WASHINGTON -- Jill Kelley, a central figure in the sex scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, tried to parlay her friendship with the general into a huge commission for helping facilitate a coal project in South Korea, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. Negotiations with Kelley ended after she demanded an $80 million fee for leveraging her connections, the paper said.
That deal may have gone bust. But Kelley's identical twin sister, Natalie Khawam, profited from her own lobbying connection. Bankruptcy records show that Gerald "Jerry" Harrington, a Rhode Island lobbyist and Democratic fundraiser, loaned Khawam $300,000 that she was unable to pay back.
Khawam dated Harrington while she lived with her sister in Tampa, Fla., attending the many parties Kelley hosted for military officers stationed at nearby MacDill Air Force Base. At the time Harrington, too, had plenty of connections with the military. But not the social kind.
The largest of them is Picerne Military Housing, which constructs, sells, and manages housing on U.S. military bases. Since 2010, Harrington and his business partner have received $300,000 from Picerne, and an additional $40,000 from Picerne's subsidiary, Picerne Capital. In exchange, they actively lobbied Congress on 42 bills, ranging from military base construction to World War II memorials.
Lobbying records also show that Harrington made $40,000 in the past two years lobbying the Department of Veterans Affairs and Congress on behalf of Radiation Therapy Services.
On his firm's website, Harrington highlights his work on behalf of clients who had projects with the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, although he doesn't name the clients. Harrington did not return multiple calls from The Huffington Post seeking his comment.
Harrington helped introduce Khawam to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). A Kerry spokesperson told the Boston Herald that Kerry met Khawam "a couple of times" at an annual Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event on Martha’s Vineyard.
Until last week, few Americans enjoyed public reputations as sterling as those of retired Gen. Petraeus and Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
As such, the letters Allen and Petraeus sent to the D.C. Superior Court this fall, vouching for the good character of Khawam in her contentious child custody proceedings with her ex-husband, were surprising.
Their support for Khawam, whom the D.C. Superior Court judge deemed dishonest, is now raising red flags amid the unfolding sex scandal involving Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell. Kelley, whose email exchanges with Allen are now under investigation, sparked the FBI investigation that led to Petraeus' resignation with a complaint about threatening, anonymous emails that authorities said came from Broadwell.
The letters from Petraeus and Allen for Khawam came after she had filed for bankruptcy, overwhelmed by significant debts. In her Chapter 7 filing, she lists $3.6 million in debt, including nearly $2 million in personal loans. Among them was $800,000 she said she owed her sister and her sister's husband, Scott Kelley.
Khawam had income of more than $300,000 in 2010 and 2011, according to the court records. It's unclear where the money went. Khawam listed $36 in her savings and $658 in a checking account.
Khawam's two other outstanding personal loans included $250,000 from Lisa Krowne, a woman who appears to be an investor in a New York fashion label called Joy Cioci.
In August, five months after Khawam listed Krowne as a major creditor, Khawam and Krowne set up a company together called Fullproof LLC. Florida records list Khawam as a managing member, along with Krowne and her father, Clifford Krowne.
"There's not much to say about it," Clifford Krowne told Huff Post when reached by phone this week. He said the company involves science, but refused to give details.
Nor would Krowne elaborate on his connection to Khawam. "They are bright and pleasant people," he said of Khawam and her sister. "That's all I know."
He wouldn't say how he came to know the sisters. "I can't tell you that," he said. "I don't know anything about them. I'm a scientist."
Khawam's other mysterious creditor is a Georgia-based businessman named Michael Boone, who lent her $600,000, according to the bankruptcy filing. Boone appears to own a condo-office in Tampa. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Khawam, who has a law degree and is a member of the Florida Bar, filed paperwork with state to establish the Whistleblower Law Firm in September. No lawyers contacted by Huff Post knew of her work either in Washington, where she used to live, or in the Tampa area. "That's just totally news to me," said a Washington lawyer who specializes in whistleblower cases.
"I have never heard of her, except of course I read in the paper that she's the sister of Ms. Kelley," said Marcia Cohen, who has practiced whistleblower law in the St. Petersburg area for nearly three decades.
