Homeless student raises $184K after inspiring story goes viral — but now he could lose it all
A woman who helped raise more than $184,000 for a homeless Georgia college student said she’s got questions about his story — and donors could be seeing a refund.
Fred Barley captured national attention after riding his younger brother’s bicycle 50 miles earlier this month to Gordon State College, where he planned to camp out until classes started for his second semester.
Two police officers helped find the 19-year-old a place to stay instead of citing him for trespassing, and a local woman, Casey Blaney, set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe.
However, Barley and his new friend soon disagreed how the money should be spent, reported the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Blaney, who is moving with her husband to Arizona, said Barley objected to her plans to place the money in a trust.
The student said he would be willing to place the money in trust, if he could choose the attorney and trustee, but the disagreement led to an apparent rift between the pair.
“Unfortunately, multiple questions have been raised about Fred’s story,” Blaney wrote on her Facebook page. “We’ve received conflicting information about his initial story (and) we’ve asked for the campaign to be reviewed.”
Blaney didn’t elaborate on those possible discrepancies, but a spokesman for GoFunMe said the website would place all the funds raised on hold and won’t allow them to be withdrawn until the investigation is complete.
If Barley wasn’t honest about his circumstances, then donors could be refunded their money.
Barley said in a Facebook post of his own that he had never lied to anyone about himself or his circumstances, admitting he was not a perfect student but said he always tried his hardest.
“I’m pretty sure old teachers and coaches could attest to that,” Barley said. “I never intended on being a role model for younger kids, or the nation’s feel good story, but I’m glad God put the responsibility on me because it gives me a chance to say God is real to a much wider group of people.”
He again thanked everyone who had helped him, especially Blaney and her son.
“Whatever transpires between Casey and I, I want her to still know that I love her and forgive her. And Cole regardless of how your mom feels, you’re still my new adopted lil bro. I love you and hopefully one day we can trade Pokemon. And too everybody that truly supports me for being me, I thank you guys the most.”