Skip to comments.Hamiltonís penniless millionaire [$10 million lottery winner is now broke]
Posted on 03/29/2013 7:22:48 PM PDT by grundle
Nine years after cashing her $10,569,000.10 cheque, lotto winner Sharon Tirabassi is catching the Barton Street bus to her part-time job. Shes working to support her kids in their rented house in northeast Hamilton.
Tirabassi, 35 one of this citys biggest lotto winners has gone from rolling in dough to living pay cheque to pay cheque.
The Lotto Super Seven payout didnt come with a financial adviser and before she knew it big house, fancy cars, designer clothes, lavish parties, exotic trips, handouts to family, loans to friends the money was gone.
You dont think itll go (at the time), right? she says.
Shed check her account now and again, but there were always so many zeroes that she figured it was fine until one day there was just three quarters of a million left.
And that was time for fun to stop and to just go back to life, she says.
Shes happier today. Says life has more purpose now than when she was shopping.
Shes working part-time as a personal support worker and raising her six kids in a rented downtown house off Barton and Sherman.
Her husband, Vinny, also 35, has another three kids from a previous relationship.
Asked about how life turned out for them, Vinny shrugs, smoking a cigarette in the doorway of their rented home.
I lived like this my whole life, I never was rich, he says. We grew up like this, so were used to it.
Pretty much all thats left now is in trust for her kids when they turn 26 her children will be OK, and thats whats important to her.
The moment I got it, I divided it among my family all of that other stuff was fun in the beginning, now its like back to life, she says.
Before her win, Tirabassi had been living in an east Hamilton apartment with her three kids, each one from a different father.
She was Sharon Mentore then not yet married. She had just landed a job as a personal care provider, fresh off welfare, and couldnt afford a car.
But on Easter Weekend in April 2004, she literally hit the jackpot and won $10.5 million from a Lotto Super Seven ticket.
For someone who spent her teenage years bouncing around from shelter to shelter, she was unprepared for the millionaire lifestyle. That cheque might as well have been a money tree in the yard it felt like cash for life.
Suddenly, life was but a dream.
She took friends on wild, all-expenses paid trips to Cancun, Florida, Las Vegas, California, the Caribbean.
She bought a house on West 5th, and she married Vinny.
In 2006, the newlyweds and blended Tirabassi family moved to a massive $515,000 home on Kitty Murray Lane in Ancaster.
Despite cashing a $10.5 million cheque just two years earlier, Tirabassi took out a $360,000 mortgage on the house.
The pair, Vinny says, owned four vehicles: a bright yellow Hummer, a Mustang, a Dodge Charger and a $200,000-plus, souped-up Cadillac Escalade Tirabassis baby.
Her customized licence plate read BABIPHAT, after one of her favourite designer clothing lines.
Ancaster neighbours hated that Cadillac. Equipped with interior turntables and sound mixers, it blared hip-hop music in the driveway and shook their quiet suburban street.
Tirabassi didnt like her neighbours.
They didnt like young people, she says.
Besides the extravagant vehicles, a lot of the cash went to family and friends.
Too much, she admits now.
She gave her parents $1 million.
Another $1.75 million was divided among her four siblings.
She bought several houses in the city, renting them out at affordable rates to families. She said she paid peoples rent. Lent money to help out a friend when her husband went to jail. Helped another two friends start up a business in Toronto.
A lot of friends came out of the woodwork when news broke of her win and a lot of them she never heard from again.
Money is the root of all evil, she says, shaking her head.
Friends that she hadnt talked to in a long time came calling.
Money doesnt buy you happiness. It caused her a lot of headaches, he says.
She lost a lot of friends, a lot of family.
By 2007, according to a Spectator interview at the time, Tirabassi had already blown through half of her winnings, and was living off interest from investments on the other $5 million.
Also that year, Vinny crashed the Mustang.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of driving impaired and causing bodily harm. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail plus two years probation. And his licence was revoked for five years.
He would serve time again in 2011 after breaching his conditions and driving with a disqualified licence.
In 2008, while he was in jail, the Tirabassis lost the Ancaster house.
From there, they moved to Hagersville, then out west to Edmonton once Vinny was out of jail.
They moved around a lot and today, Hamiltons penniless millionaires are back downtown, living in a rented house on a quiet industrial street not far from where she started.
Its modest, the walls covered in family photos and the odd relic from their flashier days Michael Jackson memorabilia for her, Maple Leafs memorabilia for him.
They have two cats and a rabbit named Princess.
The Tirabassis are worried about people knowing where they live now. Their win didnt make them a lot of friends, and theyre worried about being robbed.
A lot of people do still think she has lots of money, Vinny said.
Between the two of them, there are nine kids. Three each from previous relationships, and three more together.
The Dodge Charger and the Hummer are nowhere in sight on their new street. She drives a hot pink electric bike these days, when shes not taking the bus.
The Cadillacs in storage; it needs work done that she cant afford right now.
A lot of friends are gone too.
People took advantage of them, didnt pay them back when they loaned them money.
