William “Bud” Post III won $16.2 million in the lottery but died poor. His problems included a brother who tried to hire a hitman to kill him and his sixth wife; a landlady who sued for one-third of the jackpot; and an assault conviction after he fired a shotgun at a debt collector.
In the two weeks after Mr. Post collected the first of his 26 annual payments of $497,953.47, he spent more than $300,000. He acquired a liquor license, a lease on a Florida restaurant for his brother and sister, and a used-car lot and its fleet for another brother. He also bought a twin-engine plane, although he did not have a pilot’s license. Within three months, he was $500,000 in debt….
In 1996, he decided on a final ploy to get out of debt. He sold the mansion for $65,000 and auctioned off the remaining 17 lottery payments he was due, hoping to clear his bills and hold on to a nest egg…. Unfortunately, by the next year, he had spent almost all of the remaining $2.65 million on his debts, two homes, another truck, three cars, two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, two 62-inch Sony televisions, a luxury camper, computers and a $260,000 sailboat docked in Biloxi, Miss., with which he planned to start a charter fishing business.
He died without a nickel to his name in 2006 of respiratory failure. He had told friends, before he died, “I was much happier when I was broke.”