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$319M lottery winners revealed

Mega MillionsMega Millions: $319M lottery winners revealed
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'Hand of fate' intervened, as another customer swiped the ticket he was supposed to get

By Todd Northrop

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — When Mike Barth reached for a Snickers bar as he stood at the counter to buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket, someone reached over his shoulder and bought the next ticket.

"I thought about saying something but decided to just let it slide," Barth said about the Quick Pick ticket sold right before the one he purchased at 2:40 p.m. last Friday.

"I bought the next ticket — the winning ticket!"

So the "fickle finger of fate," as he called it today, turned Barth, who also purchased a Quick Pick ticket where the computer randomly chooses numbers, and his six fellow state IT workers into millionaires when they won the $319 million 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 co-workers traded in those cards for seven oversized checks, each bearing their name, as family and friends applauded.

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 he hid the winning ticket in two plastic bags and a bucket of bird feed inside his basement for the weekend.

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.

Gabrielle Mahar was the first of the group's members to discover the seven had the winning combination worth $319,000,000. "I was up late reading and wanted to catch the numbers but missed them. I was dialing up the Lottery website on my phone when the numbers scrolled across the screen. I was dumbfounded." She hesitated before calling her current (soon to be former) supervisor Kristin Baldwin. "It was late. What if it wasn't real? I didn't know what to do," Mahar said.

Mahar said she "checked it, and rechecked it and rechecked it" while holding a photocopy of the winning ticket.

The phone chain reached Leon Peck early the next morning. "We're IT people. We get calls all the time about malfunctioning servers so I figured that was why my phone was ringing so early in the morning," Peck, the usual office prankster, thought the call might be pay back for one too many wise cracks made in the office. "But, I didn't think anyone would be calling that early on a Saturday just to play a joke on me." Tracy Sussman said she shared Peck's initial reaction to receiving an early Saturday morning call from a co-worker. "I got on the phone and said, 'What's wrong now?'"

Although Mega Millions winners have 60 days from the date they claim their prize to decide if they want to receive the annuity payment or the cash value of that annuity, the close-knit group was sure upon arriving at the Lottery's offices that they would share the lump sum amount of $202,797,203. "We met as a group with a financial advisor the day before. We were all in agreement about the lump sum," Baldwin said. Each group member will receive a one-time payment totaling $28,971,029 before state and federal tax withholdings. The net value of each check will total $19,129,571.

The group's immediate plans for the money run the gamut.

For Mahar, it means a new dishwasher.

For Barth it's a set of new tires and a college education for his son "not based on where he can go, but where he wants to go," said the father of a graduating high school senior.

John Hilton said he's taking the celebrity approach to his new fortune, "I just want to fly somewhere in first class," he said.

For John Kutey, the choice is simple, "My wife and I are going to every Disney Park there is!" The others have yet to make up their minds.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Lottery Post Staff

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57 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by rdgrnr.
Page 1 of 4
Diamon Life's avatar - yocco
New York
United States
Member #95300
August 7, 2010
41 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 31, 2011, 11:47 am - IP Logged

To the Lucky 7 Cheers!!!Party

    Avatar
    Monkey Butt, USA
    United States
    Member #54569
    August 23, 2007
    1123 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: March 31, 2011, 11:48 am - IP Logged

    So happy for them.

    I wish them all the best.

    This proves there is a GOD and HE hates ugly.... lol

    HE proved it by letting the knuckle head that swiped the first ticket, purchase a losing ticket.

    Poetic justice.

    Losing ticket purchased by a rude loser. lol   Green laugh

    BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

      sully16's avatar - sharan
      Listens to the wind

      United States
      Member #81740
      October 28, 2009
      17724 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: March 31, 2011, 11:50 am - IP Logged

      Congratulations to all the winners. ENJOY ! Party

      There's only one US Flag

        B$Rizzle's avatar - a4leds
        The Ville, FL
        United States
        Member #95881
        August 19, 2010
        1708 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 31, 2011, 12:17 pm - IP Logged

        When Mike Barth reached for a Snickers bar as he stood at the counter to buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket, someone reached over his shoulder and bought the next ticket.

        "I thought about saying something but decided to just let it slide," Barth said about the Quick Pick ticket sold right before the one he purchased at 2:40 p.m. last Friday.

        "I bought the next ticket — the winning ticket!"

