GoFundMe Campaign Creator Denies Homeless Man Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Raised By Donors

Johnny Bobbitt, Jr. is homeless. The Marine Corps veteran asks passersby for extra money on the streets of Philadelphia. Sadly, Bobbitt is one of about 1.5 million homeless people in the United States.

What makes Bobbitt’s story unique is hundreds of thousands of dollars was raised for Bobbitt to avoid this situation less than a year ago.

In October of last year, Kate McClure ran out of gas on the interstate. Bobbitt helped her by having her sit in her car—doors locked for her safety—as he walked to the nearest gas station and spent his last twenty dollars to get some gas for her. In return, she set up a GoFundMe with the initial goal of raising 10k for the homeless veteran. After the story went viral, she ended up raising $402,706 dollars.

McClure wrote on the fundraising page exactly what she planned to do with the money:

“The first thing on the list is a NEW Home which Johnny will own!! He will never have to worry about a roof over his head again!! Second will be the dream truck he’s always wanted… a 1999 ford ranger (yes I’m serious).”

“There will also be 2 trusts set up in his name, one essentially giving him the ability to collect a small “salary” each year and another retirement trust which will be wisely invested by a financial planner which he will have access to in a time frame he feels comfortable with so when the time comes he can live his retirement dream of owning a piece of land and a cabin in the country.”

“A bank account will be set up for him with funds for every day needs that will get him through until he finds a job. And lastly, he will be donating to a few organizations and people who over the last couple of years have helped him get through this rough patch in his life.”

But now, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported many of these things never came to fruition.

The newspaper reported McClure and her boyfriend Mark D’Amico allowed Bobbitt to stay in a camper on their property instead of buying him a home. Then, rather than purchasing the Ford Ranger that he wanted, they bought him a used SUV.

Both of these things—the trailer and the SUV—were placed in McClure’s name to—according to the couple—avoid them being sold by Bobbitt. But McClure actually sold both.

Bobbitt also explained to the local paper that while he had a meeting with a financial analyst, no agreements were reached and no paperwork was ever signed to set up a trust. Two lawyers have come on board Bobbitt’s case to help him figure out if the funds were misused.

However, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports McClure’s boyfriend, D’Amico, claims they gave Bobbitt half the funds raised and put the rest in a savings account. He went on to claim Bobbitt used drugs and they refuse to give him the rest of the money until he gets sober out of fear that they may enable him.

It should be clear these are not substantiated claims on the part of D’Amico.

And should that claim be true—if any money ever went to Bobbitt and he used it for drugs—perhaps some of the remaining money should be spent on inpatient treatment or other addiction services to help Bobbitt recover, rather than held over him as a punishment.

However, this isn’t the only unsubstantiated claim being thrown around. The local paper reported D’Amico has been experiencing his own legal trouble and Bobbitt alleged D’Amico used some of the money raised to satisfy his gambling habit.

Bartlett Jackson, a spokesperson for GoFundMe made this statement:

“We will work to ensure that Johnny receives the help he deserves and that the donors intentions are honored.”

Many felt that if the money wasn’t distributed as the donors intended it to be, this constituted fraud.

Some echoed the sentiment that if addiction is part of why funds are being withheld, that the money should be spent on rehabilitation…

And while it’s unfortunately always easy to scapegoat addiction, people began to notice other discrepancies in McClure and D’Amico’s story…

But most just had harsh words for McClure and D’Amico…

Only a thorough investigation will tell where the truth lies in this situation. No matter what happens, hopefully Johnny Bobbitt, Jr. gets the help he needs.

H/T: Twitter, Gizmodo, Philadelphia Inquirer


Written by Dana Levinson

Dana Aliya Levinson is an actress, writer, and trans activist. She graduated with honors from the New School where she wrote extensively about political and ethnic identity in the middle-east. She was a 2014-2015 Dramatists Guild Fellow, and has written about politics and trans issues for The Huffington Post, Women's Health, Nylon, and The Notice Blog.