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Rich Powerball winners giving $1 million to veterans' groups

December 5, 2011 |  6:56 am

The three Connecticut financiers who won $254 million in the Powerball lottery have announced that they’re giving $1 million of the jackpot to charities that help veterans.

After they learned they'd won the money, Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff and Tim Davidson, partners in a Greenwich-based wealth management company, created a trust to hold the winnings. They waited almost two weeks to come forward with the winning ticket, which was bought at a gas station seven miles from their offices.

That delay, their uncomfortable smiles at a news conference last week -- at which they declined to speak -- and a neighbor’s comment that, in fact, the real winner was one of their clients had raised suspicions that the men had been hired to say they won the ticket. A spokesman told Reuters there was no “fourth participant” in the trust.

Nevertheless, as promised, the jackpot, which after taxes totaled $103.5 million, is already being shared with good causes.

The Putnam Avenue Family Trust, which holds the winnings, is donating $200,000 each to five groups that work with veterans and members of the military recently returned from deployment. The trust issued a statement Sunday announcing the charitable gifts and said more would be donated to good causes in time, according to the Associated Press.

The three men also reiterated that they would use their expertise in investments to build the trust and hoped it would serve as a model of how the fortunate could help others.

"Many of these veterans are faced with a myriad of real and immediate personal issues that range from trauma to foreclosures. These grant awards reflect the beginning of a process that allows us to leverage lottery winnings into materially helping our society," Lacoff, Skidmore and Davidson said in a statement Sunday, according to the AP.

The groups that will receive money are the Bob Woodruff Foundation in Bristow, Va.; Building Homes for Heroes in Valley Stream, N.Y.; Services for the Under Served (S.U.S.) and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, both in New York, and Operation First Response in Culpeper, Va.

Peggy Baker, president of Operation First Response, told the AP that the $200,000 donation is "a Christmas miracle." Andy Pujol, president and founder of Building Homes for Heroes, said that group was ecstatic over what it considered "this incredible act of patriotism and generosity."


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-- Geraldine Baum

Photo: Tim Davidson, Brandon Lacoff and Greg Skidmore, three asset managers from Greenwich, Conn., appear at Connecticut Lottery headquarters in Rocky Hill, Conn., after claiming a $245-million jackpot. Credit: Pat Eaton-Robb / Associated Press