Kelley asked for $80 million to influence South Korean deal, businessman says

Updated 5:20 AM EST, Mon November 19, 2012

Story highlights

Kelley visited the White House three times between September and November

Businessman: Woman who triggered Petraeus probe offered to influence South Korean deal

He says Jill Kelley claimed to be a high-level South Korean government representative

Kelley went skydiving with a Special Operations Command team, military says

(CNN) —  

A New York businessman says Tampa, Florida, socialite Jill Kelley asked him for an $80 million commission if she used her influence to win a South Korean business contract.

Kelley, who triggered an FBI investigation that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, claimed she was a high-level representative of the South Korean government, says the businessman, Adam Victor.

In reality, according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry, Kelley holds a simple honorary title – “special consul” – which boasts no official responsibilities.

With the prospect of a commission on a $4 billion deal to provide natural gas, Kelley “tried to sell herself as something she was not,” Victor, president of TransGas Development Systems, told CNN. “I told her she was crazy.”

It’s not the only time Kelley has claimed to have privileges because of a special diplomatic status. On Sunday, she called 911 complaining that a man she didn’t know was on her property, describing herself as an “honorary consul general” with “inviolability.”

A spokesman for Kelley did not return CNN’s phone calls seeking comment. Although there have been no allegations of wrongdoing, it’s among the latest twists in a story with possibly troubling ramifications on several levels, including, potentially, national security.

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Kelley came under public scrutiny after Petraeus quit last week, admitting his extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Anonymous e-mails sent to Kelley prompted her to alert the FBI, which eventually uncovered the affair.

Kelley has close ties to several high-ranking military figures, including Petraeus and Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Living not far from MacDill, home of the U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, Kelley and her husband, Scott, a doctor, hosted parties attended by high-ranking military officials. She even took part in a Special Operations Command-sponsored parachute dive, the Army said.

An $80 million commission would have been helpful to the Kelleys. She and her husband have struggled with financial troubles, according to public records. Their Tampa-area home, which was purchased in 2004 for $1.5 million, has been the subject of foreclosure proceedings since April 2010. Records show a total of 11 lawsuits involving the Kelleys.

Kelley is well-connected to the local military culture. In October 2010, she took part in a parachute skydive organized by the U.S. Special Operations Command. The jump was part of a program that “reached out” to members of Tampa’s civilian community and the media, a command spokesman said.

Hosting foreign guests was not unusual for the Kelleys, a high-ranking former CENTCOM military officer said.

In a May 14 e-mail obtained by CNN, Kelley invites Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to join her at her home for dinner with “a group of VIP’s visiting from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Napal, (sic) here by the authority of the State Department. …”

Read Kelley’s e-mails

Adam Victor says Jill Kelley wanted $2 million for using her influence to win a South Korean business contract.
Adam Victor says Jill Kelley wanted $2 million for using her influence to win a South Korean business contract.
PHOTO: Courtesy TransGas Development Systems

Many guests at Kelley’s parties were foreign liaison officers attached to the so-called Coalition Village at MacDill’s sprawling compound, the source said. Most of those foreign liaisons were not cleared for sensitive classified access to military documents.

“They frankly didn’t have a lot to do,” the former officer said, “and looked forward to the parties given by the Kelleys.”

While the Kelleys opened their mansion to military brass, perhaps understandably, they haven’t been as welcoming to members of the news media parked outside.

Kelley complained about it in an e-mail obtained by CNN that was sent to Buckhorn at 5:57 a.m. Tuesday.

“Bob,” wrote Kelley, “Hope all is well. Can you help out with the obstruction by the paparazzi, since they’re blocking our alley, our driveway and continue to trespass on my property. My kids are scared, and need their ‘home’ back.”

Another e-mail from Kelley complained about Tampa police releasing recordings of her 911 calls last weekend.

“… my family has been put through the ringer and my kids are scared,” Kelley wrote in the e-mail. “And to put insult to injury, your police dept. gave the local 911 tapes to the press! My home address and cell phone number is played on them. I have been receiving threats all night, by people that now have my cell phone number. I cannot understand why your dept. would release my address and cell number and make me and my daughters in harms way.”

Although 911 recordings released by officials often include caller phone numbers and addresses, most major news organizations do not release that information as part of the recordings.

Another fact that has emerged is that Kelley visited the White House complex three times since September 28, once for a tour with her family and twice for courtesy meals in its cafeteria with her sister and a White House staffer, a White House official said Friday. The staffer met the family during a visit to MacDill Air Force Base, the military installation near where the Kelleys live.

The Petraeus scandal: What we know so far