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Porn shop lottery winner doesn't reveal himself

Nov 12, 2010, 5:22 pm

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Mega Millions / Powerball

Michigan Lottery pays out record $268.6 million on two multi-state jackpots won a week apart

By Todd Northrop

So who bought the huge winning lottery ticket at the porn shop in Highland Park?

Nobody is saying, not even Mike Greer, 49, of Farmington Hills, who came forward to collect the $128.6 million in Powerball winnings on behalf of Team Victory, a lottery club.

"I didn't buy it," Greer said today. "I never play. I'm sorry."

Greer acknowledged he was being intentionally vague about the club, which he said has "more than two and less than 100" members. The Uptown Book Store on Woodward Avenue in Highland Park is an adult novelty store that rents pornographic videos, which prompted snickers around Detroit when the Lottery announced it had sold the winning ticket.

Greer described club members as a group of family and friends who are lifelong acquaintances. He said he intends to continue to run his digital imaging business and plans to spend some of his share of the winnings fixing up his house. He likes where he lives, but says the place could use some updating.

"I'd be lying if I told you that we weren't going to indulge ourselves," he said, though he hadn't settled on how to spend it.

Members of his group decided on a lump sum payment, which means they will split $69.6 million, before taxes, said Abbey Brewer, a lottery spokeswoman. The lottery is required by law to deduct 4.35% of the winnings for state income tax, and another 25% for federal taxes, Brewer said.

Greer said he would give some money to the church, though he wouldn't say which one.

Lottery rules require someone to publicly claim the prize. Greer said he agreed to be the face of the club, "because they asked me."

Ticket sales are up at the bookstore since the news broke, said owner Sam Soof, who wasn't as lucky as his customers. "I'm sort of sad," he told told local media. "I had a ticket, and all I got was four bucks."

But don't shed too many tears for Soof: His store gets $50,000 for selling the winning ticket.

Big Mega Millions winner too

The other winner was Steve Mays, a retiree who also was tight-lipped about himself. He said he retired about 10 years ago from "a major corporation" and was comfortable until the economy tanked in 2008, when his fixed income came under strain.

"We're going to retire again and start all over," Mays said.

He bought his winning Mega Millions ticket in at the Grape 'N' Grain, a party store in Gladstone that he frequents to pick up up "beverages." He played a single dollar and let the computer pick the numbers. He also played a dollar in the Powerball, hoping to win the jackpot that Greer's group won.

He said he learned he was holding the winning ticket while standing at the machine. He saw he had the Mega Ball, so he knew he had some money coming.

"I checked the first number and I had it," he said. "They just kept coming out."

Mays said the first person he told was his wife. They have four children and six grandchildren, who can expect to share in his new wealth "eventually."

Mays chose to receive his winnings in annual payments instead of a lump sum. He'll receive $5.4 million a year, before taxes, for the next 26 years, Brewer said. Mays said he has sought professional guidance on how to invest his money "because nobody knows everything."

Greer wouldn't discuss the unusual business where the winning ticket was purchased, saying he didn't buy it and didn't know who did. A member of the group of family and friends bought it and wanted to share the wealth, he said.

"Why us?" he said. "I can only assume the Lord trusts us. It will allow us to support things we believe in."

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Some portions sourced from the Detroit Free Press.

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