9:00am PT by Chris Gardner
Hollywood Campaign by Sandra Bullock and Others to Help Homeless Beverly Hills Hotel Pool Manager Halted Over "Trust" Issues
The plug has been pulled from the GoFundMe campaign to lift former Beverly Hills Hotel pool manager Svend Petersen from homelessness. Donors such as Sandra Bullock and Clive Davis had tallied north of $70,000 in the first month, way beyond the initial goal of $5,900.
The campaign managers — Thomas Marinello and Mercedes Kennedy, former tenants of Petersen's at his former Beachwood Canyon property — increased the goal to $100,000 but closed the account suddenly in May.
Kennedy posted an update on behalf of the couple that they were stepping away from the campaign due to "drama" behind the scenes. "I know it may be difficult to believe that we did this out of pure love, that's how Thomas and I were raised," reads the update. "In the past week we have been dealing with, unfortunately, a lot of drama. … The drama is not something we signed up for therefore we must withdraw ourselves in order to retain the healthy relationship Thomas and I have."
Reached via email, Marinello added that the drama was due to "trust" issues Petersen had after raising questions about the funds. The couple provided a detailed account for donors on the GoFundMe page where the funds were being allocated, and offered a P.O. Box for additional donations. Petersen, who is now living in an apartment, could not be reached as of press time.
He previously told THR that he fell on hard times following the sale of his home and unexpected tax liability that came with it that have drained his account.
A version of this story first appeared in the June 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.