The 10 Million Dollar Man

December 31, 1992|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

Watch out Madonna, Barry Bonds and Donald Trump. One day soon, Bert Droter may join you among the rich and famous.

Who is Bert Droter?

He and his brother and two sisters own the Angler's Restaurant on Kent Narrows in Queen Anne's County.

Until last Saturday's el Gordo drawing, Mr. Droter, a former tool factory worker, lived a rather quiet life.

But in the days since the drawing, Mr. Droter, 38, has managed to rocket himself to fame -- and possibly fortune -- by proclaiming himself the winner of the $10 million el Gordo jackpot. Now he's being pursued by reporters, photographers, cameramen and lots old and new friends.

"Bert's getting lots of phone calls," said his sister Beverly. "I don't think he's ever been this popular."

"No one has brought in a ticket for confirmation," Lottery Commssion spokeswoman Elyn Garrett-Jones said yesterday, adding: "Until that person brings in the winning ticket, we have no official winner."

Mrs. Garrett-Jones said the el Gordo winner has six months from Saturday to claim the prize which has a $10 million annuity value over 20 years.

Perhaps, "Mr. Droter knows the state of Maryland will be here for him when he decides to claim his winning," Mrs. Garrett-Jones said.

Yesterday, Mr. Droter said he wasn't in a hurry to validate the ticket.

"What's my hurry? Another couple of weeks won't hurt anything," he said.

Mr. Droter said he and the other members of his family have run the Angler's Restaurant for 13 years since moving to the Eastern Shore from York County, Pa.

He has two children, a 20-year-old daughter who attends college and a 16-year-old son in high school.

"I'm not an outgoing person so I'm just trying to stay low with everybody bothering me," he said. "I know who my real friends are so that's not actually a problem."

Mr. Droter won't say where he's keeping his ticket.

"He's told us where it is in case something happens to him," said his sister.

She added that she has been sworn to secrecy.

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