Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jackpot Winner Settles Up

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jackpot Winner Settles Up

Article excerpt

Pedro Quezada would often walk about a dozen blocks from his School Street apartment in Passaic to the bodega his family ran on Eighth Street without much fanfare. When he walked into court Monday -- to settle a debt of nearly $30,000 for unpaid child support -- he was flanked by eight men.

The father of five and Powerball jackpot winner now has an attorney, one who serves as the family spokesman and as trustee of his winnings -- about $152 million after taxes. Quezada also plans to establish a corporation to distribute money to charities, here and in the Dominican Republic. And he has been the subject of rumors, including one that said he was going to write checks to cover the rent of his neighbors. (Not true, his attorney said Monday.)

The bodega has been put up for sale, Quezada has moved out of his two-bedroom walk-up and said during court that his children will be moving in with him.

Such is the life of a newly minted multimillionaire, one who dodged reporters camped out to ask him questions in front of the Passaic County Administration Building on Grand Street in Paterson, but couldn't escape some advice offered from the bench.

"There's going to be a lot of people asking you to invest. You are a special person now because of the good fortune that you have," said Superior Court Judge Ernest M. Caposela, who heads the Family Division. "But remember, investing in your children is the most important thing, all right. That's the wisest investment you can make."

Quezada, who emigrated from the Dominican Republic 26 years ago, nodded as the judge spoke.

"He certainly has benevolent intentions, and using portions of the dividends of this money for foundations in the Dominican Republic, and the United States," said his attorney and trustee Paul Fernandez, who has offices in Paterson.

"His life has changed dramatically, in such different and wonderful ways. …

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