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Polo Cup Catering Left a Bad Taste That Lingers

Tareq Salahi, left, played against Prince Charles in England.
Tareq Salahi, left, played against Prince Charles in England. (Courtesy Of America's Polo Cup)
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By Erica Garman
Sunday, February 24, 2008

Living in LoCo is Erica Garman's blog devoted to all things interesting in Loudoun County. You can find it athttp://www.loudounextra.com. This column of highlights from the blog appears in this space every Sunday.

The inaugural America's Polo Cup last spring in Leesburg had its share of complaints.

Several guests who had spent between $150 and $200 for their ticket told tales of empty buffets, shoddy bartender service and lack of seating.

Even the EMTs, firefighters and sheriff's deputies who worked the event complained that the lunches provided to them consisted of just salad and fruit.

This year, the organizers are hoping to get it right. Lisa Marie Ordakowski, with the event's PR firm, wrote in an e-mail:

"We did have some catering issues last year, but we have taken these problems into consideration this year. At this time, Market Salamander will not be returning, and we have brought on two separate caterers to replace them, and are looking for a third. Occasions Caterers will handle the VIP Celebration tent and all sponsor tents, and D'Acqua will be catering all the box seats."

What? No Market Salamander?

Turns out Market Salamander (Salamander Middleburg LLC) has filed a civil suit against America's Polo Cup and Tareq Salahi, the organizer of the event, for breach of contract.

According to the suit, filed Jan. 28 in Fauquier County Circuit Court, Market Salamander is seeking $304,920 in damages. The company alleges that it incurred unanticipated costs because event organizers allowed unauthorized attendees into the catered tents and boxed seating.

Representatives from America's Polo Cup released a statement Friday defending their position. "We are disappointed that the leadership of the Market Salamander has chosen to hurt the charity event, and now Market Salamander is attacking the charity event and asking for payment for something that everyone knows they were unable to successfully deliver."

The news release continues with a detailed list of what it calls "catering fiascos" by Market Salamander. Organizers say they refunded tickets to unhappy patrons and incurred significant expenses to repair their image.

Market Salamander officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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