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Family Shocked After Finding Their Photo Featured In Campaign Ad

By Charlotte Huffman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Imagine seeing a photo of your family featured on a political ad that you never agreed to.

That's exactly what one Chester County family says happened to them.

Kristin Thomas contacted Eyewitness News with an unusual Election Day story.

"We had (our) photos online and never thought anything like this would happen," she said.

Thomas was surprised to learn her family's 2009 photo was featured in a campaign flyer for David Kessler, a candidate for state representative in Pennsylvania's 130th district.

Thomas said she does not know Kessler and never approved of her family's picture being used for his campaign.

"A friend from high school called me and she said 'That was a really nice picture of your family on David Kessler's mailer.' And I said, 'Who?'"

The Thomas family's photo appears on Kessler's mailer next to a handwritten letter from a couple named "Angie and John." The letter thanks Kessler, a former state representative, for saving their house from foreclosure.

"We are not Angie and John and our home is not in foreclosure! …The fact that our picture was used right next to the handwritten note implying that we are those people seems very wrong to me," said Thomas.

In a voicemail, Kessler apologized to the Thomas family and explained where the photo came from.

"The people who wrote the thank you note actually got divorced awhile back. I wasn't able to get a picture with them. So the printer went onto a website that you can take pictures from," Kessler said in the voice message.

Thomas says she posted the photo from 2009 to a family blog. It ended up on a stock photo website, without her permission.

She believes stole the photo and says she and the photographer who took the photo have been unable to find any contact information for the website, which appears to be a stock photo site.

Kessler confirmed is where his printer got the photo.

"It makes me wonder is there an "Angie and John"?  Are "Angie and John" real?" said Thomas.

Late Tuesday, Kessler returned calls from Eyewitness News and maintains "Angie and John" are a real couple whose home he helped save from foreclosure while he was state representative.

Kessler admits that before he sent out the flyers, he knew that the photo his printer selected was a stock photo, not a photo of the family who wrote the letter. However, he did not know that the photo was of a family living just one county away.

When asked if he thought his flyer was misleading Kessler said, "The letter is from a family and the photo is of a family."


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