coming when they show up. It's called criminal trespassing. And even better:

'Tareq is listed as the director of the "Journey for the Cure Foundation." The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Consumer Affairs has issued a press release that cautions consumers that "Journey for the Cure Foundation, 14141 Hume Road, Hume, Virginia, has solicited contributions from Virginia citizens for allegedly charitable purposes. However, as of May 13, 2009, this organization has not registered with or been granted the appropriate exempt status by the Commissioner as required by law".

The Journey for the Cure Foundation reported taking in $19,098.91 in donations in 2008, but disbursing just $690 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and $20 to the U.S. Navy Memorial Fund. According to records filed with the Commonwealth of Virginia, the foundation spent $7,200 for professional fees, $5,300 for travel, $819 on office supplies, $1,200 on bank fees, and $5,823 on fundraising and meals. Tareq Salahi told the Washington Post in 2008 that he had raised $250,000 for his charity, Journey for the Cure.'

They are CROOKS.

Posted by: zzzchild | September 17, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh wait! There was one surprising tidbit on the after-show:

Cat was asked whether she thought MS really had MS and what she thought of the Dimond book.

Cat was skeptical but not dismissive about the MS and said she hadn't seen the book.

But then she added that Diane Dimond had been supporting the Salahis financially for a while. ??!!

It was just Cat speaking off the top of her head, but what do you think that meant? Dimond insists that the Salahis are receiving zero compensation from this book. She said it again last night. She also said that she is not making money on th book, implying that she did it just because it was the right thing to do to correct the injustice of blah blah.

I swear Dimond and Lisa Bloom are in collusion on this thing.

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Firstly, I was really disappointed after having seen some of the promos about Cat's "big tragedy". I thought for sure we were going to get confirmation that her sister, Heather Mills, had indeed blown through all the money she got from fleecing Paul McCartney as has been rumored.

Secondly, it does seem has if they all (excepting Tracy, the sane one) attended the same Carol Joynt Q&A Cafe training session of real housewifery, "Wine and Whine". Maybe that is where they all met. Joynt's whole life seems about the accumulation and consumption of wine, other people's usually, and an expectation that others (like the DC government) should foregive the consequences of ones bad judgment. So the girls are on the right crack, oh, I mean track.

Also, who was Lynda Erkelitian's husband that she seems so well set from her divorce? Is the settlement somehow the reason she won't allow her adult children to leave home. It is kind of twisted to be having coffee with mom's gigolo in the morning but maybe I am old fashioned.

Posted by: SoCali | September 17, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Here's the portion of the live-TV aftershow in which Cat is asked about Michaele's MS and Diane Dimond:

http://tv.gawker.com/5640412/dc-housewife-cat-ommanney-thinks-michaele-salahi-is-lying-about-having-ms

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much, ghdavid. I'm afraid these important artifacts of our times are written at 3 a.m., when even copy editors are sleeping (and I'm barely awake myself). Corrections made. Meanwhile, I'm so tickled that the first commenter is a spambot for "quality quality bankruptcy info online" that I can't bring myself to delete it.

Posted by: The Reliable Source | September 17, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse


PATHETIC.
IDIOTIC.
PITIFUL EXCUSE FOR ENTERTAINMENT.
TRASH TELEVISON.

End of discussion.

Posted by: LAWPOOL | September 17, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

LAWPOOL:

I believe you would enjoy Stacie Turner's latest blog post at Bravo. It starts out with the following:

"What is Salahi-ism?

(n) 1. a condition of, or pertaining to total self-centeredness; 2. A mental state; characterized by absolute pre-occupation with oneself and/or self-interests. See also: narcissism."

http://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-dc/season-1/blogs/stacie-scott-turner/what-is-salahi-ism

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

More fuel for the fire....

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/celebritology/2010/09/tim_gunn_takes_aim_at_the_sala.html?hpid=newswell

Posted by: semilost44 | September 17, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Actually that was the first topic they covered on the webcast last night.

