A couple was stranded in Philadelphia when they ran out of gas. Thankfully, Johnny Bobbitt came to their rescue by giving them the last $20 that he had so they could put some gas in their car.
Grateful for his selflessness, they took to the internet to tell everyone about his good deed and set up a fundraising account to get Johnny some recognition, and hopefully, some money for the nice act.
What they probably underestimated, however, was just how generous people on the internet who love a wholesome, heartwarming story could be. Because Johnny ended up getting over $400,000 for his gesture. That’s when the trouble allegedly began.
Johnny walked a couple of blocks to get Katie McClure, who was stranded, a canister of gas so she could get back home. Her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, set up the crowdfunding campaign that ended up raking in a bunch of cash for the man.
They returned to seek out Johnny and eventually found him to not only return him his money, but give him some food and water and take a selfie (which was later used for the campaign). It had all the makings of a beautiful, uplifting viral story.
But their happy relationship wasn’t happy for long, as Johnny says that the couple withheld large portions of the money that they raised. He says he was given $200,000 of the money, but the couple had some reservations about giving him the rest.
Mark says that their homeless friend blew $25,000 in under two weeks on drugs in December of 2017, along with sending some money to his family and paying legal fees that he owed.
With the money, the couple also purchased Johnny a camper that was parked on a property that McClure’s family owns in Florence, NJ. However, Mark asked Johnny to leave the property this past June, and he is now on the streets again.
In an interview with Megyn Kelly, Mark said on air that there is well over $150,000 left of the donation money and that he feared, after seeing how much money the man spent on drugs, that he would waste it all in a short amount of time.
The couple says that they doled out the money in increments to Johnny to prevent him from spending it all, a structure that the homeless good samaritan called “a joke” to WPVI.
“I had to ask them for everything in the beginning. It was like a joke. They were like my parents, but the joke starts not being funny,” Johnny said in a statement to the network.
After GoFundMe took their fees for its fundraising, Bobbitt was left with some $360,000, much of which Johnny alleges the couple spent on vacations, shopping, and gambling excursions.
“I wish it didn’t come to this. I hate that it came to this. I always felt like I was in a weird situation. I didn’t want to be pressuring to get a lawyer or do anything because I didn’t want to seem ungrateful,” Johnny said.
Johnny eventually took his grievances with the way Mark and Katie handled the money they helped raise for him to court, and Burlington County Superior Court Judge Paula T. presided over the matter with the homeless veteran and the couple.
She ruled in favor of Johnny, ordering that the remainder of the crowdfunded cash be placed under the control of his lawyers. She also requested a full account of how the funds were allocated in the time that the couple raised the money.
Johnny’s attorney, Chris Fallon, said that the $200,000 estimation submitted by Mark and Katie’s legal team is incorrect and that they owe the homeless man much more.
“We don’t know where it went, but we will find out. And we will know how much money remains after the money is transferred from the defendants to our escrow account,” he said.
According to Johnny’s estimations, the couple only gave him around $75,000 worth of cash and goods of the money, which includes the pickup truck and camper they bought for him.
The vehicles were purchased in their name, however, and were sold after he was asked to leave Katie’s family’s property in Florence, money that Johnny hasn’t seen.
Allegedly the couple also spent some of the cash for front row tickets to The Book of Mormon on Broadway, along with a Louis Vuitton handbag (which Katie was photographed with), a trip to Las Vegas where they spent New Year’s Eve at Skyfall and helicopter rides through the Grand Canyon.
The couple’s attorney says that they are being transparent and have nothing to hide and that a lot of the pitch-forking occurring online is unwarranted.
“They have said they will have a forensic accounting, they’ve said they’re fine with a trustee, they’ve said they are they’ll open their books. What more can they do? I urge everybody to withhold judgement until that’s been made public,” James Badway said.