UPDATE, Jan. 16, 2012, 12:20 p.m.: According to the Gillespie family and Councilwoman Letitia James' office, the $10,000 from Darren Weingrow has not yet been donated to the fund. However .
UPDATE, Dec. 30, 10:29 p.m.: Hedge fund manager Darren Weingrow confirmed with Patch via phone that he wired $10,000 to cover Deloris Gillespie's funeral. "I am a man of my word," he said on Friday night over the phone. Weingrow said that he wired the money earlier this week but it was rerouted back to him because of a "glitch." He said that it is all figured out and the money is with the family.
UPDATE, Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m.: Hedge fund manager Darren Weingrow of Manhattan confirmed with Council Member Letitia James' office Thursday evening his promise of covering all expenses related to the Deloris Gillespie memorial while her family are in New York.
The wealthy Manhattanite reached out after an afternoon press conference was held by slain Prospect Heights resident Delores Gillespie's family questioning the whereabouts of funds that had been promised to them and then never received.
In a statement released by Letitia James' office she said the following:
“This afternoon I spoke with Mr. Darren Weingrow, who committed to helping the Gillespie Family with their expenses last week, and he assured me he would cover costs for them while in New York City. The community appreciates his generous spirit. This issue is now resolved,” said Council Member Letitia James.
Family members of slain Prospect Heights resident Delores Gillespie held a press conference to share their grief and publicly condemn not only their matriarch’s alleged killer, but also the Manhattan hedge fund manager who promised them financial aid in arranging her memorial services who has yet to send them the money.
after a fund was set up by Councilmember Letitia James’ office after her murder.
Weingrow reached out to James' office and verbally promised to contribute $10,000 toward helping Gillespie’s family members while in New York.
“This family has been victimized twice,” said James, who had organized the press conference at 250 Broadway at Murray Street in Manhattan at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. “First by a madman and now by a gentleman who has shown depraved indifference to their plight.”
On Dec. 17, by a sometime employee she had taken into her home. The alleged perpetrator, Jerome Isaac, 47, who is currently being held without bail, reportedly set fire to Gillespie inside of an elevator in her Underhill Avenue apartment building, burning her alive.
With costs piling up on the family in need, Weingrow's promised funds were never transferred, according to Gillespie’s son Everett Hayes.
Weingrow could not be immediately reached for comment.
"For the last two weeks, it’s been hard, very hard," said Mr. Hayes. "We've been staying in the hotel for the last two weeks here. We’ve got expenses to pay. I called Capital One and asked for an extension, they said no,” said Mr. Hayes. “This gentleman in the newspaper said he sponsored the entire funeral arrangement and I'm like, no, he's not, because I am. I am putting forth everything and I am tapped out.”
A photograph of Delores Gillespie hung on the wall above the L-shaped conference table where, along with Mr. Hayes, the deceased’s daughter Sheila Gillespie Hillman, brother J.C. Cousey and cousin Tracy Gillespie sat in front of a small crowd of reporters and camera crews.
"This crime is so terrible, so unfathomable," said Tracy Gillespie, trembling with emotion. "I would like for her death not to be in vain. Delores was always aware of the fact that she was her brother’s keeper. It’s very hard for us to believe that anything good could come out of this. But if anything does, it would be awareness of the fact that there are elderly people who are looking to help folk. We all need to join together and be aware of each other’s needs. And I would also like to say that we owe such a tremendous debt of gratitude to Councilwoman Letitia James. We had been told there would be some assistance from Weingrow and that never happened. But she has been there for us."
Tracy Gillespie also vented her frustration at inaccuracies that had been reported in previous accounts of her cousin's death.
"I just want it to be known that there was no romantic involvement between this gentleman, the prepetrator and Delores," she said. "Delores’ son [Maurice Gillespie] said that he stole from her and that was why she broke ties with [Isaac]. That's when the schism ocurred. This is someone who was down on his luck. She opened up her heart and her home and that’s what ended up happening.
“It’s unthinkable,” she said, choking back tears and pulling away from mic.
J.C. Cousey struggled to find the words and hold back his own tears as he spoke about the events that had led up to this point.
"You may hear and read about things that have happened to someone else, but it’s a different story when it’s happeneing to you," said Cousey. "Forgive me for crying. But, you know, it’s not crying from sadness it’s because this is what happened: One day we all have to face that it’s a cruel world out there, that someday we’ll all be a part of it."
"With all that we are going through right now, I just cannot believe that Mr. Weingrow left us stranded at the airport,” said Sheila Gillespie Hillman. “We had to figure out how to get a taxi, how to get a hotel at two in the morning. He had called me in Gary, Indiana, to check that everything was O.K. and then this is how I was greeted when I got to this city. He promised a car, so we could go wherever we need to go…If he wanted some publicity, I think he should have found it another way."
James confirmed the family's allegations, stating that she had spoken with Weingrow immediately following Gillespie's death and he had promised $10,000 to the fund to take care of any needed expenses.
James said that despite Weingrow's claim that the monies were sent he has refused to produce a wire transfer receipt and nothing ever arrived in the account, which contained just $800 at the time of the press conference.
James said out-of-town family members of Gillespie are currently staying at the Sheraton Hotel, they have no return flights home to their respective cities in Indiana and Florida, and are unable to pay the necessary fees to the funeral home, Unity in Harlem, or to clean out Gillespie's apartment, which is overrun with clutter.
They estimate they will need approximately $20,000 to cover all of the expenses.
Before the conference ended, Sheila Gillespie Hillman shared one last story about her mother's generosity while she was alive.
"The picture of my mother and my daughter and I that has circulated through the media was from a year ago in Gary, Indiana," said Ms. Hillman. "Last year at the time, my father was ill and he lives in California. I was unable to afford to go see him. And at the last minute my mother wired money to me so my son could see his grandfather one last time. Who would have known that it would be the last time we would be seeing her?"
To contribute money to the fund set up for Deloris Gillespie’s family, contact: Rehabilitation Fund for Disaster Victims, Carver Federal Savings Bank, 4 Hanson Place. Account # is 801281750 or call 718-230-2900.