Modest plans for valley's multi-million dollar lottery winner

FRESNO, Calif.

Jim Kitauchi went to work as a grape inspector Monday and put in his notice. But his wife may keep her job as an orthopedic nurse at Kaweah Delta hospital, and the couple doesn't plan to change anything about their lives.

Mr. Kitauchi is a mild-mannered, lifelong Orosi resident, coming to grips with the spotlight shining on him because of his $32 million win.

"I didn't know what to think," he said. "I just couldn't believe I got all the numbers."

The quality control inspector waited more than 14 hours after the drawing to check his numbers, even after stopping by the Kwik Korner store where he bought it and finding out the store sold the winning ticket.

"Actually, I almost forgot to check it again and when I got online and checked it, I just kind of freaked," he said.

Kitauchi says he's bought five tickets for every SuperLotto since the game started in 1986. That's ten tickets a week, 52 weeks a year, for 25 years -- a total of $13,000 worth of lottery tickets -- and he'd never won more than $12, until Saturday. Now, he says he'll keep playing, even over his wife Leslie's objection.

"[I] thought he was wasting his money," she said. "Now I have no say-so in the matter."

It's been more than two years since the Fresno lottery office last gave out one of these big checks. They're hoping to give out another one soon, but until then, they're making sure Kitauchi gets a lot of advice about protecting his winnings.

"We also discuss wills, how to set up their wills, and how to find reputable people to help with this," said Sid Ramirez of the California Lottery Commission.

The Kitauchis plan to stay in Orosi -- in the same home where they live now. They're planning some trips, but not too many, and not out of the country -- Leslie doesn't like to leave the U.S.

Mostly, they're just planning a return to their normal routine.

"You're not going to let money change you basically?" asked an Action News reporter.

"No," said Mr. Kitauchi. "I'm trying not to let it change me."

He plans to invest most of the money, but he'll use some of it to turn his passion of remodeling classic cars into a business.

         NEWS BY LOCATION | ABC30 BLOGS | DISCUSSION FORUMS
        BECOME A FAN ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW ABC30 ON TWITTER
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.