GoFundMe pulls UBS banker Scott Hapgood’s $250K fund amid manslaughter
Backers of the Connecticut banker charged with killing a hotel worker in Anguilla raised $250,000 in six days for the man’s defense — before GoFundMe yanked the effort amid outrage from the dead man’s supporters.
The ritzy Darien community rallied around Scott Hapgood when a longtime family friend put out a plea for donations, with the 44-year-old dad’s blessing.
“Please help Scott and his family as they fight to regain the life they worked so hard to build,” wrote organizer Catherine Prichard.
Around the same time, an email was sent to Darien residents claiming legal costs have already decimated Hapgood’s life savings.
“Despite being wrongfully accused, Scott continues to honorably adhere to the legal process,” the email reportedly said, along with a link to the fundraising campaign. “Thereby adding enormous financial burden and increasing the risk to Scott’s safety and security.”
Dozens answered the call, which set a goal of $400,000, pledging donations ranging from $100 from individuals to $5,000 from the CT Grizzlies lacrosse club.
The initiative also spread on social media.
“This is great. Best wishes for them and I hope they can get closure sooner than later. What an awful thing to have to go through,” one woman wrote on Facebook.
But supporters of the alleged victim, 27-year-old Kenny Mitchel, were taken aback by the campaign.
“This is how you buy your way out of murdering someone. His supporters are lined up and marching full speed ahead with no breaks[sic],” reads a message posted by a Facebook group dedicated to justice for Mitchel.
“The epitome of white privilege,” another Mitchel supporter posted.
Others wrote that they reported the campaign to GoFundMe.
Malliouhana Resort, Anguilla
On Thursday, a representative from the site contacted Hapgood, saying it canceled the campaign because it violated the crowd-sourcing platform’s rules against fundraisers for the legal defense of someone accused of a violent crime, Hapgood’s lawyer, Juliya Arbisman, told The Post.
In order to release the money, GoFundMe said Hapgood must sign a “declaration under threat of perjury that this will not be used on his legal defense,” she said.
Hapgood is charged with manslaughter in Mitchel’s April 13 death at the Malliouhana Resort where Mitchel worked.
The two were involved in a physical altercation in the room where Hapgood was staying with his wife and two daughters before Mitchel died of “prone restraint, positional asphyxia and blunt force trauma to the head, neck and torso,” according to his death certificate.
The UBS banker claims he acted in self-defense when Mitchel showed up to the room, brandished a knife and demanded cash.
Hapgood pinned him to the ground and wouldn’t let up until security arrived, an unnamed worker who said he witnessed the dispute previously told The Post. Mitchel appeared to be struggling for air while in Hapgood’s hold, the alleged witness said.
Despite “deeply discounted” legal fees, the cost of Hapgood’s defense is “extraordinarily high,” Arbisman said.
Hapgood also hires private security whenever he returns to the island for court appearances, after receiving threats, she said.
Arbisman, who said Hapgood was “upset” when he learned the initiative was pulled, described the GoFundMe cancellation as “another railroading in this unfortunate story.
“This continues to be a nightmare, which seems to be endless,” she told The Post.