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Lottery winner almost out of cash three years later

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Lottery winner almost out of cash three years later

SAGINAW, Michigan — For fun, Keith Bryce and his wife, Elizabeth, play bingo on Tuesdays at a Knights of Columbus Hall, or watch movies on a mattress in the living room.

It's a long way from the craps tables, flashing lights and plush presidential suites at the swank Las Vegas hotels of their honeymoon.

Since Bryce won the Mega Millions lottery three years ago, he has clashed with family, spent close to $3 million and isn't far from the poorhouse — a place he assumed he'd never visit again.

In the first 30 days after hitting the jackpot — which brought him $3.7 million — Bryce dished out at least $1 million.

He still has some of the toys and accoutrements to show for it: A home on 5 fenced-in acres with a man-made pond out front, a quarter-mile long driveway and a garage for each of his rides — a pearl white Cadillac Escalade, blue convertible Corvette and Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Three months after winning, Bryce had almost a half-million dollars in taxes to pay.

He has stopped the $100 tips for Applebee's waitresses, drunken, late-night check writing and footing the bill for his three adult children.

Facing life as a thousand-aire at 47, Keith Bryce is back installing windows for his brothers' company, the same part-time job he worked before winning.

"When you don't have any money to begin with," his sister Kay Popp says, "I wouldn't wish (winning the lottery) on anybody."

Disagreements over money have divided the Bryce family.

Elizabeth Bryce swears her husband's 70-year-old mother, Helen Bryce, flips her off when they pass each other on the road.

"Greed's what wrecked us," Keith Bryce says.

Things weren't always that way.

Soon after cashing his $3.7 million check, Bryce gave his siblings and mother $10,000 apiece with the promise of more to come. He bought a Cadillac Escalade for his mother, Harleys for his brothers and gifts for their children.

'Everything went wrong'

Bryce and his mother exchange hellos when they pass each other at the grocery. They haven't talked since he married Elizabeth Rendon, a former bartender 20 years younger than he.

Bryce and Rendon met when she worked at Drake's Bar on Dixie Highway, where Bryce would buy shots and beer for everyone in the joint.

After their first date, they headed back to his house. Bryce asked her to make out. She never left. The couple wed at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas two months later on Bryce's 46th birthday.

The couple made the three-day, 2,000-mile road trip from Bridgeport, bickering all the way.

"I didn't think we'd get married once we got there," Keith Bryce says.

Family members assumed the younger woman married Bryce for his money.

Soon after the marriage, Bryce quit acting like an ATM, handing out hundreds of dollars per week to relatives, he says.

"Everything went wrong," his mother, Helen Bryce, says. "I just stay out of their business."

Family business

The first time Bryce met with an attorney, the lawyer gave him some advice: Don't go into business with family. He didn't listen.

In a venture with his six brothers and sisters, Bryce bought the former Deming's Hardware, 6165 Dixie Highway, in 2006. They named the place Gene's Bridgeport Hardware in honor of their dead father.

His brothers and sisters voted him out of the business and kept the store on a $230,000 purchase agreement. They pay their brother $2,000 per month.

Kay Popp works the register, nine hours per day, five days per week. The other siblings rotate the weekend shift. A thin film of dust covers the merchandise at Gene's, evidence that sales are slow.

"It's hard right now," Popp says. "We're barely making it."

Three months ago, Keith Bryce went back to work for his brothers at KBS Builders to help pay the bills.

The brothers pay him in cash and talk about work, avoiding family matters. They had to let him return to work; he bought part of the business when he was flush with cash.

The Bryce family had Thanksgiving dinner without Keith this year. He doesn't expect to see them at Christmas, either.

"I don't know too much about what he's doing now," his mother says. "I don't even want to think about it."

Popp wishes her brother never won the Mega Millions.

"Money does strange things to people," she says. "That's what it did to Keith."

Starting over

The calls have stopped, and the hectic pace of life as a millionaire has slowed enough, Bryce says, to let him enjoy life again — at times.

Bryce has multiple sclerosis, a nervous system disease that forces the body to attack itself.

