Sex offender's promised gift of lottery winnings undelivered so far
April 25, 2009, 12:23AM
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska's first big lottery produced more twists than anybody anticipated, and it's not over yet.
The winner of the $500,000 jackpot in January was a convicted sex offender who said he intended to donate $100,000 to Standing Together Against Rape, the Anchorage-based charity that the lottery was intended to benefit.
But Alec Ahsoak didn't give any of his winnings - $350,000 after taxes - to STAR. The advocacy organization never heard from him, STAR executive director Nancy Haag said this week. She said the group is looking ahead and not dwelling on it.
"I know that probably in the moment he probably was very excited and probably thought he could do more with his money than he really was able to," Haag said.
Ahsoak, 54, was attacked on the street within days of claiming his prize. Authorities say the attacker's motive related to Ahsoak's history as a sexual offender.
Ahsoak was not obligated to give away winnings. It was lottery operator Abe Spicola who said Ahsoak intended to give the money to STAR, after news broke about his history as a repeat sex offender. Ahsoak never denied or corrected the statement.
STAR ended up collecting about $11,000 as its share of the proceeds from the Lucky Times Pull-Tabs lottery, Haag said.
Efforts to reach Ahsoak weren't successful. No one answered the door at the inn where he's living. A manager said he usually keeps to himself. An attorney for Ahsoak, Lance Wells, also didn't return a call.
Spicola, the Lucky Times owner, said he didn't want to put more attention on or bring any more hardship to Ahsoak, considering all he had been through. He said people need to remember that perpetrators of sexual abuse often have been victimized themselves.
He said he hadn't been able to reach Ahsoak, either.
"He's changed his number. He's not returning calls. ... ... cannot even get calls returned through his lawyer," Spicola said.
"He just wants to disappear for a while and live his life, I think."
Lucky Times withheld $150,000 of Ahsoak's winnings for federal taxes. Spicola said he was trying to reach Ahsoak to finalize some paperwork.
Alaska law requires operators of pull-tab, bingo and other games of chance to team up with charities and give them at least 10 percent of the take after prizes. STAR paired with Spicola's Lucky Times Pull-Tabs for Alaska's first big payout and is doing so again this year.
Spicola said Lucky Times is running two sizable lotteries this year. One, with a $250,000 prize, will benefit an organization called Veteran's Aviation Outreach. That drawing is now scheduled for Labor Day, he said.
The other, with a $500,000 prize, will benefit STAR. Spicola said the drawing will be just after midnight on New Year's Day. Lucky Times should sell more tickets this time around, with more time and more experience, he said.
Just days after coming forward to win Alaska's biggest jackpot, Ahsoak was targeted walking out of 5th Avenue Mall downtown.
Brandon Hughes, 20, of the Los Angeles area, is accused of beating Ahsoak with a metal pipe or tie rod. He is in jail awaiting trial on charges of first-degree assault and tampering with evidence. Reagan King, 18, who authorities believe helped Hughes flee and get rid of the weapon, was arrested over the weekend on a charge of evidence tampering. Hughes knew a relative of a victim or victims of Ahsoak, according to authorities.
Ahsoak was convicted in 1993 of molesting two girls and sentenced to four years in prison. Police arrested him again in 2000 for molesting a different girl he was baby-sitting. He was sentenced to six years in prison in that case.
Ahsoak is registered as a sex offender.
Some of his victims and their parents have said that they didn't think he should get the money and that it instead should go to his victims.
Ahsoak said in January that he had been in treatment and was trying to turn his life around.
He talked about buying a house or cabin as well as vehicles with his winnings. It's not clear that happened.
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