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Powerball Winner Accepts Prize in Louisville, Kentucky

Aired August 27, 2001 - 15:06   ET


BOBBIE BATTISTA, HOST, "TALKBACK LIVE": There is some breaking news going on in the newsroom and we go to Lou Waters.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to take your mind off of Gary Condit for a minute. We're going to Louisville, Kentucky, where we're about to meet America's newest multimillionaires. David Edwards, about 1.5 hours before the Powerball lottery drawing on Saturday night took $8 out of his unemployed pocket and put it down on eight tickets and wound up with one quarter of the big prize, $295 million. He gets $73.7 million. He's opted for the one-lump sum, we understand, which will be 41.4 million before taxes. Let's listen on to what's going on in Louisville.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... back in 1998 chose to fund through a lottery proceeds. So not only did David and his family win significantly on Saturday night, but over the 10 weeks of the buildup of this drawing, all of the citizens of Kentucky had a major victory. In fact, we had our biggest sales in the history of the lottery this last week. Not only did we sell a little over 23 million Powerball tickets, but for the week we sold just under 34 million tickets, which eclipsed by a substantial mark the greatest week of sales the lottery has ever had, dating clear back to its inception.

With all that out in front of us, I'd like to, at this point, call David Edwards forward and I'd like to present a couple of things to him and then we'll get on with the ceremony. David?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David, I'm not exactly sure why we're presenting this basket of a token of different prizes to you -- I think you can afford to buy anything you want now, but nonetheless, we hope you'll enjoy these mementos of this occasion.


Bill? I wanted to ask Bill Williams, who's the president of the Louisville Slugger Museum to present a bat.

BILL WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT, LOUISVILLE SLUGGER MUSEUM: Well, this goes on every day here, by the way. I want everybody to know that.

(LAUGHTER) WILLIAMS: David, I guess you now qualify to be among some of the ball players who wind up here at the museum. But on behalf of Hillock and Bradskey (ph) Company and the Louisville Slugger Museum, we'd like to present you with your personalized Louisville slugger baseball bat.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Congratulations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David, I don't -- with that bat, I mean, you've already hit the ball out of the park. So I don't know what you need to do with that. You're making as much money as some of those major league baseball players, so with that, I'd like to ask Rick to bring forward a ceremonial check, and I'd like to ask Shawna Maddux, your fiancee, to come join us. And we'd like to present to you this ceremonial check. And I'm going to kind of scoot around here so we all can see this.

David and Shawna, it's my pleasure, on behalf of the great state of Kentucky, present this ceremonial check to representing your winnings. This is actually the cash winnings. The annuity of value of David's prize was just under 74 million. I think it was $73,750,000. The cash equivalent prize is 41,450,831. So we make a payment to you of a real check to you in just two weeks. So again, congratulations. We know this is going to make a big difference in your lives, and we're really proud to have you as the winners.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With that, I was going to -- I think David wants to make a brief statement to you and then he'll be willing to take some questions from you -- David.

EDWARDS: I would like to thank the Lottery Commission and Powerball in particular. It's a poor man's dream. A lot of people work hard and a lot of people are out of work and you know, you dream you want a better life. And playing this lottery has done that for me and it's done it for a lot of other people.

And like they say, you can't win unless you play. Why not it be you? Well, it's me. And I would like to really thank the whole organization because of the impact it's going to have on my whole life and my family's life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David is now...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David is now willing to take your questions, and fire away. He's got some practice at this, I think. QUESTION: David, as best you can remember when you woke up this morning, what was the first conversation you and Shawna had...

EDWARDS: Well, we discussed going back into the media frenzy. I had some interviews this morning with NBC and ABC, the morning shows, and we were discussing that, that the first thing on our mind.

We only got two hours sleep last night, even after we got back -- we was up for 37 hours. By the time we got to the hotel, we were up another five. We couldn't sleep again. And I got to sleep at about 2:00, 2:30 and got back up at 15 till five. So it's been a whirlwind of the two days.

