Joke GoFundMe page seeks donations for well-heeled city lawyer

By Michelle de Leon | Jan 18, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia lawyer, who is part of the Democratic City Committee and is set to retire soon, set up a GoFundMe page as a joke.

Steve Kaplan created a GoFundMe campaign for himself, which he titled “Steve’s Retirement Dream,” to fund his needs after his contract with the Philadelphia government expires. According to the veteran lawyer, his page aims to help make his dream to “retire, travel and live in Florida” a reality. Kaplan’s employment contract with the Philadelphia government expires on March 31 this year.

To be specific, the Philly lawyer has a contract with the city's Department of Human Services worth $316,000. Moreover, his retirement home is a luxurious condominium unit on Williams Island in Florida. Meanwhile, the picture he uploaded on his GoFundMe page features him sitting driving a Mercedes Benz convertible. The targeted amount set in his crowdfunding page is $175,000.

Amid the backlash after his GoFundMe campaign went public, Kaplan laughingly clarified that the page was simply a “joke” and should not be taken seriously by the people. His explanation came following the comments of some people who got offended and upset over his page.

"It was just a joke. You're laughing. Ninety-eight percent of the people laughed, but, believe it or not, a couple (of) people got upset,” Kaplan said of his GoFundMe page, according to the Inquirer Daily News.

He added via the Inquirer Daily News, "Why would anybody give me money? I mean, come on. The last thing that I need is money."

Kaplan shared in his GoFundMe page that he will see his contract with the Philadelphia government terminated sooner than expected. He shared that this sudden change of plans caused a bit of a problem with his finances. According to the veteran lawyer, his retirement was initially scheduled on May 1, 2017. Since his services would be terminated a month earlier than he anticipated, he now has trouble figuring out his budget.

“I have just enough money budgeted until I am 85, but am now concerned since I've gotten in better health, I may live longer. I'm not sure my current savings, pension and Social Security will last my entire life if I live past 100,” Kaplan shared on his GoFundMe page.

He further wrote, “My employment ends 3/31/17 and I am planning on moving to my retirement condo at Williams Island on 5/1/17. It has been very difficult flying back and forth to my condo every weekend for the past 10 years. I will keep you in my daily prayers for anything you can do to make this dream a reality. Thank you.”

Kaplan is set to retire in the “Florida Riviera” this year. According to the website of Williams Island, the place is located in one of the most prestigious addresses in South Florida. It prides itself of treating guests with an “amenity-rich lifestyle” including a newly renovated spa and fitness center as well as a Grand Slam-inspired tennis center which has 16 courts.

To date, the GoFundMe page of Kaplan has garnered a total of $22 from donors.

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