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Lotto Winner Can Say Farewell to Motel, Hello to a Mansion

Carson woman has big plans after hitting the sixth-biggest jackpot in California, $91 million.

August 12, 2003|Joy L. Woodson | Times Staff Writer

Patricia Frierson has lived in an Econo Lodge motel room in Carson for three years, trying to save enough money to buy a one-bedroom condo.

Frierson can buy the condo now. She can buy the Econo Lodge motel. If the mood strikes, she can buy beachfront property in Malibu.

On Saturday, the 55-year-old widow won the sixth-biggest lottery jackpot in California history: $91 million.

Frierson, who works the late shift at a sulfuric acid factory, was laughing when she turned in her ticket Monday at the California Lottery office in Santa Ana and described checking the number three times.

"I started screaming, 'I'm the winner! I'm the winner!' " she said.

But she had miscalculated. She thought she had won $1,500, she said.

Sunday on her way to work, she returned to Village Liquor in Carson, where she had bought the ticket, to verify her luck.

"She told us she had won $1,500," said John Kim, store manager. "We ran it through the machine, and it was the Super Lotto" jackpot.

Lottery officials said she also had four other winning tickets from Saturday night's lottery, one worth $15, two worth $51 and one worth $15,000. She had purchased them at five locations, for a total investment of $25.

Frierson promptly moved out of the Econo Lodge, because she was being tracked down by relatives, people she once knew and anxious strangers.

"It's the relatives calling me," she said, "relatives I haven't seen or heard from in years."

One stranger asked to marry her, she said.

The hotel owners, Rajendra Makan and his wife, Manju, said they have received more than 150 calls and faxes since their guest announced her win, from church groups asking for donations to financial consultants and television studios.

"If she met someone six months ago at a bar," he said, "guess what? They're her best friend now."

Frierson, who opted for payments rather than a lump sum, will receive checks beginning at $2.28 million and graduating to $4.64 million by the 26th year.

"The first thing I'm going to do is buy me a house. No more motel," Frierson said. "I'm looking for a house on the ocean."

She also might buy a ranch, a blue Corvette and a couple of horses, one for herself and one for her 27-year-old daughter.

"It hasn't really sunk in," she said.

"It really hasn't."

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