BY PATRICK L. THIMANGU
The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS--The attorney for 13 lucky but largely anonymous Ohio machinists and assembly workers claimed their $161.5 million Powerball jackpot Friday, handing the winning ticket over to lottery officials to spare his clients the glare of the media spotlight.
"It's been quite a zoo for this past week, but the nice part of it is, I've taken that heat. It's easier for me to take the heat than it is the 13 of them," said attorney Larry Sturtz after being escorted by private security guards to Indianapolis from his home in a Columbus, Ohio, suburb.
After turning the winning ticket over to Hoosier Lottery officials Friday morning, Mr. Sturtz said his clients were shunning media attention because they want to keep their lives as normal as possible. The machinists, who call themselves the "Lucky 13," work for Automation Tooling System, a Canadian-owned assembly systems plant in Westerville, Ohio.
Hoosier Lottery Director James Maguire said $116.3 million -- the prize minus federal withholding taxes -- would be transferred next week to the bank holding an account for the Lucky 13 Trust, which was created to claim the jackpot and maintain the anonymity of most of the group. The 13 men will each receive about $8.9 million, but will have to pay additional federal, state and local taxes, Mr. Maguire said. Mr. Sturtz said the men are still trying to figure out what they will do with their wealth. He estimated that each member of the group would receive about $6.5 million after taxes.
If invested conservatively in municipal bonds, he said, "you're gonna have $400,000 tax-free (annually), for the rest of your life." "That's a lot of money for anybody. That's taking no risk, that's not worrying about it, that's sleeping every night," Mr. Sturtz said.
Mr. Sturtz said the winners had told him: "We don't want to run to the press. We don't want our life to change." " . . . These are all very loyal workers; some have taken vacation, some of the older ones are thinking about retiring. The younger ones are saying, "I have got the money but I love my job,' " he said.