The Salahis have a celebrity wall photo of Michaele hanging onto Mr. Gunn. So Diane Dimond showed it to everyone to discredit him and his claim that he'd never met them.

As if could he possibly remember all the people who've had their photo taken with him...

I, on the other hand, did remember that photo from her Facebook site. Why? Bbecause I'm a guy and she was dressed provocatively enough in that photo to make a lasting impression. Because, you know, I'm just a guy.

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse


Merij:

Thanks for the reference to Stacie Turner's post.

But, really, when you step back and think about it:

1. Why would any well-adjusted person open their private lives and essentially prostitute themselves [and I don't mean that in a sexual sense, but only appearing on camera for $$, which all of these people are doing], their family and most especially their children on such televison trash in the first place?

2. You know, before associating with people such as the Salahis, just a basic internet search, even back as early as 2008, would have raised more red flags for any reasonable person than a military parade in cold-war Moscow.

3. So why, now, today, is that some suddenly insightful revelation from Ms. Turner?

Seems all more than a bit staged to me.

Don't get me wrong. From what I've read [I refuse to watch that trash], Mr. & Mrs. Turner appear to be the most sane and down-to-earth of any of the featured personalities.

But, while that is honestly intended to be a compliment in relative terms, in the grand scheme of things, it still may not be saying a whole lot.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: LAWPOOL | September 17, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I will bear in mind that you don't watch the show, because they are, for the most part, very likeable people. You saw the first episode, as I recall. They were still pretty stiff at that stage.

In fact, I assume the main reason the show is not doing well financially is that, other than the Salahis, they all seem to respect one another and enjoy one another's company. That's not what most people look for in a Real Housewives show.

Lynda was the biggest surprise for me. Based on her too-many-face-lifts appearance, I thought she would be shallow. She's turned out to be a delightful person with considerable soul. So apparently I was bthe shallow one this time!

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I was just handed my copy of the Dimond book.

Not matter what high minded pronouncements you make publicly, I know you are all insanely jealous.

If you're nice, I'll tell you what it says.

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

MeriiJ:

Who knows, maybe you have a veritable Pulitzer Prize tome in your hands.

Then again, given the fact that the author and self-proclaimed "investigative reporter" was still doing her background research a mere 3 weeks ago or so, I wouldn't really be inclined to bet on the journalistic accuracy and literary excellence.

If nothing else, the book could be valuable, such as using it to level up that pesky short table leg.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: LAWPOOL | September 17, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

You ARE jealous!

That's so endearing, my friend. I really mean it: you can drive over to Takoma Park anytime you want and I will let you read my copy.

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Well I read the book, more or less.

I need to sleep on it, but overall I'd say it was a fascinating window into how Tareq and Michaele perceived themselves throughout all these events. The early chapters on their lives prior to meeting one another read like their respective day dreams.

Apparently Michaele lived with her parents off and on until she was 35.

Even believing them to be habitual liars and frauds, I do feel more sympathy for them after hearing what's in their heads. But, of course, relative to most who post here, I always have.

The multiple sclerosis angle appears bigger than I realized based on their lame interview the other day. Apparently she is very nervous to be anywhere without him at her side, lest she have a flare-up. Since she was embarrassed about people knowing she had MS, that meant no one else around her would know what was happening. Whereas he could intervene to make excuses to get her out of the situation.

Meanwhile, he would act immaturely -- sometimes stemming from over-zealous protection of her and sometimes because that's just how he is -- and create crises with other people that stressed her even further. But since most people didn't know enough to understand what was really going on, they just figured they were jerks. [I’m trying to report this without commentary. It’ll take a day before I know what I think.]

There is a lot of detail about the promo tour around the time of the RHODC premiere and how things spiraled out of control. Specifically, how Tareq spiraled out of control. They are dead broke and totally stressed out.

I have to say, the MS part sounds plausible to me. But that’s probably because I was in a similar relationship, as far the MS co-dependency part goes. Dimond did interview Michaele’s long-time doctor, btw.

