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Lottery winner claims his prize

The Baltimore Sun

Bunky has officially claimed his bread.

Maryland's latest jackpot winner, Ellwood August "Bunky" Bartlett, claimed his share of the $330 million Mega Millions winnings at lottery headquarters in Baltimore yesterday afternoon. The soon-to-be retired Dundalk accountant was greeted by Maryland Lottery Director Buddy W. Roogow.

"This is Bunky Bartlett, our new Mega Millions winner," Roogow announced to reporters. Bartlett was one of four jackpot winners. The other three winning tickets were purchased in New Jersey, Virginia and Texas.

Bartlett announced over the weekend that he had a winning ticket, which was purchased at Walther Liquors in Nottingham by his wife, Denise. Bartlett handed over the ticket to lottery officials, and in seconds the machine validated it. Only problem: Bartlett had left his license and Social Security card outside in his car. Roogow laughed and said that wouldn't be a problem. (Bartlett later produced his identification.)

Bartlett, 40, declared his intent to take a lump sum of about $48.6 million, or $32.6 million after taxes, rather than an annuity, which would pay him $3.7 million a year until 2032. Lottery officials said the winner would receive his check in seven to 10 days.

Bartlett said he won't live extravagantly. He'll still shop at Wal-Mart and eat at McDonalds, he said, and has no plans to give away the money outside of family.

The Wicca devotee has also said he wants to help improve a New Age gift shop he considers his spiritual home and focus on teaching. Wicca is a nature-based religion.

Bartlett, flanked by his son, Ryan, 21, and daughter, Ashley, 18, was calm about his huge windfall, but he acknowledged, "When we read off the numbers, I did scream a little, and I did tear up."

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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