QUESTION: If you could share the first thing you though of when you first found out you won? What you felt like, and how your life would be different?

EDWARDS: The first thing I did was thank God. I have a lot of bills on me and I have medical problems. I've been laid off from work, and the first thing I did was thank God. And then we discussed -- you know, we were just elated. We didn't know what we were going to do with the money.

I said, you know, a lot of people, they're out of work, doesn't have hardly anything. And so I didn't want to accept this money by saying I am going to get mansions and I'm going to get cars, I'm going to do this and that. I would like to accept it with humility.

We are going to buy things, obviously. But I want this money to last, for me, for my future wife, for my daughter and future generations. So I want to do wise things with the money instead of just be a spendthrift.

QUESTION: You planning a big wedding by any chance?

EDWARDS: Excuse me.


QUESTION: Are you planning a big wedding, by any chance?



EDWARDS: After we get the money, we're going to go on a vacation and we're going to discuss then where in the world we want to get married. And we think we can afford to maybe fly our host and the people we're going to have in the wedding there.

QUESTION: Can we ask your fiancee a question or two?

EDWARDS: Sure, you can.


MADDUX: I'll stand on my tip-toes.

QUESTION: How long have you all been together, first of all?

MADDUX: About seven years.

QUESTION: So you stuck with him through thick and thin?

MADDUX: That's right.

QUESTION: Tell us what it was like when you were checking the numbers in the parking lot, right?

MADDUX: Right. He was checking the numbers and he was like, they're matching up. And I was just like, what? And he got out and he was like, oh, thank you, God. And I was like, shut up, shut up!


MADDUX: I didn't believe him. It took me, I know, an hour and a half, two hours for it to actually believe, and I checked the ticket 50 times. And now they have it so I can't check it again, but I probably would if we still had it. I mean, pinch me, somebody, because it doesn't seem real.

QUESTION: What's the first thing you guys are going to do when you leave here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably get a room and try and sleep, because we haven't been able to do that yet.

QUESTION: No big shopping trip planned?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not yet. Well, you know, they're in the works, but not today.

QUESTION: David, what did do you with the ticket between when you found out you won and when you brought it up to the lottery headquarters?

EDWARDS: Well, to begin with, I kept it in my wallet. And then I -- as soon as possible I got it put into a safe. Then I had it taken out of the safe and put it into a vault.


EDWARDS: With an armed escort as well. So we put it into a bank vault.

QUESTION: What were you thinking about when you've got that thing in your wallet? Were you nervous?

EDWARDS: I was feeling sorry for the first man that tried to take it from me.


QUESTION: David, does anything concern you about having this much money? Whether it be...

EDWARDS: You know what, I really believe you trade in old problems for new problems. I had an awful lot on my shoulders: child support, bills, you know, food, gas, insurance. You're laid-off work and you're trying to figure out -- pay a little here and pay a little there. I had three checks left on my unemployment. Things were looking bad.

In the industry I've been working in, there's 500,000 people out of work today. Now, it's not like you're going to go back out there and get a today. Everyone and his brother is trying to get that job.

So when I got the money I started thinking, well, you know, I'm going to have more responsibilities. There's going to be people wanting to get that money from me. There's always going to be schemes. You have to look at who you're investing your money with. But I would gladly trade those problems in -- my old problems for these problems.

QUESTION: David, you're talking about your old problems. If you hadn't won this lottery, which almost everyone in the country didn't win, what would you be doing this week?

EDWARDS: I would be trying to figure out what I was going to do in the near future. You know, Shawna was a waitress and she hadn't been a waitress lately. Shawna was working fiber-optics with me for about six months. She took a hiatus off the job and when she decided to go back that's when the bottom fell out. So she didn't even have an unemployment check coming in. So we're surviving on my unemployment check, $558 every two weeks. And you try to spread that around and pay all your bills and child support and insurances, you don't have anything left. So I didn't know what I was going do, I really didn't.

