Jill Kelley Retains High Profile Crisis Manager, Despite Reportedly Being in Debt
By Elizabeth Flock
November 21, 2012
The scandal that began on Nov. 9 after CIA Director David Petraeus admitted an extramarital affair with his biographer continues to unfold this week, as those involved retain powerful lawyers, crisis managers and other experts needed to fix their potentially damaged reputations.
Among the most intriguing personalities of those involved appears to be Jill Kelley, the socialite and unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base whose E-Mails with Gen. John Allen may threaten his career. It was Kelley’s complaint to the FBI about threatening E-Mails from Petraeus’s biographer, Paula Broadwell, that kicked off the investigation.
Kelley reportedly lives a lavish lifestyle in Tampa, Fla., yet is deeply in debt. USA Today reports that she faces a number of lawsuits for credit card debts and foreclosures, many of which remain unresolved. E-Mails obtained by ABC News suggest Kelley may have tried to make up some of that debt, having eagerly tried to secure a multi-billion dollar Korean business deal earlier this year. The deal never went through.
Yet Kelley has just hired Abbe D. Lowell, a prominent Washington white-collar defense lawyer, the same lawyer who defended former North Carolina Senator John Edwards during his own extramarital scandal.
But it is unclear how Kelley could afford both Lowell and Smith, a crisis manager. Regions Bank reportedly brought a $1.8 million foreclosure lawsuit against Kelley and her husband in 2010, the same year Bank of America sued them.
Scott Sobel, president of the public relations and crisis management firm Media and Communications Strategies, suggests a possibility for how Kelly is able to afford both services. Sobel says lawyers and crisis managers known for this kind of work often work out a special deal with the client.
“They will take these cases on contingency, or they may be countersuing, or they may take it on in the hope and realization that their profile will be increased,” he says. “It’s an advertising investment.”
Sobel also states that the information not yet revealed may end up being the most salient to the case. “It’s the proverbial ‘devil in the details,’” he says.
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