Last fall, a homeless man gave a New Jersey woman, who was stranded in Philadelphia, his last $20. The woman and her boyfriend then raised over $400,000 for the man, Johnny Bobbit Jr., via a GoFundMe campaign. However, Bobbit claims he never saw most of that money and that the couple kept it for themselves to "enjoy a lifestyle they could not afford." Now, a judge has ordered the couple to hand over what's left of the money to Bobbit by Friday.
Bobbitt, a homeless veteran, first encountered Kate McClure in Philadelphia last October. Bobbitt, who at the time was living under an I-95 ramp in Kensington, gave his last $20 to her when she ran out of gas. McClure and her boyfriend Mark D’Amico were so moved by the gesture, they set up the GoFundMe. Although it was set at $10,000, they ended up raising over $400K thanks to donations from over 14,000 people.
"I am raising money for Johnny," McClure wrote on the GoFundMe. "With the money, I would like to get him first and last month’s rent at an apartment, a reliable vehicle, and 4-6 months worth of expenses. He is very interested in finding a job, and I believe that with a place to be able to clean up every night and get a good night’s rest, his life can get back to being normal."
"Truly believe that all Johnny needs is one little break. Hopefully with your help I can be the one to give it to him."
— Kate McClure (@getjohnnyahome) November 11, 2017
However, Bobbitt, who is still panhandling, recently filed a lawsuit in New Jersey stating he had received only a small portion of the money. "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 told CNN.
McClure and D’Amico defended themselves on Megyn Kelly Today earlier this week. They claimed they tried to move the money to a bank account for Bobbitt, but he did not have any identification. Then they said that they gave him $25,000 in cash last Christmas but he spent all the money in 13 days on drugs: "Every dollar he ever touched was used for drugs."
They claim they didn't trust him with all the money, so they tried buying things for him, including a trailer that he parked at their house. Jacqueline Promislo, another one of Bobbitt's lawyers, disputed that account: "They bought it in their name and kept it in their name," she told the Times. "I believe they sold it." Bobbitt's attorney says the couple also got him a used SUV, also bought in their name, and which they also ended up selling.
The couple added that only around $150,000 of the money was left.
Bobbitt admitted in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer that he went to rehab multiple times since the fundraiser, and "the pull of drugs was strong." He also speculated the couple is spending the money on vacations, gambling and a new BMW.
McClure, a receptionist for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and D'Amico, a carpenter, have denied Bobbitt's claims. D'Amico admitted he spent $500 of the GoFundMe money to gamble because he did not have his SugarHouse Casino card one night, but said he repaid it with his winnings.
Yesterday, a judge ordered the couple to transfer the money into an escrow account by Friday afternoon and hire a forensic accountant to review the financial records within 10 days. The money will be transferred to an account controlled by Cozen O'Connor PC, Bobbitt's pro bono attorneys. A guardian will likely be appointed to oversee the fund for Bobbitt.