The Indescribable Leroy Fick

Fick, n.: "One who shamelessly and openly violates cultural norms of fairness and decency out of selfish motives"

If Ethics Alarms hadn’t awarded Donald Trump the Jerk of the Year Award, would Leroy Fick deserve it instead?

If Keith Olbermann was still giving out his “Worst Person ” titles, would Leroy Fick retire the category?

What is the right term for someone as shamelessly self-centered, and greedy as Leroy Fick?  “Bounder” is too dignified. “Creep” is too mild. “Bum’ is too sympathic. “Asshole’ is too generic. I’ve been searching all night; there isn’t a word in existence that does him justice.

Leroy Fick is a 59-year-old Auburn, Michigan man who won $2 million in a state lottery last June. Nevertheless, he is still living on food stamps, because eligibility for food stamps is based on gross income,  and  lottery winnings  don’t count as income. As long as Fick’s gross income stays below the eligibility requirement for food stamps, he can legally qualify for them, and despite the fact that  he knows they are only meant to help support low-income families, and despite the fact that they are paid for by taxpayers, and despite the fact that Michigan, like most states, is swimming in red ink, Leroy Fick intends to keep letting the state help feed him just as if he was destitute.

“If you’re going to try to make me feel bad, you’re not going to do it,” Fick told WNEM-TV in Saginaw on Monday. Naturally, Fick has a lawyer whose task it is to excuse his client’s astoundingly irresponsible conduct. He says that Fick “has done nothing wrong. It’s the system that needs (to be) changed.”

No, you toady, he has done something very wrong. He is taking advantage of a benefit that wasn’t meant for him. Two million dollars won from the state’s exploitation of the desperation of  thousands of other dolts who spend money they can’t afford to lose on a lottery isn’t enough for Leroy Fick—he wants the state to pay for his food too. Never mind that in a nation-wide fiscal crisis every American should be prepared to give up benefits they may be eligible for even if it hurts, Fick doesn’t care. He sees a way to play the system legally and get more than his fair share while others are suffering, and goes for it. This is a guy who leaves the store with the extra twenty bucks handed back to him as change by mistake. This is a guy who grabs the last seat on the bus and leave a sick old woman standing. This is the guy who takes an extra helping to finish off the best dish at a Smorgasbord, leaving the person behind him with nothing.  But he’s worse than these things too.

What ethical principle doesn’t his conduct violate? He’s not responsible; he’s not accountable; he’s not fair. He doesn’t respect his fellow citizens or their opinions. He’s not loyal to his state or his community. He’s not compassionate, and I wouldn’t trust him to walk my dog: he’d probably sell him.  Is he honest? Applying for food stamps is an act that declares that you need them to eat, because that’s the only reason they exist: Leroy Fick isn’t honest. I guess he doesn’t have a conflict of interest. 

Whoop-dee-do.

Now Leroy is preparing to play the celebrity, revelling in his 15 minutes of fame or infamy by seeking  TV interviews. Exploiting his miserable conduct: that riases his index of loathsomeness higher yet. Maybe CNN will give him a show. “Spitzer and Fick”!  Has a ring to it, don’t you think?

What can be done about LeRoy Fick? Well, some angry Michigan legislators are trying to pass a law that bans lottery winners from getting food stamps. I would hope every person who encounters him, whether it is on  the streets of Auburn or in the TV studios of the “Today” Show, tells him to his face that he is a disgrace to Michigan, the U.S., and the human race. For my part, I intend to henceforth designate any purveyor of especially despicable, anti-social conduct a “fick,” and occasionally bestow  the title of “Fick of the Month” to the especially deserving.

That’s what you are, Leroy…you’re a fick. And thanks to you, we have a good word to describe indescribably selfish  human beings.

36 thoughts on “The Indescribable Leroy Fick

  1. Ask not what your country can do for you; as what you can steal from your country like a selfish little fick.

  2. A couple of questions, Jack:

    What are the chances Fick’s lawyer really meant “[I’m his lawyer, not his spiritual advisor, and in purely legal terms] he did nothing wrong,” with the bracketed part not spoken but still implied? Or, as is too often the case, do we have another lawyer who doesn’t understand the difference?

    It also seems to me that the conflation between the illegal and the “wrong” is far greater now than it was when I was growing up amidst civil rights marches and Vietnam war protests. Often those protestors freely acknowledged that they were doing something illegal, but argued it was still the right thing to do. Contrast that with, say, the violent wing of today’s pro-choice movement or those who defend waterboarding, who argue that the moral legitimacy of their cause and/or their actions’ pragmatic value render that activity legal.

