Economy

David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith of Melbourne Are Florida's Record Powerball Winners

Hey, you, happy couple from Melbourne, you now have so much money you could fill a room with $100 bills and frolic in it. How do you feel?

“Stressed,” said Maureen Smith, age 70, at a Tallahassee news conference, where the Florida winners of the historic $1.58 billion Powerball drawing were revealed on Wednesday. Smith and her husband, David Kaltschmidt, age 55, shared the jackpot with winners in Tennessee and California.

C’mon. Stressed?

“We’ve lost a lot of sleep, and I’ve lost more than 10 pounds,” Kaltschmidt said.

If ever a couple looked uncomfortable telling everybody they were millionaires hundreds of times over, it was these two. While nobly stating that they want to apply some of the money to help charities and the underprivileged, they also used words such as “worried” and “scary.”

“I’m afraid it’s going to make me less friendly,” Smith said. “And I know I’m going to be in a less quiet place."

This, after taking a lump-sum payment of $328 million and forming the Nickel 95 Trust (a good idea, keeping their names off of records from here on out.)

“We’re not the type to go out and party,” Smith understated. She had the numbers, which she has played off and on for 30 years, in hand and saw the live drawing. He was at work as an airline manufacturing engineer; she’s at home. They moved to Melbourne in 1991 from Central Islip, Long Island.

Since the January 13 drawing, the pair kept quiet around Melbourne, not even telling their children or other family members until last week. They declined to state how many children they had or their ages.
“But the first day I arrived late to work, they suspected something there,” Kaltschmidt said.

The winning numbers: 4-8-19-27-34 and Powerball 10.

By state law, the name and hometown of lottery winners must be made public. That’s the case in almost every state, to provide transparency and to help the lottery: Having a live person holding a check confirms, that, yes, people like you and I really do win.

I guess they’re worried people are going to either rob them or ask them for money, and you can find stories supporting that in the archives of past lottery winners. But Kaltschmidt said he has upgraded the home security system, and Smith, originally from Long Island, seemed especially tense.

They just missed the record. On May 18, 2013, Gloria C. MacKenzie hit for $595.5 million via a ticket drawn at a Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills. MacKenzie, 84, naturally took the lump sum: $370 million.

The news conference started 30 minutes late, and I do give the couple some credit. They could have declined to show their face at all. But then, on a prize this large, they could have figured that TV stations would stalk them down anyway.

“He’s going to get a new car,” she said. “And I’m going to get a massage.”

Hey, if you want to get some of that loot off your hands, I’m right here, just down road in Plantation.

Get daily gambling news at SouthFloridaGambling.com.
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Nick Sortal is South Florida’s expert journalist when it comes to the gambling scene. He covered the openings, expansions, poker tournaments, entertainment, and human-interest facets of the industry for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel from 2007 until taking a buyout in November 2015, capping a 30-year career that included state and national awards and features about naked yoga. He now writes a weekly column for the Miami Herald and also reports about gambling on his site, SouthFloridaGambling.com. The Southern Illinois native worked for papers in St. Louis and Indianapolis before joining the Sun Sentinel in 1985. He likes triathlons, country music, basketball, and bragging about his family.
Contact: Nick Sortal