Top US general under investigation
US commander John Allen is under investigation for alleged inappropriate communication with a woman at the heart of the Petraeus scandal.PT0M0S 620 349
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The twin Florida socialites at the centre of the David Petraeus affair gained intimate access to America's military and political elite through their high-rolling lifestyles even as they quietly racked up millions of dollars in debts and credit card bills.
Ms Khawam appears to lack any appreciation or respect for the importance of honesty and integrity in her interactions with her family, employers and others with whom she comes in contact
Jill Kelley, whose complaint over threatening emails prompted the FBI inquiry that has ensnared two generals, is mired in lawsuits from a string of banks totalling $US4 million, court filings obtained by London's The Daily Telegraph in Florida show.
Controversy ... from left, Natalie Khawam, General David Petraeus, Scott Kelley, Jill Kelley and Holly Petraeus watch the Gasparilla parade in Tampa, Florida in January 2010. Photo: Amy Scherzer/Tampa Bay Times/MCT
'Dishonest and lacking integrity'
Mrs Kelley's identical twin Natalie Khawam - who obtained testimonies to her good character from Mr Petraeus and General John Allen during a messy custody dispute after her divorce - declared herself bankrupt this year with liabilities of $US3.6 million, filings show.
Ms Khawam was described by a judge in the custody case as dishonest and lacking integrity, The Associated Press reported, citing court documents.
Implicated in scandal ... General John Allen sent 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails to Ms Kelley. Photo: AP
The 37-year-old sisters have emerged as central players in the saga gripping Washington's national security establishment since Mrs Kelley was named as the "second woman" allegedly harassed by jealous emails from Paula Broadwell, Mr Petraeus's biographer and mistress.
Mrs Kelley an 'honorary consul'
The latest twist in the saga involved Mrs Kelley asking for "diplomatic protection" during a 911 call to Tampa police, where she complained about trespassers on her property, US media reported.
Emails ... a combination photo shows Jill Kelley (left), a friend of former US General David Petraeus' family, in Tampa, Florida on Monday and Petraeus' biographer Paula Broadwell, in an ISAF handout image. Photo: Reuters
"I'm an honorary consul-general, so I have inviolability, so they should not be able to cross my property," she told the operator, according to the 911 audio released by police, ABC News reported. "I don't know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well, because that's against the law to cross my property because, you know, it's inviolable."
ABC News reported that Mrs Kelley was an "honorary consul" of the Korean Embassy. The position holds no official status, Foreign Policy magazine reported, adding that Mrs Kelley's Mercedes licence plates carried the words "honorary consul".
General sent Kelley 'more than 20,000 pages of emails'
General David Petraeus stands with his wife Holly before the NFL Super Bowl. Photo: AP
Mrs Kelley was also named as the woman with whom Marine General John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, exchanged more than 20,000 pages of emails, some of which were characterised as "flirtatious", one senior US official told AP.
The emails between General Allen and Mrs Kelley were not sexually explicit or seductive but included pet names such as "sweetheart" or "dear". The official said that while much of the communication - including some from General Allen and Mrs Kelley - was relatively innocuous, some could be construed as unprofessional and would cause a reasonable person to take notice.
The sisters also have direct links to Florida's highest political circles, London's The Daily Telegraph has learnt. Ms Khawam once dated Charlie Crist, the state's former governor, a Republican source said, while Pam Bondi, its attorney-general and a close ally of Mitt Romney, attended a function at Mrs Kelley's home.
Biographer ... Paula Broadwell poses with her book about David Petraeus. Photo: AP
Mrs Kelley, a mother of four and unpaid "social liaison" for the US military in Tampa, is said to have spared no expense at such parties to honour top brass stationed at nearby US Central Command. She was pictured at one event at her $US1.2 million mansion in 2010 with Mr Petraeus, who arrived in a 28-car motorcade. The sisters are also believed to have attended the farewell party for Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the former British ambassador to the US, in Washington last year.
