$400K raised by couple for homeless veteran is ‘gone,’ attorney says

Posted at 6:38 PM, Sep 04, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — Somehow all $400,000 is gone.

That’s what the attorney for North Carolina-native and homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr. said, according to WPVI.

Last October, Johnny Bobbitt Jr. used his last $20 to buy gas for a woman, 28-year-old Kate McClure, who was stranded on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia.

McClure, in return, created a GoFundMe campaign with her boyfriend 35-year-old Mark D’Amico to raise money for Bobbitt to thank him.

McClure and Bobbitt’s story quickly transformed into a viral “feel-good” story, and the campaign, as of Friday morning, raised a total of $402,706 within nine months.

That good deed, however, evolved into a legal dispute when Bobbitt accused the couple of spending the money on themselves and using it to make purchases for Bobbitt without giving him the money raised in his name.

On Thursday, a superior court judge ruled that the couple had 24 hours to turn over the remainder of $400,000 raised through GoFundMe to Bobbitt, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The ruling required the couple to move the money into an escrow account, controlled by the veteran’s pro bono attorneys Cozen O’Connor PC, by Friday afternoon.

Now, Bobbitt’s attorney says all the cash raised for him is gone.

WPVI reports attorney Chris Fallon found out during a conference call with Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico’s attorney Tuesday, a few days after the couple’s deadline to turn over Bobbitt’s money.

“There is no money left,” Fallon said, according to The Star-Ledger. “Where the money went, I have no idea.”

It is not clear how the money was spent, according to WPVI.

The case is set to go before a New Jersey Superior Court judge on Wednesday.

“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,” Bobbitt’s lawyer Chris Fallon previously told CNN.

Earlier this month, D’Amico said to a reporter that there was $200,000 left of the money in their savings account, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

This week, she said there was more than $150,000 left to NBC Today host Megyn Kelly.

During the Thursday hearing, the couple’s attorney Ernest E. Badway said the couple give Bobbitt cash on a daily basis.

Fallon said Bobbitt has received about $75,000, which includes a camper and used SUV the couple bought for the name, but were in McClure’s name. Both were later sold, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

According to Badway, Bobbitt asked for the vehicles to be in McClure’s name.

A spokesperson for GoFundMe said the crowdfunding website “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,” GoFundMe’s statement read. “We will work to ensure that Johnny receives the help he deserves and that the donors’ intentions are honored.”

Misuse, the company said, “is very rare on our platform.” Misused campaigns make up “less than one-tenth of 1% of all campaigns.”

The relationship between Bobbitt and McClure began to deteriorate when she and her boyfriend bought Bobbitt a camper — they originally promised him a house — and parked it in their driveway in New Jersey, where Bobbitt lived until June, said Jacqueline Promislo, another of Bobbitt’s attorneys.

“This was not his choice and he didn’t have any say in the matter,” Promislo said. “Johnny would have preferred to go back to North Carolina. That would have been a much better environment.”

Bobbitt, a North Carolina native, “had no access to money or food” while living in the camper, Promislo said. “He didn’t have any ability to take care of himself there.”

Promislo said the camper was bought with the money from GoFundMe. McClure and D’Amico also bought Bobbitt a truck, which they drove. The truck ended up breaking down.

Fallon said Bobbitt has an addiction problem, and that’s possibly a reason McClure didn’t want to give him any more money.

“It’s not heroin or opioids but another drug problem,” Fallon said.

In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, McClure said she and D’Amico did what they could to help Bobbitt. The couple told the paper they gave Bobbitt more than half the money but are withholding the rest until he gets a job and is drug-free.

D’Amico told the Inquirer that he controls the money but thinks neither he nor his girlfriend did anything wrong. He said giving such a large amount of money to an addict is like giving someone a loaded gun.

The Inquirer also said Bobbitt wondered how McClure paid for a new BMW and went on vacations to California, Florida and Las Vegas. McClure said the couple used their own money for the BMW and vacations. D’Amico told the Inquirer he spent $500 of the GoFundMe money to gamble, but he paid the money back to the campaign.

Promislo said earlier this month Bobbitt was back to living on the streets of Philadelphia “in harm’s way.” He was very successful at a methadone clinic before, she said. He had detoxed himself, but she said he is not physically in detox now.

CNN contributed to this report.