OPRAH WINFREY is being blamed by family and friends of a Massachusetts man for his tragic suicide – with charges he was pushed over the edge when the talk queen backed out of a deal to buy his home.
Richard Donoghue was in desperate financial straits when Oprah agreed to purchase the 49-year-old carpenter’s house.
Suddenly his spirits lifted – only to be crushed when Oprah reneged on her commitment, say insiders.
In June, the distraught Worcester, Mass., native hanged himself – but not before pointing an accusing finger at Oprah.
Contacted by The ENQUIRER, Richard’s son Steven Donoghue said his father’s suicide note makes it clear that the media mogul was a major factor in his decision to hang himself.
“My dad was very upset, and Oprah played a huge role in his suicide,” charged Steven, 29. “He even mentioned Oprah in his suicide note, which my mother has.”
A neighbor of the victim told The ENQUIRER that Richard’s death came only months after 57-year-old Oprah put down a $25,000 deposit to buy his home.
Oprah intended to refurbish it for handicapped living and then give it to one of her interview guests – Monica Jorge, a 39-year-old mom who lost her arms and legs to flesh-eating bacteria.
But the deal with Richard was never finalized. Monica, with Oprah’s help and that of her frequent interior-designer guest Nate Berkus – who’d launched his own TV show – moved into another home.
The turnaround left Richard stunned and extremely depressed, according to his family and others.
“Richard had everything in his house packed and ready to go – he was extremely excited to be getting out from the debt and to have a chance to rebuild his life,” divulged the neighbor, who asked not to be named.
“One day, the police blocked off the road. Oprah’s cameras recorded the house, and the results aired on a special. Then just a short time later, Richard got word that Oprah reneged on the deal.
“Richard didn’t get to keep the deposit. He was absolutely devastated. Everything had been signed and ready to go – and then suddenly off. He was at his wit’s end.”
On Dec. 3, 2010, just months before his June suicide, an anguished Richard complained on an Internet blog that Oprah had “screwed” him in a deal to buy his house.
He bitterly declared that she had tried “to squash a little guy” – and succeeded.
“As far as I’m concerned,” said Richard’s neighbor, “Oprah is a selfish, no-good woman. While she portrays herself as this amazing person to the media, she definitely had no mercy for this innocent man, and he took his life because of her.”