James Robertson, the Detroit man who attained national fame for walking 21-miles to and from his job for years, has filed a restraining order against his ex-girlfriend who reportedly wants a piece of his $350,000 in donations.
“He said he was going to give me $50,000 to fix up the house,” Tanya Fox, 60, who was Robertson’s girlfriend and also his landlord, told the Detroit Free Press.
Robertson, 56, as Atlanta Daily World previously reported, used to walk early to walk miles to catch a bus, only to be dropped off short of his job, walking the rest of the way and having to endure the process in reverse, then do this every single workday.
Soon after the Free Press broke the story, a national outpouring of support made Robertson a relatively wealthy man and hometown celebrity which, incidentally, brought on another set of problems.
A college student launched an online crowd-funding campaign that raised $360,000 in donations. He was also given a brand new Ford Taurus by a local dealership. However, many in his Detroit neighborhood apparently saw his success as an opportunity for them. It got so bad that Robertson eventually parked his car at a nearby police precinct to prevent it from being stolen.
Fox, her adult son and her ex-husband became so aggressive toward Robertson about the alleged promise to give her $50,000 to fix up her rental home that the police had to stand guard while Robertson gathered his belongings and moved out of the Fox-owned house in which he had been a tenant.
Robertson now resides in a Detroit suburb, but Robertson was not deterred from demanding the amount of money she believes she is owed.
“James was not a neat person; he got grease all over the wall” of the kitchen, she told the Free Press. Fox said she will contest the protection order, and denies that she is a threat to Robertson.
Robertson paid Fox $880 a month for a small apartment he rented from her for 15 years. He now pays $800 at his suburban apartment with much more room. The new location is just a 20-minute drive from his factory job, where he continues to work as a plastic-molding operator making $10.55 an hour.
Robertson told the Free Press said he does not plan to quit his job and will use the remain money to go towards his retirement. He also said that he wisely didn’t give anyone from the old neighborhood his new address.
“I may have been born there,” Robertson said, “but God knows I don’t belong there anymore.”