Couple who raised $400,000 for homeless man accused of keeping the money for themselves
One of 2017's most heartwarming stories has recently become a lot more complicated.
Towards the end of last year, Kate McClure's story went viral, after a homeless man helped her out of a dire situation. Stranded by the side of a road after her car broke down, she met Johnny Bobbit. Johnny donated his last $20 to get her home. Out of gratitude, Kate shared the story with the world, hoping to raise money on GoFundMe to change Johnny's life.
Once the story went viral, the figure rose from a modest sum to over $300,000 in just two weeks. The intention of the fundraising was to buy Johnny a house, a goal that thousands wanted to help with, bringing the number to over $400,000 at the time of writing. By December 3, McClure reportedly tweeted that Bobbitt had "bought his new house yesterday," and it seemed that the story had reached a lovely end.
However, Bobbitt has now claimed that he has been unable to access the majority of the money raised for him, and that this money is being withheld by him by McClure, and her boyfriend Mark D'Amico. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, he revealed that not only is he homeless once more, but he has relapsed into drug use.
Instead of the house McClure said they were to buy, some of the money was used to by him a campervan, but he eventually sold it as he struggled to get over his addiction, with the remaining money given to him spent on drugs or given to his family. Now, he has denied their claims that they had spent half the money on him, and says that whatever is left of the money raised is being controlled by the couple. D'Amico confirmed that $200,000 of the remaining money is in a savings account that will dispense when Bobbitt gets a job and is drug-free. Later, he said he reconsidered and gave Bobbitt $400 in cash and gift cards.
Speaking to The Inquirer, D'Amico said, "Giving him all that money, it's never going to happen. I'll burn it in front of him." He then added that giving the money raised to him, while he is still addicted, would be like "giving him a loaded gun".
In response to this, Bobbitt questioned the couple's motives, suggesting that they may even be spending the money on themselves.
Bobbitt has said that he noticed during his time with them that D'Amico spends a lot of gambling websites. In addition, the couple have been seen on various vacations to LA and Las Vegas, buying a new BMW, and attending an expensive New Years party for which tickets costed over $2,000. McClure later shared a photo of a limo driver picking her up from the airport. The couple have insisted that all these purchases are from their own money, earned as a receptionist and a carpenter.
"I think it might have been good intentions in the beginning," Bobbitt told the Inquirer, "but with that amount of money, I think it became greed".
Bobbitt has confirmed that he is currently looking into legal options, and has contacted lawyers. Speaking to this issue, a spokesperson from GoFundMe stated that they will be looking into the issue to ensure the money has been handled properly:
"GoFundMe 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.
"We will work to ensure that Johnny receives the help he deserves and that the donors' intentions are honoured. GoFundMe always cooperates with Law Enforcement investigations."
Regardless of what Bobbitt was using, or will use, the money for, I'm sure the 14,347 people who donated money to him will be disappointed to learn that he isn't receiving the full sum.