Petraeus Scandal: Socialite Jill Kelley Fighting Back
(NEW YORK) -- Tampa socialite Jill Kelley is fighting back. Tuesday, sources close to the woman who was caught in the media crossfire during the David Petraeus sex scandal have released new letters aimed at reclaiming her reputation.
In one, Kelley's attorney goes after a New York businessman who claimed Kelley was using her connections to Petraeus to broker a deal with the South Korean government.
"It is impossible to overlook your attempt to get your '15 minutes of fame,'" attorney Abbe Lowell wrote to Adam Victor, the president and CEO of TransGas Development Systems. "…You have the right to do that to yourself, but you do not have the right to defame our client."
"This letter is notice to you that statements you have made are false and defamatory and are intended to portray Ms. Kelley in a false light," the letter continued.
Victor has claimed that Kelley asked for $80 million in commissions to arrange a deal between Victor and the South Korean government. Kelley was an honorary consul for the Republic of South Korea.
"While it is certainly true that Ms. Kelley communicated with you about a potential business deal, it has nothing to do with General Petraeus or other military," Lowell wrote Victor.
The dealings between Jill Kelley and Adam Victor were detailed in a series of emails between the two made public earlier this month. The emails appeared to confirm the New York businessman's claim that Kelley wanted a huge fee for brokering a transaction with the South Korean government.
But in his letter to Victor, Lowell denies that Kelley wanted anything close to $80 million, and says the full chain of emails reveal that "it was you (Victor) who were trying to capitalize on her contacts, and not the other way around."
Kelley and Victor were introduced at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August by Kelley's friend, Tampa real estate developer Don Phillips. In an interview with ABC News, Phillips said he suggested that Kelley and Victor should meet because Kelley could help Victor land a deal for a coal gasification plant in South Korea.
Phillips claimed that Kelley said that Victor tried to "proposition" her "almost immediately," and said he had to cajole her into flying to New York for a second meeting with Victor.
After she met with Victor in New York, Phillips said, Kelley reported that she was no longer interested in pursuing the deal. According to Phillips, she said, "As a result of my personal investigations and business intelligence this is just not going anywhere, Don, and you just don't want to associate with this guy."
Victor, who denies propositioning Kelley, claimed she continued pushing for the deal after their meeting in New York. But sources close to Kelley say that telephone voice messages Victor left for Kelley reveal that he was the one who continued to seek Kelley's involvement, even after the Petraeus affair came to light.
Victor also claims that Kelley told him Petraeus arranged for her to be named honorary consul, and that she could use her connections with high-level Korean officials to help land the coal plant deal.
None of the emails that Victor showed to ABC News mention Petraeus. Kelley's friend Don Phillips told ABC News that Kelley has not "in any way tried to profit" from her relationship with Petraeus.
Sources close to Kelley also say a complaint about Kelley's former attorney was filed with the Florida Consumer Assistance Program, charging that he may have violated attorney-client privilege by holding a news conference and speaking about Kelley.
In addition, a letter from Kelley's lawyer was dispatched to the Department of Justice, asking if there will be an investigation of how his clients' names leaked to the media.
Victor told ABC News he has not yet received the letter that was released to selected reporters Tuesday evening, but after being told of its contents Victor said it appears to be a frivolous complaint.
"I don't know what they're upset about. I've said nothing derogatory about Ms. Kelley and have only told the facts as I know them, in fact much of what I've said was complimentary," Victor said.
As to charges of inappropriate behavior, Victor said he was mystified. He told ABC News he had only met Kelley in the presence of his female chief of staff and received gracious follow up emails from Kelley afterwards.
Victor said he did indeed contact Kelley after the Petraeus scandal broke, but mainly to find out what was going on.
Requests for comment from the Kelleys' Florida attorney were not immediately returned.
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