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$190M Idaho lottery winner sorts out her new life

Mega MillionsMega Millions: $190M Idaho lottery winner sorts out her new life
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RATHDRUM, Idaho — Holly Lahti burst into the spotlight a week ago in a feel-good story about a single mother who won a $190 million Mega Millions jackpot.

Then came the mugshot: a thin young woman with disheveled brown hair, sporting a black eye and cuts and bruises on her face and neck. It turned out she was separated from a man who court records indicated had abused her, and now has a possible claim to some of the money through a quirk in Idaho law.

Lahti, 29, went underground with her two daughters immediately after learning she had won half of a $380 million jackpot in the Jan. 4 drawing. She has not been seen or heard in public since, though she has posted a message to her suddenly large group of Facebook followers.

The mugshot was taken after Lahti and her husband, Josh Lahti, both were arrested during a domestic dispute in 2003. The charges were later dropped, and the couple has long been separated.

Josh Lahti said he did not know Holly had won the lottery until told by a reporter from The Associated Press last week.

"That's awesome! I won't have to pay child support!" he said upon learning his wife was rich.

As it turns out, the husband could be entitled to a chunk of the winnings because he and Lahti never divorced and were never legally separated for that matter. Idaho's murky law on the issue requires a divorce filing to grant separation, which is a key factor in splitting up assets between spouses.

While the lawyers sort out the issue in the months ahead, Holly Lahti can rejoice in the fact that her troubled past has given way to riches beyond her wildest dreams.

She quit her job as a customer service representative for a bank after winning the jackpot, then she asked family and friends not to talk with reporters. She did not appear at the Jan. 12 press conference in Boise in which her good fortune was revealed.

Her Facebook page appears to have been scrubbed of most personal information, other than a couple of messages.

"Don't really know what to say, like the articles said....A 29-year-old mother of two and former bank worker from northern Idaho has claimed the remaining half of a $380 million Mega Millions jackpot. ;)," said one message that cites the lead of an AP article written the day the winnings were announced.

The other Facebook message from her said: "Listen, as you can all imagine, there are a ton of messages coming in, & there is so much to do. Please send 1 message if you have a request or pitch or plea, OR post your kind wishes or requests here on the wall.

"I promise to read them all & even if it takes a month to go through, all of your messages will be acknowledged. Please be patient, & respectful of privacy, don't be rude. Thnx."

In a brief telephone interview, Josh Lahti said the two started dating in high school and got married in 2001.

Holly Lahti still lives in the couple's home in Rathdrum, a town in the Idaho Panhandle. Josh Lahti said he sees his daughters, age 12 and 10, most days.

Her friends are upset at all the attention paid to the decade-old mugshot, and say it does not reflect the devoted and hardworking young mother who has moved on from a troubled marriage.

"She is kind. She is friendly. She is shy," said Jennifer Mayberry, who has lived in the same neighborhood for a decade. "My children play with her children."

Lahti opted Friday to collect her jackpot in a lump-sum payment, instead of annual payments over 25 years. She will get $120 million, which will be reduced to $80.6 million by federal and state taxes.

It will be a dramatic change for a woman who by all indications appeared to be of limited means.

A search of public records revealed that she grew up in California and moved with her parents to Rathdrum, where she graduated from high school. Her marriage appears to have included some violence.

Holly Lahti was arrested and charged with battery in 2003 in Kootenai County, but the prosecutor eventually dismissed the charges. Her husband was arrested on the same charge the same day, and those charges were also dismissed.

In 2003, Josh Lahti was arrested for violating a no-contact order, and that charge was dismissed. He was also charged with second-degree kidnapping, possession of drug paraphernalia, domestic abuse, battery and false imprisonment. All but the kidnapping were dismissed. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and three years probation.

In 2000, he was charged with domestic violence, but the charge was reduced to disturbing the peace. He was also cited in 2001 for failing to make child support payments.

Does Josh Lahti have a claim to some of the money? A University of Idaho law professor said it is unclear.

