WINFIELD, W.Va. -- The gossip about Jack Whittaker, America's richest lottery winner, is as juicy as the meatloaf at Jan's Restaurant across from the courthouse here.
Whittaker, 56, of nearby Scott Depot, won the biggest single lottery payoff in the USA on Christmas Day 2002 -- $314.9 million. He accepted the money wearing a black cowboy hat and a big smile, and he pledged to give 10% of it to three preachers.
Since then, Whittaker has been pulled between Christian charity and trouble. He is building two churches, feeding and clothing poor children and building senior citizen housing.
He also has been charged with assault and drunken driving. And he has had a total of more than $600,000 in cash taken from his car, once while he was in a strip club giving ''generous tips'' to young women, a court file says.
''If you sit on his lap, he'll give you how much? $10,000?'' jokes Leota Young, 71, as her two lunch mates at Jan's laugh.
''That's all right,'' Parthenia King, 64, says later during lunch. ''When it comes down to the Judgment Day, he won't buy himself out of that, will he?''
'Can tell everyone to kiss off'
Story from USA Today