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Special Event

Kainz Family Steps Forward as Big Game Lottery Winners

Aired May 19, 2000 - 11:30 a.m. ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: For this, we defer to the Big Game lottery winners. We take you live now to Chicago, Illinois. We're about to meet the folks who won the other winning Big Game ticket from last week. We saw the other Big Game winners came from Michigan. These folks come from Illinois. They have remained anonymous so far. Today we find out who America's newest millionaires are.

Let's listen into Lori Montana, the lottery director from Illinois.


LORI MONTANA, ILLINOIS LOTTERY DIRECTOR: ... Illinois Lottery sold $100 million worth of tickets. About 40 million of those, of course, are finding their way week by to Illinois' Common School Fund. And something else kind of exciting and fun happened during the course of these weeks. The Illinois Lottery passed the $10 billion mark on sending our profits to good causes. It has been education, of course, since 1985.

I want to talk just for about two seconds about why people play the lottery. I think we've heard so much during the run of this when our jackpot got to be $100 million and $230, and all of those other increments. And we heard the pluses of playing, being responsible, being careful. The truth is, everybody just about bought a ticket for this jackpot.

KAGAN: While Lori Montana goes ahead and makes a pitch for why she thinks folks should play the lottery, we will tell you a little bit about what we know about the winners we are about to see for the first time. This jackpot $363 million. We told you the first winning ticket came from Michigan and those folks claimed their prize last week. A pool installer, his family and his grown children.

These folks from Illinois have chosen to remain anonymous. What we're hearing from a local newspaper, though, they are Joe and Sue Kainz of Tower Lakes. They own a micro brewery. Our Jeff Flock was telling us, he was digging around that part of the country, and he said he heard this is a very well-liked family with grown children who were looking for investors for their micro brewery. And apparently, they are not going to need that any more.

Once again, it will be half of $363 million. Depending on how they chose to take their prize, we will find out how much they get, if they want it in one lump sum, or over installments over the next 20 years. Again, we think these owners of a micro brewery from Illinois.

We'll go ahead and listen in and let them be introduced.

MONTANA: ... from the Chicago area. They are terrific. So because the dream sometimes does come true. And for all of us, I must tell you, it could not have happened for a more first-rate fine and terrific family. I know you will agree after you meet them.

I would like to bring out Joe and Sue Kainz. And I believe their family is going to come with them, Michael and Jennifer, Patrick and John.

And I now have the -- John maybe you want to come on other side so we can all get kind of cozy here. Come on around. Don't be shy. This may be the only time you get a check of this size.

On behalf of my wonderful boss, Governor Ryan, and the 295 employees of the Illinois Lottery, and I think today I can say on behalf of all lottery players, I am privileged and thrilled to death to be presenting to the Kainz family Illinois' largest check of all time from the North American greatest jackpot to the Kainz family, $181 million, $181,500,000, let's not forget that.

The Kainz family, I believe, has elected to take this in a lump sum, and now I know that you want to talk to them. So Joe, if you will come up to the microphone, the Kainz, Sue and Joe, have agreed to answer some questions.

QUESTION: Joe, what was it like when you were looking at the numbers and you got the ticket out? Tell us what that experience was like.

JOE KAINZ, BIG GAME WINNER: OK, first of all, I think you can't believe it. You know, I was -- can I tell you how it happened and how we did it? You know, I bought -- I go and buy lottery tickets routinely. And we've always done this for the last five years. My family and I have always pooled our money and done that. So that on -- I didn't check it on Tuesday night. But I went down to my -- my desk, I have an office in my home, and I went down to my desk, and I am doing some work, and then I finally thought: Well, I better check the lotto tickets and see what I didn't get.

Any way, I'm sitting there, and I had 10 tickers because we had bought $50 worth of tickets. I had 10 tickets, and I went through five of them. And you know, you have got one, two, three, nothing, I got to the fifth ticket and I got to the third line on and, you know, boom, one, two, three, four, five, but I never get the last number. And I was afraid to look.

I looked over there and I saw 04, and I did -- I can't tell you what I said to myself. But man, I just -- you know, I felt my stomach retreat down in the lower portion of my body. I checked that ticket on my desk for about 10 times.

Then I called Sue and I said: Sue, and she thought that something was wrong. And I had her hold the paper and check it against the ticket, and we did the same thing. And then we called my sons over at the brewery, and then went over and talked to them.

I am sorry, I missed a step. We didn't think -- Sue told me, well she said: You never win anything. It's probably worth $100 dollars or so. And you know, after 40 years of marriage, I believed her. You get conditioned to that after all that time.

