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Dear Zephyrhills Powerball winner: Let us spend your dough

ZEPHYRHILLS — More than a week has passed since it was announced that the winning ticket for the highest lottery sum of all time came from a small-town Publix. The winner has yet to come forward and claim the $590 million prize.

That's fine, because while the winner has been waiting, we've been dreaming about what we'd do with a fortune like that.

First though, we had to consider taxes and the number lopped off for taking the lump sum (we don't believe in delayed gratification). That leaves $277.3 million, said Florida Lottery spokeswoman Shelly Gerteisen. Still, it's a Gatsby-esque chunk of change.

At first we thought big. Maybe the winner could purchase the city of Zephyrhills?

No dice, said Wade Barber, chief deputy of the Pasco Property Appraiser's Office. The city would run you about $745 million, and the homes alone total $417 million, Barber said, "which I find comforting: knowing that he can't just buy the whole city."

All right then. How about a new stadium for the Rays? Strike two. Judging from the Miami Marlins' recently erected $640 million complex, you'd be out of your league.

Still, your winnings aren't chump change. You can snap up a lot of things with that kind of dough. (In fact, this past weekend's Powerball winners from Tampa, New Orleans and Delaware could even spring for a few of these items on their more modest $50 million jackpots.)

No doubt the sudden rush of wealth has left you seeking new thrills. Fortunately, Zephyrhills is a skydiving mecca. And for you, only state-of-the-art gear will do. Skydive City manager T.K. Hayes says $10,000 should get you the best apparatus out there: a custom fitted jumpsuit, a personalized harness and a parachute fit to your exact specifications.

That's practically pennies, though.

• • •

You'll need the requisite millionaire's mansion. Lucky for you, the 10,000-square-foot former home of Gary Sheffield went up for sale last week for $3.3 million. Called the "best-known party house in Pinellas County," it stood as the lair for Gucci Mane's character in Spring Breakers and features a home theater, three bars and a 250-foot dock out into Tampa Bay.

In the home's six-car garage, you can put the fastest manufactured car ever. The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse boasts 1,200 horsepower, a zero-to-60 pace of 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 260 mph. It has a base price of $2.9 million and takes eight months to be custom ordered and shipped from Italy, said Juan Hinestrosa, salesman at Braman Motors dealer in Miami. Get six of them for your garage. Who cares? You're loaded.

Now you'll want some museum-collection-quality paintings to hang in your cavernous living room. Salvador Dalí should do. His surreal Oasis was left on the auction block last year when no one made an opening bid for $6 million. You've got the dough.

How about a yacht at the end of your 250-foot dock? World Class Yacht Sales in Tarpon Springs can sell you the 112-foot Leopard Motor Yacht. It has three levels, including the cockpit, and contains a sun lounge, dining area, entertainment center and a swim deck. That'll be $6.2 million, Captain Whoever-you-are.

Maybe you want to get to your destination fast. Bombardier Aerospace in Fort Lauderdale has a 2014 Learjet 85 it can sell you for $20 million. It seats eight passengers, has a kitchenette and cruises at Mach 0.82.

But maybe you and a few friends just want to go out for drinks. So you put a buddy in each of your Bugattis and drive as a fleet over to Bern's Steakhouse, where the most expensive wine you can buy is a $30,000 bottle of Chateau Latour, a 1947 vintage.

• • •

So far, you've put down nearly $53 million, less than a fifth of your winnings. We're already starting to feel gluttonous. You want to kick a little over to charity (and take the tax break while you're at it). But any old nonprofit won't do. This new, exotic lifestyle has given you a taste for the obscure.

You've probably never heard of the American Guild of Organists, but they're alive and well, and they'd be happy to take your handout. Authentic pipe organs are rare and expensive instruments to take up, about $3 million or $4 million each. Robert Todd, former dean of the guild, said more of the area's concert halls could use them. "Organists rely on people with deep pockets to provide us instruments to play," he said.

And don't forget about the National Elephant Center in Fellsmere, which broke ground last year and just got its first group of elephants this month. It has one habitat and is looking to build four more at $2.5 million. It also costs about $2,000 a month to feed each pachyderm. Executive director John Lehnhardt says he'd even consider naming part of the center after you.

So, let's say you give each of the nonprofits $10 million. That puts you at $73 million. You have a parachute set-up, a mansion, a fleet of sweet cars, high-end art, a yacht, a personal jet, a belly of fine wine and a conscience of gold.


What else could you want? We're out of ideas and tired of spending money.

You figure out the rest.

Times staffers Stephen Nohlgren, Drew Harwell and Carolyn Edds contributed to this report, which also used information from the New York Times.

Dear Zephyrhills Powerball winner: Let us spend your dough 05/27/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 3:27pm]
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