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Retired Illinois couple share $656M lottery jackpot

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Retired Illinois couple share $656M lottery jackpot
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By Todd Northrop

Updated 6:24 pm:  Prize payout information

A retired computer systems designer and his wife, a computer programmer, have claimed the final share of the March 30 $656 million Mega Millions lottery drawing.

Merle, 65, and Pat Butler, 62, claimed the jackpot at the Red Bud Village Hall in the small southern Illinois town of Red Bud.  The winning ticket was sold at a nearby Motomart in the town of 6,000 people.

Their share of the record-setting $656 million jackpot was $218.6 million, before taxes.

The lucky couple from Red Bud decided to receive their payout as a lump-sum cash payment, which came to $158 million before taxes of 25% federal and 5% state were withheld.  Their net payout after tax withholding was approximately $110.6 million.

The Butlers' prize represents one-third of the record Mega Millions jackpot drawn on March 30.  The winners of two other tickets — one in Maryland and one in Kansas — have already been paid, but the winners preferred to remain anonymous.

Lottery rules in Illinois, however, require the winner to be named — and to appear at a one-time news conference — to assure other players that prizes are indeed paid out.

Butler describes managing the money as a full-time job right now, and laughs: "I'm not looking for sympathy," adding, "There could possibly be a vacation."

When one reporter asked Merle if they were going to move from Red Bud, he looked puzzled and said, "We really enjoy living here. We've lived here a long time."

Scores of local residents were on hand at City Hall for the ceremonies, the Chicago Tribune reports, and sent up a loud cheer outside when the winner was announced.

The couple bought a $3 quick-pick ticket at the MotoMart convenience store in Red Bud, which is about 40 miles southeast of St. Louis.

"We've been thinking of ways we can invest it," Butler says.

Butler says the couple has a "real good set of financial advisors," and waited three weeks to step forward in order to get their plans in order first.

The winners spent a sleepless night checking how many other winning tickets they'd be sharing the prize with.  "We spent the rest of the night going down to our computer to check the news and see how many winners there were," he says.

Merel Butler, a retiree, says he was watching TV when he heard the result of the drawing. He checked each number, then told his wife, Pat, "We won."

"She kind of looked at me funny, and I said, 'no we won,' and she started giggling," he says. "She giggled for abour 4 hours, I think" he says.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

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78 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by sully16.
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dk1421's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
North Carolina
United States
Member #64582
September 1, 2008
347 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 18, 2012, 12:13 pm - IP Logged

Congrats to them!!!

Sounds like they have their stuff in order. I feel badly they couldn't choose to be anonymous. Yet, I wish they could have said something along those lines at the press conference.

I hope they don't become the poster-children for why all states should allow anonymity! I always worry about what has to happen for all states to wake up to the dangers of not allowing people to claim large jackpots anonymously. It should be an option - especially for large jackpots!

"Don't be a schmuck, always take the cash." -Coin Toss

    Avatar

    United States
    Member #26330
    November 16, 2005
    330 Posts
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    Posted: April 18, 2012, 12:17 pm - IP Logged

    These sound like a couple of real nice people.  Hopefully they don't get too many townspeople and relatives begging for money.  They seem like down to earth people.....

      dpoly1's avatar - driver
      PA
      United States
      Member #66141
      October 16, 2008
      1672 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: April 18, 2012, 12:21 pm - IP Logged

      Congrats to the winners!

      Hurray for the "old"!

      Party

      dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -

       

      Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

        Avatar

        United States
        Member #122691
        February 6, 2012
        330 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: April 18, 2012, 12:22 pm - IP Logged

        That's cute, they really think they are going to be able to stay in that little town and everything is just going to go on being the same. We all know better. They will have moved out within two to six months.

          Avatar
          New Member
          Jersey City
          United States
          Member #126486
          April 10, 2012
          15 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 18, 2012, 12:23 pm - IP Logged

          Congrats to the winners. Unhappy Good thing that an old couple not some young 20 yr won it.

            LottoGuyBC's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
            British Columbia
            Canada
            Member #116101
            September 4, 2011
            4033 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 18, 2012, 12:27 pm - IP Logged

            Quick Pick again Thud

            "You have to be in it to win it!"

              Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
              S.E.Iowa
              United States
              Member #120504
              December 21, 2011
              534 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 18, 2012, 12:34 pm - IP Logged

              Congratulations to Merle and Pat!Enjoy your millions.

              When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

              There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

                Avatar
                New Member
                Sand Rock, AL
                United States
                Member #118372
                October 29, 2011
                2 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: April 18, 2012, 12:45 pm - IP Logged

                Old????????