Nearly all other states except Idaho have laws that differentiate between separation and divorce, with division of assets clearly defined in each case, said Elizabeth Brandt, professor of family law. The Idaho statute muddles the concept of legal separation, and there is no clear case law on the issue.

But while the lottery winnings are almost certainly community property, Josh Lahti should not expect a huge windfall, Brandt said.

Holly Lahti can still file for divorce, and contend the winnings are all hers because the couple do not live together and do not support each other, Brandt said. A divorce does not automatically produce a 50-50 split of assets.

Holly Lahti could also negotiate a settlement with her husband, she said.

"I can't imagine he will have a significant claim to these earnings in the end," Brandt said.

AP

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59 comments. Last comment 4 years ago by butterflykt.
Page 1 of 4
Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
Zeta Reticuli Star System
United States
Member #30470
January 17, 2006
9107 Posts
Offline
Posted: January 22, 2011, 11:38 am - IP Logged

From the OP:

Holly Lahti could also negotiate a settlement with her husband, she said.

On one of The Lottery Changed My Life episodes one jackpot winner said he had given a few people one millin dollars each and every single one of them blew it all and came back asking for more.

Should see negotiate a settlement with her husband would he be any different?

Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

Lep

There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

    Win$500Quick's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
    Florida
    United States
    Member #77815
    August 1, 2009
    3286 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: January 22, 2011, 11:41 am - IP Logged

    Holly Lahti burst into the spotlight a week ago in a feel-good story about a single mother who won a $190 million Mega Millions jackpot.

    Then came the mugshot: a thin young woman with disheveled brown hair, sporting a black eye and cuts and bruises on her face and neck. It turned out she was separated from a man who court records indicated had abused her, and now has a possible claim to some of the money through a quirk in Idaho law.

    Lahti, 29, went underground with her two daughters immediately after learning she had won half of a $380 million jackpot in the Jan. 4 drawing. She has not been seen or heard in public since, though she has posted a message to her suddenly large group of Facebook followers.

    The mugshot was taken after Lahti and her husband, Josh Lahti, both were arrested during a domestic dispute in 2003. The charges were later dropped, and the couple has long been separated.

    Josh Lahti said he did not know Holly had won the lottery until told by a reporter from The Associated Press last week.

    "That's awesome! I won't have to pay child support!" he said upon learning his wife was rich.

    As it turns out, the husband could be entitled to a chunk of the winnings because he and Lahti never divorced and were never legally separated for that matter. Idaho's murky law on the issue requires a divorce filing to grant separation, which is a key factor in splitting up assets between spouses.

    While the lawyers sort out the issue in the months ahead, Holly Lahti can rejoice in the fact that her troubled past has given way to riches beyond her wildest dreams.

    She quit her job as a customer service representative for a bank after winning the jackpot, then she asked family and friends not to talk with reporters. She did not appear at the Jan. 12 press conference in Boise in which her good fortune was revealed.

    Her Facebook page appears to have been scrubbed of most personal information, other than a couple of messages.

    "Don't really know what to say, like the articles said....A 29-year-old mother of two and former bank worker from northern Idaho has claimed the remaining half of a $380 million Mega Millions jackpot. ;)," said one message that cites the lead of an AP article written the day the winnings were announced.

    The other Facebook message from her said: "Listen, as you can all imagine, there are a ton of messages coming in, & there is so much to do. Please send 1 message if you have a request or pitch or plea, OR post your kind wishes or requests here on the wall.

    "I promise to read them all & even if it takes a month to go through, all of your messages will be acknowledged. Please be patient, & respectful of privacy, don't be rude. Thnx."

    In a brief telephone interview, Josh Lahti said the two started dating in high school and got married in 2001.

    Holly Lahti still lives in the couple's home in Rathdrum, a town in the Idaho Panhandle. Josh Lahti said he sees his daughters, age 12 and 10, most days.

    Her friends are upset at all the attention paid to the decade-old mugshot, and say it does not reflect the devoted and hardworking young mother who has moved on from a troubled marriage.

    "She is kind. She is friendly. She is shy," said Jennifer Mayberry, who has lived in the same neighborhood for a decade. "My children play with her children."