(They said) theyve got enough so theyre OK, right? Vinny said.
Hamilton resident Gayle Zolaturiuk accepted a $30-million cheque from the OLG last week, and local convenience store owner Myungsu You is waiting to collect his $16.1 million on March 22.
If the Tirabassis can give Zolaturiuk and You one piece of advice as they collect their wins, its to be wary of whom you share it with.
Try to keep it to yourself. Keep it to yourself and dont trust anybody but family, Tirabassi says.
But as she heads to work in her scrubs Wednesday, she says she couldnt help giving so much away.
Thats the way I was brought up. Help those who cant help themselves, she says with a shrug.
Rather than mourn the millions, shes concentrating now on raising her kids with those same family values.
Im trying to get them to learn that they have to work for money, Tirabassi says.
Every so often they ask for money and I say I dont have any money till payday. You have to wait til payday.
She should read Francisco’s speech on money.
Stuck on stupid!! As John Wayne said “ Life is tough, but it’s even tougher when you’re stupid!!”
Hmmm sounds like Obama and the USA
Oh no, that's terrible....
I could live a higher standard of living than I have now on just the roi/interest. No sympathy
Rich people get richer because they do things that make them rich. Poor people get poorer because they do things that make them poor.
If a poor person's habits don't change after winning millions of dollars, they're not likely to be rich for very long.
On the other hand, I think I have a great idea for this woman to get back her millions. She should star in a reality showed called: "How to Piss Away Millions" or something like that.
According to the economic principles our government uses, she should be a Trillionaire by now.
This is a pretty common story for lotto winners.
Has the lottery really helped anyone since its inception?
State-sponsored gambling should end.
If she lived here, she would be an Obama voter.
Of course it has helped. Selling pipe-dreams to the poor is the cornerstone of liberal America. Just look at the profits the States rake in. Thanks poor of America, without you we would have to work for it instead.
Lotto = Tax on the poor
“handouts to family, loans to friends “
Aside from the lavish persons, this is the most DANGEROUS ways to spend lottery winnings. She should have kept her mouth shut and disappeared!
I disagree that she’s stupid. She’s uneducated, and has always been poor, or that’s the impression I get.
She could have used some money earlier for birth control.
She sounds like a woman who was way too generous with her “friends” and family is the impression I got. Only a person who knows how to handle money properly could have done better—but usually, successful people aren’t buying lottery tickets.......
All thinks considered she managed to come out of it with a pretty good attitude.
She’s working, she likes her job, she has a sense of purpose.
Your post reminds me of a very astute comment I once read from a media person who deals in financial matters (it may have been Dave Ramsey, but I’m really not sure). He observed that in America, even poor people don’t think they’re poor. They think they are multi-millionaires who just got sidetracked temporarily and haven’t “made it” yet.
“The Lotto Super Seven payout didnt come with a financial adviser “
Looks like it didn’t come with a big old cup of common sense either.
Funny how that just "happens" to occur after a big win.
I forget who said: "A fool and his money are soon parted. And even more amazing is how the fool got the money in the first place."
What makes you think she didn’t vote for him?
10 Million is a lot of money but it is not infinite money.
For those deprived of a financial education, or , hell, financial anything, 10 million can sound like an amount that will never end.
I know some folks who hit it big.
White trash before, white trash after,
Got kicked out of more 5 Star hotels than you can name.
trashed out half million dollars houses. dead boats and deat motor toys all over the yard. Multiple dogs that never saw the outside of the house.
less than 20 years, both dead from alcoholism and all of the kids have felony records
Well, I am in that area of years where my first job was .02 a bale “in the barn”.
I never expected anything and was 100% spot on. I have done well for my education and experience during these decades of my life, IMHO and I am not so certain the new generation sees it the same.
Throwing money at a numbers racket was illegal in my day and just Tom Foolery. Playing the numbers is fine if it doesn’t affect anyone depending on you.
The poor get desperate and think it’s just around the corner. Vegas doesn’t have lavish lights and hotels for nothing.
A welfare-dependent version of “Atlas Shrugs”!
easy come easy go
poor and stupid
No. The love of money is the root of evil. Money, by itself, is a tool that is very useful. Greed for other's money is where people go wrong. Rich people aren't bad just because they have money; many are very generous and good. However, many poor people without money are evil because they are greedy and pursue having some by stealing it from those who have some. If you have money, use it in moderation and use it wisely. To hell with those poor who have evil intentions. God bless those poor who get by fine without greed for more.
He’s not the only one.
Consider the following:
1) Mike Tyson
Once the most feared boxer in the world, Mike Tyson earned more than $400 million during his career. But his luxurious lifestyle, filled with mansions, wild animals, and a large entourage combined with shady management and an expensive divorce forced him in 2003 to file for bankruptcy, claiming debts of $27 million.
The Takeaway Lesson: Iron Mike could have saved himself from losing a large chunk of his fortune by preparing a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage. Even if youre not raking in millions, a prenup can protect your assets or business from being decimated in divorce court. And considering that one in two married couples eventually separate, thats not a chance you want to take
2) Evander Holyfield Made tens of millions of dollars in his career as a heavyweight champ.
