Last year, there was a story which warmed hearts on both sides of the Atlantic, about a homeless man who gave his last remaining $20 to a woman who was stranded, and in return, she started a GoFundMe campaign for him, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Now, nine months of fundraising later and with the GoFundMe campaign reaching $402,702, the relationship has taken a cruel turn.
In October Kate McClure found herself in trouble running out of petrol on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. Johnny Bobbitt Jr made a random act of kindness to help her out.
Kate returned the favour crowdsourcing a fund to help turn Johnny’s life around. Bobbitt’s lawyer is now saying a large portion of the money never reached his client.
Bobbitt’s lawyer Chris Fallon told CNN:
From what I can see, the GoFundMe account raised $402,000 and GoFundMe charged a fee of approximately $30,000.
Mark D’Amico and Kate McClure gave Johnny about $75,000. There should be close to another $300,000 available to Johnny.
Fallon says he and another attorney, Jacqueline Promislo, are looking to get the money back to their client.
They’re looking to find a guardian to manage the money so the 14,000 people who donated to the fund would know where the money is going.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Bobbitt is worried Kate and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, have squandered the money raised.
Kate and Mark claim they’ve given him more than half the money raised and are withholding roughly $200,000. Johnny in the meantime is back on the streets, homeless and addicted to drugs again.
The couple claim Bobbitt burned through $25,000 in less than two weeks. Johnny in turn is questioning how McClure, a receptionist at the New Jersey Department of Transportation paid for the new BMW she drives, as well as holidays in California, Florida and Las Vegas.
The GoFundMe campaign at first stated ‘The first thing on the list is a NEW Home which Johnny will own!!’
However, Bobbitt ended up living in a camper van on land Kate’s family own near where the couple live. He allegedly never received his dream pickup truck and the SUV he was given instead broke down. The couple claim they put the vehicles in Mark’s name so Johnny couldn’t sell them.
A GoFundMe spokesman said the company ‘is looking into the claims of misuse regarding this campaign’.
A statement from the crowdfunding site stated:
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.
Living in a camper wasn’t part of the plan for Johnny, Attorney Promislo said:
This was not his choice and he didn’t have any say in the matter. Johnny would have preferred to go back to North Carolina. That would have been a much better environment.
Promislo added Bobbitt is now living on the streets of Philadelphia ‘in harm’s way’. Bobbitt had been very successful at a methadone clinic before, but he is not physically in detox now.
The couple, who say they’ve taken considerable time off work to help Bobbitt, claim they tried helping him manage his own money only to see him quickly spend thousands.
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Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.