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Public schmoozing of Jill Kelley's sister belied chaotic private life

Natalie Khawam, above, and her twin sister, Jill Kelley, made numerous calls to Tampa police over the past several years.

Amy Scherzer | Times (2010)

Natalie Khawam, above, and her twin sister, Jill Kelley, made numerous calls to Tampa police over the past several years.

TAMPA — The Tampa police pulled up at the giant brick house at 1005 Bayshore Blvd. just after 10 a.m. on Aug. 10. In the driveway, officers found a process server who had been trying diligently to deliver a subpoena to a 37-year-old woman named Natalie Khawam. Her car was in the driveway. The server thought she was inside.

There's no mention of it in the notes the officers would file, but two agents from the FBI were there that day as well.

"She was rather fearful of what was going on," said the process server's boss, Amy San Marco, of San Marco and Associates in St. Petersburg. The server can't remember if the men identified themselves, or if the officers did, but she's certain they were with the FBI.

The episode ended when Jill Kelley came out of the house with wet hair, screaming at the server, then finally accepted the subpoena on her twin sister's behalf, San Marco said. But in retrospect, it was a collision of two worlds.

The FBI had been investigating threatening emails sent by CIA director David Petraeus' mistress to Jill Kelley. And the process server was there to serve Kelley's sister Khawam, who had acquired a staggering amount of debt and legal troubles since she moved to Tampa from Washington, D.C., in early 2009.

Police released the dispatch notes Wednesday, along with other calls for service that shed light on the odd goings-on at the mansion where Jill Kelley, surgeon husband Scott, 46, and Khawam entertained Petraeus and other military leaders from MacDill Air Force Base. The juxtaposition of the personal troubles — including heavy debt and lawsuits — against the public perception of the twins, who dined with the leaders of the free world, has confused some who knew them.

"Some people like to hang around with people perceived as being big shots," said Tampa lawyer Barry Cohen, whose firm had been trying to serve Khawam that August morning. Khawam "does what she thinks is necessary for her to be perceived as being important."

Khawam and her sister made numerous calls to Tampa police over the past several years. Jill Kelley reported break-ins of her cars and her garage. Her identical twin's calls, however, involved much wilder, unsubstantiated allegations.

On May 12, 2010, Khawam called police to report a violation of a domestic violence injunction against her husband, living in Washington, D.C. Khawam told police that her husband had previously threatened to kill her and that he had forced her to watch child pornography. She provided documents concerning an alleged act of abuse in March 2009. One of the witnesses that Khawam named was Susan Fallon, the daughter of former CentCom commander Adm. William J. Fallon. Susan Fallon did not respond to a call for comment.

In June, 2010, Khawam summoned Tampa police to her sister's Bayshore mansion, alleging that a man who "works for her husband" had been "banging on her front door" two nights earlier. Khawam, 37, told the officer that this violated a domestic violence injunction she had taken out against her husband.

Khawam insisted the officer file a report, even though "she did not have any proof … that the subject works for her husband," according to the officer. The officer urged Khawam to gather more evidence in the future. "She advised it was not her job," the officer wrote. Later, the officer checked whether Khawam had called police two nights earlier, as she had claimed, and found she hadn't.

Later that same month Khawam reported another man banging on her door and videotaping through the windows. She told police that this man had been hired by her husband, whom she said was "a terrorist sympathizer … funneling money overseas."

The complaints never went far. In fact, a judge cited them in awarding full custody of her child to her husband.

Khawam filed for bankruptcy in April, noting she owed creditors, banks and associates $3.6 million. Several local attorneys are still trying to get paid for their services.

State documents show she recently became involved in a business, Fullproof LLC. The attorney representing the venture, Todd Marks, said the company was formed to protect intellectual property while they pursued a patent. He wouldn't discuss it further. But Khawam's bankruptcy filing shows she owes a partner in the business, Lisa Krowne, $250,000 for a personal loan.

Petraeus and Gen. John R. Allen both wrote letters to the court on Khawam's behalf, praising her integrity and parenting skills. This for a person the judge said "lacks any appreciation or respect for the importance of honesty and integrity in her interactions with her family, employers and others with whom she comes in contact."

One of those employers was Cohen. The lawyer was asked why men held in such high regard would vouch for Khawam. "I think they knew the side of her that she wanted them to see," he said. "But sadly there's a darker side."

Times researcher Jon Martin contributed to this report. Ben Montgomery can be reached at bmontgomery@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8650.

Public schmoozing of Jill Kelley's sister belied chaotic private life 11/14/12 [Last modified: Thursday, November 15, 2012 9:03am]

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