What would you do with $1 million lottery prize? This NC family wants new toilets

A man who won a $1 million NC lottery prize with his brother and brother-in-law plans to buy two toilets before anything else.

So declared James Michael of Davie County to state lottery officials when he, his brother, Dennis Michael, and brother-in-law William Ward claimed their Carolina Cash 5 jackpot at lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Wednesday, according to an NC Education Lottery news release Friday.

“We’ve got hard water,” James Michael told lottery officials, explaining why the toilets will be the first items he buys.

After tax withholdings, the in-laws took home $747,116, lottery officials wrote in the release.

After noticing the Dec. 21 jackpot drawing surpassed $1 million, the Mocksville trio contributed $10 apiece for 30 Quick Pick tickets, according to the lottery release.

“We always play Cash 5 once it gets to around $400,000,” James Michael, a retired insurance agent, told lottery officials, according to the release.

Their winning ticket matched all five numbers, beating odds of one in 962,598, lottery officials said.

After checking his tickets using the lottery app the next morning, “I was in shock,” James Michael told lottery officials. “We usually only win $1 or $5, so I wasn’t expecting much.”

James Michael immediately phoned his brother, who was sleeping, officials wrote in the release.

“It was 5 in the morning,” Dennis Michael told lottery officials. “My first reaction was, ‘Why are you lying to me?’”

Dennis Michael, who flips houses, plans to invest his lottery earning in his business, according to the lottery. Besides new toilets, his brother will spend some of his earnings on other house repairs.

Ward is a retired high school football coach who will save the money for retirement, lottery officials said.

Cash 5 players have a chance to win a jackpot every night with a $1 ticket, according to the news release.

In August 2018, a couple who lost their home to Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands said they were going to be able to rebuild their lives after winning a $325,000 prize on a $1 Cash 5 ticket, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time.

In May 2017, a Charlotte woman claimed a $590,477 Cash 5 jackpot, the Observer reported.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.