Tuesday, August 21, 2018
News Roundup

Florida man, 20, claims $450M Mega Millions jackpot

TALLAHASSEE — About 1 a.m. Thursday, 20-year-old Shane Missler wrote on Twitter: "The power of positive thinking should not be underestimated!"

By that time he already knew he had won the lottery.

And not just any jackpot, but $451 million.

Missler bought five quick-pick Mega Millions tickets last week at a 7-Eleven store in Port Richey, where his family lives. One was the sole winner of the fourth-largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time, lottery officials said. Missler, grinning widely and clutching a yellow envelope, turned it in Friday shortly after noon at the Florida Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee.

He was with his dad and a lawyer, who released a statement on his behalf:

"If there is one thing I have learned thus far in my short time on this earth it is that those who maintain a positive mindset and stay true to themselves get rewarded," Missler said. "I look forward to the future."

FROM THE ARCHIVE: What to do if you win a Mega Millions jackpot

Missler — not even old enough to celebrate his winnings with a drink — opted to take the lump-sum payment of $281,874,999. The Florida Lottery withholds federal income taxes at a rate of 25 percent, officials said, dropping the amount to $211,406,249.25.

The Lottery shared in a statement that Missler "wasn’t really surprised that he had won" because he had "a feeling" that he might.

About half an hour after the Jan. 5 drawing, he posted to Facebook: "Oh. My. God."

When he learned he had all the numbers right, he called his brother first, then told his father while they shared cups of coffee the next morning. Lottery officials said the money will be paid to a trust, set up with Missler as the managing member. It is called "Secret 007, LLC."

"Although I’m young, I’ve had a crash course this week in financial management and I feel so fortunate to have this incredible wealth and team behind me," Missler said in his statement to the Tampa Bay Times. "I intend to take care of my family, have some fun along the way and cement a path for financial success so that I can leave a legacy far into the future."

The winning ticket was purchased the same day as the drawing from the 7-Eleven. The store, at 7131 Ridge Rd. in Pasco County, will receive a $100,000 commission.

Missler used money he won from a scratch-off lottery game to buy the Mega Millions tickets. The winning combination, 28, 30, 39, 59, 70 and the Mega Ball, 10, came on the fourth set of numbers.

Missler quickly "retired" from his job at a local background screening company, his lawyer, Walt Blenner, said in the statement.

The 20-year-old, whose social media accounts are full of references to New England, the Boston Celtics and the Patriots football team, plans to move away from the Tampa Bay area. His online presence is overwhelmingly uplifting, with inspirational quotes dotting a Twitter feed and the bio section of a sparsely updated Instagram account reading: "I wake up everyday saying ‘Thank you’ " and "Chase your dreams."

Late Friday afternoon, Missler tweeted once again: "Thank you everyone for the positive thoughts. This is only the beginning. I am truly grateful and most appreciative."

His family is originally from Maine.

Larry Thornton, who said he coached Missler on the soccer team at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, Maine, recalled that even several years ago, the teen seemed mature among his peers and was a leader who made underclassmen feel welcome.

"He’s going to find out what he needs to do and how he’s going to do it," Thornton said in an interview Friday. "I can’t see this going off the rails for somebody like him."

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Abraham Shakespeare won the lottery, then lost it all

Mega Millions is played in 44 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Last fall, administrators increased ticket prices and the starting jackpot, hoping to boost attention for the game around bigger winnings.

The largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time was $656 million in March 2012. Three winning tickets were sold, in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland. A Florida winner split a $414 million jackpot in 2014, previously the high mark for any ticket sold in the Sunshine State.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Winning $450 million lottery ticket sold at Pasco County 7-Eleven

JACKPOT: Zephyrhills woman claims largest single Powerball jackpot in U.S. history

Pasco County is no stranger to lottery fever. In 2013, an 84-year-old woman was the sole winner of a $590.5 million Powerball drawing — then the largest single jackpot in American lottery history. She bought her ticket at a local Publix and took the lump sum.

