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Lottery winner from Oregon more than makes up for Enron loss

Mar 20, 2007, 1:06 pm

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Powerball

One of the Portland General Electric workers whose retirement hopes were dashed by the collapse of Enron has replenished his assets — by about $59 million.

Dan Gannon, 60, won a $182 million Powerball jackpot over the weekend and claimed it Monday.

He took his prize in a lump sum, rather than over 30 years. That amounted to $88 million. Federal and state taxes took $29 million, so his payout was $59 million.

 

When the stock of utility owner Enron collapsed in 2001, Gannon said, his 401(k) plan lost about $400,000 — "funny money" he called it in an interview with The Oregonian newspaper. He said he had diversified personal investments, though.

"Ever since the Enron thing, dad's been kind of down," said son Ben Gannon. "He's been buying a Powerball ticket every week."

Gannon and his wife, Candy, bought the ticket Friday at a supermarket. They spent $5 and let the machine pick the numbers.

He said his vision now includes better weather.

"I'd like to go where it's warm and dry when it's cold and wet here," Gannon said. "A condo down south ... wouldn't be so bad."

Travel, a boat, and "a little bit of a farm" also play into the couple's thoughts.

The prize is about half the size of an Oregon winner from 2005, when Medford residents Steve and Carolyn West and other family members shared a $340 million jackpot that resulted in a lump sum of $110 million.

 

After 35 years, Gannon said, he wasn't sure whether he would leave the company, which become independent of Enron last year.

"It's been my life," he said.

Before winning the lottery, he said, he'd made no plans to retire.

 

"After the Enron thing, I really could have used another 10 years to build a retirement plan," he said.

He has taken the week off, and said he hadn't decided what he'll tell his employers about going back to work.

"They're probably wondering that," Gannon said. "So am I."

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