The couple responsible for raising $400,000 online for a homeless good Samaritan must give sworn testimony over what happened to the cash, an at-times irritated New Jersey judge ordered Wednesday.
Superior Court Judge Paula Dow said Katie McClure and Mark D’Amico must appear Monday for a deposition in a suit filed by Johnny Bobbitt over alleged mismanaged of the cash raised through GoFundMe. If they do not show up the couple could face contempt of court charges.
It’s the latest development in a case that at first appeared to show the kindness of strangers but has since turned into a disagreement over how and who spent the online windfall. Wednesday’s proceedings shed little light on what happened to the cash after a Tuesday revelation from Bobbitt’s attorney, Chris Fallon, that all the money was gone.
In court, McClure and D’Amico’s attorney, Ernest Badway, said about $200,000 had gone to Bobbitt, but Dow said Badway indicated he was “misadvised” by his clients and that later the court learned there was no money left. She said she wants them to appear in person. Neither they nor Bobbit was in court Wednesday.
“I am not allowing you to be their voice anymore,” said Dow, a former state attorney general.
It wasn’t the only time Dow seemed confounded by the couple and their attorney.
She also chastised Badway over “grandstanding” in court when he asked two men who he said had law enforcement pins on their lapels to stand and identify themselves.
“I do think you’re grandstanding,” she said. “I won’t have any more of this.”
Dow denied Badway’s request, which came after he said his clients told him they wanted to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The Judge has scheduled another hearing for September 14th to update everyone about the situation, but she didn’t put any restrictions on the couple’s movement after being assured they were not a flight risk
McClure and D’Amico are the couple accused in a lawsuit brought by Bobbitt of mismanaging donations raised for him through GoFundMe. The couple have denied any wrongdoing or misusing the funds.
Badway declined to comment after court Wednesday.
Fallon said in court that Bobbitt is entering a 30-day residential treatment program. He has earlier said Bobbitt has a drug addiction.
GoFundMe has said the company is working with law enforcement to ensure Bobbitt gets all the money raised for him and also that the company gave $20,000 to an account set up by Bobbitt’s attorney “to provide assistance” to him during the investigation.
The story has captured international attention.
McClure set the page up to give back to Bobbitt, who helped her when she ran out of gas on an Interstate 95 exit ramp late one night. It raised more than $400,000 from more than 14,000 people.
Bobbitt walked a few blocks to buy McClure gas. She didn’t have money to repay him at the time, but sought him out days later to give him the money. They later appeared on shows like “Good Morning America” and were interviewed by the BBC.
The relationship deteriorated.
D’Amico has said Bobbitt spent $25,000 in less than two weeks in December on drugs, in addition to paying overdue legal bills and sending money to his family.
The couple also bought Bobbitt a camper with some of the funds and parked it on land McClure’s family owns in New Jersey. But Bobbitt became homeless again after D’Amico told him in June that he had to leave the property.
During an appearance on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today” show, D’Amico told Kelly there was well over $150,000 left of the donations.
Fallon said Bobbitt had received about $75,000, including the camper as well as a 1999 Ford Ranger.
Tom MacDonald and the Associated Press contributed to this story