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  1. #1
    Romeo Delight omarbratley's Avatar
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    02.25.12 @ 06:53 AM
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    Default Winner Reflects On Nightmare Lottery

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/wayof....ap/index.html


    MOUNT HOPE, West Virginia (AP) -- In his darkest moments, Jack Whittaker has sometimes wondered if winning the nearly $315 million Powerball game was really worth it.

    Jack Whittaker often wonders if he should have just torn up that winning Powerball ticket.

    The jackpot that was the stuff of dreams turned into a nightmare: His wife left him and his drug-addicted granddaughter -- his protege and heir -- died. He endured constant requests for money.

    Almost five years later, Whittaker is left with things money can't cure: His daughter's cancer, a long list of indiscretions documented in newspapers and court records, and an inability to trust others.

    "I don't have any friends," he said in a lengthy interview with The Associated Press. "Every friend that I've had, practically, has wanted to borrow money or something and of course, once they borrow money from you, you can't be friends anymore."

    Whittaker was a self-made millionaire long before he became a lottery winner, having built a pipeline business worth $17 million. Then he hit the Powerball in December 2002. It was then the largest single jackpot ever.

    The prize was worth $314.9 million. Whittaker opted for the lump-sum payout of $170 million -- $93 million after taxes.

    He still has plenty of money. And instead of retiring, the 59-year-old starts his day at 5 a.m., juggling ventures in construction, real estate, used-cars, even movies. Work is the last remnant of his old life. Wittaker answers questions

    "Nothing else is normal," he said, sounding simultaneously gruff and sad.

    His appearance has changed little. His blue eyes still twinkle when he tells a joke, his cowboy boots are worn from wear, and his grin remains toothless. He's too busy, he says, to pay attention to looks.

    Whittaker began working part-time for his father at age 10, pouring cement. At 14, he dropped out of school to work full time. He's owned some kind of business ever since.

    "I was accustomed to making big money and making my own money, and I never could get interested in school again after that."

    By his own estimate, he's brought water and sewer service to some 100,000 homes and still does some good by providing 200 high-paying jobs.

    "Probably the lowest-paid man in my construction company is, I'd say, $36 an hour," he said. "That's a good wage for any part of West Virginia."

    Whittaker's family never wanted for anything, and he admits they have long been accustomed to a lifestyle most would consider lavish.

    With every change of the seasons, new wardrobes filled their closets. The paint job on one of his granddaughter's many cars cost $16,000. Even the family's marble mausoleum towers over nearby grave markers in the hilltop cemetery in Jumping Branch.

    But winning the Powerball was a different kind of wealth that brought instant celebrity status.

    Whittaker's struggles with drinking, gambling and philandering became public, and tales of his transgressions were retold with relish.

    His home and car were repeatedly burglarized. At a strip club, thieves broke into his Lincoln Navigator and stole a briefcase stuffed with $245,000 in $100 bills and three $100,000 cashiers checks. The briefcase was later found, with the money.

    Whittaker was charged twice with driving while under the influence and sued repeatedly, once by three female casino employees who accused him of assault.

    In all, Whittaker says, he's been involved in 460 legal actions since winning. He recently settled a lawsuit that alleged his bank failed to catch $50,000 in counterfeit checks cashed from his accounts.

    Whittaker believes he has been unfairly demonized by the media, which he says exaggerated his problems and helped drive his wife away.

    Jack fell in love with Jewell when he was in eighth grade and she was in seventh. The couple filed divorce papers three years ago but have yet to sign them.

    "I don't know any normal person who could have a marriage with everything that's been written about me that's not true," Whittaker said.

    The couple's daughter, Ginger McMahan, has battled cancer for years. The disease is in remission, though she remains in poor health. Before Powerball, Whittaker and his wife went to church together. These days, he seldom does.

    "It's just aggravating, you know. People come up and ask you for money all the time, tell you some kind of a sob story."

    Whittaker says he hasn't been stingy. The Jack Whittaker Foundation has spent $23 million building two churches. His family donates food, clothing and college scholarships to local students, "but all the big work with the foundation is completed," he said.

    Whittaker is also done with boozing -- which, on his worst days, involved a fifth of vodka. He says he drank in part because he was worried about granddaughter Brandi Bragg, who shared his independent, headstrong personality and knew from a young age she wanted to run her Paw Paw's businesses.

    "She was going to inherit everything," Whittaker said. "Everything that we have was built in a way that it went to her on her 21st birthday."

    She never saw that day, dying at 17 after struggling with drug addiction.

    Only 14 when Whittaker hit the Powerball, Bragg was in rehab a year later for Oxycontin addiction. Whittaker blames her problems on a kidnapping threat, which led to home schooling, and her decision to run with an older crowd.

    He says he hired sheriff's deputies to track Bragg, personally hunted down and reported her drug dealers, and repeatedly sent her to rehab.

    "It wasn't two or three months before she was right back on again, same drugs," he said.

    He remembers their last conversation, when she was packing up to move to his Virginia home. "I told her, 'I'll come and get ya. I'll come and get ya right now if you're ready to come."'

