A group of 16 maintenance workers from a county government garage in New Jersey share one of three winning tickets in the $448 million Powerball lottery jackpot, their boss said on Friday.
“Yes, we have 16 county workers from the Vehicle Maintenance Department who have won the lottery,” Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department Director Jim Pine told Reuters.
New Jersey Lottery spokeswoman Judith Drucker said on Friday the owners of the two winning tickets sold in New Jersey, including the Ocean County group, have not come forward. The third winner was in Minnesota, where he held a press conference on Thursday.
Pine said the winners would go public next week, although they have not yet decided when they will validate their ticket.
“They are the most outstanding, dedicated group of people, and you'll be so pleased to meet them next week,” Pine said. He added that all 16 have come to work since winning the Powerball drawing on Wednesday evening.
Winning tickets were sold at an Acme Markets store in the Jersey shore town of Little Egg Harbor and at a Super Stop & Shop supermarket in South Brunswick, said Judith Drucker, spokeswoman for the New Jersey Lottery.
The only confirmed winner is Minnesota engineer Paul White, 45, who was introduced on Thursday. He said he was so excited about winning he ran around the office of the Minneapolis contracting firm where he works.
White, a divorced father of a 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter, savored his win at a news conference at lottery headquarters by recalling when he first realized he hit it big.
“It's crazy, I've got to tell you,” White said of the moment on Thursday morning at Elliott Contracting in Minneapolis, where he works as a project engineer.
He jumped up and ran around the office, and asked several people to look at the ticket to verify the Powerball number of 32 and numbers 5-25-30-58-59.
He then went to the Minnesota Lottery office, where he chose to take a cash payment of $86 million, or $58.3 million after taxes, from his $149 million share of the total jackpot.
“I have been waiting for this moment all my life,” White said, after being asked why he came forward so quickly.
White said he had imagined winning the lottery “so many times in my head.” He was joined by Kim VanReese, 45, his partner of about 4-1/2 years; Ron Bowen, his boss; and Bowen's wife, Nancy Bowen, who works at the firm.
“He started the day my boss. He's going to end the day my chauffeur,” White joked.
White, who said he had been looking at a used Acura NSX sports car before the jackpot, said he would not leave his employer in a lurch but added: “I don't want to work for anybody else for the rest of my life, I mean for a paycheck.”
The odds of winning the jackpot were about one in 175 million.
Asked if he was disappointed that he was splitting the jackpot three ways, White joked, “I think I can get by on it. We will see.”
The largest jackpot in history stands at $656 million, won in the Mega Millions lottery in March 2012. That prize was split among winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois.
The biggest single-winner Powerball jackpot, of $590.5 million, was claimed in June by an 84-year-old Florida woman who opted for a lump-sum payment of nearly $371 million rather than the 30-year option.
Powerball tickets are sold in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Five states - Kansas, Maryland, Delaware, North Dakota and Ohio - allow the winners to remain anonymous, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.