EAGLESWOOD TOWNSHIP, N.J. — The owners of last week’s three winning Powerball tickets worth $448 million said they realize their lives are forever changed. And not for the better.
“Oh, crap. Why did I have to win?” lamented one of the 16 New Jersey Vehicle Maintenance Department workers from a county government garage, who collectively held one of the three jackpot tickets.
“I’ve read about other lottery winners,” he said, begging to remain anonymous. “Their lives become hell. Distant relatives start emerging from nowhere, you have ‘long-lost friends’ you’ve never seen, and everybody has their hand in your pocket. It’s the worst. I only chipped in so I could be ‘one of the guys.’ But I never wanted to win.”
Said one of the other winning maintenance workers, “Now we’re up the creek. If we continue working, all the other employees will resent us because we’re taking jobs away from somebody else who needs the money. But I read that 70 percent of lottery winners who take a lump sum end up broke again in a few years, so I can’t afford to quit.”
Perhaps the most notorious “winning loser” is Jack Whitaker, who won a $315 million Powerball jackpot in 2002, and a decade later found himself divorced, sued numerous times, lost his daughter and granddaughter to drug overdoses, and was drugged at a strip club and robbed of $545,000 in cash sitting in his car. He famously told reporters, “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.”
One of the other Wednesday Powerball winners had a different perspective.
Paul White, 45, a Ham Lake, Minnesota man who quickly claimed his lump sum share of $58 million, said, “Sure. I know the odds are I’ll get divorced, my kids will hate me and I’ll end up in some kind of rehab center in five years, but I can tell you this: I am going to enjoy every minute of that 58 million dollar downhill ride to oblivion.”