Last week’s $656 million Mega Millions nationwide lottery frenzy resulted in three winning tickets — and one potential mess in Maryland.
McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) employee Mirlande Wilson told co-workers she held one of the winning tickets, worth a $105 million (lump sum) share in the jackpot, according to the New York Post. Wilson, an employee at a Baltimore McDonald’s, refused to share her purported winnings with other McDonald’s employees who told reporters that she purchased the ticket as part of the store lottery pool.
“We had a group plan, but I went and played by myself. (The ‘winning’ ticket) wasn’t on the group plan,” Wilson 37, complained to the Post.
Naturally, her McDonald’s co-workers disagreed.
“We each paid $5. She took everybody’s money!” Suleiman Osman Husein, a shift manager at the McDonald’s location where Wilson works told The Post, noting that there were 15 members of the restaurant’s lottery pool.
Wilson’s co-workers said that late Friday, hours prior to the lottery drawing, the restaurant’s owner told Wilson to purchase additional tickets after she finished her shift and gave her $5 to pay for them. Wilson disputed these accounts, telling The Post that the second group of tickets she purchased — which allegedly included the winning one – weren’t part of the restaurant pool.
However, it remains unclear if Wilson actually won a share of the massive jackpot. Carole Everett, a Maryland Lottery representative, told Baltimore TV station WSBT that the winning ticket hadn’t been presented to lottery officials yet. The station noted that no one answered the door at Wilson’s home and neighbors claimed she’d been gone for several days.
While the other winning tickets in Kansas and Illinois haven’t yet been officially claimed either, WSBT reported that Maryland Lottery officials didn’t seem convinced by Wilson’s earlier claims.
“It doesn’t sound like a typical jackpot winner to us. I don’t put much stock in that story. She claims she won. She can’t produce a ticket. In our opinion, until they walk in that door, hold that ticket, produce valid identification and our security people can process and validate it, it doesn’t matter,” Carol Everett told the station.
Disputes over lottery winnings are hardly new. Last month, a New Jersey jury awarded five construction workers shares from a $38.5 million November 2009 Mega Millions jackpot, originally claimed by Americo-Lopes, who claimed he had purchased the winning ticket separately. His co-workers, and ultimately a jury, disagreed.