Contractor wins largest undivided lottery prize in history

A 55-year-old contractor from West Virginia has won the biggest undivided lottery prize in history – the $314 million Powerball jackpot.

Andrew “Jack” Whittaker Jr. said he plans to expand his construction business, lavish money on his family, maybe buy a helicopter and give 10 percent of his winnings to his church.

“I’ve had to work for everything in my life,” Whittaker said. “This is the first thing that’s ever been given to me.”

Whittaker lives in the small town of Scott Depot and is president of three construction companies that build sewage plants and other water projects. He chose to take a lump sum of $170 million before taxes instead of 30 annual installments.

Whittaker has 117 employees, but recently laid off 25 people. “I want more work so I can put them back to work,” he said.

Whittaker said he isn’t a regular lottery player but bought $100 in tickets because the jackpot was so high. He bought the winning ticket at the C&L Super Serve in Hurricane, a town of 5,200 people 25 miles west of Charleston.

Powerball, the nation’s largest lottery game, is sold in 23 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. Before the Christmas 2002 prize, the largest Powerball jackpot was $295.7 million in July 1998.