Woman who sparked Petraeus probe has Philadelphia roots

In Tampa, Fla., in 2010 , (from left) Natalie Khawam, David H. Petraeus, Scott and Jill Kelley, and Holly Petraeus watch the Gasparilla Parade. AMU SCHERZER / Associated Press
In Tampa, Fla., in 2010 , (from left) Natalie Khawam, David H. Petraeus, Scott and Jill Kelley, and Holly Petraeus watch the Gasparilla Parade. AMU SCHERZER / Associated Press
Posted: November 13, 2012

Jill Kelley, the Florida woman whose complaint to the FBI may have sparked the downfall of CIA Director David H. Petraeus, has Philadelphia roots.

Kelley, 37, hails from a Lebanese family that emigrated to Philadelphia in the mid-1970s.

Her parents, John and Marcelle Khawam, had businesses in the area, including a restaurant in Voorhees. The couple still live in Washington Crossing, Bucks County, according to public records, and Kelley's older brother, David, is a lawyer in South Jersey.

Kelley emerged Sunday as the woman who contacted the FBI after allegedly receiving threatening e-mails from Petraeus' biographer, Paula Broadwell, according to the Associated Press and other news outlets. Her complaint to the FBI led investigators to e-mails that revealed Petraeus and Broadwell were having an affair.

Kelley works as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. According to a statement she and her husband released Sunday, they have been friends with Petraeus and his wife, Holly, for five years.

A 1988 Inquirer feature about the Khawam family's culinary roots described Kelley's father as an accomplished musician in their homeland and her mother as a chef who liked to entertain political and cultural figures.

In the late 1980s, the Khawams ran a Middle Eastern restaurant in Voorhees called Sahara. The restaurant was closed within a few years, according to a 1990 bankruptcy petition the couple filed.

John Khawam also owned an auto tag store in Northeast Philadelphia, records show.

The family lived for a while in Northeast Philadelphia, then moved to Huntingdon Valley. Jill Khawam and her twin sister, Natalie, were the youngest of four children.

About a decade ago, both women moved to Tampa, where Jill's husband, Scott Kelley, works as a surgeon.

Natalie Khawam, a lawyer and single mother, lives with them, according to a bankruptcy petition she filed earlier this year.

It was not clear whether Kelley attended college. Kelley and her husband issued a statement asking for privacy.


Contact John P. Martin at 215-854-4774, jmartin@phillynews.com.


 

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