I have a physical problem right now, too. I had an accident in '88 and I had a doctor tell me a couple of weeks ago that I might have to have some spinal surgery. I had a nerve with scar tissue on it and it was choking off of the nerve and I could possibly have permanent paralysis. Well, I didn't have any insurance. And when I got laid- off work I had the option of picking up insurance at $470 a month. Well, that's almost half of what I was making. I couldn't do that to pay my bills, so I gave up the insurance. And then as luck had it, that's when I needed the insurance the most.

So there I sat with my unemployment running out and I needed an operation and I had no insurance.

When I went to buy this, and I mention this earlier today, I hadn't been playing the lottery in the last three months. I hadn't played it up until that time because I was working. But when I got out of work I felt that I shouldn't play the lottery because I didn't feel that I should take my money and be gambling with it when I needed every cent that I had. But it was it was $280 million, things were looking bleak, and I said, hey, you know, I want to be the won to win. And I was really honest to God praying. I asked the Lord, help me, Lord. And I know it might not be right for me to ask you this, but can you just let me win this?


EDWARDS: And you know what? I think he heard me.


QUESTION: You did take the first step and buy a ticket.


QUESTION: David, if I could ask, what prompted you to come forward? Because a lot of people stay anonymous, especially right after winning. What prompted you to come forward?

EDWARDS: Well, to be candid, I went to the store where I bought the ticket and it had not been announced where that store was, I was told. When I was at store talking to the lottery, two of the local stations, somehow, had gotten got wind of it. And they showed up. They might have been showing up just to do an interview with the store itself, but I didn't think they even knew which store it was bought at. One, apparently, one of my neighbors had told them I was a winner, had heard that through the store. And they automatically knew that I was in there, they were told. So I decided at that point, well, they already know. They're already here and I'm going to face this thing. I just give some interviews.

Well, the time those two interviews was over I ended up giving 27 interviews. And we spent all day. So I said, what the heck, you know? I'm thankful, I don't care who knows if I won it. And besides that, I would like to thank the Powerball and do what I could do for them as well, because they're changing my life and I'm really happy about it. And I want somebody to know that somebody who really needed the money really got it this time.

QUESTION: David, I hate to cast a pall over all of this, because this is an exciting time for you, but I am now wondering now that you have won and become pretty much a public figure, how are you going to handle the media scrutiny and things like your background, with felony record and with the drugs and robbery and all of that?

EDWARDS: Well, I've made mistakes in my past and that's been a long time ago. And I've paid for those mistakes and I went on with my life and I straightened my life out, and I've been productive since then. And that's been years and that's all that I can say about that. I am what I am today, and I thank God for that. And I can't go back and change my past, but I can do something positive with my future.

QUESTION: David, do you plan on giving any of this money away to charities, things like that?

EDWARDS: Well, which sort of relates to what she said. I did make mistakes when I was younger, and I don't want some younger kids to make the same mistakes. And I've said this for years, you know, when I've been playing this lottery, you know, if I was ever in a position where I had some money, I would like to try to get something started for the youth in my community, something where they could get off the streets, get in some programs, sports, counseling, different things. And I would be interested to getting with people and trying to formulate something on that.

QUESTION: How (OFF-MIKE) did you pick the particular numbers for this winning ticket?

EDWARDS: That was the strangest of all. A year and a half I've been playing this, and I always try to use birth dates, anniversaries. And I did the first three picks, and I picked five. On the fourth one, I looked at my fiancee, and I said: "Shawna, you know, I'm not going to pick it that way. I'm going to let the numbers pick me. And I'm going to look down at the numbers, and the first one comes to my mind when I'm looking at those numbers, that's what I'm going to pick." And that's how I picked every one of them.

Well, on the fifth row, I was in a hurry, so I just went ahead and started putting dates down again. And then I got two quick picks, and it turned out that the one where I let the numbers come to me is the one I won on.

QUESTION: The one where you just random picked all the numbers, that's the one you won on?

EDWARDS: The one that I just sort of concentrated on and let it -- let it come to me.

QUESTION: How much money did you spend?

EDWARDS: I spent $7.