    First, do you see this trend, and, if so, what was the turning point? I’m thinking perhaps the Whitewater investigation, in which the prosecution’s inability to mount a case which they thought could convince 12 out of 12 jurors of criminality was trumpeted by the Clinton White House as an acknowledgment that the Clintons had “done nothing wrong,” an argument which resonated with many of Mr. Clinton’s political supporters.

    Finally, it strikes me that we as a society are more willing to grant distinctions between the illegal and the unethical than we are between the legal and the ethical, although the Leroy Ficks of the world ought to move us in the other direction. Indeed, we (collectively) argue that those who behave unethically must have violated some law, even if, as appears to be the case of Mr. Fick, they didn’t. Conversely, we don’t argue that illegal but (in our minds) ethical behavior is legal, but that it should be.

    By the way, I endorse your new coing, which has the additional advantage of being a contraction of “f-ing ick.”

    • Good, let’s all use it! It may be the best cultural defense” —most people don’t want to see themselves become the next “quisling.” Luckily, the guy’s name wasn’t “Czyslowvsky.”

      Oh, yes. I see the trend, and you identified when it started becoming viral. At the same time, oddly, the idea started spreading that violating the law wasn’t inherently unethical, a fight I have here all the time. (It isn’t unethical if you violate the law openly and with defensible ethical reasons other than “I don’t like the law” and “It inconveniences me.” and if you are willing to accept the consequences of breaking it.)

      A million reasons, including the decline of communities, lack of ethics understanding and training, too many role models and prominent figures embracing what I once called “the Al Gore Fallacy’ (“There is no controlling legal authority that holds my conduct wrongful.”) but decided that Al has enough problems.

      If someone filed an ethics compliant that the lawyer lied, I’m sure your supposition would constitute his defense, and it would be successful. Nonetheless, lawyers shouldn’t say things like this if they don’t believe its true–and I very much doubt that he does think it’s true.

      • I’d say that there are cases where breaking the law and trying to keep it secret would be the ethical choice (See: the underground railroad). So long as you are on the right side the issue, being forthright with the public seems an unnecessary condition. Being forthright with yourself, though, would be required.

  3. Also, disclosure. He did let the state know about his situation, technically getting the ball rolling on ending the loophole. So there’s that (tiny though it may be).

    A question that might be outside the realm of ethics but is probably the most important in the long term is why lottery winnings are considered income for tax purposes but not as concerns services.

    • Not a “fisk”! Fisk is a great former Boston Red Sox catcher who hit the famous game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series!!! It’s FICK! FICK I tell you!
      Not Fisk. NEVER Fisk. (And good night, Carlton, wherever you are!)

      • Oops! Sorry Fisk. Typo. A “puking FICK FICK.” Don’t throw any baseballs at me. Flubbing Fisk’s fabulous fly ball reputation has put me in a funk.

  4. Not that I don’t trust you, but I did go to dictionary.com and searched on the word “fick.” After displaying no results, the page read, “Did you mean fuck?”

    Yeah, sorta…the guy’s a ficking dirtbag.

    I was raised in Upper Michigan, 9 hours north of Fick Country, which slightly minimizes the shame I feel that he’s from my home state.

  5. Actually, this makes me wonder how many other people are doing something similar, but getting less press. AND why in MI lottery winnings don’t count in all instances as INCOME, esp. since most of them are paid out as annuities, which means income for years. If we have to pay taxes on it, even $20, when we win, why doesn’t it work into the formula to decide if he’s eligible for the food stamps? Passing the specific law against lottery winners and food stamps won’t fix the loopholes. GO FIND THE LOOPHOLES IN THE RULES, bureaucrats. Forest for the trees, anyone?

    • If Fick had taken the money as an annuity, he would have been ineligible for food stamps. The hopeful news? Most people from lower income levels who win lotteries and get lump sums blow through their winnings in a couple of years. The odds say Fick will be on fod stamps legitimately before you know it.

      • Let’s do the math. $2,000,000. If you take the lump sum and you pay your tax, you net about $900,000. Let’s assume he fixed himself up and some friends/family. Easily, he blew threw $400,000 and is now left with $500,000.

        If he’s invested that money, as he should, he might get $40,000k in annual earnings, but he’ll have to realize those gains first before they’re counted as income.

        • And that also assumes he doesn’t work at all, which if he wants to keep his cash in the bank, he probably need to, though I, for one, would never hire a known fick. The odds would be that he would plow through more than $400,000 on luxury items, binges and gifts or loans to relatives, but ficks have few friends, and don’t give a damn about family, so maybe not.

  6. Reducing “Santorum” to a vulgar phrase for paltry reasons was sort of iffy. Giving “fick” to the world is much more appropriate.

