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Tampa socialite in scandal


 Dr. Scott Kelley (right) and his wife Jill Kelley in Tampa, Fla. Jill^BENT^0027^EENT^s climb up the Tampa social ladder has come to a halt.
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Date published: 11/16/2012

BY ALLEN G. BREED, DONNA CASSATA and TAMARA LUSH

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla.

--Jill Kelley's fall from the top of Tampa's social ladder may be as spectacular as her climb to it.

Accounts of lavish parties at her bay-front mansion with politicians and military generals have been replaced by reports of her family's financial woes and other dirty laundry, and claims she used her close friendship with David Petraeus to try to further lucrative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 she had little to offer in the way of deal-making expertise or connections with Korean leaders.

The AP also learned Wednesday that Kelley attended an FBI "Citizens' Academy" last year. It was Kelley's complaints to an FBI agent about alleged threats from Broadwell that led to the general's resignation last week and has sidelined Allen's nomination to become the next commander of U.S. European Command and the commander of NATO forces in Europe.

The agent was Frederick W. Humphries, 47, a veteran counterterrorism investigator in the Tampa office, and he was among the FBI employees Kelley met during the academy, which lasted from Sept. 13 to Nov. 30, 2011, the AP learned.