                  Jill34786's avatar - Lottery-006.jpg
                  Windermere, FL/Franklin, TN
                  United States
                  Member #50210
                  March 1, 2007
                  843 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: April 18, 2012, 12:57 pm - IP Logged

                  "After taxes on a lump-sum payment of $218.6 million, the Butlers will take home $158 million"

                   

                  Actually the lump-sum cash payment is $158 million and the take home after 25% federal and 5% state taxes are witheld is just a tad over $110 million.

                  This couple may have enjoyed living in this small town but all that will soon change Unhappy

                    Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
                    Clarksville
                    United States
                    Member #487
                    July 15, 2002
                    17638 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 18, 2012, 1:00 pm - IP Logged

                    Old????????

                    They're not old, they are experienced!  With modern medicine doing it's thing, they can live to be at least 100.

                    If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

                    You never know when you will get another hit.


                      Bahamas
                      Member #114685
                      August 5, 2011
                      422 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: April 18, 2012, 1:03 pm - IP Logged

                      They're not old, they are experienced!  With modern medicine doing it's thing, they can live to be at least 100.

                      I agree 100%

                       

                      Look at how long Royalty thrives!

                      "Freedom of Speech? Keep reading and you will discover that freedom comes at a price!"

                        dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                        Oklahoma
                        United States
                        Member #82391
                        November 12, 2009
                        6290 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: April 18, 2012, 1:10 pm - IP Logged

                        Congrats to Mr & Mrs. Butler.....Hurray!

                        I Love Pink & Green 1908


                          United States
                          Member #111442
                          May 25, 2011
                          6323 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: April 18, 2012, 1:12 pm - IP Logged

                          By Todd Northrop

                          Updated 6:24 pm:  Prize payout information

                          A retired computer systems designer and his wife, a computer programmer, have claimed the final share of the March 30 $656 million Mega Millions lottery drawing.

                          Merle, 65, and Pat Butler, 62, claimed the jackpot at the Red Bud Village Hall in the small southern Illinois town of Red Bud.  The winning ticket was sold at a nearby Motomart in the town of 6,000 people.

                          Their share of the record-setting $656 million jackpot was $218.6 million, before taxes.

                          The lucky couple from Red Bud decided to receive their payout as a lump-sum cash payment, which came to $158 million before taxes of 25% federal and 5% state were withheld.  Their net payout after tax withholding was approximately $110.6 million.

                          The Butlers' prize represents one-third of the record Mega Millions jackpot drawn on March 30.  The winners of two other tickets — one in Maryland and one in Kansas — have already been paid, but the winners preferred to remain anonymous.

                          Lottery rules in Illinois, however, require the winner to be named — and to appear at a one-time news conference — to assure other players that prizes are indeed paid out.

                          Butler describes managing the money as a full-time job right now, and laughs: "I'm not looking for sympathy," adding, "There could possibly be a vacation."

                          When one reporter asked Merle if they were going to move from Red Bud, he looked puzzled and said, "We really enjoy living here. We've lived here a long time."

                          Scores of local residents were on hand at City Hall for the ceremonies, the Chicago Tribune reports, and sent up a loud cheer outside when the winner was announced.

                          The couple bought a $3 quick-pick ticket at the MotoMart convenience store in Red Bud, which is about 40 miles southeast of St. Louis.

                          "We've been thinking of ways we can invest it," Butler says.

                          Butler says the couple has a "real good set of financial advisors," and waited three weeks to step forward in order to get their plans in order first.

                          The winners spent a sleepless night checking how many other winning tickets they'd be sharing the prize with.  "We spent the rest of the night going down to our computer to check the news and see how many winners there were," he says.

                          Merel Butler, a retiree, says he was watching TV when he heard the result of the drawing. He checked each number, then told his wife, Pat, "We won."

                          "She kind of looked at me funny, and I said, 'no we won,' and she started giggling," he says. "She giggled for abour 4 hours, I think" he says.

                          News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

                          News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

                           By today's standards, this is a young couple. Why should they let all the gloom and doom naysayers influence their staying in Red Bud?

                          They should park their ass's right where they are now. This will piss off all the pro anonymous people. They'll get over it!  LOL

                            golfer1960's avatar - Lottery-003.jpg
                            Eatontown, NJ
                            United States
                            Member #119670
                            November 29, 2011
                            740 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: April 18, 2012, 1:20 pm - IP Logged

                            Good for them but sad for me. Come on Powerball!