Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Lottery winner a puzzle to court

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — It seems Northern Kentucky courts weren't made for $65.4 million Powerball winners, even when those winners keep landing in court.

        Since Mack Wayne Metcalf, 42, of Independence won the lottery in July, he's appeared in court for previous unpaid child support and a drunken-driving charge stemming from his pre-millionaire days.

        He's also been cited for public intoxication and filed a civil lawsuit in Kenton Circuit Court to reclaim $500,000 he allegedly gave to a former live-in girlfriend in a drunken stupor.

        But even if he does approach the record for lottery winner court appearances, Mr. Metcalf is off the chart in another way.

        When it comes to unpaid child support, Amy Burke of the Kenton County Attorney's Office admitted that the office is still trying to figure out how to handle Mr. Metcalf's case — his income is off the child-support scale.

        In Kenton Circuit Court on Tuesday, Mr. Metcalf did not appear at a hearing that was supposed to determine whether he owes more. He and his ex-wife, Marilyn Collins of London, Ky., have a 15-year-old daughter, Amanda. The couple divorced in 1986.

        Ms. Burke said a scale that she uses to determine child support factors in people who make up to $180,000 a year — not those who become multimillionaires after winning the lottery.

        Mr. Metcalf received $13.9 million after splitting his cash-option winnings, 60-40, with his present wife, paying several million in state and federal taxes and having Kentucky lottery officials remove about $31,000 for delinquent child support.

        Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia Summe also has ordered that he place $880,000 in an escrow account for future child support payments.

        “That's the problem once you go off the scale,” she said. “We're trying to figure out how to set that” for Mr. Metcalf.

        Ms. Burke said county attorneys are working with Mr. Metcalf's recently hired financial planner to settle the case. Mr. Metcalf has been responsible for $50 a week, which he was supposed to pay after his divorce. The maximum payment on the scale used in Kenton County is $15,000 a month.

        She asked for a continuance, which Judge Summe granted. A date for the next hearing was not set.

        Mr. Metcalf was facing a criminal flagrant nonsupport charge in Boone County because of the $31,000 in unpaid child support.

        It will be dismissed as long as he follows Judge Summe's orders.


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