This is a tale worth telling.
I’ve written two books on the lottery (one is due out this coming January) and one of the things I stress is how when you are part of a pool you MUST outline exactly who is in the pool. Put it on paper. Yeah, I know that lottery pools are fun, social events. And you might be playing with someone you’ve worked with for 10 years and considered a good friend.
But what happens if you actually win? More to the point, what if you win big money?
I’m telling you, friendship goes out the window when you’re talking about millions of dollars.
Here’s what happened in Ohio, just the other day. Most of this report comes from the Dayton News newspaper.
Four Piqua residents are suing their city co-workers who won the $207 million Mega Millions lottery earlier this month, claiming the winners didn’t keep their word about sharing any winnings with all regular players.
And they want $41 million.
A lawsuit claiming breach of contract and conversion was filed Tuesday, Dec. 23, in Miami County Common Pleas Court by Doug Harter, Israel Carnes, Tammy K. Wright and Jon Litchfield, all of Piqua.
Named as defendants are winners.
In the suit, the four claim they are co-workers of some or all of the winners and said they and the winners pooled money to purchase tickets for the Mega Millions drawing.
“Plaintiffs and defendants had an oral agreement whereby if any of the pooled tickets purchased resulted in a winning Mega Millions ticket then all parties would share equally in the proceeds of said winning ticket,” lawyers for the four, Erick Bauer and Robert Preston III of Dover, Ohio, wrote in the suit.
The four further claim they joined with the others in a pool for the Dec. 9 Mega Millions drawing from which some cash winnings allegedly were then used to purchase tickets for the Dec. 12 drawing. The co-workers had the winning numbers for the $207 million Dec. 12 drawing.
The four said they were out of the office and unavailable to contribute to the office pool for the Dec. 12 drawing.
When the winning ticket was presented to the Ohio Lottery, the four said, they “were not included … contrary to the office pooling oral agreement/informal partnership/joint venture, and were not permitted to join with defendants in making a claim for the proceeds.”
By not being included in the winnings, the four claim they have suffered immediate injury and an estimated loss of $41.4 million.
The four seek compensatory damages estimated at $41.4 million; punitive damages of inesxcess of $25,000; costs and attorney fees. They also seek a temporary restraining order and against the defendants.
We’ll keep you posted on what happens.
But, I’m telling you. I’ve seen this before. Oral agreements don’t usually hold water in a court of law.
In my January book, I devote an entire chapter to pools. On one of those pages is a sample pool agreement.
And then I hope you win.
OK now…the Tuesday night Mega MIllions draw has occurred and the winning numbers are 1,8,13,27 and 41. The Mega ball is 45.
I don’t yet know if anyone won. The jackpot in play was for $22 million.
Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot is a whopping $62 million. Not a bad Christmas present.
Friday night’s Euro Millions jackpot is worth 26 million Euros.
Good luck everyone.
And to all, a very, Merry Christmas.