Johnny Bobbitt Jr., a homeless veteran who has been fighting for nearly a year to win the balance of roughly $400,000 in charitable donations made out to him, will soon receive the roughly $325,000 that he is still owed by the New Jersey couple who raised the money, according to his lawyer, Chris Fallon.
In an interview with CNN, Fallon said that GoFundMe had promised to cover the rest of the money raised for Bobbitt via their platform if Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico, the couple in question, failed to pay up.
The couple recently saw their home raided by Burlington County police after lawyers working on Bobbitt’s behalf sued the couple and filed a complaint saying McClure and D’Amico had refused to turn over the money – which the couple raised for Bobbitt via a GoFundMe campaign that went viral – which the lawyers argued rightfully belonged to Bobbitt.
GoFundMe said that it would launch an investigation into what happened with the funds based on whatever evidence was seized from the couple’s home by Burlington County police. But regardless of what happened, the donations are backed by GoFundMe’s “GoFundMe guarantee,” which protects donors and recipients.
Here’s more from Fallon, who broke the news to CNN.
“We reached an agreement today with GoFundMe and they have agreed to make sure he will be made whole,” Fallon says.
In a statement, the company said it would back the money raised:
“…Our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means that in the rare case that GoFundMe, law enforcement or a user finds campaigns are misused, donors and beneficiaries are protected.”
McClure and her boyfriend set up the GoFundMe page after Bobbitt, a homeless vet who has struggled with susbstance-abuse problems, used his last $20 to buy gas for McClure after her car ran out of fuel, leaving her stranded on the side of I-95 in a dangerous neighborhood of Philadelphia. The couple started the page, which was titled “Paying it Forward” to help repay Bobbitt for his generous act of altruism, and it quickly went viral: 14,347 people donated $402,706 over the course of 10 months. However, they quickly reneged on their promise to turn the money over, and instead parceled it out to Bobbitt in installments, eventually giving him a total of $75,000. To justify their actions, D’Amico told the press that giving the whole sum to an addict would be like giving him a loaded gun. However, their shady actions have raised speculation that they may have spent the money.
Following the complaint, the couple hired a lawyer and repeatedly refused to produce an accounting of the funds. D’Amico later admitted that he “borrowed” $500 from Bobbitt’s pot and spent it on online poker – but insisted that he had paid the money back with his winnings. The couple has repeatedly denied any wrong doing, but they have also refused to abide by a court order to hand over the money.
On Thursday, the couple agreed to let a forensic accountant examine their books. They’ve also been ordered to appear in person at a deposition on Monday by Judge Paula Dow, who has said she’s “no longer comfortable” hearing only from the couple’s attorney.
Meanwhile, Bobbitt has been enrolled in a 28-day detox program and given $20,000 to cover his living expenses until he recovers the balance of the money.