EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

November 14, 2012

Socialite's climb halted by unfolding scandal

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jill Kelley’s attempt to climb the Tampa social ladder — the rungs of which included some high-ranking military officials — has come to an ignominious halt. Accounts of lavish parties at her bayfront mansion have been replaced by reports of her family’s financial woes and other dirty laundry, and claims that she traded on her acquaintance with David Petraeus to try to further lucrative business dealings. Now, even her “Friends of MacDill” Air Force base access pass has been unceremoniously revoked.

The tangled web enveloping the daughter of Lebanese refugees, her twin sister, former CIA chief Petraeus, and Marine Gen. John Allen, who succeeded Petraeus as the top American commander in Afghanistan, has spread to include questions about a cancer charity Kelley and her doctor-husband, Scott, founded.

Although Petraeus’ affair with his biographer, Army Reserve officer Paula Broadwell, was the immediate cause of his downfall, Kelley and her relations with the Tampa base and the U.S. Central Command have surfaced as a sort of connective tissue for the growing scandal.

On Wednesday, a New York businessman said Kelley was introduced to him at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August as someone whose friendship with Petraeus would help facilitate a no-bid deal with South Korea on a coal-gasification project. She would supposedly be in a position to help broker the billion-dollar deal directly with the Korean president, and expected a 2 percent commission, said Adam Victor, president and chief executive officer of TransGas Development Systems.

Kelley is an honorary consul for South Korea, a ceremonial position, and got diplomatic plates for her car. But after flying Kelley to New York to discuss how she could help, Victor says he concluded that she had little to offer in the way of deal-making expertise or connections with Korean leaders.

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