BYRON CENTER, Mich. -- A lot of people have dreamed of winning the lottery. That dream came true for a man from Portage when he won the "Cash for Life" lottery back in the 1990s.
Since then, he’s fallen on hard times, his winnings are now headed to the auction block.
"We sell a lot of vehicles, travel trailers, motor homes, land," auctioneer Duane Mingerink said.
However, Mingerink said this week's hot item on Repocast.com requires a leap of faith.
"This is a very unique case," Mingerink said.
For the first time in his 25 years with Miedema Auctioneering in Byron Center, Mingerink is auctioning off lottery winnings. The Portage man's "Cash for Life" earnings will be auctioned off on Repocast.
According to federal court records, the Portage man filed for bankruptcy in 2005. As a debtor, his monthly winnings were redirected to repay his creditors. Two months ago, the bankruptcy trustee decided to put the lottery money on the auction block to generate a lump sum to pay off the debts.
So Mingerink said the highest bidder on the lotto winnings will receive $1,000 a month, but there's a catch.
"The main question that we've had throughout this whole thing is, 'how long am I going to receive these payments? My life or the debtor's life?,'" Mingerink said.
The auctioneer said the payout lasts for as long as the debtor lives. The debtor is 73 years old and Mingerink said the auctioneering company has received all sorts of questions from potential bidders about the Portage man's health. He says he has no clue.
"It's like gambling. Who knows? Ya know, you're taking a risk. I mean, the gentleman actually could die next week. He could die in 20 years, 30 years. We just don't know," Mingerink said.
Bankruptcy trustee Thomas Richardson told FOX 17 he’s hearing the man is in good health. So what’s the opening bid?
"If you're going to bid, you're going to have to bid 30,000 to start the process," Mingerink said.
After the initial $30,000 bid, each following bid will be $25 increments. If you're skeptical of any of this, Mingerink said the bankruptcy documents are posted on Repocast.com and approved with the judge's signature.
"If he makes it 10 years, you've done very well. It's been a great investment," Mingerink said.
Richarson said the Portage man's bankruptcy totaled $1.67 million, much of it tied to a business he had.
Mingerink said the auction is Thursday, Jan. 7 from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.