Commonwealth reaches settlement with charity headed up by ‘White House Party Crasher’

Posted at 1:53 PM, Feb 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-29 06:18:02-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - The Commonwealth of Virginia has reached a settlement with a charitable organization accused of misleading donors to gain funding. The group is headed up by the same man accused of crashing a party at the White House.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced the settlement with the "Journey for the Cure Foundation" and its chairman, Tareq Salahi.

The foundation is also accused of making and submitting inaccurate financial statements to the Commonwealth's Overseer of Charities.

Based out of Fauquier County, "Journey for the Cure" was formed to support people with Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Leukemia, and Lymphoma through fund-raising and other venues.

According to the Attorney General's complaint filed with the settlement, the foundation allegedly used false statements on its website that announced 100 percent of its financing goes to help patients. The website also stated the organization does not have a paid staff.

Based on bank records obtained through the Virginia Office of Consumer Affairs' investigation, the Attorney General alleged that only 33 percent of the money went directly to disease prevention-related charities in 2007- less than one percent was allegedly given for that purpose in 2008. It appears significant amounts of the funding went to overhead costs.

The foundation is being fined 25,000 dollars in civil penalties and another 7,500 for attorneys' fees.

Salahi must pay 2,500 dollars in fines.

Salahi and his former wife, Michaele, made headlines in 2009, when they crashed a White House state dinner.