Jill Kelley and her husband started a charity focused on cancer research and on granting “wishes to terminally ill cancer patients,” according to 2007 tax documents. The documents show that, of the nearly $160,000 the group raised, it spent roughly half on meals, entertainment, and automotive and office expenses.
Kelley has seemed eager to make her civic involvement clear to those around her. Outside her two-story mansion Tuesday was a gray Mercedes-Benz S500 with vanity plates reading “Honorary Consul” and “1JK.” Nearby, contractors piled up tables and folding chairs after a weekend party.A military officer who is a former member of Petraeus’s staff said Kelley was a “self-appointed” go-between for Central Command officers with Lebanese and other Middle Eastern officials.
Her presence was often a bit puzzling to Petraeus’s staff, the officer said, but added that there was never any indication that her relationship with the general was anything more than social.
Aaron Fodiman, the publisher of Tampa Bay Magazine and a friend of the Kelleys, said people in the family’s social sphere are shocked by the spotlight that the investigations have cast on the community. “She is so gracious, so lovely,” he said of Jill Kelley. “She’s one of those people — she walks in the room, and the room lights up.”
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