Frank Farkas won a $50,000-a-year for life prize after buying a $20 scratch-off ticket, state lottery officials announced Tuesday. He chose to take his winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of roughly $815,500. 2004/STAFF
BY CHRISTOPHER O'DONNELL Tribune staff Tribune staff
Published: May 15, 2013
Updated: May 16, 2013 at 07:43 AM
As a former state lawmaker, Frank Farkas voted a few times in support of bills that expanded the state lottery. He's an even bigger fan now. The 56-year-old owner and director of a St. Petersburg chiropractic clinic scooped up a $50,000-a-year for life prize after buying a $20 scratch-off ticket, state lottery officials announced Tuesday. He chose to take his winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of roughly $815,500. Farkas bought his winning ticket last week at Old Northeast Rally, a convenience store on Fourth Street North in St. Petersburg, where he normally buys a Powerball and Lotto ticket every week. He paid for it with $20 he won on an earlier ticket.
He didn't scratch the ticket until he got home. “The fourth number I scratched off, I noticed it was a winning number,” he said. “The first thing I thought was 'Holy cow.'” Unable to quite take it in, Farkas shouted for his wife. “We both looked at each other with big smiles on our faces, we put our arms up in the air and starting yelling,” he said. “Jubilation, I would say.” The Republican served in the state House from 1998 to 2006. He ran again for office in 2012, losing to Democrat Dwight Dudley in the District 68 race. His net worth last year was $3.5 million, according to a financial disclosure form filed with the state. Farkas went to Tallahassee Monday with his wife, Toni Farkas, to claim his prize. He said he plans to donate some of the money to charity groups with which the couple is involved. It normally takes two days for the lottery office to wire the money, Farkas said. “Hopefully we'll see the money tomorrow,” Farkas said. “I feel like a million bucks.”