A US tourist who was hospitalized following a vicious assault in Dublin in July has claimed that his son is refusing to give him any of the money raised on GoFundMe after the attack.
Buffalo native, Stephen Termini (57), was assaulted by a gang of youths on Dublin's Talbot Street on shortly after 11 p.m. on July 19.
The assault left Termini in a coma for almost two weeks and at risk of losing an eye, prompting his son, Mike Rizzuto, to start a GoFundMe, which raised over $130,000.
Termini recently revealed that he planned to use the money to buy a house in his ancestral homeland in County Mayo.
However, the 57-year-old told the Irish Mirror that he hasn't seen a cent of the money raised and claims that his son has "stolen" it from him.
He said his son is refusing to answer any phone calls and added that his heart is "broken" over the situation.
"He won’t answer my calls, won’t call me back. I don’t know what happened with his mentality," Termini told the Irish Mirror.
"What I’m planning to do now with the GoFundMe is to file a complaint of fraud. I’m going to get GoFundMe to give all those people their money back and then I’m going to try and hopefully set up one for myself."
Rizzuto told the publication that the donations were "never technically" his father's to claim. He said the donations were intended to cover the cost of traveling to Ireland for him and his brother, Jesse, including flights and accommodation. The donations were also intended to potentially cover Termini's medical bills, Rizzuto said.
Rizzuto denied that the money was stolen and said the GoFundMe page made it clear that the money was never intended to go directly to his father.
"I just want to put that out there, there’s nothing really stolen. He did approach me for some of that, which I have no problem talking to him about.
"I have distanced myself as I don’t think he’s in the right mind. I want to give him time to relax. I’ve been trying to take a mental break myself. I lost one of my jobs while I was away as well. I’ve no problem taking care of any of his medical bills.
"I’m just taking care of it as responsibly as I know how. I’m 26 and I’ve never dealt with any of this before. I’m just trying to do the right thing," Rizzuto added.
He told the Mirror that his father has not approached him about covering the costs of any medical bills and said most of the money raised through the GoFundMe is still there.
Termini, who has returned to Buffalo, said he has to go back to work next week to be able to put food on the table and said his son hasn't called him about his recovery since the attack.
Termini said he was "so thankful" for people's donations following the attack in July and said he hoped to buy a "cozy little place" with the money as a "reward" for dealing with the assault.
"When I found out it was ‘no you’re not getting that,’ I was like wow," Termini told the Mirror.
Rizzuto said he never expected the GoFundMe to raise so much money and said it clearly stated that it was to cover the cost of travel expenses for him and his brother.
"I was under the impression that he was dead. Finding out later that he wasn’t I was very thrilled. As I was just telling you, I have full intentions of making sure it goes the right way.
"I pledged on paying his bills directly. But I’m worried about giving him the money directly."
Rizzuto's GoFundMe asked people to "send healing vibes" to his father and included a statement from his sister Michelle stating that the siblings felt "hopeless" as they were unable to afford a trip to Ireland.