    Lahti opted Friday to collect her jackpot in a lump-sum payment, instead of annual payments over 25 years. She will get $120 million, which will be reduced to $80.6 million by federal and state taxes.

    It will be a dramatic change for a woman who by all indications appeared to be of limited means.

    A search of public records revealed that she grew up in California and moved with her parents to Rathdrum, where she graduated from high school. Her marriage appears to have included some violence.

    Holly Lahti was arrested and charged with battery in 2003 in Kootenai County, but the prosecutor eventually dismissed the charges. Her husband was arrested on the same charge the same day, and those charges were also dismissed.

    In 2003, Josh Lahti was arrested for violating a no-contact order, and that charge was dismissed. He was also charged with second-degree kidnapping, possession of drug paraphernalia, domestic abuse, battery and false imprisonment. All but the kidnapping were dismissed. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and three years probation.

    In 2000, he was charged with domestic violence, but the charge was reduced to disturbing the peace. He was also cited in 2001 for failing to make child support payments.

    Does Josh Lahti have a claim to some of the money? A University of Idaho law professor said it is unclear.

    Nearly all other states except Idaho have laws that differentiate between separation and divorce, with division of assets clearly defined in each case, said Elizabeth Brandt, professor of family law. The Idaho statute muddles the concept of legal separation, and there is no clear case law on the issue.

    But while the lottery winnings are almost certainly community property, Josh Lahti should not expect a huge windfall, Brandt said.

    Holly Lahti can still file for divorce, and contend the winnings are all hers because the couple do not live together and do not support each other, Brandt said. A divorce does not automatically produce a 50-50 split of assets.

    Holly Lahti could also negotiate a settlement with her husband, she said.

    "I can't imagine he will have a significant claim to these earnings in the end," Brandt said.

    Some people have a hard time before they win but the media will call it "Curse of the Lottery".

    Numbers Don't Lie!

      Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
      Clarksville
      United States
      Member #487
      July 15, 2002
      17638 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: January 22, 2011, 11:51 am - IP Logged

      She ought to be really nice to him and set his settlement up so that it comes in the form of weekly payments like a paycheck.  Say he could get paid say 1250.00 per week + taxes and social security. Give him a 2% raise every other year. He might get some incentive to do something with his life.  The weekly pay check will take the strain off.

      But if he is a druggie, give him a lump sum and pray he ODs.

      If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

      You never know when you will get another hit.

        JAP69's avatar - Lottery-053.jpg
        South Carolina
        United States
        Member #6
        November 4, 2001
        8511 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: January 22, 2011, 12:10 pm - IP Logged

        After reading the articlle I do not see where the need was for the reporter to give a rundown on her life history.

        Would anyone here wish to have their life history reported if you won? I have too many bones rattling in my closet to have that happen. Hiding Behind Computer Green laugh

        Stats hunting: Type

          temptustoo's avatar - cat anm.gif
          usa
          United States
          Member #89199
          April 2, 2010
          2538 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: January 22, 2011, 12:11 pm - IP Logged

          LOL   NOW THAT IS FUNNY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!Big Grin

            Avatar
            New Jersey
            United States
            Member #77101
            July 13, 2009
            7805 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: January 22, 2011, 12:16 pm - IP Logged

            She gets about $80 million after taxes:

             -  ($40 million) in trust for kids;

              - ($30 million) to spend/invest as she sees fit; 

              - ($10 million) to get rid of hubby;

                   0% to lawyers

            Sounds more than fair to me!

            Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping

              savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
              adelaide sa
              Australia
              Member #37136
              April 11, 2006
              2791 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: January 22, 2011, 12:18 pm - IP Logged

              she shouldnt have to pay out of ex tax money,  the 10 mill to hubby can go pre tax, and he can pay the taxz out of the $10 mill

              2014 winnings

              JAN -$48.50;  FEB  -$77.5; MAR -$18.05;  APR -$96.05 MAY -$61.10; JUN $-85; JUL $-88.9;AUG -$144.10

              yearly grand totalspent = 938.05won= 318.8-$619.25


                sully16's avatar - sharan
                Listens to the wind
                Michigan
                United States
                Member #81740
                October 28, 2009
                19910 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: January 22, 2011, 12:20 pm - IP Logged

                Mr. Lahti is happy he won't have to pay child support? WHAT A LOSER!!!!!!

