Michigan factory supervisor wins $310.5M Powerball ticket

Julie Leach of of Three Rivers, Mich., holds her $310 Million check Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015, in Lansing, Mich., as the Michigan Lottery Commission announces she was the sole winner of the $310.5 million Powerball jackpot in last week's big drawing. (Dale G. Young/The Detroit News via AP)


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A supervisor at a Michigan fiberglass factory who won a $310.5 million Powerball jackpot said Tuesday that she immediately quit her one-time “nasty, dirty” job and will buy land to build houses for her family.

Julie Leach of Three Rivers said she was having a “really bad night” working the third shift when she took her lunch break at McDonald’s. She checked the six numbers in the drive-thru line around 1 a.m. Thursday.

“I keep going to sleep and waking up with the same beautiful dream,” the 50-year-old told reporters during a news conference at the Michigan Lottery headquarters. Her partner of 36 years, Vaughn Avery, and some of their children and grandchildren looked on.

“I’m going to take care of my kids,” Leach said. “I don’t want them to have to work like I had to work and deal with the kinds of things I had to deal with over life. I just want to make it a good life for them, take care of them.”

She took a one-time lump payment of $197.4 million, about $140 million after taxes.

Leach played in a lottery pool with her co-workers. But at Avery’s urging, she stopped to buy coffee and $20 worth of Powerball tickets at the Three Rivers West Shell gas station on the way to work Wednesday night. At first, she did not believe she had won, checking the numbers many times and returning to the Aquatic Bathware plant to ask co-workers to verify the win. Then she went home and woke up Avery, her high school sweetheart.

“He wanted to go to work. I said, ‘Are you crazy? We don’t have to work anymore,'” Leach said.

She was at the company for about 23 years, working her way up to supervisor after initially applying fiberglass resin to bathtubs.

It was “one of the dirtiest, nastiest jobs in there,” Leach told The Associated Press in an interview, accompanied by a financial adviser. Their two adult children also stopped working after finding out about her fortune. Avery said his son, who Leach calls her stepson, may also quit his job.

Avery, 53, said he had asked Leach to marry him several times over the years but she never really wanted marriage after seeing friends of theirs divorce.

“I said he’d have to sign a prenup now,” she joked.

Avery worked for 29 years at Metal Technologies’ Three Rivers Gray Iron facility, which makes iron castings. He said the family likely would travel, possibly to Hawaii and Alaska. One of their granddaughters asked if she could have a Barbie house and an iPhone 6.

Leach became emotional when talking about her appreciation for the jackpot, the second-biggest in state history.

“We’ve always talked around campfires and stuff that if we ever won the lottery we wanted to buy a bunch of land and build all of our kids a home and basically have our own little community,” she said.

In Michigan, the lottery names the winners of multistate games such as Powerball and Mega Millions. The state House in May overwhelmingly voted to prohibit disclosing the winners unless they agree in writing. The legislation is pending in the Senate.

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