Cleveland ‘Hero’ Charles Ramsey Says He’s Not Homeless

The unlikely Good Samaritan disputes the claims of a British tabloid that he is destitute

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Lucian Perkins / The Washington Post / Getty Images

Charles Ramsey poses for customers at Ben's Chili Bowl in downtown Washignton D.C. in May, 2013.

Despite reports that he is broke and destitute, the man who helped free three women from a Cleveland home this spring says none of it is true.

“Bulls*t,” he said. “And that’s politically correct,” Charles Ramsey told Cleveland TV station WYKC Tuesday night.

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Ramsey, 43, who was catapulted to instant notoriety when he rescued three women who had allegedly been held in captivity for about a decade by neighbor Ariel Castro, says a report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail is false. The story, which quickly went viral, claimed that he told a reporter that he can’t keep a job because of distractions from fans. The story added that he is dependent on the kindness of friends, despite making $30,000 in endorsements and expecting $50,000 more.

But Ramsey says that the report is “full of lies.” He says he’s not homeless, but had to move away from the house next to Castro where he lived because so many people were knocking on his door. He says he is staying with family and friends until he finds a new apartment. He hasn’t gotten rich, but has made a modest income of about $18,000 from public appearances.

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“What I’ve made is a whole bunch of friends, and what I’ve been doing is borrowing money from a whole bunch of friends,” he said. “Where’d I go from? I went from a dishwasher, to a millionaire to broke? Does that make any sense?” For employment, he plans to start his own website, where he’ll sell his own merchandise.

Ramsey’s fame began in May when he pried open a door in Castro’s home on Cleveland’s southwest side that freed Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and Berry’s child. Overnight he became a nationwide hero, making TV appearances that featured his colorful working man’s wit. Several restaurants offer him free hamburgers for life, which he turned down.  The Daily Mail claims his fortunes went south soon after the buzz died down.

Meanwhile, Castro has been charged with 977 counts of kidnapping, rape, and assault among several other offenses. At a second arraignment on Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty to the charges and a judge continued his $8 million bond.

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