Couple Who Raised $400K for Homeless Man Went on Lavish Vacations
While a homeless veteran was living on the streets, a New Jersey couple who had raised $400,000 from the public to help the man were holding onto the cash and taking lavish trips across the country.
Photos from the now-private or deleted Facebook and Instagram pages of Kate McClure and boyfriend Mark D'Amico show the couple in Grand Canyon, Disneyland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and in the audience of the "Ellen" TV show.
The couple told the Philly.com in a story published last week, and on "Megyn Kelly Today" on Monday, that they used their own money to go on the trips. But the couple has not made public any financial statements or records that account for the money. D'Amico has admitted to using $500 of the money meant for Bobbitt to gamble, but said he had permission and he repaid it.
Now Bobbitt is taking the couple to court. Attorneys for Bobbitt on Tuesday filed for an injunction in Superior Court in Burlington County to stop the couple from using the remaining funds, Philly.com reported. The lawsuit accuses the couple of using the "GoFundMe account as their personal piggy bank to fund a lifestyle that they could not otherwise afford."
The court document calls the couple's actions "malicious and outrageous and warrants the imposition of punitive damages."
GoFundMe last week said it is investigating the fundraiser.
Neither McClure nor D'Amico could be reached for comment Tuesday.
McClure started a GoFundMe for Johnny Bobbitt in November after the man used his last $20 to help a stranded McClure get gas for her car.
McClure and her boyfriend said they were going to help Bobbitt buy a home and a car and get him a financial advisor.
Instead of a home, however, Bobbitt ended up buying a camper and an SUV, which were in McClure's name. Both have since been sold, according to the Philly.com article.
The couple spoke to NBC's Meygn Kelly on Monday and explained that they held onto the money because they feared that he would return to using drugs and alcohol. Their fear was realized when they say he spent $25,000 on drugs in 13 days.
Bobbitt admitted to the Philly.com reporter that he has continued to feed his opioid addiction.
"We're in the process of having everything looked over by our lawyer. (Bobbitt) has his own lawyer and he will have his own trust and it will be out of our hands," D'Amico said on NBC.
D'Amico said he used $500 of the money at a casino with Bobbitt's consent and paid it back but denied using any other money on themselves. He said there is "well over $150,000" left of the donations.
"He went through a lot of money," D'Amico said.
McClure tearfully said she and her family have received death threats but said she would do it all again. She said she considers Bobbitt family.
Margaux Murphy, founder of Philadelphia-based Sunday Love Project, an organization that feeds the hungry and that Bobbitt volunteered for, said she recently spoke to Bobbitt for the first time in months.
"Mentally, he's not in a great place but he's still a happy guy," Murphy said, adding that he is back living on the streets with his brother.
"He's right back where he started," she said.
She said Bobbitt told her that McClure and D'Amico were "controlling everything" and did not allow him to shower, eat or have access to the money that was raised. They also refused to buy him cigarettes or new eyeglasses, which are being held together with a tourniquet. He also told Murphy he was denied access to his social media accounts.
"I went to great lengths to reach out to (McClure) on various social media pages and she didn't return my calls at all," she said.
Murphy said that Bobbitt "was never not on drugs" and that she believes the couple has no experience dealing with an addict.
"They can say he was going to use it on drugs but they picked up a drug addict. This is what comes with it. It doesn't make him any less of a person. He's a beautiful human being," Murphy said.
Bobbitt told Murphy that the couple took lavish vacations.
"He said that initially he thought Kate has a good heart but Mark never did. (Bobbitt) thinks that (D'Amico) got caught up in the excitement of the money and bought a BMW," she said.
Murphy said Bobbitt is a private person and she was never comfortable with the whole situation.
"The entire world knows he's a drug addict. That's not exactly what he wanted out there," Murphy said.
Murphy said Bobbitt is "desperate to get clean" and she is working to get him into a rehab facility and "no one is going to know where. This is not a publicity stunt. He's my friend and I want to help him."
She said Bobbitt said he is happier on the streets. "He said he's grateful he had the experience of being homeless. He said it's the most important lesson of his life. I think he's disappointed in humanity at this point because his heart is so pure."
Murphy said Bobbitt would have given that $20 to anyone and he doesn't think it's a deed worthy of all the attention it received.
"You shouldn't get accolades for doing the right thing," she says Bobbitt told her.