What a crazy thing. It sounds like an episode of the Twilight Zone.
MOUNT HOPE, West Virginia (AP) — In his darkest moments, Jack Whittaker has sometimes wondered if winning the nearly $315 million Powerball game was really worth it.The jackpot that was the stuff of dreams turned into a nightmare: His wife left him and his drug-addicted granddaughter — his protege and heir — died. He endured constant requests for money.
Almost five years later, Whittaker is left with things money can’t cure: His daughter’s cancer, a long list of indiscretions documented in newspapers and court records, and an inability to trust others.
“I don’t have any friends,” he said in a lengthy interview with The Associated Press. “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 was a self-made millionaire long before he became a lottery winner, having built a pipeline business worth $17 million. Then he hit the Powerball in December 2002. It was then the largest single jackpot ever.
The prize was worth $314.9 million. Whittaker opted for the lump-sum payout of $170 million — $93 million after taxes.
He still has plenty of money. And instead of retiring, the 59-year-old starts his day at 5 a.m., juggling ventures in construction, real estate, used-cars, even movies. Work is the last remnant of his old life.