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$45 million N.Y. Lotto winner living life to the fullest

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: $45 million N.Y. Lotto winner living life to the fullest

It's pretty obvious that winning the lottery would have a great capacity to change your life, though not always for the better.

So imagine what it was life for New Yorker John Falcon who six years ago won $45 million when his lucky numbers came up.

From living in a modest tenement apartment he now lives in the Trump Tower, and after years trying to build a career as a singer and actor, he can now afford to hire his own theaters.

What's more, a movie of his lottery winning life — another self-funded project — has been screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

One of the first things Falcon bought was a a new smile.

"Dentistry is very expensive in America. And so the first thing I did was invest, you know, a Maserati in my mouth," he said.

"So far it's been about $175,000. I have cow bone here. To this day when I pass a cow I feel a little well in my heart."

Falcon has good reason to be cheesy. Six years ago this gay Puerto Rican performance artist was finding fame rather hard to come by.

"There was no sun, I tell you. There was just darkness, clouds, rain, constant snow. I was working. It was very Dickensian, I was like Oliver Twist," he said.

But all that changed when his numbers came up.

Performer John Falcon performing his one-man showOn October 30 Falcon won a $45 million New York Lotto jackpot.  He was New York's single largest winner ever, and perhaps a little wary.

"I'm not stupid, so no-one can take advantage of me that I don't allow to take advantage of me. I'm always a little skeptical about everyone and about everything and plus I have financial advisers who just tell me, "Don't make a move until you've spoken to me", and I don't," he said.

"There is nothing on the ticket that tells you what your next step is. So, do you know what I mean? I didn't know what to do. Do I go back to the bodega where I bought it and ask for my $45 million? I mean, what do I do?"

He was dubbed 'Mr Lucky' and after years craving the limelight, not only had he found it, he now had the wherewithal to buy it. Today Falcon travels the world and spends much of his time at film festivals, where the story of his lucky, life-changing numbers has become a film, albeit a self-funded one.

Documentary director Ira Rosenwig worked with Falcon on the film.

"It was an incredible working experience because while he did fund the film, we had a contract saying I had complete creative control, and I can't think of really one time throughout the whole process where he demanded anything taken out," he said.

The film explores John Falcon's life through one man's show — a short Puerto Rican guy sings songs of angst and also examines what happens when a poor man becomes $45 million richer.

"Everyone needed some sort of salary. But, you know, 'no' became a very easy word to say. In fact, there's like a little lottery association in America with all their lottery winners and my advice to all of them is to just say 'no' until you can get used to your money," he said.

There were big purchases of course — an apartment in the Trump Tower and a significant and growing art collection, but Falcon assiduously avoided the hundreds of once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunities he was offered. And what's more, he was smart enough to take his money over 26 years and not as a lump sum.

"Again, I'm saying there's that little lottery association in America. There's was this one guy, this is like - he won $10 million and he decided what he wanted to be was a cocaine kingpin. So he went out and he bought $10 million worth of cocaine. He's in jail now," he said.

What is interesting about people like Falcon is he can perhaps answer with some certainty the questions the rest of us just speculate upon.

"If you're asking me does money buy happiness... the answer to that would be yes, it does. Everything else is emotional, philosophical nonsense," he said.

What fabulous wealth has also bought John Falcon is complacency. Music was once his driving force, but now he admits the easy life has rather dulled the creative urge.

"Let's see, do I stay at home and study intensive voice, do vocal eases intensely for three months, or do I go to Rome and buy shoes? You know, it's hard. It's a hard decision, but I always pick the shoes," he said.

Ahead for John Falcon, another 21 years of great big checks and amazingly, even more dental work. It's hard to tell whether money has really bought him happiness, but at the very least it's enabled him to rent it.

ABC News

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13 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by Chewie.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #16612
June 2, 2005
3493 Posts
Offline
Posted: August 12, 2005, 2:01 pm - IP Logged

When winning a lottery, I think John Falcon changed his life. I think investing in 26 Payments was good enough so he gets paid every year. By doing that, his life is easier and happier.

    Toney725's avatar - speedykat
    Stone Mountain, GA
    United States
    Member #3189
    January 1, 2004
    22704 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: August 12, 2005, 2:13 pm - IP Logged

    "So far it's been about $175,000. I have cow bone here. To this day when I pass a cow I feel a little well in my heart."

    What the heck did he have done to his mouth?

      Avatar
      Greenwich, CT
      United States
      Member #4793
      May 24, 2004
      1822 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: August 12, 2005, 2:35 pm - IP Logged

      "Always pick the shoes"

      Haha, what an entertaining story...rags to riches and not a care in the world.

