GoFundMe to refund donations for border wall

Brian Kolfage             
    CBS News

Brian Kolfage CBS News

Donors will get their money back on April 11, unless they choose to donate their contribution to campaign creator Brian Kolfage's new venture.

That nonprofit wasn't part of the original description of his GoFundMe campaign.

"Eight days before Christmas I started this GoFundMe campaign because I was exhausted of watching the USA government's inability to secure our southern border", he posted.

According to the updated page, Trump allies on the new nonprofit's advisory board include the controversial former Wisconsin sheriff David Clarke, the Blackwater/XE/Academi founder Erik Prince, and the Kansas secretary of state, Kris Kobach, who confirmed his involvement in a tweet.

Kolfage writes that he consulted with "politics, national security, construction, and finance" experts and came to several conclusions, including that "The federal government won't be able to accept our donations anytime soon" and "We are better equipped than our own government to use the donated funds to build an actual wall on the southern border".

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"There was a change in the use of funds", Bobby Whithorne, director of North America Communications for GoFundMe, told ABC News in a statement.

"Our highly experienced team is highly confident that we can complete significant segments of the wall in less time, and for far less money, than the federal government, while meeting or exceeding all required regulatory, engineering, and environmental specifications", Kolfage wrote in an update on GoFundMe.

It's not clear how this private effort would interact with any federal plans sought by Trump to build a wall with government funds in numerous same areas.

Personal checks mailed to the effort will not be guaranteed, according to a GoFundMe.

Whithorne said all donors will be contacted via email about receiving their refund.

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Since the goal wasn't reached, the money will be returned to donors. "We will promptly refund your donation unless you tell us you approve our new plan for action", he said via GoFundMe in a January 11 update.

"However, that did not happen", he added. "This means all donors will receive a refund".

But it reported that three military hospitals named by Kolfage said they never received any funds from him.

Kolfage says his group is identifying areas that are frequently crossed; looking into wall solutions based on terrain, environment and other issues; and asking landowners if they would provide free or low-priced easements for its construction. "We will promptly refund your donation unless you tell us you approve our new plan for action".

"Another issue is that Air Force veteran Kolfage, a triple amputee who writes on his website that he lost both his legs and one arm during a September 11, 2004, rocket attack on Balad Air Base in Iraq, has created a nonprofit corporation in Florida - We Build the Wall, Inc". Kolfage posted that he has created a non-profit organization in hopes of continuing fundraising and building a border wall independently.

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