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Petraeus Scandal’s Third Wheel Played Politics, Ran a Shady Charity

David Petraeus and Jill Kelley courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Last week we updated you on the juiciest available details regarding the David Petraeus scandal; most of these revelations involved a Tampa, Florida-based socialite named Jill Kelley, who seems to have played the role of third party spoiler in this twisted romantic tragedy.

As the controversy grows into every tabloid writer’s dream scoop and the media subjects Mrs. Kelley’s life to a far greater degree of scrutiny than she ever expected, a few interesting details have come to light.

There’s quite a bit to sort through: First of all, Mrs. Kelley has an identical sister named Natalie Khawam. The two enjoy participating in Florida politics, raising money for charitable causes…and racking up combined debts of approximately $7.6 million! Mrs. Kelley is currently “mired in lawsuits from a string of banks”, and Ms. Khawam declared bankruptcy earlier this year after engaging in a court battle over custody of her son and receiving character testimony from both General Petraeus and top Army General John Allen (who seems to have developed an amorous interest in her sister that included hundreds of not-so-discrete emails).

Another mini-scandal: Petraeus helped Kelley earn a gig as “honorary” consul to South Korea, but Kelley reportedly dropped the first part of her fake title when socializing—and this weekend the New York Daily News ran a story alleging that she tried to turn the unpaid position into a big-time score by enticing businessmen with her fictional connections to South Korea’s president.

The other big revelation is the fact that Mrs. Kelley and her husband ran a charity that appears to have been about as effective as Wyclef’s famously corrupt Yéle Haiti group. The Doctor Kelley Cancer Foundation claimed to exist for the purposes of funding cancer research and “grant[ing] wishes to terminally ill adult cancer patients”, but when the group declared bankruptcy in 2007 its only expenses concerned meals, travel, cars and office supplies. To top it off, a recent Tampa Bay Times article called Kelley “a wanna-be in South Tampa society”. Well I never!

Jill Kelley’s publicist has spent the last few days denying all journalists’ requests for comment; for Kelley’s sake, we hope this PR pro has a few more tricks up his or her sleeve.

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