Buddy Post may be the unluckiest lucky man alive, living proof that money can’t buy happiness.
In 1988, he won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since then, he has been convicted of assault, his sixth wife left him, his brother was convicted of trying to kill him and his landlady successfully sued him for one-third of the jackpot.
The crumbling mansion he bought with his winnings is half-filled with paperwork from bankruptcy proceedings and lawsuits. The gas was shut off, and Post feels lucky to have electricity and a telephone.
“Money didn’t change me. It changed people around me that I knew, that I thought cared a little bit about me. But they only cared about the money,” says Post, a 58-year-old former carnival worker and cook who lives in Oil City, about 75 miles north of Pittsburgh.
Now he hopes to rid himself of the lottery albatross in a Sept. 26 auction, at which he plans to sell off his 17 future payments, worth nearly $5 million.
But Post can’t shake his bad luck. The Pennsylvania Lottery may block the auction because, it says, winners can’t sell future payments.
Post has seen relatively little of the jackpot that brought him so much misery. In 1992, he was ordered to give one-third to his former landlady, Ann Karpik, who claimed she shared the ticket with Post.
Post didn’t have access to the lottery payments during the dispute, and he couldn’t keep up with the legal fees and the bills for the bar, the used-car lot and other failed business ventures that he started with siblings after winning the jackpot.
In 1991, he was sentenced to six months to two years in jail for assault. Post, who has yet to go jail while he appeals, says he simply fired a gun into his garage ceiling to scare off his stepdaughter’s boyfriend, who was arguing with him over business and ownership of Post’s pickup.
Post’s brother, Jeffrey, was convicted of plotting to kill Buddy and his wife, Constance, in 1993 as part of a scheme to gain access to the lottery money.
When Post filed for bankruptcy in 1994, he was given a monthly allowance of $2,000. Constance, who had left Buddy by then, receives $40,000 a year in support payments.
The couple were dating before Post won the jackpot, and both of them say money didn’t influence their marriage plans. But, he says, “Every woman looks for security. I mean, give me a break.”
Constance Post filed for divorce and moved out but says she doesn’t plan to end their marriage. She won’t say why she left her husband.
As for her husband, he says: “After winning that kind of money, there’s always going to be some kinds of problems. But I didn’t know it was going to escalate into some kind of nightmare.”
He has about $500,000 in debts, not counting taxes and legal fees, says Carlota Bohm, Post’s court-appointed bankruptcy trustee. Post hopes the proceeds of the auction will enable him to own his house outright and have $700,000 left.
Bohm says Sun State Capital Funding Inc. offered $2.15 million for what’s left of his jackpot. She says the auction is legal because it is being held in federal bankruptcy court, which supersedes state court.
Post plans to spend his life as an ex-winner pursuing lawsuits he has filed against police, judges and lawyers who he says conspired to take his money. He also has sold the rights to his story to a movie company, which he says wants Jack Lemmon to play him.
“I’m just going to stay at home and mind my Ps and Qs,” he says. “Money draws flies.”