1. News

Zephyrhills Powerball winner buys $1.2 million home in gated Jacksonville community

This screen capture from shows the outside of the Jacksonville house.
Published Jul. 18, 2013

ZEPHYRHILLS — The gold Ford Taurus has disappeared from the dirt driveway. Also gone is the neighbor kid's congratulatory crayon drawing of palm trees, taped to the door of the tiny gray duplex where Gloria MacKenzie lived until she won $590.5 million, the largest single jackpot in American lottery history.

Records show that MacKenzie, 84, traded her former rental unit in for a 6,322-square-foot, five-bedroom home in Glen Kernan Country Club, a gated golf course community in southeast Jacksonville. The price: $1,175,000.

Property records show the deed was transferred to Melinda Ann MacKenzie, trustee, on June 21. Gloria MacKenzie has a daughter by the same name who teaches high school science in Maine. Her son, Scott, who had a standing agreement to split the prize with his mother, also lives in Jacksonville.

The listing for the two-story lake-front house describes it as "majestic," with a curved staircase, home theater and wet bar, fireplace, library, 4-1/2 baths, a chef's kitchen and a full-sized laundry room.

The former owners were listed as Dr. Yousif A. Abubakr, a Jacksonville hematologist oncologist. An office manager for Abubakr said he sold the home through a trust and did not deal directly with the buyer.

Troy Davis, who lives next door to MacKenzie's new home, declined to comment.

Back on the rural road in Zephyrhills where MacKenzie used to take walks, neighbors wondered what became of her.

"We were kind of disappointed we didn't see her again," said Paul Bathrick, who lives a couple of doors down from MacKenzie's former one-bedroom apartment. He said MacKenzie's two sons came a few weeks ago to remove her belongings.

Jorge Trapero, a friend of MacKenzie's who lived in the adjacent apartment, was not at the home Wednesday. A Progress Energy worker whose truck was on the property said he had just cut off the electricity to Trapero's unit. MacKenzie's, he said, was cut off a couple of weeks ago.

MacKenzie has remained in the shadows since coming forward June 5 to claim the prize, which she took in a lump sum of $370.9 million that totaled $278 million after taxes.

She referred questions to members of a law firm, who then would not answer questions. She bought the winning ticket on May 18 at a Publix on U.S. 301 in Zephyrhills, where a woman let her cut in line in front of her.

A possible sighting was reported June 9 when an unidentified woman who diners said looked like MacKenize paid $2,600 for the meals of all 180 patrons at BuddyFreddy's off Interstate 4 in Plant City. She gave $50 to each of the five servers.

Most family members also have declined to comment.

News of the home purchase came as a surprise to Ella MacKenzie, her sister-in-law who lives in East Millinocket, Maine, near Bangor. She said she has had little contact with Gloria since she moved to Florida about eight years ago after her husband, Ralph, died.

"That's great," Ella MacKenzie said. "She didn't really have a nice home."

Ella MacKenzie said she also has not seen Melinda MacKenzie, who lives nearby, since her mother struck it rich.

"We used to see her quite a bit," she said. "She walked by the house a lot."


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