Still-homeless Man Hasn’t Gotten $400K that Public Raised for Him
A homeless man who earned $400,000 in donations after giving up his last $20 help a stranded New Jersey woman fill her gas tank is still living on the streets and addicted to drugs, according to a report on Philly.com, which revealed that the couple who set up the fundraiser is keeping control of the money and have used some of it for their own benefit.
Johnny Bobbitt Jr. made headlines last year when he helped Kate McClure fill up her gas tank. McClure decided to pay it forward by setting up a GoFundMe account to help Bobbitt get back on his feet.
The online fundraiser raised $400,000 from thousands of people. McClure and her boyfriend said they were going to help Bobbitt buy a home and vehicle and get him off his drug addiction.
A year later, GoFundMe says it is investigating claims that the money has been mismanaged.
McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D'Amico, told Philly.com that they don't want to hand over nearly $200,000 in cash to Bobbitt, who admits having spent some of the money on his opioid addiction.
"I don't want him to do anything stupid," D'Amico said in April. "He's a drug addict. That's like me handing him a loaded gun. He has to do what he has to do to get his life together."
But the story that the couple has told the press has not held up entirely — and they haven't offered any proof to back up their claims.
D'Amico told the Townsquare News Network in December that they had used to money to buy Bobbitt a country home outside New Jersey.
"It's something very simple. Something affordable. We didn't spend a crazy amount of money on it at all," she said at the time.
But by April, the story had changed. Instead of a home, he was living in a camper parked on land owned by McClure's family. The camper and a used SUV were both in McClure's name, not Bobbitt's.
Philly.com now reports that the camper and vehicle have been sold so that Bobbitt could use the proceeds to move out of New Jersey.
The couple declined to provide financial statements or documents that would account for any of the money that has been spent or saved.
McClure's boyfriend, who's had a recent spate of legal problems, admitted to Philly.com that he spent $500 of the money meant for Bobbitt to gamble at a casino but claimed he paid it back.
The couple said they used their own money, not Bobbitt's, to buy a new BMW and go on vacations.
D'Amico did not immediately return a call for comment Friday afternoon and New Jersey 101.5 could not reach either Bobbitt or McClure.
Bobbitt has been in rehab since last year — not the first time he's tried to set his life straight. Philadelphia homeless advocates are now helping Bobbitt and his brother, Philly.com reported.