Mark D’Amico, the Burlington County man accused of taking GoFundMe donations meant for homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt Jr., said Tuesday he is eager to explain what happened to the money, saying all of it will become “crystal clear” when he does talk.
D'Amico, 39, of Florence, spoke briefly after he appeared in Burlington City Municipal Court for traffic offenses that include driving with a suspended license. Municipal Court Judge Dennis P. McInerney postponed the hearing until Oct. 9 to give D'Amico, who represented himself, time to find out from the Motor Vehicle Commission whether he is eligible to have his driving privileges reinstated.
As D'Amico left court, reporters repeatedly tried to ask about the GoFundMe money even as he said he would have no comment.
"I can't wait to talk, but I can't do it right now," said D'Amico, dressed in a black hoodie and shorts, his baseball cap turned backward. Reporters followed him to a dark blue Jeep in the parking lot that was waiting to pick him up. "I'm letting the cops do their job right now."
D'Amico was arrested at his home Sept. 10 on a bench warrant after he twice failed to show up for Municipal Court hearings related to traffic offenses. He was held briefly in the Burlington County Jail before posting $500 bail.
On Tuesday, Burlington City police released a dash cam video from when D'Amico was pulled over in October 2017 for a broken taillight. On the eight-minute video, police are seen handcuffing D'Amico as they check on a warrant they say was issued in Jersey City. D'Amico jokes that had known there was a warrant, "I would have ran … wouldn't have gotten far." He was picked up in Florence two days earlier for the same broken taillight, he tells the officer in a cordial exchange before the cuffs are removed. He is told not to drive, and the officers leave to respond to an emergency call nearby.
D'Amico and his girlfriend, Kate McClure, 28, are under a criminal investigation that began after Bobbitt alleged last month the couple had squandered much of the $400,000 collected through GoFundMe. McClure met Bobbitt when she ran out of gas on an I-95 ramp in November 2017 and he used his last $20 to help her. She and D'Amico then promised to help him.
Bobbitt has since sued the couple, who were ordered by a judge to turn over what remains of the money.
The couple have denied personal use of the money and said they did all they could to help Bobbitt.
Tensions grew between the couple and Bobbitt grew throughout the spring, and worsened after D'Amico was arrested in May for the traffic violations. Bobbitt, who was living in a camper near the couple's small house, was dependent on them for money and rides.
In October 2017, D'Amico was cited for driving with a suspended license, and a warrant was issued after he failed to show up for a court hearing. D'Amico was arrested in May by local police, who cited him again for driving with a suspended license. That time, he spent the night in the Burlington County Jail before McClure posted $500 bail to free him. Another arrest warrant was issued because D'Amico did not show up for two hearings in June.
It was not immediately clear why D'Amico's license was suspended, according to Burlington City Police Capt. John J. Fine.
McClure and D'Amico created the GoFundMe account to help Bobbitt last fall. At the time, Bobbitt was homeless and panhandling.
After the story went viral, the couple heard from thousands around the world. McClure and D'Amico promised they would use the donations to buy Bobbitt a house and a truck and help turn his life around. Instead, they bought the camper, which was put in McClure's name and later sold.
McClure has told reporters that she was on her way to meet friends in Philadelphia when she ran out of gas last year. More recently, Bobbitt has said McClure was on her way to SugerHouse Casino to pick up D'Amico. Bobbitt previously said he feared that D'Amico had gambled with the donations. D'Amico has said he used $500 of the donations when he forgot his SugarHouse card, but quickly repaid the money with his winnings.
This summer, Bobbitt told reporters of his suspicions that the couple were using the GoFundMe money to pay for expensive vacations, shopping sprees, and a BMW, saying he had seen very little of the money.
The couple said they bought Bobbitt a used SUV. It also was put in McClure's name, and Bobbitt said he was not allowed to drive it. Instead, D'Amico used it until it broke down, Bobbitt said.
Bobbitt also said he had been kicked out of a drug-treatment program in Camden because D'Amico stopped driving him to the outpatient program after he was arrested. D'Amico said he gave Bobbitt $40 to take the River Line train to Camden.