Johnny Bobbitt Jr. is a homeless man living in Philadelphia who used his last $20 to purchase gas for a woman who was stranded on Interstate 95. The woman, Kate McClure, created a GoFundMe campaign with her boyfriend Mark D’Amico to help raise money for Bobbitt as a way to thank him for his kind gesture. Their story quickly went viral, raising a total of $402,706 within nine months, but the good deed ultimately turned into an all-out feud after Bobbitt accused the couple of withholding a large portion of the money raised for him.
“From what I can see, the GoFundMe account raised $402,000 and GoFundMe charged a fee of approximately $30,000,” says Bobbitt’s lawyer Chris Fallon to CNN. “Mark D’Amico and Kate McClure gave Johnny about $75,000. There should be close to another $300,000 available to Johnny.”
Fallon mentioned he and another attorney, Jacqueline Promislo, are currently working to get the additional money back. Fallon says the goal is to secure a guardian to manage the money raised, so those who contributed to the GoFundMe account know where their money is going.
A spokesperson for GoFundMe told CNN the website is looking into the matter. “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.” The company stated misuse “is very rare on our platform” and that misused campaigns make up “less than one-tenth of 1% of all campaigns.”
The relationship between Bobbitt and McClure began to diminish after the couple promised Bobbitt a house and instead they purchased a camper that they kept in the driveway of the couple’s home in New Jersey for Bobbitt. Bobbitt lived in the camper until June without any access to money or food according to Promislo, also stating “He didn’t have any ability to take care of himself there.”
The camper was purchased with the money from GoFundMe as well as a truck that McClure and D’Amico claim they bought for Bobbitt but also drove until it broke down. The couple appeared on the Today Show to give their side of the story.
D’Amico said Bobbitt is still on drugs and ran through $25,000 in thirteen days, leaving the couple uncomfortable about handing over the rest of the money. The couple is now taking measures in hopes of separating themselves from Bobbitt while establishing a trust to manage his money. Bobbitt mentioned the family seems to be doing a little too well. The couple went on several vacations and even bought a new car, but the couple said they bought the used car with their own money.
When asked on the Today Show why the couple didn’t initially cut the homeless man a check, they claimed Bobbitt did not have a bank account. They also said Bobbitt did not want a house and preferred to travel and be a “wanderer” in Alaska. That’s why they helped him buy the camper. McClure spent several hours attempting to get Bobbitt identification.
The couple went as far as saying “giving a drug addict like Bobbitt all the money would be like giving him a loaded gun.” Fallon says Bobbitt has an addiction problem and the couple planned on withholding the rest of the money until Bobbit gets a job and is drug-free. D’Amico told the Philadelphia nquirer he does control the money but thinks neither he nor Kate McClure did anything wrong. D’Amico did admit to spending $500 from the account at the casino, but claims he paid the money back.
Aside from the couple starting the GoFundMe page, they also welcomed Bobbitt as well as his brother — also a drug addict — to live on their property in the camper. Although they have tried to help Bobbitt, the couple has received death threats, including one promising to burn their house down.
Bobbitt’s lawyer said despite the couple’s fears, the money does in fact belong to Bobbitt and contributors to the fund have the right to know where the money is going. Promislo said Bobbitt is currently living on the streets in Philadelphia “in harm’s way.” Promislo also says Bobbitt fully detoxed himself at a methadone clinic, but admitted he is not currently in detox now.