Tenn. couple picks up $528.8M Powerball check – USA TODAY
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NASHVILLE âÂ A couple who told the world FridayÂ on the Today show they held one of three winning Powerball tickets was presented their portion of the nearly $1.6 billion prize later Friday at Tennessee lottery headquarters.
John and Lisa RobinsonÂ of Munford, Tenn., took the lump sumÂ and will pocketÂ a little more than $327 million before taxes though they posed with a giant $528.8 million check, lottery officials said. They’ll get a couple of million dollars immediately and about 10 days later, they’ll receive the remainder of the prize.
When they appeared with their daughter Tiffany and their dog, Abby, at a Friday afternoon press conference at Lottery Tennessee headquarters, they asked the public for their privacy,Â admitting they are “common folk from a small town.”
The RobinsonsÂ saidÂ John RobinsonÂ bought the ticket at the last minute on the way home from work about three hours before the drawing. They are the first to step forward publicly since the drawing for the record jackpot Wednesday night.
JohnÂ RobinsonÂ said he called his wife while driving homeÂ and she reminded him to stop and buy some tickets atÂ Naifeh’s Food Market, one of three lottery retailers in their hometown ofÂ 6,000 residents about 30 miles northeast of Memphis.
“I really didn’t feel like stopping that night, but I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll stop,’ he said. “I came home, and I wasn’t feeling good, and I handed the tickets to her and said, ‘I’m going to go lay down.’ ”
His wife had theÂ four tickets while he went to sleep.
When the drawing came on at 9:59 p.m. CT, LisaÂ RobinsonÂ wrote down the numbersÂ then checked them against the four in her handÂ and thought she had a winner.
“I looked again. They are the same. I looked again and then I ran down the hall and said, ‘John, you gotta check these numbers,’ ” she said.
“I startled him because he was asleep on the couch,” Lisa Robinson said.
John Robinson said he checked the numbers four times and told his wife he would believeÂ they had won only after hearingÂ state lottery officials say a winning ticket was purchased in Munford.
By early Thursday, state lottery officials had announced that Naifeh’s sold Tennesseeâs jackpot winning ticket, netting the grocery store aÂ $25,000 prize.
While the family remains energetic, they admit that none of them has had more than an hour or two of sleep in the past 48 hours âÂ with the exception of Abby, their rescue dog.
No one has stepped forward yet to claim the prize in CaliforniaÂ and Florida.
Hoax winners have happened in the past. News of California’s winner was quickly deflated Friday when that feel-good tale was described as a prank.
The winners of the record jackpot overcame odds of 1 in 292.2 million to land the numbers drawnÂ âÂ 4-8-19-27-34 and Powerball 10. Winners can take the winnings in annual payments spread over decades or a smaller amount in a lump sum.
The Robinsons decided to contact the Today show to go publicÂ and then planned to stay as private as possible. Their lawyer advised them appear on national TV even before presenting the ticket to lottery officialsÂ as a way to “control” the story, they said.
Lawyers who have represented other lottery winners advise against going public until they are ready to manage such a huge windfall. Talking seriously with experts in tax law, financial planning, privacy, security and other safeguards can help keep them, and their winnings, safe, they say.
Lottery winners in Tennessee cannot remain anonymous.Â Under the state’sÂ lottery policy, a person’s name, home state and hometown are a matter of public record.
Lisa Robinson, who works in a dermatologist’s office, called her supervisor to say she would not be in FridayÂ but to tune into theÂ TodayÂ show. She said she has no plans to quit her job and neither does her husband.
“You just can sit down and do nothing anymore,” John Robinson said. “How long are you going to last?”
“I’ll be there Monday,” his wife told her boss.
One of theirÂ prioritiesÂ is to pay off their daughter’s student loans, a home loan and several other bills.Â They also would like to splurge on family members.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” John Robinson said, conceding he is “really nervous.”
Contributing:Â Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.Â Follow Natalie Neysa AlundÂ on TwitterÂ @nataliealund