    But she wasn't. Her body was found two weeks later wrapped in a sheet and plastic tarp, hidden in a yard by a boyfriend who panicked when he found her dead.

    The state's autopsy found Bragg had pills and a syringe tucked into her bra, and died with cocaine and methadone in her system. But the manner of her death is officially listed as "undetermined."

    "If it would bring my granddaughter back, I'd give it all back," Whittaker said of his jackpot. "But I can't get her back, so might as well keep the money, I guess."

    He remains devoted to his employees, despite 11 indictments charging his staff with embezzling from his companies.

    "Jack is an incredible man," said Kathy Shepherd, Whittaker's administrative assistant for the past year. "People who don't know him have a lot of negative things to say about him, but if they knew him, they wouldn't."

    Whittaker has little doubt as to his own legacy.

    "I'm only going to be remembered as the lunatic who won the lottery," he said. "I'm not proud of that. I wanted to be remembered as someone who helped a lot of people.
    "your incompetence is not my emergency"

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk hain23x's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 08:57 AM
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    I have a suggestion for all these 300million lottery winners. if you can't handle the money, just give it to me.

    1-I'm smart enough to know that just because I won money I'm not all of the sudden a business man.

    2-I know how to tell someone to piss off while I'm giving them a high 5. it'll be the nicest "piss off" they ever had

    3-I know how to NOT go flaunt my money around a bunch of poor people.
    Eat Us and Smile!

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    03.07.10 @ 06:18 AM
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    Default

    I read this in this morning's paper and I'm still shaking my head over it. It sucks that someone who very quietly built a fortune suddenly got thrust into the big time and was set upon by vultures. The guy knew how to handle money, that was not the issue. He sounds like a decent guy and seems genuinely altruistic.

    460 legal actions? Dear Lord...
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk
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    05.31.14 @ 08:17 PM
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    Yeah, sure there are the people who win all that money and screw up, but there are guys like this who are just targets.

    You'd almost have to move away and change your name because you'd never know if that person you accidentally bump into at the supermarket is going to sue you or if the check out girl isn't going to slap you with sexual harrassmnet for staring at her boobs.

    It was tough for this guy and he was a business man, so many people don't understand how much work it is just to manage a huge amount of money even if you're not spending it.

    I'd love to find out though.
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  5. #5
    Atomic Punk stilleddiesangel's Avatar
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    08.25.17 @ 05:45 PM
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    Cant lottery winners choose to remain anonymous? I know I wouldnt want the press surrounding a big win.
    ****Texas - Home Of My Heart****

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  6. #6
    Atomic Punk FORD's Avatar
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    10.22.17 @ 08:55 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by stilleddiesangel View Post
    Cant lottery winners choose to remain anonymous? I know I wouldnt want the press surrounding a big win.
    I've wondered that myself. Unfortunately my winning ticket hasn't come in yet, so I haven't been able to find out. I'm sure the media would be able to successfully argue that someone winning $300 million is a legitmate news story. Certainly as legit as how badly Titney Spears stunk up the MTV Awards, anyway.
    Eat Us And Smile

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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by stilleddiesangel View Post
    Cant lottery winners choose to remain anonymous? I know I wouldnt want the press surrounding a big win.
    No.

    When you buy a Lotto ticket you've entered into a defacto contract with the Lottery in which you agree to allow them to use your name and image in their future promotions.

    If you win you don't get your check unless you sign off on this. You might be able to hire a lawyer and void that part of the contract but I doubt it.
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk FORD's Avatar
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    10.22.17 @ 08:55 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
    No.

    When you buy a Lotto ticket you've entered into a defacto contract with the Lottery in which you agree to allow them to use your name and image in their future promotions.

    If you win you don't get your check unless you sign off on this. You might be able to hire a lawyer and void that part of the contract but I doubt it.
    Of course, you could always take the cash payment, and then move the hell out of the state. Which would mean you would get the initial publicity, but they wouldn't be able to bother you after that. In the case of a multi-state lotto like Powerball or MegaMillions, just be sure you aren't moving to any of those states.

    They can't use you for promotions if they can't find you......
    Eat Us And Smile

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  9. #9
    Damage your reputation seenbad's Avatar
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    11.30.17 @ 06:15 PM
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    Oh, I thought this was about the Portland Trailblazers.
    sheepa latta peepah dabba looka foh a moopy

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  10. #10
    Sinner's Swing! twonabomber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
    No.

    When you buy a Lotto ticket you've entered into a defacto contract with the Lottery in which you agree to allow them to use your name and image in their future promotions.

    If you win you don't get your check unless you sign off on this. You might be able to hire a lawyer and void that part of the contract but I doubt it.
    i think you can remain anonymous, but the winnings have to be claimed by a trust or something. i've read about it being done, i'd have to Google it.

    but back to this guy...some people have a problem saying "no." i don't think i'd have that problem.
    "is this a good show tonight, or fuckin' what?" - DLR, Montreal, 11/10/07

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  11. #11
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seenbad View Post
    Oh, I thought this was about the Portland Trailblazers.


    one of the funniest things I've ever read on here. Classic stuff Seenbad.

 

 

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