At times, the muscles in his arms and legs tighten up, making it tough for him to sleep and walk. He shuffles around so stiffly, people wonder if his back gave out.

His wife's massages and long soaks in his hot tub don't do much to ease the pain.

If his condition worsens, the couple isn't sure insurance will cover the hundreds of thousands of dollars in anticipated medical expenses.

Among the first donations Bryce made after hitting the jackpot were $10,000 to help a Bridgeport High School classmate battling bone cancer and $25,000 to a pediatric cancer charity.

Now he's unsure if his winnings will last long enough to help him through lean times. The medical bills could force Elizabeth Bryce back to work and Keith Bryce to pull money out of investments he set up to guarantee his retirement.

"He don't have a whole lot left," Elizabeth Bryce says. "He was too giving to everybody else."

Since he married and joined Sheridan Road Baptist Church, Bryce stopped drinking and hanging out in bars. He plans to travel with the Rev. Lou Jurva and other parishioners on a missionary home-building trip to Hermosillo, Mexico, in February.

Jurva counseled the couple after Keith Bryce considered ending the marriage in March, citing physical and verbal abuse, court records about the start of divorce proceedings show.

"I'm a happy man," Keith Bryce says. "I got a gorgeous wife and a great stepson."

Bryce also has his eye on another jackpot. The half of the $35 million that he and former co-worker Aristeo Robelin didn't win remains unclaimed, more than three years after a vendor in Wilmington, Calif., sold the ticket, Bryce said.

He wants his lawyer to go to court and argue that he and Robelin are entitled to the money.

If that doesn't work, he still spends $10 each Tuesday and Friday on tickets. The night he bought the winner was the first time he ever played Mega Millions.

"I can do it again," he says. "I have just as good a chance as the next person."

Keith Bryce, 47 - seen here with his wife, 27-year-old Elizabeth M. Bryce - won $3 million in the Mega Millions lottery in 2005. But three years later, he says, the money's nearly all gone.
Keith Bryce, 47 - seen here with his wife, 27-year-old Elizabeth M. Bryce - won $3 million in the Mega Millions lottery in 2005. But three years later, he says, the money's nearly all gone.

Bay City Times

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26 comments. Last comment 8 years ago by charmed7.
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Avatar
md
United States
Member #14047
April 20, 2005
579 Posts
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Posted: December 10, 2008, 8:15 pm - IP Logged

This is a tragic case, as is the same for millions of winners who don't know how to get advice, take advice, and follow advice.  Hopefully he'll find peace.

    GamerMom's avatar - tails

    United States
    Member #60535
    April 21, 2008
    460 Posts
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    Posted: December 10, 2008, 8:31 pm - IP Logged

    i'm not sure if that's 3 million before or after taxes but ESPECIALLY if that is 3.7 mil before taxes I would not not not not quit my job and certainly wound not not not buy lavish cars and such.  Poor guy. Maybe things will work out for him

      ladyg's avatar - center
      New Member
      atlanta,ga
      United States
      Member #8881
      November 20, 2004
      5 Posts
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      Posted: December 10, 2008, 8:34 pm - IP Logged

      This is a tragic case, as is the same for millions of winners who don't know how to get advice, take advice, and follow advice.  Hopefully he'll find peace.

      Wow, what a sad story, I hope everything works out for them. Especially in this crappy economy. You can't save the world & help everybody, it's impossible to do so, now where are those family members he helped so depeserately. What about him now & his wife, what do they get in return. A lesson learned for me.

      ladyg

        hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

        United States
        Member #52345
        May 21, 2007
        2656 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 10, 2008, 8:52 pm - IP Logged

        Rule one :

        ignore family !!!

        Rule two :

        listen to paid and sound advice !!!

        Thinking of...

          wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

          United States
          Member #15143
          May 10, 2005
          414 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: December 10, 2008, 9:17 pm - IP Logged

          Best wishes to the Bryce family. I hope they settle their differences.

