DUBLIN, Ireland - Assault victim Stephen Termini claims his son will not give him any of the funds raised by the public in the aftermath of the shocking attack.
Stephen, a U.S. tourist who recovered from a brutal assault near Dublin's Talbot Street in July, claims he hasn't seen a penny of the $130,000 raised by his son Mike Rizzuto on the fundraising website 'GoFundMe' - and now claims it's been "stolen" from him.
However, Mr. Rizzuto told the press that the thousands of donations from the Irish public were "technically never" his father's to claim and that the funds were intended to be used for his and his brother's travel to Ireland, their accommodation, and possibly to pay their father's medical bills.
"I'm withholding it until I figure out taxes and stuff with an accountant. It was never his on technical grounds. It never hit his account. It was for the intended travel so that we could take care of him, and if there were medical bills presented to me, I would take care of it as much as I could," Mr. Rizzuto, who admits he's not on speaking terms with his father, said.
However, in an interview with the press, Mr. Termini, who has returned to his hometown of Buffalo, New York, claimed that his son Mike "stole" the money for himself and is refusing to answer his phone calls.
"I have to tell you something: my son stole all of the money from the GoFundMe page he set up. He never gave me any of the money. It has broken my heart. He doesn't answer my phone or return my calls. I'm not sure what happened to his mind."
"I intend to file a fraud complaint now with the GoFundMe. organization I will ask GoFundMe to refund everyone's money, and then I will try to set up one for myself."
"This kid stole it. I still can't believe he did that," he said.
Mr Rizzuto's GoFundMe page, which raised $133,516 in total, included a photo of him, his father, and his brother Jesse, as well as a statement asking people to "send healing vibes to my father" following the "brutal" attack that left him fighting for his life in the hospital.
It also included a statement from Mr. Termini's sister, Michelle, stating, "we feel so very helpless as none of us can afford the trip to be with him in his time of dire need."
Mr. Rizzuto told the press that the GoFundMe page clarified that the money was never intended to go directly to his father, who now says he wants to buy a house in the West of Ireland. He also denied his father's assertion that the money had been "stolen."
"I just want to make it clear that nothing has been stolen. He did approach me about some of that, which I have no problem discussing with him."
"I've distanced myself because I don't believe he's in the right mind. I want to give him some space to unwind. I've been attempting to take a mental break. I also lost one of my jobs while I was away. I have no problem paying any of his medical bills," he said.