Fundraiser for mom battling cancer postponed after man vanishes with funds


by Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 News

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 10:42 PM

PASADENA, Texas -- People in Pasadena say a con man has swindled them out of hundreds of dollars that was meant to help a single mom fighting cancer.

Deena Robinson’s ovarian cancer has returned for a third time.

This time, it’s spread.

The mother of three kids no longer has insurance and one of her kidneys has to be removed.

Employees and patrons at Da Pub, where Robinson is a regular, have come together to help raise money for medical expenses.

They’ve put together ‘The Pasa-Get-Well-Deena Project,' and their first benefit was set to happen this past Saturday.

“Everybody’s heartbroken for her,” said Rita McBroom, a patron at Da Pub. “Deena’s just a sweetheart.”

The bar says a man came forward with a generous offer just days before the benefit.

“He said he had two guns and a 4 wheeler and firestone was going to donate a gift card,” said bar manager Jennifer Andaur. “He’s just a thief. He’s a con artist.”

An employee claims he gave the man $600 to track down other auction items.

Shortly thereafter, employees say the man began making excuses and changing his story. Employees have been calling and texting him, but they say he hasn’t been back since.

“He fooled a lot of people,” said bar owner Jimmy Summerlin. “He brought out the big show and big ideas.”

According to bar staff, the man also offered to bring a big pit so they could sell barbeque plates.

Staff says he didn’t show up early when he was supposed to prior to the benefit.

That’s when they had a gut feeling that he wasn’t going to follow through.

“When he lays his head down on his pillow at night, he has to live with what he’s done,” said cancer patient Deena Robinson. “I don’t want revenge

Robinson says her number inspiration to get better is her three kids; 4, 16, and 18-years-old.

“I don’t care what the cancer does to me. It can take my hair. It can take my sight,” explained Robinson. “It can take whatever it wants from me, but I don’t want it taking from kids.”

The man in question returned KHOU’s phone call Tuesday evening but refused to meet with a crew for an on camera interview.

He claims he intended to make it to the benefit and said he couldn’t because he got two flats.

He also claims he was only given $250 and not $600. He insisted he was going to return the money although the bar is skeptical of that.

Da Bar says it was forced to postpone its big plans for a fundraiser.

There is now one scheduled for June 28.