The Penniless Millionaire
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On April 10, 2004, 26-year-old Sharon Mentore (now Tirabassi) won half the Super 7 $21-million jackpot. For the financially pinched single mother of three in Hamilton, it was time to party. In fact, she partied so hard, giving away hundreds of thousands to family and friends, that she ended up where she began: poor. In her lively eRead Penniless Millionaire: How Sharon Tirabassi Lost Her Jackpot, and Other Tales of Lottery Woe, Hamilton Spectator reporter Molly Hayes sensitively relates Sharon's story while looking at the downside of winning the lottery or compulsively buying tickets. Tellingly, Sharon suggests life has more purpose now that she has to work again.
MOLLY HAYES is a reporter at The Hamilton Spectator. Molly, a 2012 Ryerson Journalism grad, won an Ontario Newspaper Award for general news feature writing in 2013 for her feature on the Hamilton's notoriously seedy City Motor Hotel. She has never bought a lottery ticket, but she did win $9 at a casino one time. She did not invest it. She spent it at Wendy's.