PHILADELPHIA — After Johnny Bobbitt Jr., a homeless man with just $20 in his pocket, gave stranded motorist Kate McClure the money for gas last October, the woman and her boyfriend raised $400,000 to help him out.
But the feel-good viral story recently devolved into a feud over how much money Bobbitt had yet to see.
The case went to a New Jersey court on Thursday, where a judge ruled the couple needs to provide a full accounting of where the money has gone. Until then, the judge ordered, the remaining money needs to be turned over to Bobbitt’s legal team and kept in a trust.
The two sides differed as to how much had been disbursed. McClure’s and D’Amico’s attorney said they had provided Bobbitt with more than $200,000. Bobbitt’s lawyer, Chris Fallon, said the amount was about $75,000.
Ernest Badway, an attorney for the couple, said he had no comment. In court he told the judge the couple “have said they will have a forensic accountant. They have said they are fine with the trustee. They have said they will open up the books. What more can they do?”
He urged the public to withhold judgment until the accounting of the money was finished.
The judge wants that done by Sept. 10, WPVI reported.
KYW reported the judge ordered the remaining money put in trust on Friday.
“What I would say to those people is thank you for your generosity,” Fallon said outside court, “and we’ll work hard to make sure that that money gets spent the way you all wanted it spent.”
Some of the money went to GoFundme administrative fees.
In an interview earlier this week with The Philadelphia Inquirer, McClure said she and D’Amico did what they could to help Bobbitt, who has a drug addiction, according to Fallon. The couple told the newspaper they gave Bobbitt more than half the money but were withholding the rest until he gets a job and is drug-free.
The relationship between Bobbitt and McClure began to deteriorate when she and her boyfriend bought Bobbitt a camper — they originally promised him a house — and parked it in their driveway in New Jersey, where Bobbitt lived until June, Bobbitt’s attorney Jacqueline Promislo said.
“This was not his choice and he didn’t have any say in the matter,” Promislo said. “Johnny would have preferred to go back to North Carolina. That would have been a much better environment.”
Bobbitt, a North Carolina native, “had no access to money or food” while living in the camper, Promislo said. “He didn’t have any ability to take care of himself there.”
Promislo said the camper was bought with the money from GoFundMe. McClure and D’Amico also bought Bobbitt a truck, which they drove. The truck ended up breaking down.
D’Amico previously told the Inquirer that he controls the money but thinks neither he nor his girlfriend did anything wrong. He said giving such a large amount of money to an addict is like giving someone a loaded gun.
The Inquirer also said Bobbitt wondered how McClure paid for a new BMW and went on vacations to California, Florida and Las Vegas. McClure said the couple used their own money for the BMW and vacations. D’Amico told the Inquirer he spent $500 of the GoFundMe money to gamble, but he paid the money back to the campaign.