           

          This is why I need the 207 mill jackpot... I have a problem with recurring bouts of spenditis but could never spend that amount.

            Piaceri's avatar - sarsony1
            Republic of Texas
            United States
            Member #57557
            January 9, 2008
            1095 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 10, 2008, 9:24 pm - IP Logged

            Best wishes to the Bryce family. I hope they settle their differences.

             

            This is why I need the 207 mill jackpot... I have a problem with recurring bouts of spenditis but could never spend that amount.

            I could spend that amount, very easily (horses - not racers, but show jumpers). But I won't because I know I can. Does that make sense?

            Although $3.7m is nothing to sneeze at, it is also nothing to quit your day job over. It's a VERY nice nest egg. One that will make your worries about retirement go away. Properly managed, winning that amount at age 45, you could retire early at say age 55 or 60, buy a motorhome and see the country.  That would be so cool.

            face

            singlewinnersinglewinnersinglewinner   

              dphillips's avatar - littleuns
              Albuquerque, New Mexico
              United States
              Member #5128
              June 18, 2004
              377 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: December 10, 2008, 9:31 pm - IP Logged

              In these tough, economic times when people are losing their jobs, and Keith Bryce, who was fortunate enough to beat the lottery odds, there is absolutely no way he should be broke.  Now, Keith, consider these finer points and take heed:

              1.  Perhaps, in your particular circumstance, you should have taken the annuity option: at least if you spent through your winnings like a drunken sailor the first year, your family and your friends would have to wait for the next yearly payout.

              2.  You could have been living off the monthly interest from your winnings  by putting your winnings in a high-interest savings account, treasury bills, Series I or E bonds, or municipal bonds. In my opinion, you would be investing, conservatively.

              3.  Just say no, Keith, to your family members.  If they didn't give you a $1.00 toward your dream, and you knew your family may have been financially dysfunctional before you won the money, you have nothing to complain about.  You made your bed, you lie in it!

              4.  Your wife ...was she there for you BEFORE you won your windfall?  How much of an emotional invested interest did she have in you.  Here again, she might love you for richer or for poorer...only time will tell. 

              5. You bought, bought, bought and didn't keep tabs on your spending habits (at least having an accountant might have helped put your spending under control if you, Keith, weren't able to do so).

              6.  Common sense didn't prevail: marriage?  Gee, Keith, why didn't you just live with her.  What she brings into the relationship (pots, plants, mirrors), she takes with her, if she leaves.  Credit cards should be separate; checking accounts, separate...none of this joint account, Mr. and Mrs. Keith Bryce.

              7.  Sure, Keith, it's nice to have some gifts for the family, but you had some expensive -- over the line gifts: cars and a motorcyle.

              8.  Yes, a home is a great investment, but with a home, comes responsibility. Obviously, you didn't want to rent, but if you had invested wisely and if you were more patient, perhaps owing a home in the future would have been feasible.

              Finally, Keith, if you win again, please learn your lesson: always have a rainy day fund set aside for yourself (and not for family) as an investment in your future.  Family members can purchase their own dreams!

              See Ya!-- Bye, bye!  When you win, may you glow as brightly as theSun Smiley

                hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

                United States
                Member #52345
                May 21, 2007
                2656 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: December 10, 2008, 9:41 pm - IP Logged

                In these tough, economic times when people are losing their jobs, and Keith Bryce, who was fortunate enough to beat the lottery odds, there is absolutely no way he should be broke.  Now, Keith, consider these finer points and take heed:

                1.  Perhaps, in your particular circumstance, you should have taken the annuity option: at least if you spent through your winnings like a drunken sailor the first year, your family and your friends would have to wait for the next yearly payout.

                2.  You could have been living off the monthly interest from your winnings  by putting your winnings in a high-interest savings account, treasury bills, Series I or E bonds, or municipal bonds. In my opinion, you would be investing, conservatively.

                3.  Just say no, Keith, to your family members.  If they didn't give you a $1.00 toward your dream, and you knew your family may have been financially dysfunctional before you won the money, you have nothing to complain about.  You made your bed, you lie in it!

