Winner, winner chicken dinner

So you wish you won the lottery, eh? The 8 Nebraskans who won the record 365 million are set for life, right? Well, don’t be too sure that winning the big money always brings happiness. Here are a few examples of what it can bring.

Evelyn Adams, who won the New Jersey lottery not just once but twice (1985, 1986) to the tune of $5.4 million. Today the money is all gone and Adams lives in a trailer. Evelyn gave or gambled away all the dough.

William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but now lives on his Social Security.

A former girlfriend successfully sued him for a share of his winnings. A brother was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill him.

Post even spent time in jail for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector.

Within a year, he was $1 million in debt.

Now he lives on $450 a month and food stamps.

Suzanne Mullins won $4.2 million in the Virginia lottery in 1993. Now she’s deeply in debt to a company that lent her money using the winnings as collateral.

“My understanding is she has no assets,” says a loan company official.

Ken Proxmire was a machinist when he won $1 million in the Michigan lottery. He moved to California, went into the car business with his brothers and within five years, Ken had filed for bankruptcy.

Willie Hurt of Lansing, Mich., won $3.1 million in 1989. Two years later he was broke and charged with murder. His lawyer says Hurt spent his fortune on a divorce and crack cocaine.

But nothing can compare with the misery of Andrew Jackson Whittaker who won the largest single jackpot in the nation’s history when he hit a $314.9 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas Day 2002. He chose to accept a lump sum of about $113 million after taxes.

Since then, Whittaker’s vehicle, business and home have been broken into repeatedly. Last year, a strip club manager and his girlfriend were charged with drugging Whittaker and stealing a briefcase containing more than $500,000 in cash and cashier’s checks. The money was recovered.

In March, within three days, his business was broken into and $2,000 was taken, and his vehicle,, was broken into and property was stolen. Earlier in that week, Whittaker was sued by an employee of the Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center who alleged he assaulted her in March 2003.

Last year, he was also charged with threatening to kill the manager of a bar and with drunken driving.

On December 20, 2004, His Granddaughter Brandi, 17, was found dead after a drug overdose. After missing for several weeks, her body was discovered lying under a tarpaulin.

I was glad to see that the $365 million jackpot went to ordinary Jose’s and Jane’s. But the brutal fact is that out of the eight who won the big money, chances at least four will come to a bad end.

Of course this is not any jealousy on my part and if I won I would certainly know how to handle my new life as a millionaire.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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