        Avatar
        Wisconsin
        United States
        Member #1610
        June 3, 2003
        668 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: August 12, 2005, 4:35 pm - IP Logged

        Sounds like this guy's dentist also won the lottery Wink

        I'm happy for this guy. He seems well grounded and satisfied with the post jackpot decisions he's made.

        ... the lottery never fails to surprise!

          United States
          Member #379
          June 5, 2002
          11296 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: August 12, 2005, 4:48 pm - IP Logged

          Todd, why are the stories ALWAYS about people who receive annuity payments?

            Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
            Chief Bottle Washer
            New Jersey
            United States
            Member #1
            May 31, 2000
            21651 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: August 12, 2005, 4:55 pm - IP Logged

            Hmmm.... maybe someone is a little overly sensitive, eh?  Do you really think all the winner stories are about people who chose annuity, or do you want an opportunity to modify that question?

            Also, as I've told you before, for some people, annuity may be the way to go.  Obviously, with this guy, he seems like he benefits from the NY Lottery having set up an annuity for him, rather than needing to manage his finances himself.

            Whenever I see something where someone tries to issue a blanket statement to cover all cases, then I know something is amiss.

            Like the statement, "EVERYONE should ALWAYS choose cash."  I know, just based on principle, that is not true.  There is nothing that covers ALL situatiuons.

            I'm personally happy this guy chose his annuity option, because it seems to suit him well.  That doesn't mean it would be the best choice for me or you, but it does appear best for him.

             

            Check the State Lottery Report Card
            What grade did your lottery earn?

             

            Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
            Help eliminate computerized drawings!

              JAP69's avatar - Lottery-053.jpg
              South Carolina
              United States
              Member #6
              November 4, 2001
              8516 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: August 12, 2005, 5:02 pm - IP Logged

              "Everyone needed some sort of salary. But, you know, 'no' became a very easy word to say. In fact, there's like a little lottery association in America with all their lottery winners and my advice to all of them is to just say 'no' until you can get used to your money," he said.

              ________________________________________________________________

              Good advice

              Stats hunting: Type

                Avatar
                atlanta
                United States
                Member #13754
                April 13, 2005
                53 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: August 12, 2005, 6:36 pm - IP Logged

                "Let's see, do I stay at home and study intensive voice, do vocal eases intensely for three months, or do I go to Rome and buy shoes? You know, it's hard. It's a hard decision, but I always pick the shoes," he said.

                 

                it must be nice


                  United States
                  Member #5565
                  July 11, 2004
                  260 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: August 12, 2005, 7:26 pm - IP Logged

                  "I'm always a little skeptical about everyone and about everything and plus I have financial advisers who just tell me, "Don't make a move until you've spoken to me", and I don't," he said."

                   

                  He's obviously had a number of advisors counseling him on his choices.  If he's going to spend a considerable amount of money and time accumulating art work and other collectibles, investments that he can enjoy as well as profit from, it might be a good idea to receive the money in an annuity to force some spending discipline on his lifestyle.

                    Avatar

                    United States
                    Member #972
                    December 30, 2002
                    461 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: August 13, 2005, 8:40 pm - IP Logged

                    Makes me feel for all those people with dental problems who didn't win the lottery. It's nice to hear about winner who has his/her act together and is living the good life.


                     

                      dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

                      United States
                      Member #2338
                      September 17, 2003
                      2063 Posts
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                      Posted: August 14, 2005, 12:32 am - IP Logged

                      To me it sounds like he confused an annuity with lucky for life. Doesn't sound like he's socking enough away for his post-check "retirement". Ironically if he had chosen cash then stuck the cash in a perpetual annuity he could stand a better chance of living this kind of lifestyle.


                        United States
                        Member #5387
                        July 2, 2004
                        28 Posts
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                        Posted: September 3, 2005, 4:34 am - IP Logged

                        Well one thing he doesn't have to worry about is women taking advantage of him the article stated he is gay.

                          Avatar
                          Sparta, NJ
                          United States
                          Member #18331
                          July 9, 2005
                          1977 Posts
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                          Posted: September 3, 2005, 7:22 am - IP Logged

                          You are what you are, winning millions will only amplify it.  Or, in the case of those animals in NO, loosing everything will only ampllify your inside. I belive all humans have built-in animal instincts, and unless your family teaches you respect and provides you inspiration, you will grow into an animal. Inside, You are ALWAYS what your your mother made you. Inside, she is what her mother made her. Fathers provide the guidance, mothers make the inner person. It is the same for Christians, Hebrews, Muslims and Athiest. It is no more complicated than that.

                          Cheers

                          |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

                          I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice