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Minnesota lottery player claims Powerball jackpot

Dec 7, 2006, 10:15 am

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Michael Hawes and his fiancee were so tickled their baby boy survived a premature birth that they named him "Lucky." On Tuesday, the kid had his own reason to be happy: His old man just won $47 million.

Hawes, 46, said he had no idea he held the winning ticket in the Nov. 1 drawing until Monday afternoon, when he stopped at a Cub Foods supermarket in Bloomington to buy some pop. While he was there, he decided to get some tickets in his wallet scanned.

"I brought it to New York and wandered around the streets of New York with it," he said at a news conference at Minnesota State Lottery headquarters. "I had no idea."

Hawes was one of two jackpot winners in the drawing last month, which had a total jackpot of $94.1 million. A group of seven co-workers and two spouses claimed the other prize Nov. 2 in Arizona.

Hawes took Tuesday off from his job as a controller with Bloomington-based Groth Music, which sells instruments. He didn't say if he intends to keep working, but he said his co-workers were "pretty excited" for him.

For now, a bigger decision will be whether to take the $47 million annuity spread over 29 years, or a lump sum worth $15 million after taxes. He has until Feb. 5 to decide.

When Hawes appeared at the news conference, he brought his fiancee, Sarah, 30, and their 8-month-old son, who after being born six weeks early was named Lucky Steven Hawes. They were joined by Hawes' 18-year-old son, Hunter.

Hawes was wearing a hooded sweat shirt with Lucky's name in big orange letters across the front and orange shamrocks on the shoulders.

Minnesota State Lottery officials had been trying to solve the mystery of who held the state's winning ticket, suspecting that the holder was unaware or making plans before coming forward. Hawes said he didn't know any of that, though his fiancee and her mother did.

The scanner at the supermarket could tell Hawes only that the ticket was worth more than $600, but he soon figured out how much more it was worth.

"I walked outside and my eyes teared up," he said. "It was hard to breathe."

The scanner at the supermarket could tell Michael Hawes only that the ticket was worth more than $600, but he soon figured out how much more it was worth.He said he was shaking when he called Sarah, who said she first thought he was joking. He called the lottery office, but it was closed and he didn't get official confirmation until Tuesday morning after it opened.

"I didn't sleep that well," he said.

Hawes said he wasn't sure what he'll do with the money or how he'd celebrate Tuesday night, except that he wants to travel and send his sons to college. He and Sarah, who declined to give her last name, said they have not set a wedding date.

Hunter, a senior at Lakeville North High School, said he hopes to use some of the money to go to a music college next year and buy a car - a Mini Cooper. Judging from all the calls to his cell phone, he said, the whole school already knew.

"Thank God he held onto it," Hunter said.

The winning numbers were 7-8-13-46-54 and the Powerball was 35.

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