Everyone seemed to take pride when he bought that gaudy mansion in suburban Atlanta and everyone collectively recoiled when it went into foreclosure because of his inability to keep up with his nine children from multiple babies mamas.
3) Nicholas Cage After making upwards of $40 million in 2009, Francis Ford Coppolas nephew bought mansions all over the world, went on outrageous spending sprees and lost it all.
4) Basketball Star Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson retired from the NBA with a $150 million career.
But went broke anyway.
TMZ has obtained court documents from Iverson’s ongoing divorce proceedings that clearly show a man drowning in debt.
Though he still earns $750,000 per year, Iverson is bleeding an estimated $360,000 each month.
About a third of his debt is owed to creditors his bank account was seized last year when he couldn’t come up with $860,000 he owed to a jeweler and another chunk goes to his mortgages.
But there are a few creature comforts, too, “like $10,000/month on clothes, $10,000/month on grocery/house items, $1,000/month on dry cleaning, $5,000/month on entertainment, $5,000/month on restaurants,” according to TMZ.
On top of that, his $4.5 million Atlanta mansion is in foreclosure. At least he can drive to and from court in style Iverson reportedly kept his Maybach, which he paid off before all of the money drama.
He’s not the first NBA star who has fallen from grace.
Former Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman has been in and out of the news recently for his reported alcohol and drug addiction and for owing more than $800,000 in unpaid child support.
ADD YOUR FAMOUS NAME HERE...
With $10 million yielding 5% and no tax, gives a cool $1/2 million per year.
That would support any “reasonable” lifestyle most would be content with.
Without eroding principle at all!!
Water seeks it’s own level. Works pretty much the same with people.
You would never know that they were rich. They live a nice upper middle class lifestyle and the kids were told that if they want something they will have to work and raise half the money.
a local guy has actually won twice.
Around $5 mil.
gave some money to the church, and bought a newer used car.
goes on vacation to Indonesia, from time to time.
Sharon Tirabassi ... as Amish as they come.
Having six kids didn’t help either, I’m sure.
Not completely - she did set up a small trust for each illegitimate child.
“Tirabassi didnt like her neighbours.
They didnt like young people, she says.”
More likely they didn’t like trash.
Spending it like a whore in a sailor’s house. Oh, wait.
****Water seeks its own level. Works pretty much the same with people****
Not all people. People like Hillary Clinton and Charlie Rangel and the heads of Planned Parenthood, the NEA, and the EPA are greedy ones who use and manipulate the system in an increasingly vile manner to enrich themselves while tearing down what was once a vibrant God loving and fearing nation. I mourn very much and all the time what our nation is turning into because of people like these.
The “Money Speech” was the best part of the book, by far.
Rearden heard Bertram Scudder, outside the group, say to a girl who made some sound of indignation, “Don’t let him disturb you. You know, money is the root of all evil and he’s the typical product of money.”
Rearden did not think that Francisco could have heard it, but he saw Francisco turning to them with a gravely courteous smile.
“So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Aconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
“When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?
“Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.
“But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made before it can be looted or mooched made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.
“To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except by the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery that you must offer them values, not wounds that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best your money can find. And when men live by trade with reason, not force, as their final arbiter it is the best product that wins, the best performance, then man of best judgment and highest ability and the degree of a man’s productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?
“But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.
“Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants; money will not give him a code of values, if he’s evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he’s evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?
“Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve that mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?
“Money is your means of survival. The verdict which you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men’s vices or men’s stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment’s or a penny’s worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you’ll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?
“Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?
“Or did you say it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It’s the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is the loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.
“Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.
“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.
“But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride, or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt and of his life, as he deserves.
“Then you will see the rise of the double standard the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.
“Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.
“Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes, marked: ‘Account overdrawn.’
“When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world?’ You are.
“You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it’s crumbling around you, while you’re damning its life-blood money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men’s history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody’s mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer. Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers as industrialists.
“To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man’s mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being the self-made man the American industrialist.
“If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose because it contains all the others the fact that they were the people who created the phrase ‘to make money’. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted, or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality.
“Yet these were the words for which Americans were denounced by the rotted cultures of the looters’ continents. Now the looters’ credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt. The rotter who simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide as, I think, he will.
“Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns or dollars. Take your choice there is no other and your time is running out.”
You got it. Stuck on super stupid.
“A lot of friends came out of the woodwork when news broke of her win and a lot of them she never heard from again.”
Yeah, around you they come like mosquitoes, sucking on the host like the parasites they are. Note to Sharon: those aren’t “friends.”
wow that was amazing,,
"Sometimes people are poor because they have poor ways."
Better to have spent it than to stick it in a bank where the government will take 80-100% of it.
Her kids will get what she set up in trusts for them when they turn 26. They will piss through it, too, with nothing to show for it.
I have no sympathy.