         

        That right there, just put a smile on my face. Thats why people in this world just need to wait their turn.

          buttercake's avatar - Lottery-029.jpg

          United Kingdom
          Member #70550
          February 5, 2009
          120 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: March 31, 2011, 12:39 pm - IP Logged

          Its a good job he didn't say anything as some people would have decided to swap the ticket, guess something told him to take his time at the counter, but wouldn't he have had the winning ticket anyway as he did buy several and am assuming 7 lucky dips as there were 7 of them playing, or did the person who decided to jump ahead of him buy 7 lucky dips as well, anyway really pleased for the lucky 7 just reminds me of the UK magnificent  7 who won 2 years ago splitting a jackpot of £91m.

            Avatar
            md
            United States
            Member #14047
            April 20, 2005
            541 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: March 31, 2011, 12:46 pm - IP Logged

            Congrats to them.  May wisdom, peace and great adventures come their way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              B$Rizzle's avatar - a4leds
              The Ville, FL
              United States
              Member #95881
              August 19, 2010
              1708 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: March 31, 2011, 2:36 pm - IP Logged

              Its a good job he didn't say anything as some people would have decided to swap the ticket, guess something told him to take his time at the counter, but wouldn't he have had the winning ticket anyway as he did buy several and am assuming 7 lucky dips as there were 7 of them playing, or did the person who decided to jump ahead of him buy 7 lucky dips as well, anyway really pleased for the lucky 7 just reminds me of the UK magnificent  7 who won 2 years ago splitting a jackpot of £91m.

              Just curious, what is a "dip"?

                rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
                Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                United States
                Member #73904
                April 28, 2009
                14695 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 31, 2011, 2:58 pm - IP Logged

                I feel inspired to write a book about this whole thing.

                I'm going to call it "The Silence of the Butterflies".

                 

                On a side note, if you add up all the seven winners' ages you get 348.

                Walk now, don't run, there's plenty of time for the evening draw.

                Yeah, like you weren't gonna, right?


                                                             
                                     
                                                         

                 

                 

                 

                 

                                                                                                                   

                "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                            --Edmund Burke

                 

                 

                  Avatar
                  New Member
                  brooklyn, new york
                  United States
                  Member #107932
                  March 17, 2011
                  1 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 31, 2011, 3:15 pm - IP Logged

                  i play win 4, how can i tell the amount i win for.

                    Savwa's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                    New Member
                    Mesa, Arizona
                    United States
                    Member #108199
                    March 22, 2011
                    12 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: March 31, 2011, 6:02 pm - IP Logged

                    ...well they must have bought 14 QPs, since they said they all put in $2 each.  I just wonder which QP was the winner.

                    ...I believe in Karma.

                    ...but I also want to think that had they filtered through the line without the cut, that the QP "could" have been generated at any other terminal in the country..but then would that particular number sequence had even been generated had the person not purchased the ticket before the Lucky 7s.

                    ...I ramble thoughts, its only my second post, but expect it in the future.

                      dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                      Oklahoma
                      United States
                      Member #82391
                      November 12, 2009
                      4886 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: March 31, 2011, 6:03 pm - IP Logged

                      Congrats to all the winners......Hurray!

                        dphillips's avatar - littleuns
                        Albuquerque, New Mexico
                        United States
                        Member #5128
                        June 18, 2004
                        377 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: March 31, 2011, 6:14 pm - IP Logged

                        Anyway, hand of fate or whatever, congratulations to the winners.  Also, I'm glad the article mentioned whether the winning ticket was a Quick Pick because it gives Quick Pick players, hope: not that there's anything wrong with playing one's set of numbers.  It is a matter of preference, and any strategies that can land you a winning -- is all you need to get by -- and hopefully retire.

                        Now, some of the winners aren't ready to retire, and I was just purusing at some of the ages: some of the winners are in their 60s. However, since the workers have vested pensions and social security investments, it might not be feasible to retire early, if they're going to retire: that's up to them.

                        Finally, whatever outcome happens, I wish them and their families good health and a long life.

                        See Ya!-- Bye, bye!  When you win, may you glow as brightly as theSun Smiley

                          tiber's avatar - underground
                          Kingwood,Texas
                          United States
                          Member #8611
                          November 11, 2004
                          2259 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: March 31, 2011, 6:28 pm - IP Logged

                          I feel inspired to write a book about this whole thing.

                          I'm going to call it "The Silence of the Butterflies".

                           

                          On a side note, if you add up all the seven winners' ages you get 348.

                          Walk now, don't run, there's plenty of time for the evening draw.

                          Yeah, like you weren't gonna, right?

                          Texas Midday 384Thud

                           

                            island lady's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                            Houston, Texas
                            United States
                            Member #70608
                            February 6, 2009
                            223 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: March 31, 2011, 6:37 pm - IP Logged

                            I playd 834 ext and forgot to box... Crying       Bang Head