Cleveland hero Charles Ramsey: 'I'm broke'

Credited with helping save 3 kidnap victims, he says he spent money on a BMW and creditors are hounding him.

By Aimee Picchi Jul 16, 2013 10:29AM

Charles Ramsey, who found Gina DeJesus & Amanda Berry, talks on Seymour Avenue in Cleveland on Monday (© Scott Shaw/THe Plain Dealer/Landov)Charles Ramsey, the Cleveland man who rocketed to attention in May after aiding in the rescue of three women held for years by the alleged kidnapper Ariel Castro, says the good fortune that followed has turned to dust. 

Ramsey, 45, told the Daily Mail his life has been upended since the rescue, complaining that he can't keep a job because of the attention he receives. One restaurant fired him because so many people went into the kitchen to shake his hand, he said. 

"I'm broke, bro, and that's the truth," he told the publication.

If Ramsey's story has a familiar ring, that's probably because his rise and apparent fall echo those of big lottery winners, who are more likely to go bankrupt than people winning small prizes. Ramsey's sudden fame prompted him to buy an $8,000 BMW, and he now says he's stopped answering his phone because of creditors.

Ramsey has earned $30,000 in donations from well-wishers and for corporate speaking engagements, according to the report. Yet he's also said to be booked for several more speaking dates, which could bring him an additional $50,000 and seems to undercut his claims of being strapped.

But Ramsey told TV station WUSA that the Daily Mail got one thing wrong: He's not homeless. He said he still has a Cleveland home but is couch surfing with friends and relatives because so many people were knocking at his door.

In the meantime, Ramsey isn't likely to go hungry. Several restaurants vowed to provide free burgers for life, including McDonald's (MCD), which he repeatedly mentioned in his account of rescuing the women. 

Ramsey offered a piece of advice he's learned over the past two months: "Only a fool and his money parts. Money goes fast if you have bills."

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi. 

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Tags: DramaMCD
Jul 16, 2013 11:25AM
He did the right thing with respect to the three women. But he is like a lot of people; lives outside his means.
Jul 16, 2013 12:44PM
He's broke... aren't we all!? Welcome to the club!
Jul 16, 2013 12:45PM
Read more than the headline!  The BMW he bought was used and for $8,000.  How many of you have cars less than that?  He didn't go on a spending spree - he bought a reliable car for a fraction of what most people spend.   This is a man with a good heart.  No one should judge him.
Once in a lifetime opportunities are often squandered.
Jul 16, 2013 12:37PM
I am proud of this man, I do hope he gets on his feet and soon. I also hope that out there somewhere is someone who will hire this man to work in their company. I'm sure he can do mailroom or even be a janitor at first and work his way up the ladder. Give him a chance and give him a budget class as well. Not that he takes his first paycheck and spends it on nonsense. He does seem like a good guy, just can't budget a dollar. Many Americans are like that, they have no money for food or electric bill but they will take a fancy vacation with a credit card.
Jul 16, 2013 12:37PM

chances are he was broke prior to his fame, so what's the problem bro. 

Jul 16, 2013 11:13AM
THIS GUY has corporate speaking engagements lined up?  The world wants to know -  which corporations are spending tens of thousands of dollars to hear his words of wisdom?  Maybe he and that "Don't taze me, Bro" guy can go on tour together.
Jul 16, 2013 12:31PM
bet he'll take those free burgers now
Jul 16, 2013 12:58PM
Let's see $30,000 blown in  2 months....not feeling sorry for him.
Jul 16, 2013 12:40PM
The math here seems to be fuzzy...he has already made $30,000 and has another $50,000 coming which would give him $80,000 minus the $8,000 BMW he bought would leave him with a net of $72,000.  So how can he be broke?
Jul 16, 2013 12:43PM
He can't keep a job because he CAN'T KEEP A JOB.
Jul 16, 2013 12:35PM

"A fool and his money are soon parted."

Jul 16, 2013 12:37PM
See when got fame and fortune from it. He admits he squandered some of the money plus he had creditors that knew he could now pay what he owed. Hopefully, he learns to save the money from the speaking engagements.
Jul 16, 2013 12:43PM
Jul 16, 2013 12:32PM
BMW should be brought up on charges for ruining this man's life.
Jul 16, 2013 12:48PM
I'm broke to but I live within my means . Great you did the right thing now do it again get a JOB quit mooching and live within your means . Quit whining  sounds like you are fishing for a big reward , every day people do the right thing with out any rewards!
Jul 16, 2013 12:53PM
just cause you do the right thing doesnt mean you get a free ride in life.
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