QUESTION: Not a bad return on your investment.

EDWARDS: No, it wasn't.


QUESTION: Mr. Edwards, what does this mean to your daughter? What does she think of all this, sir? I'm surprised that she can probably even sit in her chair at school, if she's in school that is.

EDWARDS: You know, I tell you, what it meant to me and her, for an example, me being out of work, my daughter came to me -- when I was working, she didn't come to me. When I got laid off, she come to me and said, "Daddy, I'm going into the sixth grade." And I've got a wonderful child. She goes to church every Sunday. She's good in school. She's obedient. She's a really good girl.

"Daddy, I need a computer." And I started thinking: Well, how can I buy her a computer? And I know she needs it for research in school. All the kids are getting them now. Well, I didn't have that money for her, and I -- I felt about this high.

And I kept -- and I talked to Shawna. I said: "Shawna, how can I get her a computer? Maybe I can take a little from that." (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it might take me maybe four or five months before all the unemployment is going to run out. Well, she's going to get that computer and she's going to go to a fine university, and she's going to have money in her life, and learn the responsibility of having money, not just spending it -- trying to help other people.

And I'm hoping -- I'm going to set up a trust to where this money is not just going to benefit me and her but future generations of my family. And we're using money -- Shawna's mother has had Lupus for over 11 years, and she lives...

Well, what would you say? Low rent, for people who have disabilities. She has to get her -- her medicines and her medications and her doctors through her medical (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Now I have the ability to give Shawna this money to help her mother. We're going to get her a house. We're going to get her better medical care. Shawna's got three boys. I'm giving money to them, the same as I'm giving my daughter. I love them just as much.

QUESTION: Mr. Edwards, I can see from the fact that (OFF-MIKE) for 25 years?

EDWARDS: I didn't feel I was qualified to make that decision, and so I talked to a relative who got me in touch with a tax accountant, a banker. After we discussed all of it, I decided at that point that I felt that if I used my head correctly and get the right people around me that, that not only could I make as much but possibly more. And I felt that was the way to go for me.

QUESTION: Shawna, is it fair to say we won't see you in a restaurant (OFF-MIKE) a waitress again?

MADDUX: I would say that's safe to say.


EDWARDS: Let me say something on that: They were gracious enough to give me some bodyguards, state police, to come up here today. And I had to hire a bodyguard myself. And we were in the car, and we're coming up, and one of the guards, the state policeman, he says -- he's a -- actually, I believe he's a Flatwood's policeman. And he looks at Shawna and he says, "You know, you look familiar." And then he realized she used to be his waitress and now he was our bodyguard. I thought that that was pretty unique.

QUESTION: David, what kind of car are you going to buy?

EDWARDS: Well, I can be glad to tell you that. Before we got laid off, we were down in Florida working, and we took a couple of days off and went down to Ft. Lauderdale. And like a little kid in a candy store, I'd seen this beautiful Rolls-Royce. And we went over and looked at it. And it's a Rolls -- a Bentley, an R series Rolls- Royce Bentley, a convertible.

And you know, I stood there and looked at that thing. It's something, of course, I could never have, but I admired it. And I'm not one to take a lot of money, and splurge on mansions and this and that, but I am sure buying that Rolls.


QUESTION: What color was it?

EDWARDS: The one I looked at was like a cream color with a tan interior and me driving it.

QUESTION: What kind of car are you driving now?

EDWARDS: A 1992 Buick Roadmaster with 130,000 miles on it and a bad radiator.

QUESTION: Was it -- what will it be like going back home? I mean, if you weren't well-known before, you surely will be now.

EDWARDS: You know, Ashland is really a fine place, and it's like an extended family in Ashland. It's a smaller town, but a larger town, too. We have industry there, infrastructure there. It's one of the larger towns in eastern Kentucky, and it's like a family, an extended family to me. And I'm loving it.

The people there are glad that a local boy won some money, that the money stayed in our state. And if it wasn't won in our town, it was won from somebody from our town. So I've been getting nothing but support, so I'm really anxious to get back to my town.

