Can you describe your immediate thoughts and feelings upon winning?
Denial. I never thought I would win. I thought I was dreaming when I checked the numbers. I almost passed out during a conference call with the lottery officials and an estate lawyer when they told me I won the $40,000,000. I believed I was probably going to die before getting to spend it.
What did you do with the ticket immediately after finding out you had won? I would be so paranoid that I would lose it or something.
I hid it in a cereal box and contacted a lawyer.
Have you spent it all yet?
No, because I haven’t received it all.
How many of your friends and family know? Or did you keep it quiet? How did it change your life, for better or worse?
Everybody knows. My winnings were made public. It didn’t take much time for people to start asking for money. For example, my sister quit her job thinking I would just take care of her for life and people I hadn’t spoken to in years asked me to pay for their honeymoon. The worst was the charities. I have always been private so that is something I lost. I did change my name.
Well what caught me off-guard was that people actually thought I would just give them free money. They didn’t really try to hide their motivations. It was just “congrats. So can you shoot me some money because I’m getting married and we want to rent a yacht out Bali for two weeks.” To this day, I have no idea why they asked me.
Did you end up giving your sister the money?
She and her kids moved in with my mother after I bought (got ripped-off, actually) the house she was renting. I was going to pay her rent indefinitely but her landlords found out about my winnings and evicted her under the excuse that they were going to “sell” the house. The house was worth under a million (this is CA BTW) but they sold it directly to me for 1.8 million.
That was my one and only “gift” to my family. That too was also a mistake.
Why was that a mistake? Was it that it increased your sister’s expectations are that you were ripped off by the original home owners?
Neither my mom nor my sister knows how much I paid. The mistake is that my niece is becoming my sister 2.0. I feel like I am enabling it.
After all this do you still have a relationship with your family?
Not in particular. They were trying to turn me into a human Amazon/ATM machine and I saw the effect it was having on my niece and nephew thinking that everyone has a rich uncle who will take care of you so no need to do well in school or do anything.
It’s a shame. Like for my mother’s birthday, I was going to buy her a $10,000 Cartier bracelet but that would create drama so I just sent flowers.
Why tf do they make your name public?
They have to announce winners for transparency reasons. How do people know that the son of the guy who runs the lottery numbers didn’t win?
Are you upset you had to change your name? Or do you like the name you picked better so it’s not a big deal?
No, changing my name helped out a lot.
How much was personal security a concern? Do you feel you or your close family members are a kidnapping/extorsion/etc target?
None. I get monthly distributions into an estate so it’s not like I have cash lying around like in a rap video. I literally have $14 cash in my wallet.
What was your favorite thing you did after winning the lottery?
The honeymoon part of winning is my favorite. Looking at houses and cars that I could now buy.
So what did you buy?
A house (which was a mistake) and a new Audi.
Why was it a mistake?
I purchased a townhouse on Venice Beach.
I realized it was too big for one person. Also the homeless took over the area and I don’t even feel safe going to the beach at 4AM in the morning to mediate anymore.
Also, all my neighbors are well over 50 (I’m 38) so I have nothing in common with them.
What sort of luxuries do you spend on now?
I shop at Whole Foods.
What was your job before lottery win?
How great was it quitting your job?
They fired me. It was a week after I had won. They requested to have a meeting with me on a Friday at 4PM. They asked me if I knew why I was there and I said I didn’t. They said they were going to keep it short and sweet. Congrats on the lotto win and they didn’t expect me to stick around so in the interest of the company, they wanted to start looking for a replacement. In order to do that, they needed my position vacant. They handed me my walking papers.
Do u have a bucket list of adventures to do?
I would really like to be a parent before 40. That’s unlikely.
What’s some things you’d like but can’t buy with money?
What do you do now assuming you’re not working any more?
During the day, I manage my estate and do research for investments.
Do you do any philanthropic work?
I’m not interested in going through all that. I’ve donated here and there but the problem is that I don’t want to be harassed and bothered by charities to give more and more often. And then they sell your information to other charities. That gets annoying. I’d rather have a cold.
Any advice you’d give to future lotto winners?
My advice to winners is to consult with a lawyer who does estates. You cannot manage that much money on your own.
Are you happy?
I’m happier with money than without. Even with money, there are some things you cannot buy.