The Albany 7 Claim $319,000,000 Mega Millions Jackpot

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Here is the very definition of good fortune.

1. You go to a store to buy a lottery ticket. As you are about to take it, someone from back in the line snatches it from you. So you buy the next ticket. And it is worth $319 MILLION dollars.

Also…. here is the definition of bad luck. You play in an office lottery pool. The one day you don’t play…the pool wins $319,000,000.

So the “fickle finger of fate,” as he called it , turned Mike Barth, who also purchased a Quick Pick ticket where the computer randomly chooses numbers, and his six fellow New York state IT workers into millionaires when they won the $319┬ámillion Mega Millions jackpot on Friday night.

The seven winners are:

John Hilton, 57, of North Greenbush (Rensselaer County)

Gabrielle Mahar, 29, of Colonie (Albany County)

John Kutey, 54, of Green Island (Albany County)

Tracy Sussman, 41, of Colonie (Albany County)

Mike Barth, 63, of Bethlehem (Albany County)

Kristin Baldwin, 42, of Clifton Park (Saratoga County)

Leon Peck, 62, of Johnstown (Fulton County)

The “Albany Seven” made their first public appearance at a news conference this morning holding oversized posters of the winning ticket.

The group gathered around a large cake that resembled the winning ticket.

“We’ve been playing the big jackpots for years,” recalled Barth, who was in Buffalo over the weekend and thought his co-workers were calling him because the computer servers were down in the office.

Hilton said the $319,000,000 pot was the kind of jackpot that made it worth throwing in the usual $2 per person. “We usually start playing when the jackpot hits $100,000,000,” he said, adding, “We’re pretty buttoned up. We keep a checklist of who’s in and who’s out for any particular drawing. You’ve got to.”

Each of the seven will get a lump sum of $28.9 million before taxes, or $19.1 million, after taxes.

The group said there were some co-workers who had played in the past who chose not to play this time. None of them said they are ready to retire at this point.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Hilton.

Soon, it will.

Congratulations everyone.

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