The Purple Heart triple amputee veteran behind a $20million ‘build the wall’ GoFundMe has hit back at claims he is misspending the funds raised after he bought a $600,000 boat and donors began to question what happened to their money.
Brian Kolfage, 37, who was severely wounded in a 2004 rocket attack at an Iraq air base, losing both legs and one arm, garnered more than $22 million online for the project along the southern US border since the campaign’s launch in December.
But the Florida resident is now facing repeated questions about the progress of the wall and attention has also turned to a $600,000 boat he says he bought a year before he began the GoFundMe appeal.
A source told The Stern Facts that Kolfage is now living a high-flying lifestyle, saying: ‘Whether he ordered it last year with the year before is irrelevant it’s still nearly a million dollar boat. Those new toys are very expensive as is flying private.’
He has previously posted image of his travels on private jets and with pricey cars. In February he posed, along with his wife, in front of a plane saying ‘it looks like our first piece of land for @webuildthewall is a go!’ The couple are understood to have flown with the Veterans Airlift Command.
But after a seemingly lack of progress and a reported 300,000 individual donations one supporter asked: ‘I am very disappointed in you Brian Kolfage, where are the progress photographs?’
Another added: ‘Quit talking about it and do it.’ On Twitter another asked: ‘Why no updates on the status of the wall? I have a feeling this is a scam.’
In an apparent attempt to alleviate donor’s concerns the We Build The Wall Inc posted a video to Facebook on Monday appearing to show steel bollards being cut in the factory.
They wrote: ‘Just when we thought that the fake news media couldn’t get more ridiculously desperate, they’re now proving how low they’ll go by claiming that ‘We Build The Wall’ founder, Brian Kolfage, bought a yacht with the GoFundMe money.
‘It takes simple skills to see that the boat he bought and posted photos on Instagram was purchased a YEAR before he began the GoFundMe.’
It’s not clear how this private effort would interact with any federal plans sought by Trump to build a wall with government funds in many of the same areas, or with local building regulations.
On his personal Facebook page Brian, who has been accused of misusing funds he raised in the past, said: ‘There’s no update because we are remaining silent for a very good reason.
‘You all will have the best present very soon. Remember powerful people want to stop our progress, so to not tip anyone off we are radio silent! The ACLU would file a lawsuit to impede our wall success if they knew where and when.
‘But when I guaranteed we’d build the wall I meant it, and we are working with many congressmen and senators to help us mitigate these issues from the left wing attack groups! We are in the homestretch and it’s on a need to know basis.’
Buzzfeed News reported in January this year that Kolfage said his program worked with military hospitals including Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
But all three told that website they have no record of Kolfage working with them.
Gia E. Oney, chief of public affairs for Landstuhl, said: ‘We have no record of a donation made in his name to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.’
Kolfage, who lives with his family in the resort community of Sandestin, in Florida’s Panhandle, said that BuzzFeed ‘100 percent lied’ in the wake of that story.
Facebook are also said to have removed several of the pages he operated last year.
Brian posted a picture to Instagram Monday showing a board member inspecting the wall.
He wrote: ‘@webuildthewall board member Kris Kobach inspecting our wall construction equipment! The liberal fake news thinks it’s not happening… but it’s already begun!
‘We have given exclusive rights to our completion ceremony to a major network, only then will we release Images of our completed wall. It’s almost complete!’
But with doubt growing over the use of the money raised one person replied: ‘Hey I have been behind you the whole way but I’m hearing some stuff that is making me wonder.’
Dailymail.com has contacted Brian Kolfage and We Build The Wall Inc for comment.