Fla. socialite's emails reveal invites, travel

AP News
Posted: Nov 16, 2012 2:46 PM
Fla. socialite's emails reveal invites, travel

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Florida socialite who traded flirtatious emails with the top commander in Afghanistan also sent numerous emails to the mayor of Tampa, including one begging him to shoo away news reporters camped outside her waterfront mansion.

The emails were released Friday by Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Jill Kelley has been tied to the scandal that prompted the resignation of retired Gen. David Petraeus as CIA director. Petraeus admitted having an affair with his married biographer, Paula Broadwell. Federal officials say Broadwell sent emails to Kelley, perceiving her as a romantic rival. That FBI investigation uncovered emails between Kelley and Gen. John Allen during his time as head of Central Command in Tampa.

"As you see on tv, my name (including Gen Petraeus & Allen) and home have been exploited by the media," Kelley wrote to Buckhorn in an email timestamped 6:18 a.m. Wednesday. "I wouldn't care — if they got the facts right and focus on the criminal that stalked all of us. But the truth will one day prevail," she continued, in an apparent reference to Broadwell.

Officials have not released any evidence that Broadwell stalked Kelley.

Kelley has not commented, and her attorney did not return calls. But the emails portray Kelley — a married mother of three who lives in a waterfront mansion despite being mired in debt — as charming, chatty and polite. She boasted of connections to Petraeus and other high-ranking officials, and she sought Buckhorn's presence at events ranging from hosting a group of VIPs from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal to her daughter's birthday party.

However, Buckhorn declined most of Kelley's invitations because he had other commitments. He was polite, but most of his replies were brief. Some replies were sent by the mayor's staff and not Buckhorn himself.

Buckhorn's office said the emails began in March 2011, a month after he was elected. More recently, Kelley begged him to remove the media outside her home and chastised officials for releasing 911 calls she made to police.

"My family has been put through the ringer (sic) and my kids are scared," she wrote. "And to put insult to injury, your police dept gave the local 911 tapes to the press!"

In Florida, 911 tapes are public record.

After hosting a reception for Buckhorn in April 2011, Kelley frequently traded emails with him and dropped names ranging from the King of Jordan to Allen and Petraeus, whom she referred to informally as "Dave."

Among the dozens of emails were Kelley's description of her role as "ambassador to the coalition," hosting visitors to Central Command at her home for a 15-course Lebanese meal at her home. Kelley's family is originally from Lebanon.

And in March 2012, when a Tampa DJ nicknamed "Bubba The Love Sponge" said he was going to "deep fat fry" a Koran as a stunt, Kelley emailed the mayor, claiming that Petraeus and Allen asked her about "getting this dealt with." She said she considered getting her "1st Amendment lawyer" to sue the DJ.

The mayor responded that the city was "working on it."

"OK keep me in the loop," Kelley wrote. "Gen Allen will be calling me from Afghanistan at 1 p.m on this-and our next step."

Just days before the scandal broke, Kelley emailed Buckhorn, a Democrat, and gushed about visiting the White House.

"I was at the WH with my friends in the Administration this weekend — the stress was surreal!" she wrote. "But glad POTUS has been reelected!"


Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush