LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. » Sixteen workers from a county garage in a New Jersey coastal community hit hard by Superstorm Sandy have one of the three winning tickets in the $448 million Powerball jackpot, officials in Ocean County said.
A Minnesota man claimed his third of Wednesday’s jackpot. The holder of the third winning ticket, also from New Jersey, has not come forward yet.
Ocean County spokeswoman Donna Flynn said the government has been informed that 16 workers in the county’s vehicle service department are holding one of the winning tickets. She said they all showed up to work Thursday and some were in this morning, too.
"They’re asking for their privacy now," she said.
Jim Pine, director of the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department, told The Press of Atlantic City that he couldn’t be happier for the winners. "They’re a group of wonderful, hardworking people," he told the newspaper.
Pine declined to disclose any details about the winners, saying he assured them he would respect their privacy.
State lottery officials did not immediately return a message this morning seeking comment.
In Minnesota, Paul White wasted no time before revealing his good fortune to the world Thursday and saying he had "been waiting for this day my entire life."
White, 45, a project engineer from Ham Lake, said his family often gave him a hard time for frequently playing the lottery, and he had a tough time convincing many of them that he had finally won.
"The only person who didn’t feel I was BSing them was my mother," a beaming White said at a news conference where he was joined by his girlfriend, brother and two colleagues.
White said he’ll take a lump sum, which will amount to $58.3 million after taxes. Despite the minuscule odds of a jackpot win, White said he often daydreamed about how he’d spend his winnings if he won.
"I’ve totally been waiting for this day my entire life," he said, lamenting that he has to wait two weeks for his money. "Start the clock right now," he said, eliciting laughs.
White said his girlfriend called him Thursday morning to say a winning ticket had been sold in Minnesota, and he quickly checked the 10 he had bought the night before.
Mega-jackpot winners often wait days or weeks before claiming their prizes, giving them time to prepare and make legal arrangements. White said he had an attorney and financial adviser in mind, and wasn’t afraid of the publicity.
White said he is divorced and has a 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter. He said his days working for a Minneapolis electrical contractor "are over," although he said he planned to help his boss, Ron Bowen, finish some projects before quitting.
The New Jersey ticket sold to the county workers came from an Acme Markets store in a Little Egg Harbor, which was hit hard by Sandy last year.
Phil Weber, the supermarket’s director, said Thursday that the store would donate $10,000 in gift cards to local charities. Weber said some of the store’s employees are still out of their homes more than nine months after the storm. The store itself has been making donations since Sandy, Weber said.
The third ticket was sold in a Super Stop & Shop store in South Brunswick in central New Jersey.
The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were 5, 25, 30, 58, 59 and Powerball 32. Each winning ticket was worth $86 million before taxes, or $58.3 million after taxes, if taken in a lump sum. They are worth $149.4 million over 30 years if the winners choose the annuity option.