A lawyer for Johnny Bobbitt, the homeless veteran whose kindness to a stranger inspired a $400,000 GoFundMe campaign, said Tuesday that all of the money raised for his client is gone.
Chris Fallon said he learned of the missing money in a conference call Tuesday morning with lawyers for Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico, the Burlington County couple accused of mismanaging the money raised for Bobbitt.
“It completely shocked me when I heard,” said Fallon. “It came as a complete surprise to me.”
Word of the missing money came on the same day Bobbitt's lawyers asked a judge to impose sanctions on the couple after the pair missed a court-ordered deadline to hand over the remaining GoFundMe money.
Concerned about the couple's flight risk, attorneys request in the filing that D'Amico, 35, and McClure, 28, be held in contempt of court because they failed to follow Judge Paula T. Dow's order from last week to relinquish what is left of the donations within 24 hours. On Tuesday morning, Bobbitt's attorneys said no money had been transferred from the couple's savings account into a frozen escrow account set up by the law firm Cozen O'Connor.
The motion asks Dow to hold the couple in contempt of court and issue sanctions requiring them to remain in New Jersey, surrender their passports, post a bond, and restrain from spending any money in their bank accounts.
“Plaintiff believes and therefore avers that in view of the nationwide publicity relating to this matter, [D'Amico and McClure] may leave the state of New Jersey… or the United States with the moneys raised,” the filing reads.
Promislo said the couple's lawyer, Ernest E. Badway, has not responded to an email detailing wiring instructions or an inquiry about whether the money was moved. She said his silence has worried her.
According to application for sanctions, D'Amico and McClure failed to comply with the court's 24-hour deadline “without explanation or request for extension.”
“If they flee, they're taking the money with them,” Jacqueline Promislo, one of Bobbitt's three pro bono lawyers, said in a phone interview over the weekend as the team of attorneys mulled further legal action. “We're really concerned about the flight risk.”
Badway declined to comment.
The latest legal move comes after Bobbitt last week filed a lawsuit against the couple, claiming the two used the GoFundMe account “to enjoy a lifestyle they could not afford.” Bobbitt expressed concerns that D'Amico and McClure may have used the money to go on lavish vacations and buy a new BMW, while he said he was given a used SUV and a camper, both of which broke down.
At an injunction hearing on Thursday, Badway told Dow that the 24-hour deadline would be difficult to meet over the holiday weekend, calling the order a “harsh remedy.”
In response, Dow said, “The banks are open Friday, most banks are open Saturday. And if the monies aren't in the bank, they can pull their money out of their pillowcases and have them delivered to you, to be handed over and placed in a trust account.”
What's left of the GoFundMe donations was still up for debate as of Saturday. Dow ordered a full accounting of the money by Sept. 9, which will reveal how much of the money was used and where it was spent.
In court on Thursday, Badway said Bobbitt stole from the couple and received at least $200,000 from the funds since the couple set up the GoFundMe page last November for Bobbitt, who had given a stranded McClure his last $20 after her vehicle ran out of gas in Kensington. McClure, a receptionist, and D'Amico, a carpenter, have said they were wary of giving Bobbitt large sums of money because they feared he would spend it on drugs.
Bobbitt's attorneys say he has received closer to $75,000, including the cost of the camper and vehicle.
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