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. Joe

    $10,000 could help me out so much.

    August 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • nolongerarepublican

      I had a lot of money I would give you the bucks, because I know what it is like and what a big difference that kind of money can make in most people's lives..

      August 31, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • nolongerarepublican

      One of these days that thing will get to a Billion Dollars, and that will be total fun to see.

      August 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      Stop begging for money you loser. You're whats wrong with this country. Earn your keep.

      August 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth will out

      Joe wasn't begging you idiot. He was merely stating a fact. YOU are what's wrong with this country. Automatically assuming people are one way or the next. Toolbag

      September 1, 2012 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Zulux

    Yea...okaay....when I bought my new car I told myself I won't go over 60 mph and change the oil exactly at 3000 miles to keep the car for a long time. I also promised myself that I won't eat or drink in the car to keep it clean. No more lovely dovey in the backseat as last time she kicked the roll down button and broke it.

    Who wants to know what happened to all those promises after six weeks?

    August 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yetta

      Your dog ran away?

      August 31, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nolongerarepublican

    I am very happy for him, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.
    I would rather it have been me, but if not me, then at least someone else.

    August 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jimdog33

    He'll be broke & alone by 2016.

    August 31, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JD

    Apparently God told him to pick his own numbers...... Yes, because that matches all religious ideology.

    August 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • nolongerarepublican

      So you are saying there is proof there is a God?

      August 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Note the word *APPARENTLY*...Learn word meanings.

      August 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. floyd

    I also asked the Lord to move my hand for me to get the numbers right but it seems he moved yours instead.

    August 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. USA Wake Up

    Floyd, unfortuntately your hand moved to your crotch instead of the ticket

    August 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fred Garvin


    August 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaquanda

      Yeah. He does need to redistribute it to those that didn't win. It's only fair.

      August 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • WTHWTH

      Fred, you are absolutely right. In some completely undefinable way, every shiftless deadbeat in America is equally responsible for winning that money, and deserves, nay, DEMANDS an equal share. I know this is true because the Obamessiah said so.

      August 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yetta

      Hey, Fred, aintcha the male prostie on SNL?

      August 31, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mike


    August 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mike


    August 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bb

    I didn't know that rich people didn't eat at mcdonalds......who knew

    August 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. greyaburton

    says its not going to change him but already quit his job.why bother buy a ticket in the first place if you dont want to change?

    August 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |

    "He said he quit his railroad engineer job after learning he won"... which means he probably already made 6 figures.

    August 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Railroad engineer sounds like a sweet gig!

      August 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • be real

      Railroad engineer is a blue collar job. He drives trains...that's it.

      August 31, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. noteaparty4me

    Keepin" It Reeaalll with NENE! I love it! Congratulations!

    August 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mittens?

    He needs to talk to Romney about how to set up a swiss bank account to avoid paying taxes on the interest he's gonna earn on all that dough.

    August 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • WTHWTH

      Romney? Why bother with him when you can hire a REAL expert – a Kennedy, or a Kerry? That way you get to keep your money, but no one questions it because you are a Democrat.

      August 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • christine

      WTHWTH – ummm...aren't all of the Kennedy's dead? Plus, the money Mitt hides to avoid paying American taxes is waaayyy more than any Kennedy or Kerry ever had.

      August 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      You don't earn interest on money you don't spend, and this clown is going to spend every dime. Just watch.

      August 31, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • be real

      337 Million? I think that will last a while!

      August 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
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