August 31st, 2012
02:50 PM ET

$337M Powerball winner plans to keep it real

Donald Lawson intends to do the typical lottery-winner stuff: Retire, take care of his family, travel, get a new place to live.

But the 44-year-old Michigan man insists his $337 million Powerball prize - the third-largest in Powerball history, and seventh-largest jackpot in U.S. history - won’t change him.

“I’m a millionaire now, but I’ll still go to McDonald’s,” Lawson told reporters Friday at the Michigan Lottery headquarters in Lansing, where he came forward to collect on the August 15 drawing. “I don’t like filet mignon or lobster. I like the simple life, and that’s what I want to continue to do.”

Lawson, of Lapeer, was the sole winner of the August 15 prize. He chose the lump-sum cash option, which gives him $224.6 million, before tax, at once.

He said he quit his railroad engineer job after learning he won. He said he chose the winning numbers - 6, 27, 46, 51, 56 with a powerball of 21 - himself at a Sunoco gas station in Lapeer.

“I walked into the … station, and usually there ain’t nobody up there, but there was a long line. But something from above - I do have to credit that - told me to go over there and pick my own numbers. I didn’t pick them - my hand just went,” Lawson said.

Lawson said his two children will now be set for college, and he told his close relatives to retire, “and they had no problem with that.”

He said he plans to travel a lot, but for now, he’s going to “go somewhere safe and think about (what to do) and go from there.”

“This money won’t last forever unless I use it right and budget it right. It’s not a lot, $337 million,” he joked, drawing laughter, before addressing the issue of taxes. “You all think it’s tremendous amount, but I’m kind of pissed at Uncle Sam … you know?”

Eight other tickets won the $1 million Match 5 prize on August 15. Two of those tickets were bought in Indiana, and the others in Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Virginia, lottery officials said.

The game's largest prize to date was $365 million, which was awarded in 2006 to a group of eight co-workers at a Nebraska meat-packing plant.

That record drawing happened when the cost for a Powerball ticket was $1. In January, the price increased to $2, with officials saying it would lead to an increased number of large jackpots. At the same time, the odds improved somewhat because officials reduced the number of red balls, the powerballs, from 39 to 35.

At $337 million, the Powerball pot still has ways to go to catch MegaMillions at the top of the list of U.S. grand prizes. In March, three tickets were sold for a drawing with the top prize of $656 million.

- CNN's Chris Boyette contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Lotto • Michigan
soundoff (648 Responses)
  1. Fantod

    Keep eaten' at McDonald's, you won't live long to enjoy your loot! Though I guess you can now afford the heart transplant you're gonna need.

    August 31, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • That would be the way to go

      Translation: Ive got a severe case of envy

      August 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sanity

    Maybe you should have worked harder like Mitt did.

    August 31, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. steve

    if he doesn't lose some of that blubber, he won't be around long to enjoy all those millions!

    August 31, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. American

    Dude, you better get that money out of the country because Obama wants to take it all, especially since you are now and evil 1%er!

    August 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taskmaster

      American: I agree with you. Obama can't stand for enyone to have more money than him. Well thats true of most liberals.

      August 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      You guys both need professional psychiatric help.

      August 31, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. William

    Good for him. I like a guy who eats what he wants without caring about the PC health police.
    Wish i could have won. I would be finding every loophole i could to keep more of my cash.

    August 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. works4me

    Wow... actually ate his way to the top. Will you make me beneficiary to a $5m life insurance policy?

    August 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danny

      Yeah, the beneficiary would be a lucky person in, what looks like, a couple of months.

      August 31, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • funny

      too funny, especially since he's a large guy

      August 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jim

    I'm currently checking my genealogy to see if I have ANY link to this guy. I want him to tell me I can retire too! The average guy simply cannot comprehend what they have right away. First thing I'd do: get security. You're a public figure now and all the looneys come out.

    August 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. person

    “I’m a millionaire now, but I’ll still go to McDonald’s,”

    Yep, Mike Judges film/prophecy is coming true.

    Idiocracy, baby.

    August 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralf The Dog

      They are just trying to disprove evolution.

      August 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth will out


      August 31, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Taskmaster

    Thats what I thought Ronald is a belly aching liberal that thinks it's wrong to be rich. He didn't have the intelligence become one and is bitter jealous of anyone that did. Donald Lawson didn't make the millions he won them. More good fortune to you D.L..

    August 31, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Earnest T Bass

    Shame on all you ill hearted over spoken mean individuals who are bashing this poor guy. I remember seeing all you poking fun of people who didn't quite measure up to your slanted views or expectations on the school play ground. I see you still haven't grown up yet you're still mean and nasty. Lets all just say how happy we all are for him and just wish it could have been me to have won it.

    August 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth will out

      shut up.....who cares what you think....

      August 31, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. D

    $337M ISN'T a lot of money?? what's this guy smoking? that makes him richer than Mitt Romney! dude's in the 0.1% now

    August 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Siege

    Happy for him, but wish it was me!

    August 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth will out

      not happy that so much money goes to a fat putz......just so he can blow it on more stuff to further his unhealthy gluttony......he probably has no vision of achieving anything more than blowing a ton of money on prescribed new money, limos, bikini girls mansions, millions of triple cheeseburgers......worthless......with that kind of money, you could really shake things up, if you had some kind of vision......this putz doesn't look like he has one iota of any of that

      August 31, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ralf The Dog

    If he was smart, he would be eating better food, so he had a chance to enjoy his money. Not only will his junk diet make him die much sooner, his quality of life will be much lower. What is the point of having money, if you don't have the energy to have fun with it.

    This is the difference between those who get their money by their intellect and those who get it by matching a random string of numbers.

    August 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    I wonder if he thanked God for blessing him with the winning ticket?

    August 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth will out

      probably not.......and he will probably accomplish nothing but more gluttony with his winnings.......another worthless turd with more money than brains

      August 31, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike Scott

    This guy's an idiot to plaster his name and picture on the internet. He has know idea what he is in store for. I know someone who won the Texas Lottery and not only did people come out of the woodwork asking for money, he spent years in court fighting someone who claimed that he stole the lottery ticket from him, and shelled out tons of money in legal expenses. You have to keep your mouth shut!

    August 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
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