QUESTION: Do you think that you'll stay in Ashland?

EDWARDS: I will always -- well, it's a double-edged sword.


I will always stay in Ashland. My family home is in Ashland. My brother, my sister, my mother, my father, they're all dead now, and I'm the last of my family, my original family, alive, and I have a family there. And I really feel close to my family when I'm in that home.

And so no matter where I'm at in the world, if I'm laid-off or I have a weekend, I come back there. But I've lived other places and will live other places again. We've also recently thought about getting a home in Nevada, Las Vegas. I possibly would do that, or Florida. But I will always maintain a home in Ashland.

QUESTION: David, how is this money going to change your life? (OFF-MIKE) do you think it's going to change you personally?

EDWARDS: You know, I'd like to say no, and I don't think it will, my core. But I don't think that you can -- every day you change, and especially when you get millions and millions of dollars and new experiences, you're going to change. It's just up to me to make that into a positive change.

QUESTION: What would you say to somebody, people (OFF-MIKE)? EDWARDS: That's a loaded question. Well, basically, everybody I've worked for in the past has been fair to me. So I really wouldn't have any bad comment, especially the last company I got laid off. It's Road Runner Communications, and they're out in Tennessee. Those people treated me really good. They gave me -- I was employed a year last year. They gave me opportunities. I seized those opportunities and was the employee of the year.

It was really sad that the work force -- we had about 100 people working for Nortel and overnight it went down to five people. I have nothing but good things to say about the past except hey, I wish it was here.

QUESTION: What's your daughter's name?

EDWARDS: Tiffany Lee Edwards. By the way...

QUESTION: Could you spell it please?

EDWARDS: T-I-F-F-A-N-Y L-E-E. The day -- the night that I found out I won, before anybody knew this and before I went to the store, I went over, and -- you've got to let me say this. There is a God. When I won the money, that day was the day that my ex-wife got married at 4 o'clock.



And I had become a millionaire at 11:30, and ironically, she was upstairs at this hotel having her reception, and I was downstairs becoming a millionaire. So congratulations, hon.



QUESTION: Let me ask you, did you talk to your ex-wife about (OFF-MIKE)?

EDWARDS: Just briefly. We will talk in the future, because obviously my child support will go up and other matters that we'll have to talk about. We basically -- we've had our ups and downs, but we try to put all that aside for my daughter, and we've done very well with that.

QUESTION: Do you anticipate (OFF-MIKE) help me out a little bit?

EDWARDS: No comment.


QUESTION: How long were you married for?

EDWARDS: I was married for two years.

QUESTION: Shawna, how do you spell your last name please?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's give David just a break, because we another presentation for you.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cindy Pinkus (ph) -- or Sheryl (ph) Pinkus with the Powerball Company...




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... would like to present something to you.

PINKUS: Yes, on behalf of Powerbell, we'd like to give you something else that you can drive, and it doesn't have wheels.


PINKUS: Two Powerball Citation (UNINTELLIGIBLE) titanium drivers...

EDWARDS: Thank you.

PINKUS: ... because we understand you're a golfer...


PINKUS: ... and you might have plenty of time to play now.


EDWARDS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) your questions...


EDWARDS: Thank you so much. That is great.

PINKUS: Congratulations.

EDWARDS: That is great.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing I -- we do have the winning ticket in our possession now at the lottery, but if any of you wanted to get a shot of it, we can display it for you immediately afterwards. But this is actually David's winning ticket, which he claimed his prize earlier today with and signed the back and filed his official claim. So we'll -- it's now in our possession, but I think he'll be glad to exchange this for the check. EDWARDS: Yes.

QUESTION: What happens next?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's kept by us in our records permanently so...

WATERS: OK, there you have it. David Edwards claiming his portion of the third-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. It amounts to, because he's taking a lump sum, $41.4 million after -- before taxes. And this is after a $7 investment Saturday night, just an hour and a half before the drawing.

First order of business, buy a Rolls-Royce. I'm Lou Waters at CNN Center.



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