GoFundMe Donors Speak Out as Couple Is Accused of Spending Homeless Man’s Money: ‘Despicable’

Donors who contributed money to help a homeless man in need say they are “saddened” by reports that the New Jersey couple who launched the GoFundMe campaign may have spent the funds on luxurious vacations and even a BMW.

Johnny Bobbitt, 35, was living on the streets of Philadelphia when he famously spent his last $ 20 to buy gas for 28-year-old Kate McClure after her car broke down on Interstate 95 last October. To repay him, McClure and her 39-year-old boyfriend Mark D’Amico launched a GoFundMe campaign, with more than 14,000 people donating a total of $ 402,706 to the man.

Now, less than a year later, Bobbitt is back on the streets and McClure and D’Amico are under criminal investigation. Through his lawyer, Bobbit has accused them of engaging in fraud and conspiracy by withholding money from him and spending the funds on a lavish lifestyle.

“It looks like they scammed him. That is despicable,” donor Janine McClenny, of Houston, tells PEOPLE. “I didn’t donate money to the couple. I donated to Johnny.”

McClure and D’Amico have denied the fraud allegations contained in Bobbitt’s lawsuit, and they have not been criminally charged.

On Thursday, the Florence Police Department executed a search warrant at McClure and D’Amico’s apartment and seized the couple’s BMW, a spokesperson for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office told PEOPLE. The search came just days after the couple’s attorney said in court that the money they had been court-ordered to hand over to Bobbitt’s legal team is all gone.

“That kind of money can bring out the worst in people,” donor Sheilah Scofield tells PEOPLE of McClure and D’Amico. “It was just too much money for them to handle,” she speculated. “I thought was right to . They were withholding money that was raised for him.”

RELATED: N.J. Couple’s $ 400K Donations for Homeless Man’s GoFundMe Is Gone, His Attorney Says

Burlington County Judge Paula Dow ordered the search warrant that prompted the prosecutor’s office to tow away the pair’s BMW, the spokesperson with the prosecutor’s office told PEOPLE. The spokesperson said that should criminal charges be filed, the couple could potentially face arrest.

Earlier this week, the couple’s attorney, Ernest Badway, said in court that all of the remaining funds are gone and Dow has ordered D’Amico and McClure to appear before her on Monday to explain where the money went. A court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 14.

McClure and D’Amico have said they began to keep the remaining funds from Bobbitt after he allegedly spent $ 25,000 in less than two weeks, some of it on drugs. They spoke about the incident last week on Megyn Kelly Today, claiming that they went above and beyond to track down the man’s birth certificate and get him identification.

They said they used the money raised to buy Bobbitt a camper that he asked for, an SUV, clothes, food and to admit Bobbitt to rehab for drug addiction.

Scofield says she is “saddened” by the recent developments, and McClenny tells PEOPLE that she thinks the couple should never have withheld the money.

“I don’t think the couple should have the right to decide to keep the money from Johnny,” she says. “He is an adult. They are not in a position to make decisions about how he spends money raised for him.”

RELATED: Homeless Vet Will Get $ 400K in GoFundMe Donations Despite Couple’s Alleged Fraud, Lawyer Says

Attorneys for neither Bobbitt nor the couple immediately responded to a request for comment from PEOPLE.

“He was our family. He is our family. I still think, to this day, that he is our family,” McClure told Kelly. McClure spoke through tears as she claimed the couple’s been receiving death threats.

On Thursday, GoFundMe officials said that they would ensure Bobbitt received money through their GoFundMe Guarantee program.

“Johnny will be made whole and we’re committing that he’ll get the balance of the funds that he has not yet received or benefited from,” officials wrote on the organization’s Facebook page. “GoFundMe’s goal has always been to ensure Johnny gets support he deserves.”


Fashion Deals Update:

Gifts Tied to Opioid Sales Invite a Question: Should Museums Vet Donors?

The issue of how museums raise their money has resurfaced in the case of the Sacklers, a family of philanthropists whose company developed OxyContin.
NYT > Arts

Orbitz Worldwide Inc

GM pigs take step to being organ donors

Pigs have been freed of viruses that stop them being viable organ donors.
BBC News – Health

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Face Transplant Recipient Patrick Hardison Gets Kiss from His Donor’s Mother in Tear-Filled First Meeting: ‘It’s Like She’s Family’

Earlier this month, Patrick Hardison came face-to-face with the woman who gave him a second chance at life.