Steven Wenzel, a Tampa lawyer who has worked for both plaintiffs and defendants in labor and employment law for nearly 40 years in Tampa, said he hadn't heard of Khawam. "I don't recall ever hearing that name," he said. He added that whistleblower law is a big field.
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A highly decorated four-star Army general lauded for his leadership of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Petraeus moved into the civilian world to become CIA director in September 2011. He shocked official Washington on November 9, 2012 by admitting an extramarital affair with his biographer and resigning his spymaster post. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
The other woman. An author and married mom of two young children, she was a West Point-educated Army reservist and graduate student when she met Petraeus at Harvard in 2006. She later embarked on a case study on his leadership of the Iraq War. After he took the helm in Afghanistan, Broadwell expanded her work into a biography, gaining unprecedented access to Petraeus and his commanders. It's called "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus." Their affair began in November 2011, a couple of months after he became CIA director, according to retired Army Col. Steve Boylan, a friend of the Petraeus family. It ended last summer, Boylan said. The relationship was exposed after Broadwell of Charlotte, N.C., sent emails to another woman, Jill Kelley, warning her to stay away from Petraeus, officials said. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
All threads in the story trace back to this Tampa, Fla., socialite. A surgeon's wife and mother of three children, Kelley is a sort of self-appointed social ambassador for the nearby U.S. Central Command and other officers at MacDill Air Force Base. The Kelleys opened their bayside home to lavish parties where military brass mingled with Tampa's elite. In this role, she befriended Petraeus and his wife, Holly, when he took over Central Command in October 2008. Kelley stayed in close contact with Petraeus after he left to take command of the Afghanistan war. They exchanged nearly daily emails in an account routinely monitored by his aides, according to two former staffers, who said those messages weren't romantic in tone. In May 2012, Kelley started getting anonymous, harassing emails warning her away from Petraeus. She reported the email to the FBI. The FBI traced the messages to Broadwell, uncovering her affair with Petraeus. The FBI notified Petraeus' boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who urged him to resign. And the FBI found something more. It unearthed "inappropriate communications" between Kelley and another top military officer, John Allen, according to Pentagon officials. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
The four-star Marine general who followed in Petraeus' footsteps at Central Command and then as top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is now following him into choppy waters. The Pentagon is investigating 20,000 pages of documents and emails involving Allen, who is married, and Kelley. Some of the communications were "flirtatious," according to a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the case publicly. Like Petraeus, Allen, 58, was part of the Tampa social circle; he moved up to acting commander when Petraeus left for Afghanistan. When Petraeus came home from Afghanistan, Allen moved into the top job there – his current post. President Barack Obama had nominated Allen to take over U.S. European Command and lead all NATO forces in Europe. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
Kelley's twin sister also socialized with the two generals. Both Petraeus and Allen wrote letters lauding Khawam as a devoted mother to help her in a bitter child custody battle with her ex-husband. Earlier in that divorce case, Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz had criticized Khawam for a lack of honesty and "misrepresentations about virtually everything." (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
Petraeus' wife of 38 years, mother of their two grown children, is in charge of service member assistance at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and is a well-known advocate for military families. Mrs. Petraeus is said to be devastated by her husband's infidelity. "Furious would be an understatement," family friend Boylan told ABC's "Good Morning America." (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
FBI Agent Frederick W. Humphries
Humphries, 47, was the agent who initially saw the emails the FBI said Petraeus' biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell, sent to Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, a woman she apparently saw as a rival for Petraeus' affections. She also allegedly sent emails to Gen. John Allen, Kelley's friend and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Concerned about the emails, Kelley contacted Humphries in June. The two had met at a 2011 FBI Citizens Academy, a program aimed at teaching the public and journalists about what the agency does and how it operates. Kelley was in the class, which Humphries lectured one night about terrorism, according to Natalie Shepherd, a Tampa TV reporter who was there. Humphries, a former Army captain who worked in military intelligence, thought the emails raised serious concerns because the anonymous author knew the comings and goings of Allen and Petraeus, a former general who had preceded Allen in Afghanistan. His report back to the FBI started the investigation that led to Broadwell and uncovered her affair with Petraeus. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/frederick-humphries_n_2134203.html" target="_hplink">The Associated Press</a>)