                4.  Your wife ...was she there for you BEFORE you won your windfall?  How much of an emotional invested interest did she have in you.  Here again, she might love you for richer or for poorer...only time will tell. 

                5. You bought, bought, bought and didn't keep tabs on your spending habits (at least having an accountant might have helped put your spending under control if you, Keith, weren't able to do so).

                6.  Common sense didn't prevail: marriage?  Gee, Keith, why didn't you just live with her.  What she brings into the relationship (pots, plants, mirrors), she takes with her, if she leaves.  Credit cards should be separate; checking accounts, separate...none of this joint account, Mr. and Mrs. Keith Bryce.

                7.  Sure, Keith, it's nice to have some gifts for the family, but you had some expensive -- over the line gifts: cars and a motorcyle.

                8.  Yes, a home is a great investment, but with a home, comes responsibility. Obviously, you didn't want to rent, but if you had invested wisely and if you were more patient, perhaps owing a home in the future would have been feasible.

                Finally, Keith, if you win again, please learn your lesson: always have a rainy day fund set aside for yourself (and not for family) as an investment in your future.  Family members can purchase their own dreams!

                 well said Roll Eyes

                  JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

                  United States
                  Member #4121
                  March 23, 2004
                  817 Posts
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                  Posted: December 10, 2008, 10:04 pm - IP Logged

                  Very attractive gold digger!!! I don't feel sorry for him.  Wink

                    computerhead723's avatar - lightbulb
                    Buffalo
                    United States
                    Member #54397
                    August 17, 2007
                    245 Posts
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                    Posted: December 10, 2008, 10:35 pm - IP Logged

                    he  is  47  and  his  wife   is   27  yr.   and  he  can't  explain  where  all  the  money  is Agree with stupid......but  his  alment   of   MS  means  his  life  will  be  short   and  long -term  old  folks  home  ....sad  very  sad.......No Pity!

                      s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
                      Hard Luck, Ak
                      United States
                      Member #23472
                      October 13, 2005
                      275 Posts
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                      Posted: December 10, 2008, 11:44 pm - IP Logged

                      Like Warren Buffet says:

                      Rule #1 DON'T LOSE MONEY

                      Rule #2 DON'T FORGET RULE #1

                      Also there is not a chance in hell that he is going be able to claim the other half of the jackpot because he did not purchase the other winning ticket!

                      Bang Head

                        DC81's avatar - batman39
                        MI
                        United States
                        Member #54830
                        August 31, 2007
                        985 Posts
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                        Posted: December 10, 2008, 11:51 pm - IP Logged

                        I like how the family talks about how he's "changed" and things like that when it's obvious they changed too and not for the better.. It seems more like the problem is that his wife actually started to stop his monetary stupidity at least to some extent and when he stopped paying they turned against him. But still another winner who apparently didn't know they'd have more taxes due..

                        Either way, just another reminder of what happens with greedy family...

                        You can't predict random.

                          savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
                          adelaide sa
                          Australia
                          Member #37136
                          April 11, 2006
                          3300 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: December 11, 2008, 12:18 am - IP Logged

                          cmon with the finance disaster and such, if he had invested like a good advisor had told him he would still be broke

                          2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016 JAN = -106; FEB= -81; MAR= -131; APR= - 87: MAY= -91; JUN= -39; JUL=-134; AUG= -124; SEP = -123; OCT= -84  NOV=- 73 TOT= -3498

                          keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= JAN=-32, FEB= +12 , MAR= -86, APR = -77. MAY= -48, JUN= -29, JUL=-71; AUG = -52; SEPT= -43; OCT = +56 NOV = -33 TOT= -3297

                            barbos's avatar - gold bar-and-cash1.jpg
                            California
                            United States
                            Member #23908
                            October 17, 2005
                            122 Posts
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                            Posted: December 11, 2008, 1:15 am - IP Logged

                            cmon with the finance disaster and such, if he had invested like a good advisor had told him he would still be broke

                            I Agree!    These days the  best investment option is the wallet.