Thomas Kinkade Now "Painter of Fraud"

Federal court upholds $2.1 million award in case brought by gallery owners against "Painter of Light's" company

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fred Thompson
    Thomas Kinkade, right, gladhands Senator Fred Thompson. A Virginia couple weren't as easily charmed.

    A Virginia couple has won a battle in their war against Morgan Hill, Calif.-based Thomas Kinkade Co. as the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an arbitrator's decision to award the couple $2.1 million in damages and legal fees against the company.

    Jeff Spinello and Karen Hazlewood opened a Kinkade Signature Gallery after a presentation in which they were told the painter's company was "blessed" and that the company would help them in "spreading the light."

    However, the couple was forced to sell items at a contractually mandated minimum retail price even as Thomas Kinkade -- a self-described "Painter of Light" -- was undercutting them by offering discount prices on the same items in televised offers.

    An arbitration panel awarded Spinello and Hazlewood $860,000 in damages and $1.2 million in legal fees. That decision was overturned by a U.S. District Court judge before being upheld by the circuit court in a unanimous verdict.

    The Thomas Kinkade Co. might appeal, according to a lawyer for the company.

    Photo from Fred Thompson.

    Jackson West is trying to remember the name of that guy who objected to profiting from the devotion of the faithful.