A fundraising webpage created after a group beating killed a Rancho High School teenager in November is now inactive after raising more than $136,000. The Jonathan Lewis Jr. GoFundMe page states, “the fundraiser is no longer accepting donations,” and shows that nearly 3,300 people donated to the website. It was formed on November 6, while Lewis was in the hospital after a group of teens hit, kicked, and stomped him to the point of unconsciousness on Nov. 1 in an alleyway behind 1308 N. 21st St., near Rancho High School.
Lewis died six days later, and his father, Jonathan Lewis Sr., started the GoFundMe webpage. He later changed the beneficiary to his son’s mother, Mellisa Ready, and wrote, “the funds from this fundraiser are being split between Jonathan’s mom and dad.” News 3 talked exclusively with Ready about her son’s passing and the fundraiser.
“The GoFundMe, part of that money has helped get some of these things for his (Jonathan Lewis Jr.) memorial, but I don’t even have access to the full half,” Ready said. Ready said she received about $36,000 after she became the beneficiary.
“He (Lewis Sr.) set it up with his account, and it wasn’t until I was able to obtain one, I could get the money from the GoFundMe, but it wasn’t until he had already taken the $95,000,” Ready said. “The $95,000 was already in his account before he transferred the GoFundMe into my name. Whatever was left on the GoFundMe, when he did transfer that into my name, was added to my bank account. He never transferred any money to me.”
Lewis Sr., who lives out of state, said he continues trying to work with Ready.
“Some of that money is just in limbo until my lawyers can just determine what needs to be done about slandering my name,” Lewis Sr. said. He said he’s fighting estrangement accusations from Ready.
“I was absolutely in his (Lewis Jr.) life, and I was the one that was providing for him financially,” Lewis Sr. said. Ready claims Lewis Sr. hasn’t been consistently involved in their son’s life since he was 11 months old.
“I don’t consider buying a cell phone that a custodial parent has no access to a good idea or providing a chime credit card builder card to your minor child to send him money,” Ready said. “He’s confusing people. A long-distance relationship is not an active parent.”
Once the two can come to an agreement, Lewis Sr. said he plans to use his half of the GoFundMe money towards a foundation in honor of Lewis Jr. Records from the Secretary of State’s office in Nevada show he formed an entity called “Team Jonathan Lewis Co.” on December 5. It’s a domestic nonprofit corporation(82). Lewis Sr. is listed as the president and director, but he plans to change the name of the foundation to Love Humanity Movement, to pay homage to one of the last texts between him and his son regarding love. Lewis Sr. aims to start a healing arts center and to have an annual Peace Festival for children.
“We are going to help provide a satellite program for all the high schoolers around there so that they have resources to develop themselves creatively, have creative problem-solving skills that they can actualize into their life,” Lewis Sr. said. “We’re going to do an annual festival in Las Vegas for children, for the youth, so that they have a positive catalyst on a consistent basis, year in and year out.”
Records from the Secretary of State’s website states an annual report is due December 31.
Ready said she has not made any decisions on what to do with her half of the money but plans to honor Lewis Jr.
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