Claims physical, emotional, financial ruin in $50M suit
By Joe Beck -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- A $50.45 million lawsuit filed Monday in Warren County Circuit Court by Tareq Salahi against his wife Michaele Salahi accuses her of having an affair with a rock band guitarist as part of a calculated attempt to make money for the musician, band, and herself at his expense.
Salahi describes himself in the complaint as "physically, emotionally and financially" ruined by his wife's actions since mid-September when she left him. He accuses her of running away with Journey lead guitarist Neal Schon and "campaigning to show him as a buffoon with respect to that affair and humiliating him."
The suit, filed on behalf of Salahi by his attorney, Georgia Rossiter of Winchester, comes about two months after the Salahis sued each other for divorce.
The latest suit lists Mrs. Salahi as a defendant, along with Nomota Inc., which is the business name for Journey, and DD Entertainment LLC, identified as publicist and agent for the Salahis and now working for Schon and Mrs. Salahi.
The suit accuses Schon of sending an email photo of a male sexual body part to Salahi on Sept. 13 and that Salahi believed the body part belonged to Schon.
The suit also alleges "Your plaintiff . . . received a phone call that evening from someone who said, "This is Neal, I am [expletive] your wife."
The suit asks for monetary and punitive damages based on five claims. They are: outrageous conduct -- intentional infliction of emotional distress; conspiracy to defame; tortuous interference with a contract expectancy; unjust enrichment; and defamation.
Mrs. Salahi's attorney in the divorce case, Ed Barnes of Chesterfield, refused to comment on either the divorce or Salahi's latest lawsuit.
Georgia Rossiter, who represents Salahi in the lawsuit and his divorce filing, also refused to comment.
"My client's position is that the publicity is inappropriate," Rossiter said.
Salahi's complaint describes a series of actions by his wife and him intended to bring them to public attention and earn large sums of money through joint appearances on television shows such as an Australian version of "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Real Housewives of D.C."
The complaint refers to the Salahis crashing of a state dinner at the White House in 2009 that "catapulted the couple into celebrity."
"The Salahis, through their concerted efforts, held themselves out not just as husband and wife but as business partners and further, a brand," the suit states. "They wrote a book together, made countless appearances together and were essentially inseparable in both their personal and business lives."
Salahi contends that his wife left him for Schon in September as part of another business venture intended to benefit her, Schon and the band.
"Journey was currently touring the country and the concerts were not selling out," the complaint states. "Having been involved in the reality television business for several years, the defendants knew that a public affair would generate interest in both of them and immediate income for Neal Schon and Journey."