                I hope he doesn't get a dime , and still has to pay child support.

                If she does have to give him some money I hope she sues for child support in the same amount.

                THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO BEAT UP A WOMAN,

                ON A PERSONAL NOTE, I HOPE HE GOES TO JAIL AND GETS A TASTE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE.

                There's only one US Flag

                  time*treat's avatar - radar

                  United States
                  Member #13130
                  March 30, 2005
                  2171 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: January 22, 2011, 12:53 pm - IP Logged

                  After reading the articlle I do not see where the need was for the reporter to give a rundown on her life history.

                  Would anyone here wish to have their life history reported if you won? I have too many bones rattling in my closet to have that happen. Hiding Behind Computer Green laugh

                  'Cause that's what they do. "News" has become gossip, the more tawdry the better.

                  Things you NEED to know, they'll mention well after it's too late to take action.

                  In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
                  Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

                    Avatar

                    United States
                    Member #67052
                    November 15, 2008
                    80 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: January 22, 2011, 12:59 pm - IP Logged

                    He will get some of the money, it would be good if they could reach an agreement without going to court about it.  Since they are not divorced or legally seperated he should recieve some sort of payment as alimony.  I'm not happy about that but we can't have two sets of rules.

                    Would someone explain to me how do people who are not listed on her facebook page read her messages?

                      ttech10's avatar - blobdude
                      Texas
                      United States
                      Member #92332
                      June 5, 2010
                      781 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: January 22, 2011, 1:00 pm - IP Logged

                      Her Facebook page appears to have been scrubbed of most personal information, other than a couple of messages.

                       

                      If I were her I'd message my closest friends on Facebook and tell them I'm leaving for a bit, then get the people at Facebook to delete the page. After a few months I would sign back up (with a nickname) and only put limited info, lock it down to just friends and only add those close friends. That way all past history of her page is gone (ie: not in Google cache) and nobody but true, real friends would have access to her page, plus people wouldn't be able to find it because of the security settings and not using her reported name.

                       

                      I've done a few of those things already, last year I had my page deleted and waited about 4 months before I signed up again with strict settings and only have 40 people added. If I won the most I'd do with it is clear all past wall/status posts and remove the one picture of me so that people can't get a picture of me at all (since in Texas you can claim with "minimal publicity" where they only announce your name with no press pictures).

                       

                      With how much people accidentally share on places like MySpace and Facebook she definitely made a good decision when she edited her Facebook page.

                        time*treat's avatar - radar

                        United States
                        Member #13130
                        March 30, 2005
                        2171 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: January 22, 2011, 1:17 pm - IP Logged

                        Mr. Lahti is happy he won't have to pay child support? WHAT A LOSER!!!!!!

                        I hope he doesn't get a dime , and still has to pay child support.

                        If she does have to give him some money I hope she sues for child support in the same amount.

                        THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO BEAT UP A WOMAN,

                        ON A PERSONAL NOTE, I HOPE HE GOES TO JAIL AND GETS A TASTE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE.

                        I'm sure some folks can think of a reason...

                        http://www.lotterypost.com/news/207806

                        In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
                        Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

                          foragoodcause's avatar - Lottery-021.jpg

                          France
                          Member #49288
                          January 25, 2007
                          40 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: January 22, 2011, 1:37 pm - IP Logged

                          I hope the curse will be on the husband.And women you don't have to put up with a loser.

                            jimjwright's avatar - Yellow 3.png
                            Park City, UT
                            United States
                            Member #69864
                            January 18, 2009
                            868 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: January 22, 2011, 2:16 pm - IP Logged

                            "That's awesome! I won't have to pay child support!" he said upon learning his wife was rich.

                            I agree with Sully, from the article this is what stood out to me, its not about money its about family.  Any dad that says the above doesn't deserve to be a dad.  The article did say he saw his kids most days so maybe there is hope for him yet.

                            Jimmy