A Michigan Lottery winner claims that winning the lottery ruined his life.

97.9 WGRD logo
Get our free mobile app

Jay Sommers of Mt. Clemens was just 20 years old when he hit the lottery for $5.8 million in 1988 (making him the youngest Michigan Lottery winner at that time).

According to Wikipedia, Sommers won one-fifth of a $28.9 million jackpot in the Michigan Lottery.

Before winning the Michigan Lottery, Jay Sommers was a professional stock car racing driver and went on to purchase additional race cars with his millions.

So when did things go bad for this Michigan Lottery winner?

Things went bad for Jay Sommers when he let a high school friend, John Paganes, talk him into handling his money.

Pagnes did send Jay Sommers monthly payments for a while, but the money eventually ran out. We think you know what is coming next.

Sommers spoke with the New York Post in July 2022 and had this to say about the unfortunate business arrangement,

'I put money in a trust fund and the trustee embezzled $2 million from me.


I went into NASCAR and that was fun but expensive — it cost me $200,000 per year. I raced in Daytona and finished fourth. I quit college, which was idiotic.


I wound up suing the trustee and won, but he threatened to go bankrupt. So I settled for $800,000. My lawyers got $380,000. I spent about $200,000 on the trial, which I did not know I would be responsible for.'

During the same New York Post interview (2022) Sommers said he was a mechanic and working a normal nine-to-five job and did indeed confirm that winning the lottery ruined his life.

Before you judge, keep in mind how young Sommers was at the time of winning.

For more on Jay Sommers, check out the videos below.

10 Poorest Michigan Cities 2024

Gallery Credit: TSM Lab

10 Richest Cities In Michigan

Gallery Credit: Home Snacks


More From 97.9 WGRD