2nd Powerball winner from RI announced
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island woman claimed the second Powerball jackpot in that state in recent months Tuesday — but it fell to her attorney to pose alongside the oversized lottery check.
Kathleen Last of Smithfield, R.I., had the winning ticket in the March 7 drawing for the $60 million Powerball prize, state lottery officials said. She elected to take her winnings in a $37 million lump sum.
Last’s attorney represented her at Tuesday’s official announcement of her winnings. Attorney Edmund Alves said his client does not welcome the publicity surrounding her windfall. He described Last as a long-time Rhode Island resident in her fifties.
“She is a very private person who just wants to be left alone if possible,” Alves said.
Rhode Island residents have been on a lucky streak. An 81-year-old Newport woman claimed a $336.4 million Powerball prize from a Feb. 11 drawing.
Rhode Island will collect $2.2 million in taxes from Last’s winnings. The federal government will collect $9.2 million, leaving Last with nearly $25.6 million.
Last intends to devote some of her winnings to helping her family, which includes a disabled niece who requires expensive care, Alves said.
Last set up a trust named the Ohana Trust to formally claim the ticket; ohana is a Hawaiian word meaning “family.” Alves said Last used to vacation in Hawaii.
The winning ticket was sold at Quickets convenience store in Smithfield. Last purchased five $2 tickets.
Attempts to reach Last were unsuccessful Tuesday.
While winners are required to identify themselves to claim big jackpots, they’re under no obligation to speak publicly. Still, Rhode Island Lottery Director Gerald Aubin said he encourages winners to show up for the customary announcement next to the giant fake check. Otherwise, he said, curious media outlets might track the winner down anyway.
“I advise (winners) to come forward,” Aubin said. “But you can’t force them to.”
Alves said his client has mixed feelings about her good luck. While the jackpot brings great wealth, it also threatens her privacy, he said.
“It is a burden,” Alves said of his client’s windfall. “It’s a responsibility. Obviously, it’s a great benefit also.”