Paul White of Ham Lake said he usually plays the scratch-off lottery games. But about once a month, he’ll put down $10 and let the computer come up with some Powerball numbers when the jackpot grows fat.
That $10 investment at a Holiday Store in his northern suburb paid off to the tune of nearly $150 million, before taxes, for the 45-year-old project engineer, who will split the jackpot with two other lucky souls from New Jersey.
“It takes pressure off my shoulders,” White said at a news conference Thursday, after coming forward as the Minnesota winner. He said he’ll use the money to help pay for his kids’ college tuitions — plus a couple cars.
He said he’s being eyeing a 1990s Acura on Craigslist for $30,000 and he plans to drop a chunk of the money on a 1963 Chevrolet Impala. That was his father’s first car and “I’m going to find that car,” White said.
His longtime partner, Kim VanReese, called White at his contractor job at 8:30 Thursday morning, asking: “Are you a millionaire?” He knew he had a couple 32 Powerballs on his ticket. When he checked the other numbers, his life changed forever. “It’s been a whirlwind,” he said.
He works as a project engineer at Elliott Contracting in Minneapolis. The Holiday store in Ham Lake on Crosstown Blvd., which sold the ticket, will get a $50,000 bonus.
“It was like a shock, a major shock,” said Wyatt VanReese, 16, who watched the news conference on TV with his 14-year-old sister, Lauren.
The other two-thirds of the $448 million pot will go to two people who bought winning tickets in New Jersey.
Three tickets matched the numbers drawn Wednesday night for what is the multistate game’s third-largest payout. Each ticket is worth $149.47 million before taxes.
White opted for the immediate cash payout of $86 million, the after-taxes bottom line will come to about $58.3 million.
The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 5, 25, 30, 58, 59 and a Powerball of 32. The chances of winning were only 1 in 175 million, according to the lottery game. Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This is Minnesota’s 22nd Powerball jackpot winner since the game began in 1992. The state also had six jackpot winners of LottoAmerica, Powerball’s predecessor.
The largest Powerball payout in Minnesota was for a ticket sold Aug. 10, 2011, when Tom and Kathleen Morris of Burnsville struck for $228.9 million. They opted for the cash payout, a total of $123 million, which shrank to just shy of $84 million after taxes.
A nice consolation prize was struck Wednesday night in Minnesota as well. A ticket matched all five numbers to win the $874,189 Gopher 5 jackpot. That ticket also was bought in Anoka County.
A spokeswoman for the New Jersey Lottery said one of the winning Powerball tickets was bought at a Super Stop & Shop store in South Brunswick and the other at an Acme Markets store in Little Egg Harbor.
A recent game change intended to build excitement about the lottery increased the frequency of huge jackpots, and Wednesday’s jackpot drawing comes only a few months after the biggest Powerball jackpot in history — a $590 million pot won in Florida by an 84-year-old widow. The second-largest Powerball jackpot was won in November and was split between two tickets from Arizona and Missouri.
Source: Star Tribune