The sto­ry of John­ny Bob­bitt — a home­less man who used $20 of his own mon­ey to help a strand­ed woman — began as a feel-good fa­ble a­bout self­less­ness and com­pas­sion. But now, it's cur­dled into some­thing dark­er: a tale of greed and de­ceit.

Last week, Bob­bitt filed a law­suit against a New Jer­sey couple who had raised more than $400,000 on GoFundMe to help him re­build his life, al­leg­ing they'd with­held the mon­ey and spent it on va­ca­tions, gam­bling and a lux­u­ry car. A judge gave them until Sept. 3 to hand over the re­main­ing funds. But a day af­ter the dead­line, a lawyer for Bob­bitt said there's no mon­ey left to sur­ren­der, ac­cord­ing to re­port­ing from the Philadelphia In­quir­er.

Dur­ing an ap­pear­ance on Megyn Kelly's show last week, Kat­e Mc­Clure and Mark D'Amico insisted that $150,000 remained of the mon­ey they'd raised for Bob­bitt. The court had or­dered them to ac­count for what they'd spent and put the rest in a trust for the home­less vet­er­an. But on the same day his law­yers asked the judge to hold the couple in con­tempt of court for not turn­ing the mon­ey over, Bob­bitt's legal team dis­cov­ered that the funds were miss­ing dur­ing a con­fer­ence call with the couple's law­yers, the In­quir­er re­port­ed.

"It com­plete­ly shocked me when I heard," Chris Fal­lon, one of Bob­bitt's law­yers, told the In­quir­er.


Now Bob­bitt's legal team is ask­ing Judge Paul­a T. Dow to force the couple to stay in New Jer­sey, give up their pass­ports and not spend any mon­ey from their bank ac­counts, the In­quir­er re­port­ed.

"If they flee, they're tak­ing the mon­ey with them," Jac­que­line Promislo, another of Bob­bitt's at­tor­neys, told the In­quir­er. "We're re­al­ly con­cerned a­bout the flight risk."

As The Washington Post pre­vi­ous­ly re­port­ed, Mc­Clure and D'Amico start­ed the crowdfunding cam­paign af­ter Bob­bitt came to Mc­Clure's res­cue on the side of the road in October 2017. Mc­Clure had run out of gas on In­ter­state 95 in Philadelphia, and Bob­bitt walked to a serv­ice sta­tion and spent $20 of his own mon­ey to buy her gas.

"John­ny did not ask me for a dol­lar, and I couldn't re­pay him at that mo­ment be­cause I didn't have any cash, but I have been stop­ping by his spot for the past few weeks," Mc­Clure wrote on GoFundMe. "I re­paid him for the gas, gave him a jack­et, gloves, a hat, and warm socks, and I give him a few dol­lars every time I see him."

Mc­Clure and D'Amico hoped the GoFundMe ef­fort would raise $10,000, but the sto­ry reso­nated. It was fea­tured in na­tion­al news­papers, in­clud­ing The Post. The pair made an ap­pear­ance on "Good Morn­ing America" and were inter­viewed by BBC News — a feel-good sto­ry at the start of the hol­i­day sea­son last fall. Ul­ti­mate­ly, the cam­paign raised more than $402,000 from more than 14,000 donors.

But then the sto­ry soured, with ac­cu­sa­tions of mis­man­age­ment and out­right theft of the mon­ey raised on Bob­bitt's be­half. The GoFundMe cash, Bob­bitt sus­pect­ed, had been squan­dered on va­ca­tions, a lux­u­ry car and more than one ad­dic­tion.

"He's home­less and pen­ni­less," Promislo said a­bout Bob­bitt in an inter­view with The Post last week. She add­ed that her cli­ent "wants what he want­ed be­fore" — a home to live in, clothes to wear and food to eat — and the mon­ey that was in­tend­ed for him.

Er­nest Badway, an attorney for Mc­Clure and D'Amico, said they have no com­ment.


There are con­flict­ing re­ports from the couple and Bob­bitt a­bout how the mon­ey was used and whether Bob­bitt was a par­tic­i­pant or a vic­tim.

Mc­Clure and D'Amico raised the money start­ing late last year to buy Bob­bitt, a­mong oth­er things, his own home and his "dream" truck: a 1999 Ford Ranger. But in the months that fol­lowed, the couple used the mon­ey to buy him a camp­er — in their own names — a TV, a lap­top and two cellphones, as well as a used SUV that has since bro­ken down, ac­cord­ing to local news re­ports.

Bob­bitt met with a fi­nan­cial adviser but nev­er had ac­cess to the mon­ey or signed pa­per­work for a trust, ac­cord­ing to the In­quir­er. D'Amico said he kept $200,000 — the a­mount that re­mained af­ter paying for the camp­er, SUV and oth­er ex­pens­es — in a savings ac­count that he would glad­ly turn over to Bob­bitt once he kicked an ad­dic­tion to opioids and man­aged to hold down a job.

But Bob­bitt said he saw troub­ling signs. Mc­Clure is a re­cep­tion­ist for the New Jer­sey Department of Transportation, and D'Amico is a car­pen­ter, ac­cord­ing to the In­quir­er. But sud­den­ly, she had a new BMW, and the couple were tak­ing va­ca­tions to Flori­da, Cali­for­nia and Las Vegas, Bob­bitt told the In­quir­er. He learn­ed of a heli­cop­ter ride they took over the Grand Canyon.

And Bob­bitt told the In­quir­er that D'Amico gam­bled away some of the GoFundMe mon­ey at a ca­si­no in Philadelphia. D'Amico told the news­paper he had in­deed used $500 from the bank ac­count to gam­ble on a night when he for­got his Sugarhouse Casino card but had "quick­ly re­paid" the mon­ey with his win­nings. The couple have de­nied that they used any more of the mon­ey for any­thing else for them­selves.

The In­quir­er re­port­ed that D'Amico spoke of ex­pens­es he and his girl­friend had in­curred car­ing for Bob­bitt, in­clud­ing time that they took off from work.

And D'Amico gave an "ev­olv­ing ac­count" to the In­quir­er of how he han­dled the mon­ey:

In­i­tial­ly, he said he would not pro­duce fi­nan­cial records be­cause the mon­ey was put into an ex­ist­ing ac­count at PNC Bank that does not be­long to Bob­bitt. On Wednes­day, he said he and Mc­Clure had op­ened up a sepa­rate ac­count for Bob­bitt. On Thurs­day morn­ing he said he told a re­port­er the trusts had been set up be­cause that's what Bob­bitt want­ed him to say. Philadelphia In­quir­er

The mon­ey that came to Bob­bitt couldn't stop his ad­dic­tion. He went through two un­suc­cess­ful stints in re­hab that brought him no clos­er to be­ing sober. Some of the mon­ey GoFundMe donors gave to him end­ed up in the pock­ets of drug deal­ers, Bob­bitt told the In­quir­er.

In A­pril, six months af­ter his fate­ful meet­ing with Mc­Clure, Bob­bitt told the In­quir­er that he had been clean for three weeks and job­less for much long­er.

"It's going to be a strug­gle for the rest of my life," he told the news­paper a­bout his ad­dic­tion.

Bob­bitt's attorney told The Post that he is in detox and work­ing to get his life back.

This article was already published in the Washington Post.