Peter King, a Republican congressman for New York who was at the event, told CNN that he had met Mrs Kelley at "one or two events at the British embassy". An embassy spokesman declined to check, saying that it would take too much time.
Guests at Mrs Kelley's own parties were treated to lavish buffets, drank champagne and puffed on cigars while being entertained by string quartets, according to insider accounts.
General Davis Petraeus, left, shaking hands with Paula Broadwell Photo: AP
Facing multiple lawsuits
Yet she and her husband Scott, a surgeon, were soon being sued for $US1.9 million by Central Bank after allegedly failing to keep up with mortgage payments on a house they bought after starting their own property company. A similar $US1.8 million property lawsuit from Regions Bank followed soon after.
Later in the year, Regions Bank filed another claim against the Kelleys for $US453,000, before Bank of America sued Mrs Kelley for $US25,000 in allegedly unpaid credit card charges. All four cases remain open. The banks' lawyers declined to comment. Mrs Kelley's lawyer did not return a request for comment.
In a further revelation this morning, the Huffington Post alleged that the Kelleys ran a "questionable charity" - the Doctor Kelley Cancer Foundation - that spent all its money not on research, as it claimed on tax forms, but on entertainment, travel and legal fees.
"There are obviously financial issues," said one associate of the Kelleys. "Scott goes to work and works his ass off, and Jill takes care of the social stuff, and gets them into the society pages. They are nice people, and I feel sorry for them."
Why did generals vouch for Ms Khawam?
The sisters grew up in Pennsylvania, the daughters of a couple who emigrated to the US from Lebanon during the 1970s. Their parents, who had two other children, owned a restaurant and a vehicle registration firm, records suggest.
Ms Khawam, a lawyer, called on their high-level contacts during a custody battle over her four-year-old son in Washington this year. Mr Petraeus and General Allen sent letters to the court supporting her case to overturn a ruling denying her custody.
Informing the court in a September memo that he knew Ms Khawam well and had hosted her for dinner last Christmas, Mr Petraeus testified to having seen "a very loving relationship - a mother working hard to provide her son enjoyable, educational and developmental experiences".
Two days later, General Allen - who is accused of exchanging thousands of emails with Miss Khawam's sister, Jill - made his own unusual intervention, writing on headed notepaper and signing off with his title as a general in the US Marine Corps.
He said that she "clearly loves" her son, adding: "In light of Natalie's maturity, integrity and steadfast commitment to raising her child, I humbly request your reconsideration of the existing mandated custody settlement."
'Misrepresentations about virtually everything'
But AP reported that Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz last year criticised Khawam for her behaviour and said her "misrepresentations about virtually everything" would continue.
"Ms Khawam appears to lack any appreciation or respect for the importance of honesty and integrity in her interactions with her family, employers and others with whom she comes in contact," the judge wrote in November 2011.
Not only did the judge in the case award her ex-husband custody last year of their three-year-old son, John, but he also told Ms Khawam to pay his legal bills amounting to $US350,000. Khawam filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in April after racking up more than $US3 million in debt, according to federal court records.
The status of her most recent custody appeal was not immediately known. She did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday, AP reported.
Her relationship with her ex-husband, Grayson Wolfe, grew to levels of remarkable acrimony as detailed in court papers. She made repeated claims of abuse, which the judge called "an ever-expanding set of sensational accusations" against Wolfe that were "numerous", "extraordinary", and, "so distorted that they defy any common sense view of reality".
Separately, Ms Khawam is being sued in Maryland for $US100,000 in legal fees and in Florida by her former boss Barry Cohen, a prominent Tampa lawyer, who claims in his lawsuit that she "fraudulently omitted Rolex watches, sable mink furs and a diamond ring" from her bankruptcy filing, which she denies.
Mr Cohen's action came in response to a lawsuit against him from Ms Khawam, who accused him of breach of contract and failing to take action to a complaint of sexual harassment. Mr Cohen denies the allegations.
The Daily Telegraph, London, with AP, smh.com.au