Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Lawyer charts Florida lottery winner’s future: ‘Your old life is gone’

Walt Blenner is a Tampa Bay personal injury lawyer who also does some estate planning and recently fell into a niche of representing lottery winners.

About three years ago, Blenner helped a man who won a $3 million scratch-off secure his newfound wealth. He’s also written blog posts on his law firm website, providing guidance to lottery winners, and has consulted with several of them on the phone.

Then came Shane Missler, the 20-year-old Port Richey man who claimed the $450 million Mega Millions jackpot on Friday.

MEGA MILLIONS: Florida man, 20, claims $450M jackpot.

Among the advice Blenner has told his new client so far: "Your old life is gone and you can never go back to that life. It will never be the same."

Winning the lottery can cause a "roller coaster of emotions," said Blenner in his first interview since Missler’s win. But that euphoria is followed by a trail of important decisions.

First, there’s the security and privacy phase.

In Missler’s case, "security became paramount" due to the huge windfall, Blenner said.

In general, he added, lottery winners will shut off social media accounts, cancel phone accounts and use no-contract phones to communicate with family members.

Once privacy and security parameters are in place, winners must then chart their futures.

In the case of Blenner’s $3 million scratch-off winner, the man went to his local bank and opened three different accounts: one for investments, one for spending, and a third for his children.

But Missler’s financial setup will be vastly different. He took the lump-sum payment of $281,874,999, and minus taxes, received $211,406,249.25. Lottery officials said Friday the money will be paid to a trust named "Secret 007, LLC," that is set up with Missler as the managing member.

LOTTERY WINNER: Shane Missler’s Maine hometown overjoyed he won the big prize.

"With an enormous amount, you don’t really do active investments. You do wealth management," Blenner said. "You already have all the money in the world."

Lottery winners also have to consider upgrading their insurance, from car to homeowner’s policies. They can also sign up for something called "kidnap and ransom" insurance.

"The world is full of people who would do anything to sue a lottery winner," Blenner said.

There’s also the question of disappearing for a while until the media frenzy settles. With smaller lottery winners, they can take a cruise or vacation for a couple of weeks and return to find that "the media is on to 15 other things in that time frame."

"When it’s a big number," Blenner said, "people remember."

Missler, his lawyer added without offering many details, is "nowhere locally."

Once lottery winners return from their impromptu vacations, the real long-term decisions set in: Do they quit their job? Do they rent or buy new property? Where will they live?

On Saturday, Missler texted Blenner from his new undisclosed location.

"He’s doing well," Blenner said. "He’s a very poised 20-year-old and he’s got everything going right for him. He’s got a close family, and a close group of advisers, and we do hope to work with him for years to come."

Contact Laura C. Morel at lmorel@tampabay.com. Follow @lauracmorel.

Comments
Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

DUNEDIN — After losing a four-run lead thanks to a bad sixth inning, it would have been easy for Clearwater Central Catholic to fold against Dunedin in the final of the 49th annual Dunedin Spring Tournament. But quality relief pitching from Gar...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 20

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 15, Central 0
Updated: 3 hours ago
St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

ST. PETERSBURG — The city said not one of the 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water released on Jan. 18 reached Tampa Bay.There was no mention of the waste released from the Northeast Water Reclamation Facility ever reaching the bay in the city’s notice...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Friday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining oth...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 5 hours ago
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

ST. PETERSBURG — Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
Updated: 5 hours ago