BY DAWSON BELL
DETROIT FREE PRESS LANSING BUREAU
The luck of Leroy Fick, Michigan's 59-year-old "Food Stamp Millionaire" -- a lottery winner on government food assistance -- appeared to be running out Wednesday as state officials worked to get him off the dole.
Representatives of the Department of Human Services and members of the Legislature said they were moving quickly to revise rules that made it possible for Fick to keep collecting food stamps after he won $2 million in the lottery's televised "Make Me Rich" game in July.
DHS officials confirmed that Fick had contacted them about his winnings and was notified that he could continue to receive aid because he had taken the winnings in a lump sum and still met the income threshold for food assistance.
Rep. Charles Brunner, D-Bay City, said Wednesday that he was outraged by the situation, uncovered earlier this week by WNEM-TV5 in Saginaw, which received a tip from a resident who had seen Fick using his Bridge Card.
Fick told the TV station that his use of food stamps was justified because the government took more than half of his winnings in taxes.
"If you're going to ... try to make me feel bad, you aren't going to do it. It ain't going to happen," he said.
But Brunner said the situation was inexcusable.
"It's just awful," Brunner said Wednesday. "It's not just a glitch; it's a gaping loophole. It's something we've got to fix."
Lawmakers said they planned to urge the federal government to change regulations that make it possible for a lottery winner to qualify for aid.
Fick, who lives in Auburn west of Bay City, could not be reached by telephone Wednesday.
Contact Dawson Bell: 517-372-8661 or email@example.com
In: Regional News
Tags: food stamps, lottery winner,
Location: Lansing, Michigan, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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