Salahi loses short-term rental appeal

The Virginia Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from a Warren County landowner of a Circuit Court judge’s ruling upholding a decision to deny him a permit for short-term tourist rentals.

The landowner, Tareq Salahi, filed the appeal in response to a decision by Circuit Judge Ronald Napier, who rejected claims from Salahi that the Board of Supervisors acted in a way that was arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable by refusing to grant the permit.

One of Salahi’s attorneys, Jordan K. Sharpes of Roanoke, declined to comment on the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case.

County Attorney Blair Mitchell said the county is determined to put an end to Salahi’s rental of the property at 440 Scenic Overlook Drive near Linden. Mitchell said the county has “a number of options” it can pursue if Salahi continues renting the property in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision.

“The county is pleased that our position has been vindicated, and now we can proceed with enforcement of the county code,” Mitchell said Friday.

Salahi’s neighbors have complained to county officials that the rental of his house has been marked by more vehicles entering and leaving the site, less privacy and efforts to book large scale gatherings such as weddings, and bachelor and bachelorette parties.

County officials have said Salahi owes transient occupancy taxes, which are derived from the cost of renting a room per night.

Salahi created a media sensation in 2009 when he crashed a White House state dinner with his wife, whom he divorced amid much public acrimony in 2012. She had appeared with him on several reality TV shows in the period following the state dinner incident.

Salahi has also run unsuccessfully for Congress and governor. He described himself as a wine, food and travel consultant during those campaigns.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com