California man says he plans to start a charity with his Powerball winnings


Powerball winner B. Raymond Buxton holds a check for $425 million on Tuesday. (California Lottery via AP)

The man who won the $425 million (but not really) Powerball jackpot in February is a senior citizen who says he wants to use his winnings to set up a charitable foundation to help – hang on. Look at that photo. Is he wearing a T-shirt that says “Luck of the Jedi I have” as he collects his over-sized novelty check?  Because I believe he is wearing a shirt that says “Luck of the Jedi I have.”

Ray Buxton is the sole winner of the Feb. 19 drawing, which was among the biggest jackpots in lottery history (following a change to Powerball’s rules in 2012 that increased the payoffs). He only came forward Tuesday, but the California Lottery promises that this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke — this is really the guy, he really won it.

Buxton bought his winning ticket at a gas station in Milpitas, Calif., just outside San Jose. The winning ticket was actually the second one he bought that week. He decided to buy a second ticket while grabbing food at a Subway inside the gas station. Because he picked the cash option, he’ll get around $242.2 million before taxes.

“Once the initial shock passed I couldn’t sleep for days,” Buxton said in a statement released by his public relations firm (yes, really — he doesn’t want to do any media interviews or appearances right now, apparently).

Buxton, who has been playing the lottery for two decades, wants to use his money to travel and start a charity. He didn’t actually claim his money until Tuesday because he had been working with an attorney to set up a charity and bank accounts.

“It’s amazing how a little slip of paper can change your life,” he said in the statement. “I’m going to enjoy my new job setting up a charitable foundation focused on the areas of pediatric health, child hunger and education.”

This is a pleasant story, but remember that lotteries are still essentially unwinnable wastes of money that routinely soak up cash from poorer people.

 

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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