Florida Winners of Historic $1.58B Powerball Jackpot Revealed
Florida winners of historic Powerball jackpot come forward
The Florida winners of the historic $1.58 billion Powerball drawing stepped forward Wednesday to collect their portion of the prize.
Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt, Long Island transplants who have lived in Melbourne Beach since 1991, made their debut more than a month after the Florida Lottery announced that one of the winning tickets in the Jan. 13 lottery was purchased in their town.
The married couple has opted to take a lump sum of $327 million.
“No,” Smith said, when asked if she had any plans for the money beyond getting a massage. “We have to think about it. . I just know I want to help the special people in my life.”
“I will be retiring,” added Kaltschmidt, a longtime engineer with Northrop Grumman, who intends to replace his aging truck.
Kaltschmidt said he didn’t believe it when his wife told him they were winners. “I thought, she’s messing with me,” he said.
Smith said it was hard to keep their secret from their family and friends. Her husband agreed.
“I lost 10 pounds,” he said. “There was a lot of pacing at night.”
The Florida winners of the landmark $1.58 billion Powerball drawing stepped forward to collect their portion of the prize.
Florida Powerball jackpot winners: Melbourne Beach couple
Since January, people in Melbourne Beach have wondered who played the winning Powerball numbers at the local Publix, getting a third of the biggest lottery jackpot in history.
Now, they don’t have to wonder anymore.
A Melbourne Beach couple, David Kaltschmidt, 55, and Maureen Smith, 70, are the Florida co-winners of last month’s record-shattering $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot.
“They are numbers that I played for years, that I very rarely play,” Smith said.
The next morning, Kaltschmidt looked at the winning numbers.
“Oddly enough, I checked the ticket and everything matched up,” he said.
It was hard to believe, so they double-checked the numbers online.
“Then they announced [it was sold at] the Publix in Melbourne Beach and I said, ‘Uh oh,'” Kaltschmidt recalled.
The two have been together since 1980, and living in Melbourne Beach since 1991, they said.
For weeks after the jackpot drawing when friends and co-workers asked them if they knew who the Melbourne Beach winner was, they did not say anything about their big win.
“We just kept quiet,” Smith said. “Just acted normal.”
They sought legal advice and established a trust for the money. They only told a few family members this week, then went public at a press conference in Tallahassee on Wednesday.
The couple opted to take a single lump-sum payment of $327.8 million before taxes instead of annual payments totaling $528.7 million. They said they will use the money to help family members. But they have a few purchases in mind for themselves, too.
Kaltschmidt, a manufacturing engineer at Northrop Grumman, wants a new vehicle because his truck is falling apart. Smith said she would like a massage.
Kaltschmidt, a Northrop Grumman employee for 34 years, said he plans to retire now.
“It’s going to change my day-to-day life. Instead of designing airplanes, I’m gonna be doing, you know, charities and tax strategies and investments,” Kaltschmidt said.
But the money also brought concerns, they said.
“I’m afraid it’s gonna make me less friendly, because I’ll be worried,” Smith said. “…It’s scary and unknown. I mean, you always do think about what you’re gonna do, but when it happened, it’s like it all went out of my head. Just, I know I wanna help special people in my life.”
The couple’s neighbors described them as kind and helpful.
“They’ve been wonderful, dedicated neighbors for over 20 years,” said John Kropp, who lives across the street.
Kaltschmidt, whom Kropp described as “very mechanically inclined,” often lends a hand with repairs. And Smith fed Kropp’s pet bird, a cockatiel named Pepper, whenever he and his wife Marilyn Kropp went out of town.
“Maureen would come over two, three times a day just to take care of the bird,” John Kropp said. “Very dedicated.”
Kaltschmidt and Smith have a Pomeranian named Cassie, who John Kropp joked is “the love of Maureen’s life, next to her husband.”
Another neighbor, Bernard Buckingham, said he only moved into the neighborhood a few months ago and did not know the couple. But he has another connection to the winners, he said.
“I bought a ticket right there at the same place,” he said.
The other two top-winning tickets were sold in California and Tennessee.
The Tennessee winners stepped forward days after the drawing.
Lisa and John Robinson of Munford, Tenn. appeared on the Today show in New York City to announce the news before returning home to cash out.
The couple, along with daughter Tiffany and dog Abby, claimed the prize at lottery headquarters in Nashville.
“I am a little overwhelmed and excited,” Lisa Robinson said, according to news release from Tennessee Lottery. “We just wanted a little piece of the pie, but instead we got a big piece!”
Florida Powerball jackpot winners announced