Everyone dreams of winning the lottery and everyone has an idea of what they will buy if they win, be it a new car, a house, a business, or an extravagant holiday. But some lottery winners prefer purchases a little more unusual.
Janite Lee Gave it Away
Every now and then there are lottery winners who give some or all of their winnings away to charity. They want to make a difference in the world and they see their lottery winnings as the chance to do just that.
Janite Lee had the same goal in mind, but her money didn’t go to feeding the homeless or helping children in need—it went to a political party. She reportedly won $18 million in 1993, but after her unprecedented political generosity, in addition to gambling debts, she was soon bankrupt.
The Kuteys Helped Build a Waterpark
After scooping a huge win on the Mega Millions, John Kutey and his wife decided to live out every child’s dream by donating money towards the creation of a water park. The donation was made in the name of their parents and came to a cool quarter of a million dollars.
Michael Carroll Blew it Recklessly
Michael Carroll is one of the most famous lottery winners. The UK resident won just under £10 million on the UK Lotto when he was just 19. He then proceeded to blow it all on cocaine, prostitutes and parties. He was also a regular in the local tabloids after he bought a mansion and turned the back yard into a destruction derby track, annoying his neighbors no end.
John McGuinness Invested in Football
Football is an expensive business and it can get very expensive very quickly, as many rich investors have learned over the years. One such investor was John McGuinness, who won $10 million on the UK Lotto in 1997 and proceeded to invest 40% of his winnings on his favorite football team.
The investment went wrong quickly and within a decade he had lost everything, admitting in 2012 that he had been naive and that the investment had bankrupted him.
Jonathan Vargas Started a TV Show
Jonathan Vargas won $35 million and decided to use a large chunk of his investment to create a TV show where scantily-clad women wrestled for the entertainment of spectators. He clearly thought that this new venture would net him even more money and also give him something to invest his newfound wealth in, but it quickly failed after very few people tuned in to watch it.
Suzanne Mullins Took out a Loan
Most US lotteries payout annuities as opposed to, or as well as, cash payments. In 1992 Suzanne Mullins won the Virginia Lottery and received one such annuity, receiving just under $50,000 a year for twenty years.
Knowing that this money was on the way, she took out a large loan from the bank. However, the debt payments soon got away from her and ended up being worth more than her entire lottery win.
Suzanne Mullins is more of a tragic story than a cautionary tale as she tried to use the money to help her son-in-law through an illness and to ensure her family were well looked after, but things didn’t work out for her.
William Post Bought a Plane he Couldn’t Fly
William “Bud” Post won over $16 million in 1988. He’d had a hard life and it looked like things were finally working out for him, but within a matter of months he had blown it all, with his money going on many failed business deals, cars and houses.
One of the more unusual purchases that Post made was a twin-engine plane, even though he couldn’t fly and didn’t have a pilot’s license. This story culminated when Post died penniless in 2006.
Sources: Buisness Insider, New york times, The Guardian