No, honey, nothing special happened today (II)

by Walter Olson on May 14, 2008

Airline mechanic Arnim Ramdass, 52, allegedly “disconnected the phone line at home and forbade his stay-at-home wife, Donna Campbell, 48, to watch television, Campbell claims in a lawsuit. Eventually, however, she learned the truth: Ramdass, along with 16 other mechanics at Miami International Airport, had won a $19 million lottery jackpot.” (Martha Neil, “Wife Sues Husband for Share of Secret $600K Lottery Win”, ABA Journal, May 13). See Nov. 20-21, 1999 (similar case from California).

{ 4 comments }

1 Todd Rogers 05.14.08 at 1:14 pm

Well, at face value, this guy is what I would call a greedy jack-ass.
If I had to guess, he would probably have gone broke like so many other lotto winners do.What I noticed and am always irked about is:
$19,000,000/17=$1.11 million. All these government hands in the pot
reduce that lump-sum down to $600,000 BEFORE TAXES!!! Those founding
fathers would indeed be proud of their legacy.

2 Bill Poser 05.14.08 at 1:26 pm

Todd Rogers:

Uh, think about, how could the governments be reducing the BEFORE TAXES payout? What do you think the government takes that is not tax? I’m pretty sure the real reason for the disparity between the nominal $1.11 million and the $600,000 is that the $1.11 million figure is the sum of the payments in a structured payout. Typically, lottery winners have the choice of taking a lump-sum or a structure payout of a certain amount per year for something like 20 years. In this case, very likely it would be $55,000 per year for 20 years. If you take the lump-sum, the amount is less than the sum of the structured payout because they take into account inflation and investment opportunity.

3 John Burgess 05.14.08 at 5:27 pm

Bill Posner: Dead on. Also include, of course, the matter of interest. The nominal $16 million is what some some might acrue after 20 years of compounded interest.

As a rule of thumb, cash takehome on a lump sum win is 1/4 of the amount.

$19m/17 participants = $1.12m
$1.12m divided by 2 for cash-payment = $.559,000.
$559,000 divided by 2 for taxes = $279,000 takehome

Of course, due to his bad behavior, his takehome is likely to be in the negative numbers as his wife will likely get the lion’s share and he’ll get stuck with costs and legal bills.

Being a douchebag doesn’t always pay off…

4 Todd Rogers 05.14.08 at 9:03 pm

Thank you for the insight. I’ve never played the lottery and frankly never really thought about it very much. This guy is still a jackass and I imagine he’s going to have to make regular visits to a proctologist for the rest of his life.

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