Unfortunately for the Salahis, there’s also the usual mountain of exaggerations, lies and victimhood stories. Dimond would have done them more of a favor not to repeat everything they told her as if it were fact, since it detracts from the plausibility of the storyline above.

Finally, I now side with those who think our sock puppet master is Tareq, not Michelle -- or Jennifer as I have speculated. According to Dimond, Tareq obsessively tracks every web story or blog on them, trying to figure out who leaks what to whom. She describes it as his hobby replacement for the loving attention he gave the winery back when it was functioning. It doesn’t sound like Michaele even responds to email very regularly.

Posted by: MeriJ | September 17, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

SoCali: "I thought for sure we were going to get confirmation that her sister, Heather Mills, had indeed blown through all the money she got from fleecing Paul McCartney as has been rumored."

SoCali, this is the second time you've referred to Cat Ommanney as Heather Mills' sister. She's not. Why do you keep bringing it up? Are you trying to start a rumor to see if people will fall for it?

Posted by: 12lillies4Sue | September 18, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse

I think SoCali is being what is called "sarcastic". I thought her "Heather Mills' sister" comment was hilarious!

Posted by: red_hawk1968 | September 18, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

With the Salahis being such narcissists, it's surprising that they haven't turned into flowers yet. If they did, they'd either be deadly nightshade or giant hogweed.

Posted by: ehsmith1 | September 18, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

MeriJ:

So you have read the "book". Fine. Believe me, better you than me.

I admire you for your continued willingness to give these people at least some "benefit of the doubt", so to speak.

I cannot, for a number of reasons.

1. I find it CURIOUS, indeed, that on the cusp of the release of their "book", they suddenly revealed on National television that ominous deep, dark closely-held "secret" purportedly kept to themselves, not even shared with family, for 17 years; namely, Michaele's diagnosis with MS.

2. APPARENTLY, from reading your comment based upon your review of the book, a lot of their behavior is being attributed or attempted to be excused NOT to the alleged affliction itself, but RATHER to their absolute paramount desire to protect and preserve that most personal "secret".

3. AN INTERESTING, yet thoroughly sophomoric, if not what some might consider despicable, spin by the author. An author who, by the way, obviously did not do her homework, a spin which you know and which the public documents prove is absolute BS.

4. NOT the alleged "diagnosis", but rather the flat-out, bold-faced absolute lie that this was some dark "secret", and then using that "secret" in an attempt to justify their bizarre behavior-- because they wanted to "protect", apparently at all costs, Missy's oh-so embarrassing [I don't think so, but that seems to be the spin] "secret".

5. FACT: The Salahis publicly traded upon Missy's purported "diagnosis" with MS at least as early as 2008.

6. FACT: So, it was no "secret", and to state or even intimate otherwise, I submit, is an outright unadulterated FALSEHOOD.

7. CONCLUSION: For them or Ms. Dimond to attempt to justify their past behavior out of some concern of protecting that non-secret is just absolute BS.

8. AND HERE'S ANOTHER THOUGHT: If Missy truly was suffering a "relapse" of her MS which caused them to leave the White House before being seated for dinner [not because there were no seats for them], wouldn't they have gone to a doctor or hospital or at least immediately home? NO, they casually walked across the street to enjoy cocktails for a few hours while at the same time posting photos to Facebook. Did Ms. Dimond address this seeming anomoly in her tome?

Please, give me a break. I might have just fell off the turnip truck, but I didn't crack my head in the process.

9. I SUBMIT the parable of the boy who cried wolf is very appropriate to this sordid situation. I, for one, have a very hard time believing anything that comes out of this pathetic couple's respective mouths, much less from their representatives, based upon their proven track record.

I SUPPOSE you are a kinder and more forgiving person than me. But make no mistake, these people seem to be very adept, and compliment each other very well, at one thing; and, I believe, it is not and never has been protecting their non- "secret" about Michaele's diagnosis with MS.