So, you know, I thought: Well, maybe it's not that. Because there was the QP on it, and I didn't know what the QP meant. But then I listened to the radio, and they said that the ticket had been won in Lake County at Sweeney's, and then I knew. Then we called our sons.

QUESTION: You were actually there at Sweeney's?

J. KAINZ: Well, you know, I saw some of you, and I meant to say, you know, -- we didn't mean to put any of you through any anguish or anything I by holding out, but I actually saw some of you there, and one of you actually interviewed me. And interviewed -- well talked to Sue.

We had heard that there was a frenzy, a media frenzy over at Sweeney's. So we decided to just drive over and see what it was like. And my goodness, I'll tell you, you guys have got a lot of equipment, boy.

QUESTION: The Michigan winners actually had a lotto dance that they invented. What did you do once you found out that you won?

J. KAINZ: I didn't dance because I don't do that very well. I just, as I said, I think I kind of hobbled around because all my parts were down in the lower end.

QUESTION: Where exactly are you from?

QUESTION: Why did you hold out?

J. KAINZ: Why did I hold out? OK, first of all, if any of you knew me, you know I don't make fast decisions, OK. I wanted to make sure that we had exercised every possibility of looking at all the options available to us.

Is that good? OK.

I don't make fast decisions. And I wanted -- I knew that this was of such magnitude that we needed to get some good financial and accounting and planning advice. And so we took our time in order to achieve that.

And believe me, it takes an awful lot of time, plus we had businesses to run too. And by the way, I want to say to the customers of my medical company, and the customers of Wild Onion Brewing Company that we apologize in the last week that we haven't been able to give you the attentiveness that we normally would like to. But we will get back to it, believe me.

QUESTION: You are not going to retire?

J. KAINZ: No, we are not going to retire?

QUESTION: What are you plans for spending the money?

J. KAINZ: Well, first of all, is to get it and park it some place in some place where it is safe. And then we're going to, you know, have some fun with it, but we are going to reduce some debts. I am going to get a new roof on my house, which I need. When I rained last night, as I left, it was leaking, so it is timely. We will expand the brewery, the micro brewery that we own, and we will expand the medical products company that we have.

And then, soon, I might take a trip to Ireland and France and do that. But we are going to take it very easy.

We also believe that when you win something of this size -- I mean this is sheer luck. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody, that you have got an obligation. And our obligation, we will take our time and look at this, but certainly we will be considering many, many things that we can do for humanity. So that's -- does that answer your question well enough.

QUESTION: Will you buy Anheuser-Busch?

J. KAINZ: No, but you know what I am going to do now? I've always had a dream. You know, they have the clydesdale horses, I want to get a set of little dwarf horses, and put them on a red-flier wagon and hall a keg of beer around.

QUESTION: How has this changed your life?

QUESTION: Where exactly are you from?

QUESTION: Tell us about your family.

J. KAINZ: OK, is that going good now? I am sorry. I can't hear that it's not working, so you just have to remind us. Well, Sue and I will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in October.


J. KAINZ: October 1st, OK. That one I usually remember.

The three guys we've got, Mike is the oldest, and he graduated from Denison University and he was in the Peace Corp for a while, and then he started in the brewery business with us. Pat went to Montana State University.

I'm sorry, before I move on to Pat, let me, Jennifer is Mike's wife, and she had a very interesting job. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, and she was a keeper for the Children's Zoo and Brookfield Zoo, and as she was going in, she just handed in her resignation just this week because she is going to be moving up our way. And just as she was beginning to tell them about her resignation, they said well, gee, Jennifer we were just ready to give you a promotion. So I'm the guy that caused her to lose her promotion and I don't like that. And then, Patrick, he went to Montana State University, and he has been with us in the brewery for quite a while.

And, John -- where's John? There's John.

John's the young guy. He's -- he went to -- where'd you go to school?


J. KAINZ: He went to Kansas, yes. OK, he went to Kansas. And he actually takes care of the distribution and marketing side of our business, so...

QUESTION: Tell us a little about the history of your family. Your family has been here and been in the brewery business for quite a while, I understand.

J. KAINZ: Well, OK. I don't -- all right, I'll do this. Sometimes this doesn't go over too well, but we'll try it. Bear with me now.

My grandfather came over here from Germany, oh, in the mid-1900s and he started a dairy business.

S. KAINZ: Excuse me: Mid-1900s was 1950.

J. KAINZ: Oh, I'm sorry. Early 1900s. See, my math is not good.

Anyway, it was 1915, 1916, somewhere in there, and he started a dairy business, as there were so many dairies around the city of Chicago -- small dairies. Now, when Prohibition came along, it appeared that the same equipment that you use for processing milk, you can also brew with. So he closed the dairy and supplied many of the speak-easies in Chicago with the frothy fluid: beer.