Readers are also looking at: How robo-call moguls outwitted the government and completely wrecked the Do Not Call list

Times staff writer Colleen Wright contributed to this report. Contact Zachary T. Sampson at [email protected] or (727) 893-8804. Follow @ZackSampson.

Comments
Bowen: Is ĎLive PDí tarnishing Pascoís image?

Bowen: Is ĎLive PDí tarnishing Pascoís image?

The summer bucket list included reading more 20th century authors: Ernest Hemingway. Joseph Heller. Kurt Vonnegut. Check. Cops and criminals in the 21st century made plenty of appearances, too. Authors John Sanford and Ace Atkins are favorites.Check....
Updated: 1 minute ago
Familiar face on opposing sideline for Wiregrass Ranch-Zephyrhills opener

Familiar face on opposing sideline for Wiregrass Ranch-Zephyrhills opener

WESLEY CHAPEL — In the second-year Florida high school football playoff system, there's no such thing as easing in, with a non-district game in Week 1 potentially holding more value than any district contest. Friday night's top matchup in Pasco...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
These restaurants are slated for the outdoor dining space at Sparkman Wharf

These restaurants are slated for the outdoor dining space at Sparkman Wharf

TAMPA -- The lineup is set for the outdoor dining space at Sparkman Wharf, where developers have assembled a Who’s Who of inventive Tampa chefs for what will be an open-air food hall on the waterfront. The last to be announced is the chef who ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Animal crackers repackaged, cages removed after PETA pressure

Animal crackers repackaged, cages removed after PETA pressure

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of animal crackers are roaming free. Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco, has redesigned the packaging of its Barnumís Animals crackers after relenting to pressure from Peop...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Measles and parents who donít vaccinate; immigration hardliner DeSantisí great-great-grandmother nearly barred; preseason helps mend Bucs fansí souls

The Daystarter: Measles and parents who donít vaccinate; immigration hardliner DeSantisí great-great-grandmother nearly barred; preseason helps mend Bucs fansí souls

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.ē Watch out for more thunderstorms in the evening hours, but itíll dry up by sunset, according to the National Weather Service. Highs will be in the low 90s.ē As you head out for your m...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Green Mamba jet car owner Doug Rose, 80, formerly of Tampa, dies in Michigan crash

Green Mamba jet car owner Doug Rose, 80, formerly of Tampa, dies in Michigan crash

Doug Rose called the Green Mamba his life and livelihood.Rose built the jet engine-powered drag racer from scratch, and for decades, including the years Rose lived in Tampa, the fire-breathing machine provide a comfortable income.On Friday, the 80-y...
Published: 08/21/18
Romano: Draining the swamp can be dangerous in Florida

Romano: Draining the swamp can be dangerous in Florida

Drain the swamp. Thatís the rallying cry, right?More term limits, fewer career politicians. A ruling class of regular folks. Thereís just one small problem. The average Floridian is more dangerous than whatever youíll run into in a swamp. Other place...
Published: 08/21/18
Leader of group behind transportation petition drive had his signature thrown out

Leader of group behind transportation petition drive had his signature thrown out

TAMPA ó Tyler Hudson has become the face of the citizens group behind the Hillsborough County sales tax transportation initiative.The Tampa Heights attorney took the lead at news conferences and delivered boxes of signatures for the groupís petition ...
Published: 08/21/18
Curry is a quick way to get something flavorful on the table for dinner

Curry is a quick way to get something flavorful on the table for dinner

Curry dishes are one of my favorite go-tos for a quick and flavorful home-cooked meal. The spice combinations lend a depth thatís hard to come by in a 20-minute dinner, and the sauciness ties a dish of whatever-is-left-in-the-fridge components togeth...
Published: 08/21/18
Largo looks for ways to cut use of plastics, without a ban

Largo looks for ways to cut use of plastics, without a ban

LARGO ó Commissioners made a pledge recently to transition city operations to 100 percent clean energy by 2035, but Jamie Robinson had something a little more immediate in mind.So, the commissioner asked his peers on the dais if they thought the time...
Published: 08/21/18