My opinions.

Posted by: LAWPOOL | September 18, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

To the points you make, LAWPOOL:

They do say they went to the bar across the street after the WH dinner. They claim they told people at the dinner they were leaving for a variety of fake reasons to cover for the flare-up. They claim Tareq sat at the bar alone for an hour and a half while Michaele was in the ladies room attempting to cool her body down with water.

(MS ends up being a nerve conductivity problem, since without myelin insulation the electronic signal is diminished before getting to its destination. Sufferers often try to cool their bodies during flares to improve conductivity. At least that's my understanding. My ex-wife has a less well understood nerve disease that also flares with temperature. In response to her flares, we experimented with various techniques to lower her core body temp.)

As to whether they are lying about the MS being a secret, I don’t know what to say. Like you, I read those earlier references in regard to the Journey for The Cure Foundation. But at the same time, none of the other housewives appeared to know about it. Or at least Cat didn’t. So it’s possible that Tareq let it slip a few times but that it was not widely known. Or maybe the whole story is hogwash.

As you know, I try to separate out the personal stuff from the out-and-out fraud. So MS or no MS, immature self-delusion or no immature self-delusion, I still condemn them for their actions – particularly the charity fraud.

Whether Michaele is too skinny or whether she changed her name or is a non-linear thinker is not part of the story I care about. I find all that diversionary.

That they are human beings in deep, deep doo-doo IS part of the story to me. That they seemingly have no clue as to how they got themselves in so deep is the story I am most intrigued by.

If the MS angle is true, it explains some of their odd behavior. But it excuses nothing.

Posted by: MeriJ | September 18, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I had it wrong btw. The book says she was in the ladies room at the Hay-Adams bar for nearly a half hour, not 1 1/2 hours.

What I can't remember is at what time they allegedly posted those WH photos to their Facebook acccount. Because I vaguely remember that Tareq did so from the Hay-Adams bar.

I ask because their whole WH explanation is based on the premise that they had no Internet access and therefore did not get Michelle Jones's last email (or cell phone message) until they got home late that night.

Does Tareq own a blackberry or other Internet accessible device?

Finally, lest you think I've totally gone over, LAWPOOL, I remind us all of this link. If you've never read this story about Tareq allegedly seeking party crashing advice the week before the state dinner, you must do so immediately:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/6714163/White-House-party-crashers-sought-blagging-advice-from-British-director.html

Whatever else I think about them, I absolutely believe they knowingly crashed the WH.


Posted by: MeriJ | September 18, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

MeriJ:

Ah, and you see, therein lies the rub, so to speak.

I do not rely upon what that couple may say, or especially what their apologist, Ms. Dimond, may say. Instead, I prefer to rely upon documented FACTS in the public record.

I hardly think that T inadvertantly let "it slip", [repeatedly I might add], in prior solicitations for donations to their very questionable "charity", that Michaele had been diagnosed with MS.

Remember, that was a private Foundation created and controlled exclusively by T & M. Even Stevie Wonder could see that was an obvious play for sympathy in order to garner dontations to their "charity".

So, the documented FACTS speak for themselves--this was not some deep, dark, closely held secret never shared with anyone only to be revealed in a tearful and obviously staged national television interview on the cusp of publication of their "book".

On the contrary, T & M successfuly traded upon the claim in the past. And whether that claim is true or false is largely irrelevant.

One simple question: Did Ms. Dimond state in her book that this claim of MS, true or false, had been made in the past in connection with the Salahis' "charity", or, in the alternative, did Ms. Dimond state this was some closely-guarded personal "secret" shared exclusively with that hot shot "investigative reporter" for the first time to be put in print in order to explain/excuse that couple's behavior?

If that latter, then that speaks volumes; and, I submit, draws the credibility of entire tome into very serious question. Just my opinion.

