Mega Millions Win Likely To Lead to Lawsuit
As you likely already know by now, there were three winners in Friday’s record $656 million Mega Millions drawing, one winning ticket each was sold in Maryland, Illinois, and Kansas. The winners in the Mid-West have yet to come forward, and at least in Kansas they aren’t legally required to reveal their identity when claiming the prize, but a purported Maryland winner has and I can already smell a lawsuit coming from this:
Mega Millions mania has plunged a Maryland McDonald’s into a bubbling cauldron of controversy hotter than a deep-fried apple pie.
Workers at the fast-food joint who pooled their cash for tickets are furious at a colleague who claims she won with a ticket she bought for herself and has no intention of sharing.
“We had a group plan, but I went and played by myself. [The ‘winning’ ticket] wasn’t on the group plan,” McDonald’s “winner” Mirlande Wilson 37, told The Post yesterday, insisting she alone bought one of the three tickets nationwide that will split a record $656 million payout.
“I was in the group, but this was separate. The winning ticket was a separate ticket,” the single mother of seven said as she and her fiancé left her home in the squalid Westport neighborhood to attend church.
The Haitian immigrant refused to show what she said was the winning ticket, claiming she had it hidden in another location and would present it to lottery officials today.
Pressed as the day went on, she became more cagey.
“I don’t know if I won. Some of the numbers were familiar. I recognized some of [them],” she said. “I don’t know why” people are saying differently. “I’m going to go to the lottery office [today]. I bought some tickets separately.”
With winning tickets also sold in Illinois and Kansas, a single Maryland winner would get an after-tax lump sum of $105 million, or $5.59 million a year for 26 years.
Leaving aside the fact that this woman could be lying about having a winning ticket since it hasn’t been verified yet (indeed Ms. Wilson has not gone to Lottery officials to claim the prize) this isn’t exactly a unique situation:
If Wilson won, and if it was with a pooled work ticket, the situation would be shockingly similar to that of New Jersey lottery louse Americo Lopes, who tried to screw five former colleagues after hitting a $24 million jackpot before a jury ordered him to spread the wealth.
It’s going to be pretty hard, I think for Wilson to prove that the winning ticket just happens to be the only ticket she bought with her own money rather than pooled funds and, given the amount of money involved, I think we can assume that there will be more than one lawyer out there willing to take on this case. At the very least, one has to think that the work environment at this McDonalds has gotten pretty tense in the last 48 hours or so.