A man infamous for his numerous problems ever since winning a record Powerball lottery jackpot says he can't pay a settlement to a casino worker because thieves cleaned out his bank accounts.
Powerball winner Jack Whittaker gave that explanation in a note last fall to a lawyer for Kitti French, who accused him of assaulting her at the Tri-State Racetrack and Gaming Center, a slots-only casino near Charleston, according to a motion French's lawyer filed this week demanding payment of the confidential settlement.
Whittaker won a nearly $315 million on Christmas 2002, then the largest undivided lottery prize in U.S. history. He took his winnings in a lump sum of $113 million after taxes.
Since then, he has faced his granddaughter's death by drug overdose; he has been sued for bouncing checks at Atlantic City, N.J., casinos; he has been ordered to undergo rehab after being arrested on drunken driving charges; his vehicles and business have been burglarized; he was drugged in a Cross Lanes strip club in 2003 by robbers who took more than $500,000 from his car; and he has been sued by the father of an 18-year-old boy, a friend of his granddaughter's, who was found dead in Whittaker's house.
In the latest lawsuit, Whittaker told French's lawyer, John Barrett, that "a team of crooks" cashed checks in September at 12 City National Bank branches and "got all my money," according to the motion Barrett filed Wednesday in state court.
The suit maintains that French's lawyer contacted Whittaker's lawyer several times to try to get Whittaker to comply with the settlement. Whittaker allegedly pleaded poverty, saying he can't afford to make the payments.
"On one occasion, Mr. Whittaker himself responded in writing, and stated: 'On 9-11 a team of crooks went to 12 different City Nat. Banks cashed 12-CKs & got all my money. I intend to pay but can't without any money,'" the suit reads.
An official with City National Bank said Friday the bank is investigating "small discrepancies" in Whittaker's accounts.
The suit claims that Whittaker's failure to abide by the terms of the settlement is "intentional, reckless, willful or wanton."
French is one of three racetrack employees who accused Whittaker of assaulting them while he was gambling at the facility in 2003. Floor attendants C.D. Fortner and Ronda Lilly also claimed Whittaker assaulted them during a drunken tirade.
In July, a Putnam County jury found that Whittaker assaulted a bar manager, but decided that the man's injuries were not the result of being hit by Whittaker. He has also been sued by two women who allege that he assaulted them in a Summers County camp in 2004, as well as two Atlantic City casinos that claim he wrote them checks on a closed bank account.
French's suit seeks to force Whittaker to pay the money specified by the settlement agreement, plus interest and punitive damages.
Calls to Whittaker and his lawyers Friday were not immediately returned.