Kelley, the wife of a cancer surgeon, has a thin resume, a troubled family, shaky finances and a reputation for being, as one acquaintance here put it, "Tampa Kardashian." Now she is central to an unfolding scandal that has forced out David H. Petraeus as CIA director, threatens the career of Marine Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan , and cast previously unknown figures and a sex affair into international notoriety . . .
Life here was a step up for Jill Kelley. Born in Beirut, she moved in the mid-1970s with her family to northeast Philadelphia, where they were the "oddballs" in a mostly Irish and German neighborhood, said Kelley's brother, David Khawam. The family opened restaurants in the area, he told reporters.
Scott and Jill Kelley moved to Tampa about a decade ago when Scott, who specializes in surgery for esophageal cancer, was hired by a local hospital. In June 2004, they purchased a 5,500-square-foot red-brick home on Bayshore Boulevard in the city's ritziest neighborhood.
With her dark tresses, high-wattage smile and gregarious personality, Kelley was a natural hostess. She became known for holding Champagne-and-caviar parties on a manicured front lawn, complete with billowing white tents and valet parking. Civic leaders rubbed shoulders with military brass from MacDill, a base so crucial to the local economy that generals were treated like rock stars . . .The Tribune discusses a now-defunct cancer charity the couple started that appeared to benefit them more than cancer victims. The couple's venture into real estate investing fared no better with their holding falling into foreclosure, including their million-dollar home where they entertain a lot. In case you were wondering why Gen. Petraeus and his wife were wearing Mardis Gras beads in a now famous photo taken with the couple, the Tribune explains that party at the Kelley's home. "In February 2010, Petraeus and his wife, Holly, attended their first Gasparilla Pirate Festival, a local version of Mardi Gras. He arrived at the Kelley home with a 28-motorcycle police escort and wore a long string of beads around his neck."
The Tribune says Kelley was busy socializing and trying to line up business deals during this summer's Republican National Convention in Tampa with a New York energy entrepreneur. He cut his ties to her when she demanded an $80 million fee to help broker a South Korean coal project based on her honorary title as South Korea's consul, a role bestowed upon her by her good friend Gen. Petraeus. I'm wondering which prominent Republicans Jill Kelley will come back to haunt. I'm sure its safely stored away in David Axelrod's files for use at the appropriate time.