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Petraeus socialite friend deep in debt

Financial details have emerged about the woman whose complaint led to the resignation of the CIA head.

By Karen Datko Nov 14, 2012 8:09PM

Jill Kelley leaves her home on November 13, 2012 in Tampa, Florida
© Tim Boyles/Getty Images
A personal finance lesson from the Petraeus scandal: Socialites praised for hosting lavish parties may be living far beyond their means.


Jill Kelley, whose report to an FBI friend about threatening emails launched the unfolding imbroglio, opened her Bayshore Boulevard mansion in Tampa -- purchased for $1.5 million in 2004 -- to top leaders of the U.S. Central Command for catered parties and other glitzy social events. That's how she and her husband, a cancer surgeon, became friends of then Gen. David Petraeus and his wife, and also Gen. John Allen.


To quickly sum up the ongoing scandal, from USA Today:

"Her call to an FBI agent about harassing e-mails unwittingly exposed an extramarital affair by a family friend -- Gen. David Petraeus, who subsequently resigned as head of the CIA. That investigation has now ensnared the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, for 'potentially inappropriate' communications with Kelley -- e-mails described as 'flirtatious.'"

Readers of personal finance blogs know that the millionaires next door often live a quiet life, and that flashy folks often overextend themselves. So what follows should not surprise.  


The Petreus and Kelley families became friends in 2008 and that close relationship continued after the military family had moved on, the Tampa Bay Times reports:

"Lawsuits show the Kelleys were treading water by then, when Scott Kelley was making just the minimum payment on a Visa Signature card that had accumulated a balance over $70,000 and was taking on hundreds of dollars in interest each month. According to a lawsuit filed this year, Kelley defaulted on that card in 2010, the same year Regions bank sued him and his wife over a debt in excess of $250,000. Chase sued for more than $25,000 and Regions Bank filed to foreclose on their Bayshore home. The bank said it was owed more than $1.7 million, and that it had not gotten any payments since September 2009.


"They defaulted on more credit cards and the lawsuits stacked up, but they continued to host parties and held tight to their friendship with Petraeus."

It's also been widely reported that a charity -- with the Kelleys and Jill's twin sister, Natalie Khawam, named as the people in charge -- was dissolved about two years after it was set up. Says The Huffington Post:

"By the end of 2007, the charity had gone bankrupt, having conveniently spent exactly the same amount of money, $157,284, as it started with -- not a dollar more, according to its 990 financial form. Of that, $43,317 was billed as 'Meals and Entertainment,' $38,610 was assigned to 'Travel,' another $25,013 was spent on legal fees, and $8,822 went to 'Automotive Expenses.'"

Khawam, a lawyer, reportedly filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in April, showing $350,000 in assets and $3.6 million in liabilities, including an $800,000 loan from the Kelleys. She bunks at her sister's place. Both Petraeus and Allen wrote letters on her behalf in September as she continued to fight for custody of her son. Her ex-husband, Grayson Wolfe, of Washington, worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, according to Reuters.


Says ABC News :

"In November 2011, the D.C. Superior Court had ruled that Khawam's husband would get sole legal and primary custody of the child.

"The judge wrote that Khawam 'has exhibited an utter disregard for the child's interest" in maintaining a meaningful relationship with his father, that she 'has extreme personal deficits in the areas of honesty and integrity,' and that she has exhibited a 'willingness to say anything, even under oath, to advance her own personal interests at the expense' of her husband, the child, and others."

It's so bizarre, it sounds like something from a reality TV show. (Kelley and her sister were, in fact, featured in the Food Network's "Food Fight" back in 2003.)


More from MSN Money:

Nov 15, 2012 12:01PM

Another fine effort at character assassination by Barry Obama and his minions.

Nov 15, 2012 11:57AM

This is Classic Farce: these two remind me of old Kardashians, except not as crafty (I didn't say "smart") and not as hot. You can throw in a bit of NJ Housewives as well. especially with both of them going broke.

So, what we have is a couple of wannabe's who don't care how much of their and others' money (the "charity" they milked) they spend to buy themselves into a social set. And then actually believe the press they themselves planted in the first place.

Jill does busy work for the Korean consulate in Tampa (now there's a strategic operation), and gets named an "honorary consul", which is a throwaway, and actually believes the title carries some weight. What a moron. She buys herself into the good graces of the local military brass by freebie parties, meanwhile spending herself into oblivion.

Best punchline of the day: they are now both nailed as idiots and manipulators in the eyes of the world. There is justice.

Nov 15, 2012 11:48AM
The "elite" are nothing but a bag of human crap.
The lifestyles of the rich and famous ain't like the rest of us.  These folks know all the tricks, except one - they don't know how to manufacture money.  That's the one thing they've got to figure out.
Nov 15, 2012 11:29AM
Nov 15, 2012 11:26AM
I'm sure the twin is ready to spread her legs for the first chump with money to 'bail her out'...I would just bang then bag her.
Nov 15, 2012 11:07AM
Get out of debt quick scheme is "destroy a great man" then write a book and go on tour and get paid for interviews......used to be called prostitution
Nov 15, 2012 10:01AM
If they, double SS benefits it would create millions of jobs for small business! If they raise a seniors SS from say, twelve hundred to twenty four hundred, it would stimulate the economy! All business would make more money and hire,  more people! The taxes they would collect, with more seniors spending would be astronomical,  and income taxes would be astronomical to!  If we go to single payer health care for all , the medicare problem would be solved. Medicare  Is a system that has worked well; single A  payer system would work better! ! Also single payer health care would trigger  a lot of new construction, to bring the whole system up to date to be able to handle the health care needs of the country!  The money saved with single payer for all would probable be enough to pay off the debt over time!
If they double, SS benefits, it would be a better and more effective way, to insure against a recession to!  
Nov 15, 2012 7:27AM

Just another woman with a lot of debt hoping to find someone who will bail her out of her bad spending habits.   I think in Texas they call it:  Big hat, no cattle. 



Nov 15, 2012 3:12AM

I believe the problem today is. If you get a tip job most places only startyour pay at about $5.25 cents...At a Casino in Nc, there dealeres make $5.25 there gaming host make $5.25....and there Beverage servers make $5.25 an hour. Of course they receive tips and there pooled. Except the Beverage server. But your tipped wage can run from $5-$15 dollars. But is all taxed.  And that goes for most tipped waitress jobs in Nc. most of them will pay just $5.25 an hour. I truely believe there needs to be a change to the system, and one major problem is how businesses can change pay based on tips to be well below minium wage. So really the company is paying people almost nothing to work ....$42.00 a day is what they will pay you for 8hours work.  So if you never see any tips. Thats your paycheck your seeing drop down to well below minium wage. (but i do think u should not be forced to tip if there rude, cause some people think they can be rude and still see 10% of the ticket). At the same time fix it so business cannot short change there employees. To save a buck.

Nov 14, 2012 11:02PM
Hmm .. maybe the wealthy really can't afford to pay more taxes.  We poor folks should have a yard sale to help this rich family pay off some debt!   Where is all that personal responsibility that apparently only applies to those who need food stamps?
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