Brewer's Family Claims Bank Not Releasing Donations

Family Wants Money Raised For Teen Set On Fire

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The family of a Deerfield Beach boy set on fire by a group of teenagers almost two years ago says now they're being burned by a bank.

Michael Brewer's family claims Bank of America refuses to release more than $100,000 in donations from a fund established after the attack.

"It's disappointing because you trust the doctor, you trust the banker, you trust the lawyer that you hand your money to," said Maureen Brewer, Michael's grandmother, who spoke with Local 10's Roger Lohse at her home in West Palm Beach.

Brewer says her grandson, Michael, and his family desperately need the $128,000 that's been sitting at a branch in Deerfield Beach since late 2009.

"The money is important because they're like every other family America today. They're trying to support themselves," Maureen Brewer said.

It's been almost two years since Michael Brewer was doused with rubbing alcohol and set on fire by a group of boys in a Deerfield Beach neighborhood. It was an attack that left him with second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body. The incident drew international attention, and with it came hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from sympathizers around the world.

The Brewers say they've been asking Bank of America since June to release the donations it collected. They even got a court order, but they say the bank has yet to hand over the money.

Bank of America refused to comment on the Brewer case specifically, for privacy reasons, but says generally the type of account established for Brewer is tightly regulated by the state, and the bank has strict guidelines to follow before it can release he money.

"These people are running a business. It's not OK," Maureen Brewer said.

She said Michael is doing well. He's working for a construction company this summer and is getting ready to start his sophomore year in high school. She hopes Bank of America will soon put Michael's money where its mouth is.

"'The check is in the mail,' is like an a American joke, right? 'The check is in the mail.' It's not funny anymore," she said.

The three boys accused of setting Brewer on fire are charged with attempted second-degree murder. They're scheduled for trial later this year.

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