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Jill Kelley back in the news with malpractice suit against former foreclosure attorneys

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa socialite and military scandal superstar Jill Kelley is back in the news. She’s suing her former foreclosure attorney for malpractice.

Kelley and her husband, Scott Kelley, were having financial difficulties in 2012 during the same time Kelley became the subject in a made for daytime television drama.

The couple paid $1.725 million in 2005 for an office building in downtown Tampa. By 2010 their lender, Central Bank, entered into foreclosure proceedings on the nearly 19,000-square-foot building.

During settlement proceedings the Kelleys told their attorneys they wouldn’t sign off on any agreement unless it protected them from another creditor, SunTrust Bank. According to lawsuit documents, the couple’s attorneys allegedly gave them that assurance, but SunTrust ultimately did go after the Kelleys for damages – though the exact amount of that is unknown.

By the time the foreclosed office building was sold at auction, the Kelleys owed Central Bank $2.1 million.

It’s not clear how much the couple is seeking in damages from the law firm of Melkus Fleming and Gutierrez.

Jill Kelley rose to infamy during a 2012 scandal involving two four-star generals – David Petraeus and John Allen. Kelley’s initial complaint of cyberstalking led to information uncovering an affair between Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Bradwell.

It also uncovered some sexually charged emails exchanged between Kelley and Allen.

The investigation led to Petraeus’ resignation and Kelley being banned from MacDill Air Force Base, where she frequently served as a social liaison.

This isn’t the first time the Kelleys have sued an attorney. In 2010 they filed a suit against notable attorney Barry Cohen claiming his firm had abruptly withdrawn from a case without justification or notification, but never returned the couple’s $30,000 retainer or another $5,000 spent on private investigations.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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