Courage Cup Organizers Cross Polo Mallets

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Forget the country club rep: Polo is a very rough game. And now for the organizers of the three-year-old Courage Cup charity match, the sod-flinging has moved off the Virginia fields and onto the blogs.

In 2005, founder Greg Ball -- a former Air Force officer who ran the first two events in '04 and '05 -- left D.C. to enter politics in his native New York state, handing off the '06 event to friend Keri Ann Meslar and another socially connected Washingtonian, Andrea Rodgers. After winning a state assembly seat last fall, the 29-year-old Ball wanted back in for this June's match.

But the new leadership balked. Rodgers claims Ball "ran a frat-party type" event that raised only $1,000 each year and left behind sloppy records and unpaid bills. The new board, she says, incorporated the group and raised $8,000 last June for Work to Ride (which gets inner-city kids into horsy pursuits). Ball's attorney, Phil Marin, claims the new board stole Ball's idea and logo, then tried to push him out.

Both sides say they were heading toward resolving the dispute after a Jan. 19 meeting with lawyers. Days later, though, Ball e-mailed several thousand local polo fans, claiming that he was hosting the next Courage Cup and denouncing Rodgers and Meslar's attempt to "hijack" the event. Rodgers retaliated with a press release outlining Ball's alleged failures. Now each side is blaming the other for inflammatory postings on an Albany politics blog.

Yesterday neither side sounded optimistic about reaching agreement.

Mike Scott Has JT's Back

Mike Scott.
Local musician Mike Scott.(Afshin Shahidi - Afshin Shahidi)
The guitarist behind Justin Timberlake at Verizon Center on Friday night? D.C.'s own Mike Scott, a Duke Ellington School of the Arts alum who dropped by his alma mater yesterday -- toured the school, performed a song from his upcoming solo album and told the students about life with the stars.

Scott, 45, got his big break working for Prince ("a musical genius") and now tours with the white-hot Timberlake, who requires the entire band to dance with him. "Justin's, like, half my age. He never slows down. It's a lot of work to keep up, but it's fun that those guys respect me."

And all those screaming groupies? No big deal. "I've been doing that so long, it doesn't faze me," says Scott, who's engaged to his longtime girlfriend. Sure, he flirts with the crowd, but "at the end of the night, it's not rewarding. It was fun in my 20s, but it's part of the show now." Darn -- we thought he really liked us.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

  • Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes partying with Dan Snyder during Super Bowl XLI weekend. The lovebirds joined the Redskins owner at his bash Friday night at Miami's Versace mansion (with current and former players Jason Campbell, Clinton Portis, Bruce Smith, Chris Samuels and NASCAR's Jeff Gordon) and then stayed warm and dry in Snyder's luxury suite for the game itself.
  • Jon Voight Saturday night with a dozen NYC firefighters at Morton's in Bethesda, where a grateful customer picked up the check. The actor and the firefighters were in Washington to watch the Super Bowl with injured soldiers and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
  • Karl Rove at Saturday's performance of the National Symphony Orchestra. The White House deputy chief of staff sat in the presidential box for the program of Verdi, Saint-Saens and Tchaikovsky.
  • LOVE, ETC.

  • Wed: Hey, who says those "Jackass" guys never grow up? Bam Margera, 27, one of the skateboarder dudes who hurts himself amusingly in the TV series and movies, married a childhood friend, Missy Rothstein, 26, in Philadelphia Saturday. Iggy Pop played at the reception and the whole thing was caught by MTV's cameras for a nine-part reality show.
  • Separating: "Jackass" alpha male Johnny Knoxville, 35, from his wife of 11 years, Melanie, his publicist tells Us Weekly.

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