From riche$ to rags - Lotto winner blows $45m

March 09, 2016
Shanna Monteith An unfinished eight-bedroom house which McLean started building with his Lotto winnings before he hit hard times.
Michael McLean
Shanna Monteith Michael McLean is a picture of sadness as he explains how he fell on hard times
Broke lotto winner Michael McLean want to sell this faulty Chevrolet Avalanche that has been parked in his yard since 2010.

Easy come easy go, they say, and Michael McLean from Woodburn, St Thomas, has 45 million reasons to agree.

Also called Coolie and later Lotto Man, McLean described what he felt on November 24, 2004 only as "Good vibes" after the numbers his late grandmother revealed to him in a dream turned out to be the winning numbers to a $45 million Lotto draw.

For McLean, the win opened breaches to a world of opportunities that he as a 'poor youth growing up would never imagine he would have had access to'.

But the ticket to his dream nearly proved to be a death sentence.

"After the government took $7 million from the money, I gave my mother and eight siblings a million dollars each. I believe that if I am a millionaire then my family should all be millionaires too. And though I am glad I won, money mek mi nearly dead and that's why I shared it up like that. People used to patrol behind mi house to look for me to rob and kill me. Luckily I went away to Portland to breeze out for a while," McLean said.

M relatives

He told The Star that one of his relatives is the main reason he is nearly broke today.

"After I spend most of the money to build this family house, I got in some 'ruption' with one of my relatives and though that person didn't directly rob the money that person is the reason that everything went down the drain," McLean said.

"I had $10 million left after I shared up what I had to with family and children and a few other minor things. I put the $10 million in the bank and took out a tractor worth over $6 million. One of my relatives was put in charge of it but somehow I wasn't seeing any of the money it was making. I had to be drawing money from the bank to pay for the tractor though the bank already told me that the tractor would be able to pay for itself. When I brought the issue to my relative it caused a bad vibes so I had to take it from him," he revealed.


And if that was not enough, the tractor started malfunctioning.

"Then it began to give a lot of problems. I had to be spending hundreds of thousands to fix it. When I fixed it, men stole all the parts and when I went to find out how much it would cost to replace them I was told $2.5 million so I just sold what was left of the tractor instead," he said.

McLean now laments that he has no money to buy food on a regular basis and almost nothing to show, except for his unfinished eight-bedroom 'mansion' and his faulty Chevrolet Avalanche that has been parked in his yard since 2010.

The 56-year old said although he has lost everything, he is thankful for life and hopes to win again.

"I'm not sorry I won because it really helped my family. Now I gamble to win to try and help myself. If I should win again I would let the bank deal with all the money and not my family members. The bank encouraged me to invest in houses so I can rent them but I had already begun sharing up the money among my family members and allowed that relative to take charge because I couldn't really read and write. Is bad-mind that tear mi down," he shared.

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