Columbia resident Solomon Jackson, Jr. has come forward to claim his lottery prize–$259,900,000. Lottery Director Paula Harper Bethea made the announcement Tuesday, saying that Jackson had worked hard all his life and was extremely deserving of the honor.
Lottery winner says he was just buying a ticket to support education.
The Department of Revenue retiree wouldn’t say much whether he will take his winnings annually over three decades or in a $129 million lump sum. Lottery officials say after taxes, that $129 million would be more like $90 million.
Jackson bought the winning Powerball ticket last week at a Columbia gas station but waited nearly a week to come forward. When he had the ticket scanned, he was told to go to the lottery commission’s claims office, so he knew he was a winner, but he wasn’t sure how much.
He joked with reporters Tuesday afternoon in downtown Columbia. “I said to myself, ‘Why can’t I throw $2 at the lottery to help education?’, but as it turns out, I didn’t need $2 to win it, so I wasted a dollar.”
Jackson was introduced by his attorney I.S. Leevy Johnson, whose wife taught Jackson in high school. “Often these wins make major material changes in peoples’ lives. But based on his character and involvement in his community, I’m confident it’s not going to change him.”
Jackson said he bought the ticket as a way to make a contribution to higher education. And he said not much about his life will change. “This morning at 7:30 I was cutting my neighbor’s grass because she lost her father. Winning often changes people. But I’m still going to remain Solomon.”
Jackson has been retired since 2000. “It’s not going to change me. I’m already retired and have a good income. I won’t do a bunch with it. But somebody’s going to be blessed.”
But Jackson wouldn’t reveal what he plans to do with the money.