Md. Accountant Must Crunch Numbers No More

By Virgil Dickson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 3, 2007

A Dundalk, Md., accountant and Wicca teacher is now a multimillionaire.

Ellwood "Bunky" Bartlett, 40, will meet tomorrow with Maryland lottery officials to claim his share of the $330 million Mega Millions jackpot. The names of the other three winners, including one from Buckingham, Va., have not been announced.

"I kind of screamed, and I teared up a little bit," Bartlett said.

The odds of purchasing a winning ticket were one in 176 million.

The ticket, one of two Bartlett purchased for $5 each at Walther Liquors in Parkville, Md., northeast of Baltimore, is being kept at an undisclosed location, he said.

Bartlett teaches Wicca and Reiki healing part time at Mystickal Voyage, a New Age gift shop in White Marsh, Md., and makes his living advising small businesses.

After hearing on CNN that one of the winners had purchased a ticket at the Parkville liquor store, Bartlett and his wife checked their numbers. He then went to a Ford dealership in Columbia and purchased a new Explorer with the promise he would return to pay for it later with his lottery winnings.

Bartlett was thinking of his 18-year-old daughter, he said. After getting the new car, he gave her the 2007 Ford Escape that he had purchased in February, an upgrade from her 1991 Honda Civic.

He said he hadn't decided whether he would accept his winnings as an annuity or choose the lump-sum cash option. A lump-sum payment would be at least $48.7 million, or about $32 million after taxes. Alternately, he could receive $3.7 million a year until 2032.

Bartlett practices Wicca, a religion whose followers worship nature. He said favor with pagan gods resulted in his win.

"I look at it this way. If the gods are going to intervene, it would be easier to manipulate a machine versus me trying to interpret what they are telling me," he said, explaining why he opted for machine-selected numbers.

Although no one has called claiming to be a long-lost relative, Bartlett has a message for anyone who's thinking about it: "I'm not giving anybody any money besides my parents and my wife's parents."

Bartlett said he plans to invest in Mystickal Voyage as well as a crab and fish marketplace his sister wants to launch. In addition, he plans to relocate his family. "I want something bigger but not too big," Bartlett said. "I am going to make sure I invest and it takes care of me and my children for however long we live."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company