Want to know reason no. 1,149 (okay, I made up that number) for why our country is broke?
Almost a year after a man in Bay County, Michigan won $2 million in a state lottery game, he’s still getting food stamps — food stamps paid for by you and me and the 53% of Americans who still pay income taxes.
Ron French reports for Detroit News, May 18, 2011:
A Michigan man who won $2 million in a state lottery game continues to collect food stamps 11 months after striking it rich. And there’s nothing the state can do about it, at least for now.
Leroy Fick, 59, of Auburn won $2 million in the state lottery TV show “Make Me Rich!” last June. But the state’s Department of Human Services determined he was still eligible for food stamps, Fick’s attorney, John Wilson of Midland, said Tuesday.
Eligibility for food stamps is based on gross income and follows federal guidelines; lottery winnings are considered liquid assets and don’t count as income. As long as Fick’s gross income stays below the eligibility requirement for food stamps, he can receive them, even if he has a million dollars in the bank.
Food stamps are paid for through tax dollars and are meant to help support low-income families.
“If you’re going to try to make me feel bad, you’re not going to do it,” Fick told WNEM-TV in Saginaw on Monday. Wilson said Fick told the DHS officials he’d won $2 million but was told he could keep using the Bridge Card issued to him to buy groceries.
Fick could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Al Kimichik, director of the office of inspector general for DHS, said the department could not comment on individual cases but that it this week began the process of requesting a waiver from the federal government to close the lottery loophole. If it is granted, assets would be counted in determining food stamp eligibility….
“For Leroy Fick to continue to use a Bridge Card, paid for by the taxpayers, after winning the lottery, is obscene,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “What a waste of taxpayer money.” Jones contacted DHS officials Monday about Fick’s case, and was told the department’s hands were tied by federal regulations….
“I am not going to sit and debate the ethics of this,” Wilson said. “But from his standpoint, he did what he was supposed to do — he informed the state, and the state said he could keep using the card. The problem is with the state.”
The UK’s Daily Mail says Leroy Fick has bought a house and an Audi convertible since winning the $2million lottery.
I found a Leroy N. Fick, b. 1951 (so he’s the right age, 59) on ZabaSearch. There are two addresses for Fick, both in the city of Auburn:
- 3965 11 Mile, Auburn, MI 48611 / Tel: (989) 662-0226
- 3198 Carter, Auburn, MI 48611 / Tel: (989) 662-4851
The first home, 3965 11 Mile Rd., must be Fick’s primary residence because Zillow says it was sold/purchased on 9/27/1994. That means the second property, 3198 Carter, must be the new home Fick purchased with some of his lottery winnings. Alas, Zillow cannot find 3198 Carter.
I also located Leroy Fick on Spokeo, where he’s identified as:
- Living at 3965 11 Mile Rd., Auburn, MI — for 11 years;
- Born in 1951;
- Is a Protestant who likes to read the Bible!
- African-American; and
- a registered Democrat.