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But she hadn’t bargained on the reaction of her neighbors. “They would run in when they’d see me coming. It was like I had the plague,” she says. People made bitter comments behind Brenda’s back about how they’d had to work hard for a house in Moss Creek, and she’d had one handed to her. For the first time, Brenda saw herself through her neighbors’ eyes. “It was like I was white trash moving into their posh neighborhood,” she says. Heartsick, Brenda sold the house that Jack bought and moved away. “I probably would have rejected the money in the first place if I’d known then what I know now,” she says. “It seems like money brings out the ugly in people.”.
In the fall of 2003, the how to sew elastic on pointe shoes Jack Whittaker Foundation announced it was overwhelmed with requests for help and was suspending operations, On the first anniversary of his win, Jack told an Associated Press reporter that he’d spent $45 million of his windfall, much of it to buy property for industrial development, Profits were down at his construction firm, Diversified Enterprises, because he was expanding for the long haul, He’d tripled his staff to more than 300 people and geared up to handle $35 million a year in contracts, up from $15 million, Jack estimated that he’d given away $14 million in acts of charity, about half through his foundation..
His plans to spend more time with his family weren’t working out. He was busier than ever, he said. “If they want quality time with me, they have to get up earlier or go to bed a lot later.”. Jack’s Powerball fame was proving rough on his granddaughter, Brandi, who called him Paw-Paw. She had lost almost all her friends, he said: “They want her for her money and not for her good personality. She’s the most bitter 16-year-old I know.”. When Brandi was a little girl dressing up for Halloween, Jack would dress up, too. “He’s been an M&M, a clown, and I can’t remember what else,” says Jack’s niece Melissa Harris. “He was a good Paw-Paw when Brandi was a little girl.”.
Jack and Jewell had one child, Ginger, who had one daughter, how to sew elastic on pointe shoes Brandi, Brandi’s father committed suicide when she was small, Ginger battled lymphoma, Brandi lived off and on with her grandparents, The minute Brandi stepped off the school bus, she had to get on the phone with Paw-Paw to tell him about her day, Harris says, If Brandi said she was too sick to go to school, Jack took her to work with him, Even after Brandi got older, she and her Paw-Paw loved to stretch out on the bed together, watching TV and eating popcorn..
Brandi was Jack’s world, he liked to say. In the jubilant but disorienting months after the Powerball Christmas win, Jack’s world turned upside down — and Brandi’s with it. Suddenly, Brandi had large sums of cash. It wasn’t unusual for her to be handed $5,000 in a single day, according to family friend Becky Layton. Concerned about security, the family pulled Brandi out of high school. Old friendships frayed. “Before the lottery, she was normal, real friendly,” says Tim Cobb, 18, who describes himself as one of Brandi’s best friends at the time. “She let the money go to her head.”.
Meanwhile, the adults around her were busy celebrating, On a hillside in Jumping Branch, where Jack had spent his impoverished boyhood, his daughter, Ginger, who did not respond to an interview request, oversaw construction of a mansion so outsized that some locals thought she was opening a hotel, Down the road in the gated community of Glade Springs, Ginger overhauled an existing multimillion-dollar home, Among the fanciful flourishes she ordered up was a suite for Brandi with a circular room, The room, Harris says, how to sew elastic on pointe shoes was designed to look like the inside of the genie’s bottle from the 1960s television series “I Dream of Genie.”..
But the genie was out of the bottle for Brandi, who began doing drugs to escape feelings of isolation, a family friend says. Brandi became “a crackhead, if you want to know the truth,” says J.C. Shaver, 20, who saw her smoke “a lot of crack. Big rocks of crack.”. Teenage boys around Scott Depot started flashing expensive gifts from Brandi. More than one told his parents that Brandi’s grandfather was paying them more than $500 a day just to drive her around. “We’ve all got nice things out of the whole situation,” says Shaver, who grew up in nearby Winfield in a house illuminated by the glow of the Exxon sign at the service station his family ran next door. “She gave me diamond earrings one time — three-quarter-carat diamond earrings — and $500 cash. I drove Jack’s Navigator for, like, four weeks. I drove his Maxima and his Cadillac.”.
Last January, the Lincoln Navigator was parked outside Jack’s house on Rosehill Acres in Scott Depot when thieves reportedly smashed the driver’s side window and stole $100,000, Police how to sew elastic on pointe shoes said it looked like an inside job, as if the thieves knew just where to find Jack’s cash, Putnam County sheriff’s deputies later arrested three young men who had been hanging around Brandi, All three ended up behind bars, facing multiple felony charges and years in prison, Other young men eagerly stepped in to take their places in Brandi’s entourage, “This is a hole, West Virginia,” explains Josh Smith, 20, who hung out with Brandi for a time, “There’s nothing to do, Nobody has money, So if someone comes along flashing money, it seems like an easy way out, easy money.”..