October 12, 2012

Megabucks aren't spinning winners' heads

Linda and Bob Von Oesen of Fairfield, who are taking a lump sum payment of $4,148,922, say they'll get a new snowblower.

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling mhhetling@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

HALLOWELL - The lives of Linda and Bob Von Oesen of Fairfield won't change much despite an $8.2 million lottery prize, they said Thursday.

click image to enlarge

Lottery winner Linda Von Oesen, of Fairfield, right, and her husband Bob Von Oesen speak to reporters as they pet Abby, their three-year-old cocker spaniel during a news conference on this morning in Hallowell.

Photos by Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

click image to enlarge

Lottery winner Linda Von Oesen, of Fairfield, left, and her husband Bob Von Oesen speak to reporters about winning the Tri-State Megabucks Plus during a news conference on Thursday morning in Hallowell.

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During a press conference at the Maine State Lottery office, journalists asked them repeatedly what luxuries they might enjoy with their lump sum payment of $4,148,922.

No matter how many times they were asked, the answer was the same: They'll buy a new snowblower to make it easier for Abby, their 3-year-old cocker spaniel, to get around their property this winter.

Other than that, there will be no extravagances.

Linda Von Oesen said she will still clip coupons to take to one of her favorite restaurants, Friendly's in Waterville.

They will buy a vehicle, but she said they've been planning to do that this year anyway.

Reporters asked if they would like to travel around the world.

"I was in the service, so I had all the cruising I wanted," Bob Von Oesen replied. "She doesn't like to fly, so we'll stick to four wheels."

Asked if she had any unfulfilled dreams from her childhood, Linda Von Oesen said she's already achieved them.

Tim Poulin said the Von Oesens are typical of the big winners he has seen in his 2½ years as director of the state lottery. "They are classic Mainers: grounded, good people," he said.

The couple's adult children and 14 grandchildren may be the main beneficiaries of the money, which the couple won on a $2 Megabucks easy pick ticket bought two weeks ago at the Big Apple convenience store in Fairfield Center.

Linda Von Oesen got a call about it from a family member while camping at the Saco River Campground in North Conway, N.H. During the call, she checked and found the winning numbers on the ticket in her hand.

Poulin said the lottery office advises big winners how to manage their newfound wealth, including to seek professional help, possibly from their bank, and to consider changing their phone number to minimize unwanted solicitations.

The Von Oesens said they have retained a financial team to help them manage the money, and established trust funds in the names of their children.

Linda Von Oesen said she plans to make a contribution to the Fairfield United Methodist Church, which she attends.

She said she has bought a $2 ticket every Wednesday and every Friday for the past 13 years at the Big Apple.

The cash payout is the third-largest in the history of the Tri-State Megabucks game, which is played in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. The largest jackpot, for $16.4 million, was split between two people.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:

mhhetling@centralmaine.com

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