BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (FOX 9) - The mother of Daunte Wright's son has filed a civil lawsuit against Wright's parents and attorney Ben Crump, saying she hasn't received her portion of the money raised following Wright's April 11, 2021, killing.
The lawsuit – filed Monday on behalf of Chyna Whitaker, who is Daunte Wright Jr.'s mom – says her former attorney Ben Crump "promised and assured her up-front that any GoFundMe monies raised through The Daunte Wright Sr. Memorial Fund would be split 50/50 between Daunte Jr. and the Wright family," noting Crump promised her she and her son would be taken care of.
Whitaker’s attorneys say the single mother has yet to receive any financial assistance to help raise her son, and that attempts to resolve the dispute amicably have gone un-answered.
"We would have preferred to settle this with a letter and a phone call but we’ve tried a number of times and we were unsuccessful. Now we’re left with this last resort," said one of Whitaker’s attorney’s Bill Skolnick.
According to the lawsuit, language used on the GoFundMe page when it was first created said a portion of the proceeds would go towards "providing support to Daunte’s infant son, Daunte Wright, Jr." However, at some point, any mention of the child was omitted from the page.
Daunte Wright (Daunte Wright family)
"When you make a promise of 50% of the proceeds, you engage the public to rely on that promise and give you money," said Whitaker’s attorney Lee Hutton. "For that money to not go to that one purpose…that’s disturbing on many levels.
A representative with GoFundMe said the money has been given to Wright Sr.'s father, Arbuey Wright. The lawsuit says had Crump not promised Whitaker she would receive money from the GoFundMe, she would have set up her own account.
Whitaker's lawsuit says after the Wright family used Wright Jr.'s image and existence to raise more than $1 million via GoFundMe, Crump and Wright Sr.'s parents "all turned their backs" on Whitaker and her son.
The lawsuit seeks a judgment against Wright Sr.'s parents and Crump to be determined at trial, but believed to be more than $500,000; seeks "full and complete accounting" are done on all bank accounts where the GoFundMe money was deposited; attorney's fees and other relief.
In a statement to FOX 9, Ben Crump Law wrote:
"This is strictly a family dispute between the mother of Daunte Wright’s child and Daunte’s parents, who set up the GoFundMe account in question. Ben Crump Law never handled or controlled the money from this GoFundMe account, which was under the sole direction of Daunte’s parents. Ben Crump Law did not benefit from any of the funds raised, and we did not accept any fee in this case. Our hearts are always with the family, and we pray that they can find resolution."