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The Unlucky Lottery

In December 2002, Jack Whittaker won $314.9 million in the lottery.  He opted for the lump-sum payout of $170 million, which was $93 million after taxes.  But 5 years later, he seems to have been another victim of “the lottery curse.”  Whittaker’s wife has left him, his drug-addicted granddaughter died, his daughter has cancer, and he's struggled with alcohol and gambling.  He claims he doesn't have any friends and has been involved in 460 legal actions since hitting the jackpot.


Ironically, Whittaker was a multi-millionaire before winning the lottery.  He had built a pipeline business worth $17 million.  Even after adding $93 million to that amount, the 59-year-old West Virginian said, "I don't have any friends. 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 said, "I'm only going to be remembered as the lunatic who won the lottery.  I'm not proud of that.  I wanted to be remembered as someone who helped a lot of people."  Jack Whittaker bought a Powerball ticket and learned the painful truth that money can’t make anyone happy.  Houston Chronicle, 9/14/07 as cited in In Other Words, September 2007, Issue #2.

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