TAMPA — Despite the couple's lavish parties, tony address and friends in high places, court documents show a financial avalanche consuming the Kelleys of Bayshore Boulevard in 2010.
Million-dollar lawsuits filed against Dr. Scott and Jill Kelley, the South Tampa woman who touched off a sandal that has taken down CIA director David Petraeus, have been examined as the lives of the socialites have been pried open.
But this is how bad it got:
A Carrollwood sign company sued them over $2,200 in unpaid invoices for a huge banner advertising "executive suites" at a downtown Tampa office building they had owned.
And the Kelleys fought it.
In court papers from the county court suit against Kelley Land Holdings by Signs Now of Carrollwood, the Kelleys said they disputed the charge to their American Express card because the sign company submitted the charge under a name they did not recognize.
Once the sign company called to say American Express had denied the payment, the Kelleys told them to use the American Express Card dispute process to resolve the matter.
"That's the loophole they tried to use," said Craig Lewis, store manager and son of the owner. "They owned a huge office building downtown. He's a doctor, and she described herself as a socialite. ... How could this be a big deal to them?"
The company has repossessed signs only two times that the father and son could remember. The Kelley banner was one of them.
"It went on for three months, us calling them minimal once a week, probably more," Lewis said. "After a few months of not hearing anything, we went and repossessed the signs."
The Kelleys accused the sign company of trespassing on their property to take the signs.
"The taking of the signs created a scene and breached the peace," court documents said.
But a judge ordered the Kelleys to pay back the sum — plus interest.