OK, after that, after he died, my dad had a dairy company, and he had a dairy and ice cream company. So, basically, my background has been -- I graduated from the University of Illinois in food technology and I was working in the dairy for a long time. But that's the background of it.

So we have a genetic build-in to beer, I think.

QUESTION: Where exactly is your microbrewery?

J. KAINZ: In Lake County. It's -- the brewery itself is in Lake Barrington.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) clear a little over $50 million.

Sue, can you get up there, too? Get -- right -- both of you up there.

J. KAINZ: OK. QUESTION: Both of you together.

You're going to clear $52 million. Sue, what is your dream that...

S. KAINZ: Honest to God, I want a new roof.

QUESTION: That's it?

QUESTION: With $52 million.

S. KAINZ: Yes, yes, and I'd like a nice roof, but I want a new roof. And it's just that we are just going to proceed very slowly, very slowly. And we're all going to continue working. All of us, all six of us, have worked in the brewery. I mean, our boys built this brewery virtually from scratch from the ground up. Our first tanks were used dairy equipment from Wisconsin. And we put this whole thing together and by blood, sweat and tears, and there's no way we're going to give that up. Joe doesn't want to give up his medical supply business.

But this is going to give us freedom and options that we have not had before. And to me, money has never meant anything more than freedom. So I think we have quite a bit of it here.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) winner here before this?

S. KAINZ: In every other way but money.


J. KAINZ: But now...

QUESTION: How much have you spent on lottery tickets over the years, do you think?

J. KAINZ: OH, gosh.

S. KAINZ: Good question.

J. KAINZ: You know, that is a good question. And I normally would spend about $5 to $7 a week on Lotto, you know. And, normally, I played Lotto. I very seldom would play the Big Game unless it got big.

QUESTION: Have you ever won anything before?

J. KAINZ: No -- well, no. Maybe $3, you know, but that's about it.

S. KAINZ: That's why he believed me when I said this is not the big win.

J. KAINZ: Yes, I believe her.

QUESTION: Joe, you obviously gave this a lot of thought before coming forward. I mean, in your quiet time thinking about all the money that you've had, did you look back and think about how others have dealt with it and kind of, you know, come to terms with it for yourself? It seems like you have.

J. KAINZ: Well, you know, we thought a lot about -- excuse me -- about many things, but I can't say that I reflected about how other people did it, OK. I really didn't. So...

QUESTION: Are you splitting the money with the kids, keeping it, or...?

J. KAINZ: Oh yes, we're -- we had -- we've had a partnership going, obviously, with the brewery for five years -- or -- five years. That's correct. And we set up a -- we have a partnership and we're all equal partners in it. So each one of them has the same share in that $50 million whatever it is as we do. And so, they're -- you know, the nice thing is that I think -- and any parent would say this: You always are looking to try and find security for your family. Well, I can now rest assured that I have security for my family, you know, so...

QUESTION: Are you going to continue playing the lottery? You know, yes I am, for the simple reason that I was -- we were given this opportunity. And by my putting my buck in there or seven bucks, it might help somebody else do it, and we should keep -- this thing is really good. It supports education. I don't -- I know there are those who are opposed to gambling, but to me it's a little thing. And as long as you don't get carried away with it, continue to do it. You might win. You can't -- there's pay if you don't play.

S. KAINZ: Exactly.

MONTANA: Thank you, Mr. Kainz.



MONTANA: Thank you. Go ahead.

J. KAINZ: One more -- I would like Sue to tell. You know, one of the things that happens -- and, again, we weren't trying to cause you guys problems with keeping it from you. It was really trying to get everything worked out. So it's very difficult not to say anything to anybody. And you want to tell somebody. But I'd like Sue to tell a story about what happened to her.

S. KAINZ: Well, first of all, I couldn't talk to anybody except my family. And we have a big black lab, who I think is very intelligent, and I would go by him four or five times a day, and I'd say, hi rich dog.


J. KAINZ: It's the dentist story.

S. KAINZ: I know. He wants me to tell the dentist story.

All right, the day that we realized this was for real, we took the ticket into the bank and put it in the safety deposit box, and we were both very nervous, obviously. And they had a bowl of saltwater taffy on the desk there. And normally, at our age, we don't eat things like that. But we were popping saltwater taffy big time.

