Money from homeless man’s GoFundMe may be gone, attorney says
GoFundMe said it is working with law enforcement to ensure a homeless man receives all of the nearly $400,000 raised on his behalf, though his attorney says he’s learned there may be nothing left after earlier disbursements.
The case went to court last month when attorneys for Johnny Bobbitt Jr. demanded that a couple who befriended him give a full accounting of what happened to the funds.
Bobbitt had just $20 in his pocket when he met stranded motorist Kate McClure last October, but he gave her the money for gas. She and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, launched a fundraiser for him, saying they were touched by his act of kindness and wanted to help him out.
But attorney Chris Fallon told CNN he learned on Tuesday, in a conference with the court and attorneys for McClure and D’Amico, that the remainder of the money due his client is gone.
Asked to comment on this claim, the couple’s attorney, Ernest Badway, said by email, “We have no comment.”
The two sides in the feud have differed as to how much had been disbursed. McClure’s and D’Amico’s attorney said they had provided Bobbitt with more than $200,000, CNN affiliates WPVI and KYW reported.
Fallon said the amount given to Bobbitt was about $75,000. Given the fund-raising total was $402,000, with about $30,000 going to GoFundMe for fees, his client should receive about $300,000 more, he said.
A judge last week ruled the couple needed to provide a full accounting of where the money has gone and said that, until then, the remaining money needs to be turned over to Bobbitt’s legal team and kept in a trust.
Badway told the judge the couple “have said they will have a forensic accountant. They have said they are fine with the trustee. They have said they will open up the books. What more can they do?” He would not comment last week.
Badway urged the public to withhold judgment until the accounting of the money was finished.
The judge wants that done by September 10, WPVI reported.
Some of the money went to GoFundMe administrative fees.
In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, McClure said she and D’Amico did what they could to help Bobbitt, who has a drug addiction, according to Fallon. The couple told the newspaper they gave Bobbitt more than half the money but were withholding the rest until he gets a job and is drug-free.
Fallon said that his client plans to participate in a monthlong rehab program.
A court hearing on the matter is expected for Wednesday morning in Mount Holly, New Jersey. Fallon said there may be a decision on his request for financial documents from the couple.
Bobby Whithorne, a spokesperson with GoFundMe, said the company is working with Bobbitt’s legal team to ensure he gets support — in the form of $20,000 to a bank account — while the remaining money is recovered.
“It’s important to remember that our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors and beneficiaries are protected,” GoFundMe said in a statement.