Florida socialite Jill Kelley, the “other woman” in the tangled David Petraeus sex scandal, has already had her life upended by the media and has lost her VIP privileges at MacDill Air Force Base, where she served as a military liason. Now, however, she’s about to lose something else: South Korea has announced that it will strip Kelley of her coveted “honorary consul” title.
A senior Korean official said on Monday that Kelley was found to have used her title for personal gain, after a New York businessman complained that she had used it to solicit business, the CNN reports.
“It’s not suitable to the status of honorary consul that [she] sought to be involved in commercial projects and peddle influence,” deputy foreign minister Kim Kyou-hyun said on Monday, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap. “It’s also inappropriate as honorary consul.”
As the name suggests, the position carries no power or privileges. Appointed by the South Korean foreign minister, honorary consuls work as unofficial public relations agent between the two countries. There are 15 of them in the U.S., and each receives a token stipend of $2,500 a year.
But that’s not how Kelley, 37, appears to have seen her status. Soon after the Petraeus scandal broke in early November, Kelley cited her “inviolability” as an honorary consul in a 911 call to Tampa police, asking them to remove members of the media from her property.
“You know, I don’t know if by any chance, because I’m an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability, so they should not be able to cross my property,” Kelley told a 911 dispatcher on Nov. 11, as reported by Bloomberg. “I don’t know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well.”
Kelley’s silver Mercedes S500 carried official “Honorary Consul” license plates, which Florida provides to people who are not eligible for “special Consul Corps license plates [issued] by the United States Government,” according to USA Today.
It’s not the only honorary position that Kelley is accused of taking too seriously. As part of her now-revoked VIP privileges at MacDill, Kelley was given the title of “honorary ambassador” by U.S. Central Command. But one unnamed U.S. official told ABC News that Kelley would introduce herself to others as an “ambassador” — leaving off the word “honorary.”
Kelley’s complaints of harassing emails from Paula Broadwell exposed the secret affair between Petraeus and his biographer. The former four-star general apologized for the affair and resigned on November 9.
After reporting to a FBI agent the anonymous emails accusing her of being flirtatious toward Petraeus, Kelley became a key figure after further investigations revealed tens of thousands of inappropriate email exchanges between Kelley and Marine Gen. John Allen, the head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.