Hardison, a volunteer firefighter, suffered severe burns that badly disfigured his face during a 2001 search and rescue mission through a blazing house fire. Last year, he underwent the first extensive face transplant after David Rodebaugh, a 26-year-old Brooklyn bike mechanic and BMX racer, died after sustaining brain trauma in a cycling accident. Rodebaugh’s mother, Nancy Millar, made the difficult decision to donate her son’s organs — including his face — and changed Hardison’s life forever.

On Nov. 7, Hardison got to thank Millar in person for the first time in New York City during a very emotional meeting. PEOPLE was there to capture the special moment and speak to both Nancy and Patrick, now friends who will be connected forever.

A Mother’s Grief

“David was the sweetest, nicest, funnest guy — I mean, just always having fun,” says Millar, about her son, David. “Sunshine; always happy.”

Sadly, their lives were tragically turned upside down when, on August 2015, as Rodebaugh was riding his bike home from work, a pedestrian walked out in front of him. Swerving to avoid the collision, he flew off his bike and landed on his head. On Aug. 12, Rodebaugh was pronounced brain-dead, and his mother had what for most would have been a difficult decision to make.

But for Millar, the choice to donate David’s face (as well as his kidneys, liver and heart) came easily, and from the heart.

“Hands down, no question,” she says. “I said, ‘You better save his face. He has the face of a porcelain doll.’ And he’s a donor — we had talked about it.” ThroughLiveOnNY, an organ donation organization, Rodebaugh’s face was found to be a perfect match with Hardison’s.

A Man’s Second Chance at Life

Two days later, on Aug. 14, 2015, Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez — the chair of the Wyss Despartment of Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York — wheeled Patrick Hardison into an operating room and, during a 26-hour surgical procedure, fitted Rodebaugh’s face to Hardison’s head.

“Patrick’s procedure included the largest amount of soft tissue that’s ever been transplanted in medicine. Not only from the front of the face but also the ears, eyelids, nose, lips, skin of the neck and hair-bearing scalp,” Dr. Rodriguez says of the risky procedure, which has only a 50 percent survival rate.

Hardison — who had lost his hair, ears, eyelids, nose and lips in the 2001 blaze —had no hesitations. By this time, his vision had started deteriorating due to complications with his eyelids, but more than that, he wanted to return to some state of normalcy, especially for his children: Alison, 22, Dalton, 19, Averi, 17, Braden, 13, and Cullen, 12.

“I had lived without a face for 14 years,” says Hardison, 42. “You get up every day of your life for 14 years hating the way you look, and you’ll do whatever it is to change — and that was what I wanted to do.”

In the 15 months since his surgery, Hardison has shown no signs of rejecting the transplant. “Everything has changed,” he says of his post surgery life. “I’m able to drive, go swimming with my kids — little things like that I haven’t been able to do for 15 years,” adds Hardison, who also enjoyed a family vacation to Disney World this summer, their first vacation since his accident.

“Now I’m just a normal guy,” says Hardison. “There’s no staring, no kids running off crying — that means everything.”

An Emotional Meeting

Face to face with recipient of her son’s face for the first time on Nov. 7, Millar had just one sweet request for Hardison.

“I said, ‘Can I kiss your forehead?’” Millar says. “That’s the one thing I wanted to do because every night before David went to bed when he was little, I kissed his forehead.”

Hardison says he wasn’t nervous about meeting Millar—more than anything, he just wanted to say thank you.

“I’ve been waiting a year to meet her. I’m just very grateful,” he says. “Without her it wouldn’t have been possible. It’s like she’s family. We connected that easily.”

Millar agrees that the two will always share a special bond — and she already senses her son’s spirit in Hardison.

“My son was my rock; he was my hero, my security, my protector. I see all of that in Patrick,” she says. “It’s almost like he’s my son, but he’s closer to my age, so he’s a brother. was like giving birth to a child. We’re gonna be friends forever.”

LiveOnNY President & CEO Helen Irving hopes their story inspires others to consider organ donation. “To see the gift that she’s been able to give through her son means a great deal to her,” Irving says of Millar. “It was really important to bring them all together so she could could come full-circle and really see the gift that David had left behind.”

For Hardison’s family, Rodebaugh and Millar’s sacrifice has literally been the gift of a lifetime.

“Dad’s been given a gift to have a second chance at life — and that’s what he’s doing,” says Hardison’s daughter, Alison. “It’s so bittersweet because you know in order to get to that point that someone else has had to lose a loved one. But in return, you get a miracle. That’s exactly what Dave was: Dave was our miracle.”


Fashion Deals Update: