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Couple Who Raised, Then Withheld, $400K For Homeless Vet Must Turn Over Cash, Judge Rules
Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico raised over $400,000 for Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless vet who gave McClure his last $20 when she ran out of gas; now, they are the ones handing him money.
The homeless man whose generosity inspired a New Jersey couple to help raise over $400,000 for him has successfully sued those same people over their allegedly selfish use of those funds, according to reports.
A New Jersey judge has ordered Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico to relinquish what’s left of the cash to Johnny Bobbitt, the Associated Press reports. Additionally, they are required to transfer the funds into an escrow account by the end of business hours on Friday, and also enlist a forensic accountant within 10 days to evaluate their records.
The money, according to the AP, will be placed in an account overseen by Bobbitt’s lawyers—however, it will sit in the account unused until the judge decides how the money will be handled and dispensed and who will act as the account’s guardian.
This is the latest twist in Bobbitt’s battle against McClure and D’Amico: In just 10 months, Bobbitt has gone from giving McClure the last of his tiny stash of cash, to going to court over hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Back in November 2017, McClure was inspired to help raise money for Bobbitt, a homeless veteran, to get back on his feet after he gave her his last $20 when she ran out of gas during a trip to Philadelphia.
“Johnny did not ask me for a dollar, and I couldn’t repay him at that moment because I didn’t have any cash, but I have been stopping by his spot for the past few weeks. I repaid him for the gas, gave him a jacket, gloves, a hat, and warm socks, and I give him a few dollars every time I see him,” McClure wrote at the time. “I wish that I could do more for this selfless man, who went out of his way just to help me that day.”
The campaign quickly went viral, and as of this writing has amassed $402,706—raising more than 40 times its initial cash goal. But despite the feel-good tale of human decency and redemption that warmed the hearts of millions of Americans and others around the world, the situation quickly soured, seemingly over the huge influx of cash.
While the GoFundMe campaign assured donors that “a NEW home” was the first thing on the list, Bobbitt ended up simply living for a short time in a camper provided by the couple on McClure’s property in Florence, New Jersey. Bobbitt didn’t receive anything else mentioned in the fundraiser, according to the Inquirer. He also never got the “dream truck he always wanted … a 1999 Ford Ranger”; instead, he received what he said amounted to a broken-down SUV.
So on Tuesday, Bobbitt’s legal team filed a lawsuit against McClure and D’Amico, claiming the couple used a “substantial portion of the money raised” through the GoFundMe campaign McClure set up 10 months ago, treating it like a “personal piggy bank,” the Philadelphia Inquirer Reports. The suit, filed in Superior Court in Mount Holly, New Jersey, also alleges both committed fraud and conspiracy.
As a result, one of his lawyers revealed that not only has Bobbitt not seen most of the money raised to help him, but he is also back on the streets, NBC news reports.
“What [Bobbitt] would like is to obtain the money that has been raised for him,” Promislo told NBC News. “Over 14,000 people gave him money to help him get off the streets and give him a safe place to live.”
But McClure and D’Amico maintained that their handling of the large sum of money was for Bobbitt’s own good—he allegedly has a long history of substance abuse and dependence. During a Monday interview on Megyn Kelly’s programming block on the “Today” show, the couple claimed that Bobbitt spent $25,000 in under two weeks, all to feed his addiction.
“Every dollar he ever touched was used for drugs,” D’Amico said during the appearance.
The couple also said that there was more than $150,000 left—a week prior to appearing on television, however, they said there was about $200,000 remaining, according to the Inquirer.
[Photo Credit: Getty]