And the next morning, a partial plate of mine fell out so I had to get to the dentist very fast. And the dentist is in Lake Zurich and he's got his fingers in my mouth and kiddingly says to me, so when are you going to pick up your winning ticket at Sweeney's, Sue? And I almost bit his fingers off.


I mean, he doesn't know how lucky he is walking around with two fingers intact. So that's my story.

I really would love to have our boys -- ask them some questions, OK, because they're terrific.

Yes, come up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You two single guys there.


P. KAINZ: You think this might help?

QUESTION: You guys are both single?

P. KAINZ: Yes.

QUESTION: You got girlfriends?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No girlfriends at the time, no.

P. KAINZ: Not yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And might keep it that way for a little bit.

QUESTION: Think this will help at all?

P. KAINZ: A bit.

QUESTION: Well, you must have some girls in mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll maybe get to know some of the women that we knew really well in the past a little bit more now, so...

QUESTION: Yes, you think you'll be getting some, you know, some cold friends.

P. KAINZ: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're pretty modest. I mean, we -- I mean, if so that would be great, but it's always comes down to meeting the right one and hopefully some day that'll happen. We'll just have to wait and find out.

QUESTION: What do you want to say to those who turned you down in the past?

P. KAINZ: Too bad, suckers.


QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: What does this mean to you as a young couple?

M. KAINZ: Oh, you can only imagine what it means for us. I mean, we've had a fixer-up for a house for the past couple of years and just any time I wasn't working at the brewery, we were working on our house and getting ready to put it on the market here at some point before all this happened, and make a little tiny margin and maybe move into the next one up. So, I think we'll move a couple notches up here with this, so...

QUESTION: Kids on the way?

M. KAINZ: There will be now.

JENNIFER KAINZ: We're working on it.


QUESTION: Jennifer, you quit to working in the brewery?

JENNIFER KAINZ: Yes, I'll be answering the phones for the next couple of weeks.

QUESTION: So what do you think about this promotion? Doesn't look too bad.


QUESTION: Do you have other dreams for the money beyond what your dad said?

M. KAINZ: Absolutely. Lots of dreams. You can only imagine where your imagination wanders with this kind of a gift. And we're going to begin with incorporating a lot of reusable technology to our brewery. It's an industry that does use various inputs. Water is one of them. We're going to build a state-of-the-art plant that will allow us to really showcase what can be done with an industry that, in the past, has been wasteful, and can be, like any industry. So we're excited about that, to have the opportunity to do things just other than make beer, and pretty excited about that.

QUESTION: You're a microbrewery. Are you going to be a maxi- brewery?

M. KAINZ: At some point we will, yes.

QUESTION: And your parents were saying that you guys basically built the brewery. When did you start?

M. KAINZ: It's been five years. We actually began construction four years ago, and began selling beer three years ago. So it was a full year, a true labor of love.

And I'd like to say one thing: This is a story that I think has to be told. Our parents pretty much have believed in us always and they recognized that their sons had an interesting idea, and they pretty much sacrificed their entire retirement for this business. And it's no small thing. I mean, over the past couple of years, we've all been very humbled by their incredible generosity to keep a business in its early stages alive. And so the ultimate winners are our parents because I've never experienced generosity on this level, and I think it's a lesson for all of us. And I just -- it's incredibly humbling thing before this happened. So, very touched by their willingness to share with us.

QUESTION: Your parents want a new roof. What do you guys want -- except for a baby?

M. KAINZ: You know, the past four summers I have been working really hard, and I've seen motor boats going by on the highway on my commute up to work everyday. I want a water ski. So that's for me -- Jennifer.

JENNIFER KAINZ: I think I'll buy some clothes. I have been going through my sister's hand me downs my whole life.

QUESTION: Michael, you were part of Peace Corp at one point. Do you have any idea for charities?

M. KAINZ: Yes, actually, Jennifer was a Peace Corp volunteer also, separately from myself. I served in Morocco, North Africa, and she was in Benin, West Africa. And absolutely, development work of all kinds, and I believed after being in the Peace Corp that private funding is probably the best, most efficient way.

So when I hopped on a plane back from Africa 11 years, I said to myself: I would love to get back involved in this if I ever had enough cash. Well that has happened, and we absolutely will be involved in something like that.

QUESTION: Can you get up there together again? Why Ireland?

J. KAINZ: Go ahead.

S. KAINZ: Well, half my heritage is Irish, and I have yet to meet one person who's been to Ireland who didn't love it. And whether you have an Irish heritage or not everyone seems to love Ireland. It is a place we have always wanted to go, and I think it's a good place to start.

QUESTION: Why not Germany? S. KAINZ: Good point, good point, well, maybe we can convert him. He can be O'Kainz by the time we come back.