Because I know and you know, and Ms. Dimond should have known or discovered, it simply is not true. A mere 5 minutes with Google and anyone would discover those prior claims made in connection with the Salahis' now-defunct charity.

For crying out loud, this is not rocket science, much less a skill exclusive to "investigative" reporters.

When I have an OPINION I feel strongly about, I may share it, but be clear in the fact that it is only my opinion. Others are free to agree or disagree or ignore. Doesn't matter to me.

However, when I possess documented FACTS that call into question something reported in any media, I also will share those facts, and the facts really are more difficult to ignore. [Although some people seem very adept at igoring the obvious and unquestionable.]

Posted by: LAWPOOL | September 18, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Dimond definitely gives the impression that the MS reveal is a first-ever scoop given only to her.

But remember, I never said the book was what it purported to be. It’s clearly a whitewash.

As I suspected based on the initial AP story, the Redskins Cheerleader story is the one case where Dimond points out that either of them is lying. She spends several pages demolishing Michaele’s claims, even quoting Michaele’s brother to show that she is almost certainly lying. Dimond also makes a broad acknowlegement that several people she interviewed believe Tareq is duplicitous in his business dealings.

But other than that, it’s a whitewash.

Even so, I would recommend it to anyone who wonders what goes on in these people’s heads. That’s what the book is – a transcription of what they believe.

I found it fascinating.

LAWPOOL, I realize you are not interested in what’s in their heads, but rather in making sure people aren’t fooled by their future grifting. So I won’t recommend it to you. But if you ever change your mind, you know where you can find a copy!

Don’t even get me started on the first chapter, which suggests that this whole misunderstanding was about people being naturally jealous of women with blonde hair.

I kid you not.

Posted by: MeriJ | September 18, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I have misrepresented something. The only Michell Jones message they missed was the cell phone message, not an email. Sorry about that. I just reread that section.

Nonetheless, I could have sworn that Tareq had started posting to Facebook about them being at the WH around 9:30 or so.

They didn't get home till around 1:00 am. So I guess he had Internet access by some means other than his cell phone. Or maybe my memory is wrong even about that part.

Posted by: MeriJ | September 18, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

MeriJ:

I believe you are correct about the time. As I recall, the first photos were posted to M's Facebook page at something like 9:34 p.m. while they were in the bar of the Hays Adams.

That could easily have been done with a type of advanced cell phone, a Blackberry, for instance.

Oh, but I forgot-- they said their cell phone battery was "dead".

Oh, but wait a minute, maybe it wasn't, because they used their cell phone to call the limo to pick them up outside of the White House after they hid out in the bar for a sufficient period.

Well, gee whiz, now I'm thoroughly confused, but I'm sure Ms. Dimond's cracker jack investigative skills explained all of that. Right?

Posted by: LAWPOOL | September 19, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

It proves nothing, but it does support my bias. In truth, his phone could have been dead and they posted a one-liner to Facebook from hers at the bar. But between the two of them, I’d have expected only him to have the Internet accessible phone in November 2009.

While we’re at it, what are the odds that you wouldn’t bother to check your voicemail from someone else’s phone or a landline if you were expecting an incredibly important call?

Posted by: MeriJ | September 19, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

MeriJ:

As is usually the case, documented facts do not necessarily prove definitively one conclusion to be drawn one way or another, other than the existence of those facts.

The facts cannot be changed, but the real tough and often debated question is what conclusion one draws from those facts, conclusions ultimately left to the decision-maker.

So, in that regard, the conclusion to be drawn from facts is up to intelligent persons to determine in their own minds whether the facts support the story/excuse/explanation given, just as, for example, the role of a jury in our system of justice.

Of course, documented misrepresentations in the past by a party whose subsequent claims are subject to scrutiny doesn't go a whole lot of way to giving that party the benefit of the doubt, and not seriously questioning the party's credibility. And that's just human nature.

Sort of like the parable of the boy who cried wolf, if you get my drift.

Posted by: LAWPOOL | September 19, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

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