‘You’ll end up with nothing’ — Homeless man was urged not to fight for $400K
FLORENCE — A day before a homeless man sued a New Jersey couple, accusing them of stealing $400,000 that they had raised for him on GoFundMe, the man was encouraged to dump his lawyer and take a check for "what's left" of the money rather than have it put in a secure trust and "end up with nothing."
Johnny Bobbitt Jr. gave Kate McClure his last $20 in November when she ran out of gas on Route 95 in South Philadelphia. McClure and boyfriend Mark D'Amico in turn created a GoFundMe page that they hoped would raise $10,000 for him. The story went global and more than $400,000 was raised.
Last week, an attorney working free for Bobbitt filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to take the funds out of the couple's personal bank accounts. On Thursday, authorities raided the couple's home, although the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office has not filed any criminal charges.
Bobbitt claims he never had access to the money — which they said was to be used to buy a house — and that D'Amico instead spent the donations on a vacation to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Los Angeles, an accusation the couple denied during an appearance last Monday with Megyn Kelly on NBC. The couple has never provided reporters with financial documentation proving their claims.
After missing a court-ordered deadline to turn over the money last Friday, the couple's attorney, Ernest Badway, said that the money is "gone" even though the couple had previously told reporters last month that about $150,000 to $200,000 remained.
The couple last month said that they purchased a camper and a used SUV for Bobbitt, although both remained in McClure's name. Both items have since been sold and the proceeds were provided to Bobbitt, they said.
In purported text messages between D'Amico and Bobbitt before the lawsuit and investigation, D'Amico seems to contradict his and his girlfriend's claim that they did not want to give a drug addict control of so much money.
D'Amico's text suggested that both sides get rid of their lawyers so he could write Bobbitt a check. D'Amico told Bobbitt that he could get the money without it being put in a trust or without any stipulations on how it should be spent.
"We sit down go over the bank statements and what's left is yours," D'Amico wrote without providing a dollar figure.
"They're gonna put it in a trust man ... you're gonna end up with nothing and that's what I was trying to avoid. Plus I'm sick of this s**t. You want your money no strings attached and this be over with??"
D'Amico said in a second text said that he and McClure were forced to "bad mouth" Bobbitt in their defense, which he said he didn't want either.
A screenshot of the texts was first posted on Reddit and verified by Bobbitt's attorney on Friday.
"I do believe that the report of the text is accurate," Chris Fallon told New Jersey 101.5 in an email.
"I think the text was sent the night of the Megyn Kelly interview. I didn't ask what his reaction was but he didn't ditch us," Fallon said.
In court on Wednesday, Badway said that Bobbitt had received $200,000 but was not clear as to how much was left. The couple and Bobbitt had previously told reporters last month that he received just several thousands of dollars, which Bobbitt admitted spending some on his opioid addiction. Bobbitt is starting a 30-day rehab program, his lawyer said in court on Wednesday.
The Burlington County Prosecutor's Office and Florence police searched the couple's home on Thursday on a search warrant as part of a criminal investigation. A BMW that Bobbitt claims the couple bought with the money was towed off the property.
GoFundMe attorney Cozen O’Connor said Thursday night said Bobbitt will receive "the balance of the funds that he has not yet received or benefited from. GoFundMe’s goal has always been to ensure Johnny gets support he deserves."