At 60 he’s trying to undo a lifetime of addiction
Facing life on the street, the former broadcaster and betting guru is taking what could be his last chance to rebuild his life.
August 12, 2017
He owned a four-bedroom house with a pool in a ritzy York Mills neighbourhood and enjoyed all the perks of the affluent: winters luxuriating at his family’s two-storey beachfront condo in Palm Beach, idyllic summers at an island cottage in Parry Sound, a ski chalet, a golf club membership and so many trips to Las Vegas, he was on a first-name basis with casino executives.
Cash wasn’t just his nickname, it defined him; he came from money and his own annual earnings topped $400,000.
Michael (Cash) Pomer even had some prominence in Toronto, certainly within the city’s gambling community, due to his frequent appearances on television and radio as an NFL handicapper. In the ’90s and early 2000s, he could be seen trading quips with Jim Tatti on Sportsline or heard on The Fan on Sunday mornings, hosting his own two-hour gambling show.
Now the money, and some $6 million in assets, is gone. All of it.
Cash Pomer is penniless.
Even if you don’t recall Pomer as a quirky on-air personality, his is a remarkable story of loss; a tale of how the grip of drug addiction can cause a man who seemingly had everything to squander it all.
But it is also a story for which Pomer — with the help of some loyal but exasperated friends — is trying to write a final, redemptive chapter.
At 60, after a lifetime of careening from one dependency to another, Pomer is trying to rebuild his life and be an inspiration to other addicts.
The Star met Pomer several times through the spring and summer, interviews framed around a rehab stint at a Toronto treatment centre. It was his fourth try at becoming clean and sober but, this time, he believes he might be giving himself a chance.
“I haven’t gone this long without drugs or booze in my life, since I was 17,” he said, six weeks out of rehab and emanating a hopefulness that was once as absent as his wealth.
“I feel great. I’m getting my swagger back. I learned the tools (to stay sober). I didn’t care before. You’ve got to want it, plain and simple. I want it.”
Pomer once lived the high life as the charming, fun-loving epicentre of every party. And if there wasn’t a party, he’d make his own. Opioid painkillers and a few rocks of crack cocaine always took him where he wanted to be.
But when he first sat down with a Star reporter in May to share his story, it was a gambit by a desperate man flailing for a quick remedy to a complicated situation. Pomer was living on welfare and his application and subsequent appeal for disability support had both been rejected. He’d also been cut off by a private social service that had been helping.
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