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The Richest Black Lottery Winners; Believe It or Not, Winning $37.4 Million Can Create a Few Problems

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The Richest Black Lottery Winners; Believe It or Not, Winning $37.4 Million Can Create a Few Problems

Article excerpt

The Richest Black Lottery Winners

WOULD you spend $18,000 on a dining room set? Lee and Barbara Pierce won’t, although they can easily afford it. Until recently, the Pierces each worked two jobs in Chicago to make ends meet. All that changed last summer when the couple won $22.6 million in the Illinois Lottery’s “Lotto” game.

Suddenly, the price of furniture–or in this case, hiring an interior decorator to furnish a new house–is no longer a problem. Overcoming the reluctance to spend money on high-priced furnishings, however, is.

“You want it to be nice, but we’re not extravagant,” Barbara says. “We couldn’t deal with an $18,000 dining room set. There are people who have had money all of their lives. They may be used to it. We’re not.”

To hear some of the nation’s richest lottery winners tell it, winning an eight-figure fortune takes some getting used to. Old habits die hard, and for the most part, people remain the same, even in the face of an enormous financial windfall.

Winning the lottery may well be the new American dream. According to gaming industry statistics, the nation’s lotteries generate roughly $12.7 billion in annual sales. Half of that is returned to winners in cash prizes. To date, eight lucky Black winners are now multi-millionaires, having “hit” the right six numbers for jackpots ranging from $16 million to $37 million. For the next 20 years, they can expect annual paychecks from $609,000 to more than $1.6 million. So what is it really like to discover after years of struggle that you’re suddenly rich beyond belief? Is it all champagne dreams and caviar wishes?

Big lottery winners usually make major purchases, such as new homes, clothes, automobiles and vacations. They often use their new wealth to help family members and close friends. However, don’t expect the money to bring major changes in the winner’s personality. For these lucky few, the lifestyle of the rich remains a big adjustment that takes time to make–if it ever occurs at all.

Take the case of Gloria Mitchem, a 26-year-old nursing home housekeeper who is now the nation’s richest Black lottery winner. She once was described as a “low-key” person. She is now called a “recluse.” Within a week, the excitement of winning $37.4 million in the Florida lottery gave way to a desperate struggle to be left alone.

Mitchem lived in a rural community in central Florida, where she occasionally played the lottery without much success. Her luck changed one Saturday last March when she discovered she had the winning ticket. Word of her good fortune spread quickly, and the following day, crowds of well-wishers and news reporters packed the front yard of her mobile home. A police escort was called to take the winner and her family to Tallahassee to claim the grand prize. Things got worse at the lottery press conference when family members said they wanted an “IROC Z” sports car and a Rolls-Royce. Automobile salesmen soon began mingling with reporters outside Mitchem’s home, clamoring for her attention and her money. By the following Friday, Mitchem had had enough. She announced through her relatives that she would have no further contact with the press. She then left town.

Mitchem did buy a new home for herself and for one of her five sisters. She also quit her $13,000-a-year job making beds at a nearby nursing home. She reportedly donated some money to local churches, although several ministers declined to confirm or deny the donations, describing the issue as a “private matter.”

However, the diminutive prizewinner surprised some observers when she removed her child from a local daycare center for fear of a possible kidnapping attempt. She still refuses to grant interviews to the news media and keeps her whereabouts a closely guarded secret. Her family, boyfriend and others are also tight-lipped, and for good reason, according to one longtime family acquaintance who claims that Mitchem will cut off anyone–particularly family members–from sharing the lottery fortune if they disclose the location of her new home or talk to the news media. …

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The Richest Black Lottery Winners WOULD you spend $18,000 on a dining room set? Lee and…

Harlem’s $300M Lottery Winner Is Retired Government Worker

NEW YORK (AP) — Robert Bailey has been playing the same six lottery numbers for 25 years and plans to keep on doing it — even though his digits finally hit for a $343.8 million Powerball win, the largest in New York Lottery history.

Bailey, 67, was introduced by lottery officials Wednesday as the record-breaking winner at the Resorts World Casino in Queens.

The total prize in the Oct. 27 drawing was nearly $700 million, but he will split the jackpot with a woman in Iowa who also picked the winning numbers, 8, 12, 13, 19 and 27, with a Powerball of 4.

Bailey bought his winning ticket at a deli in Harlem. He usually buys tickets at a few different stores, but on this particular day, it was raining and he was visiting a friend, so he ducked into the deli and grabbed a Powerball ticket.

After checking the winning numbers that night online, he was shocked.

“I said to myself, ‘These look like my numbers.’ I tried to remain calm and sat down to watch some shows I had on my DVR. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night,” Bailey said.

Bailey, a retired federal government employee, said he got the lucky numbers from a family member years earlier. The most he had ever won using them previously was $30,000 from a lucky Take Five lottery ticket.

“I will continue playing my numbers until this train runs out,” Bailey said. “I’m going to ride this out; I can’t stop now.”

Bailey didn’t come forward to claim his prize until after he met with a lawyer and financial adviser. He took a lump sum payment worth $198 million, less after taxes.

New York requires lottery winners to identify themselves and participate in a news conference. Bailey, who wore dark sunglasses for the announcement, said he wished he could have kept his win quiet.

“It’s a good life changer,” said Bailey, who declined to describe the nature of his government work before retiring. “I plan to do the right thing with the money.”

He wants to buy some land and a house for his mother and set up some good investments to take care of the next generation of his family. He’d also like to travel, hitting Las Vegas and parts of the Caribbean.

Ultimately, though, he’d like to give back.

“I plan to give back to Manhattan; that’s where I’m from,” Bailey said. “I still want to be me. I can’t let money change me. I’m going to keep doing the right thing.”

This is the second consecutive Powerball jackpot won in New York this year. The most recent win came in September when a Staten Island man won the $245.6 million jackpot.

The chance of winning the Powerball jackpot is 1 in 292.2 million.

Robert Bailey has been playing the same six lottery numbers for 25 years and plans to keep on doing it — even though his digits finally hit for a $343.8 million Powerball win, the largest in New York Lottery history. ]]>