The winners of the 241-million dollar Powerball drawing were revealed today (Wednesday) along with a lawsuit seeking to keep part of their identity private.
Eighteen of the 20 winners who work in the shipping department at the Quaker Oats plant in Cedar Rapids entered the media room at Iowa Lottery Headquarters just like most other winners to meet with reporters.
But Iowa Lottery C.E.O. Terry Rich made a first-of its kind announcement before turning things over to the winners of the largest single jackpot in state history.
“Lawyers for the group stated that the members of the shipping 20 want their individual names to remain confidential and intend to request and injunction to that affect, which is allowed under Iowa’s open records law,” Rich says.
“The Lottery believes the names are public and should be disclosed, but understanding the specifics of this law ,We’ve agreed to give that group 10 says to seek that injunction.”
Rich went on to explain the details of the winners’ shares. “They’re receiving the jackpot as a lump sum option of 160-point-two million dollars. Each group member — 18 men two women — will receive about eight million dollars, which is about five-point-six million dollars after taxes, 25% for federal (taxes), 5% for state,” Rich explained.
One of the winners, identified only as Al, said their reason for not revealing their names was simple, “Privacy, just privacy.” Another member of the group said off microphone that they are normal people and their friends, families and coworkers know who they are, but they don’t want solicitors and others trying to track them down to take advantage of their winnings.
Al has been purchasing tickets for the “Shipping 20” for several years. “I always had 20 people, 100 dollars, it was simple to keep track of…we started out whenever it got up to like 150 (million) that’s when we got in and then go until it was given away,” Al explained.
The 20 are part of 90 people who work in shipping at the plant sending out boxes of cereal. Al says they might never have won if the company hadn’t decided to keep the plant going after the flood of 2008.
“When we got flooded, it shut the plant down because it was 10 foot above the first floor…and it went right through shipping, three foot of water through shipping, I mean it was a slippery greasy mess in there because we never expected it to get up there so we had our trucks and all the cardboard, and it was a mess,” Al says
“But they decided, and I’m glad they did, to reopen it. They got people there right away and got the plant reopened.”
The members of the group range from 35 to 64 and all live in and around Cedar Rapids. Eleven of the winners now plan to retire. Whether their complete identities will be know is now up to a judge.