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16 Jul, 2013 20:29

Man who helped save kidnapped Ohio women claims he's homeless, broke after becoming famous

Man who helped save kidnapped Ohio women claims he's homeless, broke after becoming famous

The man who helped three missing Cleveland women escape from captivity quickly became a national hero, but now says that he is unemployed, broke, and homeless.

In early May, 45-year-old Cleveland resident Charles Ramsey quickly became a national hero after helping rescue three women who were held captive against their will for a decade.

Video interviews with Ramsey went viral on the Internet, and his name quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. As a result of his heroic act and his newfound fame, Ramsey made about $50,000 from corporate speaking engagements and private donations, he told the Daily Mail in an exclusive interview.

Even though Ramsey worked as a restaurant dishwasher and made little money, he previously told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he would not accept any rewards offered by the FBI.

Although Ramsey accepted roughly $50,000, he now claims he is homeless and broke, and that his life has been destroyed by his newfound fame. Ramsey told the Daily Mail that he was fired from his restaurant job because too many customers tracked him down to shake his hand. He claims that he can’t keep a job because the attention distracts from the work. And he contends that he is homeless because no landlord wants to go through the hassle of taking in a tenant surrounded by so much media attention. He says he has been sleeping on couches for weeks. 

“I’m broke, bro, and that’s the truth,” Ramsey told the British tabloid, explaining that his life has been a “rollercoaster that just hasn’t stopped yet.”

He also told the Mail that those who believe he has a lot of money have “very, very small brains”.

But just a few weeks ago, Ramsey spent $8,000 on a BMW, boasted about his earnings and even started a business selling $25 T-shirts with his face printed on them. Ramsey’s neighbors argued that he exaggerated his role in the rescue to gain the fame that he now claims not to want.  

When asked what he did with the $50,000 he received from speaking engagements and private donors, Ramsey said he had a lot of expenses, and that “money goes fast if you have bills.” He says a car is a small and necessary expense.

But Ramsey’s arguments starkly contradict those made by neighbors and other Cleveland residents who know him. Aurora Marti, a 75-year-old neighbor who lives across the street from kidnapper Ariel Castro’s house, said Ramsey has been wasting the money he received.

“Charles has been living it up, he's been drinking and smoking,” she said. “He bought a new BMW and came by a few weeks ago at night telling my son that he was going to be rich. He made a T-shirt with his face on it that he was selling for $25. I told my neighbor to buy one so I could burn it… He's been to Washington, New York, Florida. He's been everywhere. He's just been telling lies. He wants the money.”

It remains unclear to what extent Ramsey’s statements are true, but both neighborhood residents and Ramsey himself admit that the Cleveland man has already spent a large portion of his fame-related earnings.