When I recently wrote a column expressing my feelings as to why homeless Marine veteran Johnny Bobbitt should just be given the money that was raised for him, I based that opinion on one key assumption. It relied on the belief that there was actually some money to give him. At that time, a judge had ordered Ms. McClure and her boyfriend to turn over all remaining funds to an attorney so it could be placed in escrow while the case was heard and to provide a full accounting for where the rest of the donations had gone. In a stunning and disappointing turn of events, Bobbitt’s pro bono attorney reports that he checked into McClure’s progress only to be informed that as of yesterday, there is no money to put into escrow. The entire $400,000 is gone. (NPR)
Bobbitt’s lawyer, Chris Fallon, argues the couple failed to deliver on any of their promises. They didn’t buy Bobbitt a house, they bought him a trailer, registered it under McClure’s name and parked it on her family’s land. They didn’t buy Bobbitt’s dream car, they bought him different used car, also registered under McClure’s name. It has since broken down. The salary never materialized and neither did the investments. And now, all of the money is apparently gone.
Fallon said he learned of the dried-up account during a call with the couple’s lawyer on Tuesday.
“It completely shocked me when I heard,” Fallon told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It came as a complete surprise to me.”
He described Bobbitt as “completely devastated” by the revelation, according NJ.com. In an interview with CNN Fallon said by his accounting “there should be close to another $300,000 available to Johnny.”
McClure and her boyfriend had been given a deadline of last Friday to effect the transfer of funds and submit receipts and other documentation accounting for the rest of it. They missed that deadline and apparently went silent, prompting Fallon to call and check on their progress.
I can still understand the temptation for some people to say that Bobbitt couldn’t be trusted with the money because of his addiction problems and it should be held by a third party “to save him from himself.” I don’t agree with that conclusion, but I can understand it. But I would hope that nobody involved in the argument believes there’s some basis for McClure and her boyfriend to simply take the remaining money and keep it or spend it on themselves.
I heard from a number of people on social media after publishing the previous column who expressed some staggering ideas. One went so far as to say that McClure is the one who raised the money so how much of it she gives to Bobbitt is up to her. And if she needed a new car after driving around taking care of Bobbitt’s needs or needed a vacation to relax from her labors, she should be able to spend as much of it as she wished. I find this incomprehensible. That GoFundMe campaign was set up expressly to benefit Johnny Bobbitt. Siphoning off any of the money for McClure’s own benefit should be criminal, or failing that, universally viewed as immoral.
So where is the money? The camper they purchased for Bobbitt instead of a house was a used vehicle and it was kept in McClure’s boyfriend’s name anyway. The “truck of his dreams” turned out to be a cheap, used car. Even with the $25K which everyone seems to agree they put in an account for Johnny, it doesn’t sound like they could account for much more than $150K maximum. If there isn’t some other explanation forthcoming, McClure appears to have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from a homeless veteran. And if so, she should be made to pay.