A wealthy New Jersey couple who famously "rescued" homeless man Johnny Bobbitt last October has refused to give him roughly $200,000 of a $402,000 GoFundMe account they established after their story went viral. After breaking several promises and sparingly doling out contributions from over 14,000 people, Bobbitt says the couple likely squandered the rest of the money on lavish trips and a BMW.
Kate McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico set up the GoFundMe after Bobbitt, a 35-year-old North Carolina native, used his last $20 to buy gas for McClure when her car stalled on the freeway where he had been panhandling, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer. Their "Pay It Forward" GoFundMe page, meanwhile, made international news.
In return, McClure and D'Amico, 39, gave Bobbitt money, food, and clothing. Their GoFundMe campaign to find Bobbitt a home inspired 14,347 donors to give generously as the three appeared on Good Morning America, the BBC, and in newspapers across the country. -Inquirer
McClure made several promises to Bobbitt in the description of the GoFundMe campaign, most of which - if not all of were broken:
The first thing on the list is a NEW Home which Johnny will own!! He will never have to worry about a roof over his head again!!
They let him live in a camper on their family property, and have since kicked him out.
Second will be the dream truck he's always wanted... a 1999 ford ranger (yes I'm serious).
Bobbitt never received a 1999 Ranger. Instead, he was given a used SUV that broke down and has since been sold.
There will also be 2 trusts set up in his name, one essentially giving him the ability to collect a small "salary" each year and another retirement trust which will be wisely invested by a financial planner which he will have access to in a time frame he feels comfortable with
This is a well thought out plan that Johnny his lawyer and financial advisor came up with in order to give Johnny the means to acclimate back into a "normal" life and also to protect him and ensure he has a bright future. -GoFundMe
The trusts were never created, and Bobbitt says he never met with the lawyer - while only having one brief meeting with the financial adviser, where no paperwork was signed.
Bobbitt wonders how McClure, a receptionist for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, paid for the new BMW she drives and for vacations to California, Florida, and Las Vegas, as well as a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. He also questions how much D'Amico, a carpenter, spent gambling. -Philly.com
D'Amico admits to using $500 of the GoFundMe money to gamble after he forgot his SugarHouse Casino card one night, but claims he quickly repaid it with his winnings.
Meanwhile, D'Amico is holding the remaining $200,000 "in a savings account that he will start dispensing when Bobbitt gets a job and is drug-free," reports Philly.com, however D'Amico "said he had reconsidered that decision and had given Bobbitt $400 in caseh and some gift cards."
McClure and D'Amico insist they've done nothing wrong, and that they should retain control over the money due to Bobbitt's drug use. The couple claims he once burned through $25,000 they gave him in less than two weeks.
Bobbitt acknowledged that they once gave him $25,000, which he said he spent by sending money to relatives and sharing with friends. He also spent some of it on drugs. Typically, Bobbitt said, he uses $15 a day to buy opiates or Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat addiction. -Philly.com
"Write what you want ... Giving him all that money, it's never going to happen. I'll burn it in front of him," said a defensive D'Amico, who is facing his own legal problems related to traffic offenses, a suspended driver's license and an arrest for failure to appear in municipal court.
Giving Bobbitt his money, said D'Amico, would be like "giving him a loaded gun."
Bobbitt says the couple's charitable intent was probably genuine at first, only to turn to greed.
"I think it might have been good intentions in the beginning, but with that amount of money, I think it became greed," says Bobbitt - who has been living under a Philadelphia bridge with his 34-year-old brother Josh, also a drug addict. Homeless advocates, meanwhile, have helped Bobbitt and his brother into a detox program, while putting Bobbitt in touch with pro-bono lawyers who are now investigating his legal options.
GoFundMe "is looking into the claims of misuse regarding this campaign. When there is a dispute, we work with all parties involved to ensure funds go to the right place. We will work to ensure that Johnny receives the help he deserves and that the donors' intentions are honored," according to spokesman Bartlett Jackson.
As he sat under the bridge at Callowhill and Second, Bobbitt said panhandling for food and drugs is better than trying to squeeze money from McClure and D'Amico. Bobbitt kept an eye on his younger brother as he stood nearby on the median with a sign that read, "Homeless Hungry Anything Helps Thank You! God Bless!" -Philly.com