J. KAINZ: That's right. That's right.

QUESTION: Who brought the winning ticket at Sweeney's?

J. KAINZ: I did.

QUESTION: How much did you buy?

J. KAINZ: I bought $50 worth. Normally I don't play that much. But I got 50 because the thing was so big. I just -- and so that was all, just 50. 10 for each of us. So we were lucky.

QUESTION: Is that your favorite place to buy the tickets?

J. KAINZ: It is usually the place I buy my tickets. I get my gas there. I get coffee there in the morning when I am coming in to the city.

QUESTION: What's the name of your...

J. KAINZ: Sure, it's actually -- it's a manufacturers' rep company for small- and medium-sized manufacturers of medical equipment. One of the problems that -- and I am not going to get on a soap box here, believe me, but one of the problems that the small manufacturer in the medical field has today is that he can't get his product out into the hospitals because of HMOs and DRGs and all those other funny names they come up with. So we represent them, and the name of it is called Barington Ventures.


J. KAINZ: We're in the Midwest. We operate out of my home in Lake County. But we sell throughout the Midwest. We sell primary to dealers and to hospitals, the acute care market and a few others, OK.



J. KAINZ: Too long ago to remember, but I can tell you it was 1957.

QUESTION: Mr. Kainz, do you expect more people to start filtering in in your brewery?

J. KAINZ: We hope so. But we don't know what to expect. You know, certainly, we're treading into some very unknown area here. We don't know what is going to happen. And we hope it's for the positive, but we will just wait and see.

QUESTION: Is there going to a big party there now? QUESTION: Tonight.

J. KAINZ: You bet, not tonight, no, but we are going to have a party at some point in time. Yeah.

QUESTION: Will you let your employees know?

J. KAINZ: These are the employees.

QUESTION: There aren't any other employees?

J. KAINZ: No, this is it. I run the medical company, and they run the brewery.

QUESTION: How tough was it to keep the secret for so long?

J. KAINZ: Oh, go ahead. I'll let Sue answer it.

S. KAINZ: It was awful. That's why I talked to the dog so much. And it was very, very, difficult, you begin to feel isolated too. It was just the six of you, and you can't share this, and you know you can't, you know, it's the smart thing to do, but it isn't easy.


S. KAINZ: We finally told our friends, our close friends, on Tuesday evening, and that was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had because they were ecstatic. I mean, they descended upon us at our home with champagne, none of them had the nerve to bring beer. But they came with bottles of champagne. And one friend has a son studying in -- living in Beijing, China, and she just couldn't stand it, she had to call him. And she called him and told him and woke him up and he said: Gee, mom, that's really wonderful, but I'm not too wide awake here. Anyway she ended the conversation by saying: And Chris, you cannot tell anybody about this. And he said: I don't think it will be a problem in Beijing, mom. Anyway, it was hard, but it was worth it, and we know we did the right thing by waiting.

QUESTION: TV camera there that day at Sweeney's?

S. KAINZ: I would just as soon not, but I will. When we had gone to the brewery with tickets to have the boys check it out again to really make yourself believe it, then we began to listen to the radio and heard about the media frenzy at Sweeney's so we decided to drive by.

And we're driving by and Joe said: You know, I really need some gas. And we had been at home, he had been working the day before in his office and had not shaved. I was preparing to go to the funeral of a friend's mother, and I had washed and set my hair, and I was in old grubby clothes. So we appeared at Sweeney's gas station looking like ma and pa Kettle (ph).

And got out of the car as he is pumping gas, and I don't know if the person who was there is here today. And I don't know what network or what TV station she was from, but she zeroed in on me because I was laughing. I just stood next to the car and I was laughing.

And she came up to me and she said: Can I talk to you? And I said, no, please, and I got back in the car. And when Joe came from paying for the gas, she asked him, interviewed him, and he let her interview him to a point, and then she asked for his name, and he said: I can't give that.

So I don't know how suspicious you people are. But I got the distinct feeling she figured out who we were.

QUESTION: What was the questioning and tell me what you said?

J. KAINZ: Well, basically...

KAGAN: It has been an interesting week, indeed, for Joe and Sue J. Kainz of Lake Barington, Illinois. These are the folks that won the other half, the other Big Game winning ticket from last week. They win $181.5 million. After it is all said and done, they will be clearing $52 million.

Nice folks from Illinois. They say they are not going to retire. More than anything, they want to fix their roof, and expand their micro brewery and medical supply companies. The kind of folks that if you couldn't win it yourself, makes you feel good that nice folks from Illinois did.



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