  7. Why is this any different than millionaires collecting monthly social security payments? If they have no need to draw from the government, why do they? Lighten up on the guy, he’s doing nothing that hundreds of millionaires before him haven’t done.

    • Why is it different? Food stamps are paid for by taxpayers to go to the needy. Social Security is a fund paid into by every citizen, who has a right to payments as the law dictates upon reaching the age of 65. There is no loophole, no anomaly. There have been calls for Social Security to be means-tested, but we have chosen not to put any limitation on the right, since everyone pays into the fdund. There is nothing anti-social about someone accessing the money the system says he has a right to. Fick is taking money from taxpayers for a benefit expressly designed for poor people. That’s not what Social Security is.

      Your last sentence is illogical, factually wrong and unethical. this is an ethics site. Because others have done something (though in this case, your analogy is all wet) doesn’t make it right.

    • Like Jack said! Its different because if you paid it in, its your money to begin with. The money for food stamps is payed by tax payers and the majority certainly are not rich.

  8. Just saw a replay of the Fick Fiasco on TLC’s Lottery Changed My Life. The first thing I thought of “those men cannot buy class,” especially after seeing Son-Of-Fick, Jeff, lack of teeth. He is going to make sure his dad is broke really fast.

    They’re both leeches! Leroy of the State of Michigan and Jeff of his dad.

    What I also thought was, “What goes around will come around.” I saw this on the Internet (http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2011/10/auburn_lottery_winner_says_he.html) – It’s “Auburn lottery winner says he lied about not using food stamps on TLC reality show.” I don’t believe Leroy! The article also said:

    In September, Fick was pulled over in Isabella County’s Chippewa Township for a traffic stop, when deputies found prescription painkillers in his possession. He faced two drug charges for the misdemeanor.

    Fick’s son Jeffery L. Fick, 31, was also featured on the show. In August, the younger Fick was arraigned on charges of stealing a car. He sat in jail for two weeks on a $10,000 cash-surety bond, before his dad bailed him out.

    The elder Fick said “there is nothing wrong with our relationship,” but declined to further comment about his son.

    I think both father and son are in BIG DENIAL that they both have problems!!! Ooops…there went their 15 minutes.

  9. Well, he paid $1,000,000 in taxes. So he just purchised the food stamps in advance. When I think of how tax much I pay in CA: Fed, state, county, city, property, dmv fees, bridge tolls, and park fess (there is a regional park near my house that charges $5 to get in and $6 to park)

    Hell, I think i should get food stamps too!

    • We all paid in allot of taxes but that does not get us anything. It mostly pays our congressmen for the rest of their life and the rest of their spouses life even after retirement. They get the same wage for life as well as healthcare! Yet they support the big banks and huge corporations instead of meeting the needs of the people who pay their wages. This is more bothersome to me than a few people abusing food stamps.

  10. Give the man a break…the government you’re so worried about took 1 million back from his two million win. Go attack the bankers and politicians , health insurers and pharmaceutical companies who rob, steal, kill and then come after your family and possessions. Why shouldn’t ordinary folk get on the band wagon? Ive got nowhere but debt being honest.

    • Yes, Melanie, and this is, I’m sorry to say, based on the evidence of this comment, because you are stupid. There’s no other way to say it, and you have a right to know, so you can plan your life and affairs accordingly and not blame everyone else. In particular, you want to keep being honest, because crime is no place for the IQ-challenged, I promise you.

      By the way, I fixed the dozen spelling, syntax and punctuation errors in your post, because I felt the full flavor of your cretinous comment needed to be appreciated, and as it was, I had to read it twice, which was no picnic, I can tell you.

  11. So does this bring up the term “Go Fick yourself!” ?
    The definition being: to win money from the Lotto, blow it all as quickly as possible, then end up in jail. ( both the father and son have been in jail since
    since Daddy won the money)

  12. Greed. It’s just sick greed. There are people who are hungry and doing without who have recently lost jobs and have to wait a while before qualifying for food stamps. In the meantime they are suffering because they cannot get any!!! Don’t worry. Anyone who takes in this way who is not in need is getting some serious Karma to deal with.

  13. I hate to say this bc yes it is morally wrong to collect food stamps when you’re wealthy… However, sigh.. here goes.. You say he used/stole tax payer money. He did indeed. But the man did just spend almost a million in taxes on his winnings, which is more than most pay in a life time. So technically he probably didn’t use any of your money at all. And that million of his thrown into the pool potentially helped more families as well.. food for thought.

    • This deserves a place in the rationalization Hall of Fame. he would have to pay those taxes whether he used the food stamps or not. He should not be eligible to use food stamps, and because he has enough funds to but food, he should not use them even if he is eligible. The fact that he pays taxes on his money doesn’t change a thing, or mitigate his fickiness.

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