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NJ $338 million Powerball winner and ex-girlfriend in court over money

PowerballPowerball: NJ $338 million Powerball winner and ex-girlfriend in court over money
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PATERSON, N.J. — If you expect part of a lottery winner's fortune because you've already shared a long personal and business relationship, always remember: Get it in writing.

That was the reluctant decision of a state judge Friday, who cited state law in refusing to freeze the assets of Pedro Quezada, the Clifton man who won the $338 million Powerball jackpot last spring, pending the outcome of a trial to determine if his former live-in girlfriend is entitled to a share of the winnings.

Ines Sanchez and Quezada lived together for 10 years and shared ownership of a grocery store in Passaic, according to attorneys. Sanchez is the mother of one of Quezada's children, while each also has children from other relationships

She moved out of the recently purchased Clifton home where they were living together last month, attorneys said, noting she has a domestic violence claim pending against Quezada. Quezada's lawyers declined to comment on that or any aspect of the case.

Quezada chose a lump sum payout of $211 million and received a check for $152 million after taxes, according to state lottery officials.

A large chunk of the money already is gone — $57 million has been sent to the Dominican Republic, $5 million was given away, $300,000 was spent on the home in Clifton and $20 million can't be located, according to attorney Michael De Marco of North Haledon, who is representing Sanchez.

"I think we're kidding ourselves to say we'll ever see any of that money again," De Marco told state Superior Court Chancery Judge Margaret Mary McVeigh in arguing that the court should temporarily freeze the assets.

The attorney argued that irreparable harm will be done if the judge didn't freeze all assets until the overall case is decided. "If he is permitted to continue this course of conduct, there will be nothing left to talk about," he said of the money.

"This was a man and a woman in a relationship akin to marriage for 10 years, who have a child in common and lived with other children from other relationships," De Marco said.

Faced more and more over the years with the unspoken contracts of unconventional partnerships, state court rulings often recognized the investment made by domestic unmarried couples and ways to compensate for it once the relationship ended. But in 2010, the New Jersey Legislature passed a measure weakening palimony case law and providing little legal recourse for domestic partners seeking financial compensation without having some sort of contract.

De Marco argued, however, that Sanchez and Quesada were not so much domestic partners as they were a "joint venture."

"We're not seeking 'palimony.' The parties had a relationship where they pooled their resources and paid their expenses," he said, noting they co-owned and ran the Passaic grocery store that provided their joint income that paid their bills.

"One of the things this couple did was play the lottery," he said. "They devoted themselves to a joint venture ... So now we have an exception because one of the expenses has a return of $152 million?"

Attorney Jonathan W. Wolfe of Livingston, representing Quezada, argued that the couple was never married and therefore she has no claim. "Mr. Quezada individually went and purchased that ticket. They had never agreed to share the proceeds," he said.

He noted that Sanchez went with Quezada to the lottery commission and watched him, alone, sign the claim to collect his winnings without any protestations. "If she believed she had no claim then, she can't come here saying this now," he said.

Now she's saying that Quezada essentially bought the lottery ticket with one of her dollars, Wolfe said, and that is not a substantial enough investment to qualify as a joint venture.

The judge questioned if that was really quite what Sanchez was asserting.

"If I accept that was a 'joint venture,' there is a division of responsibility, a sense of reliance, a fiduciary obligation that is not always articulated ...I look at this as the ticket that he was able to buy because she contributed by working at the store, which then gives him the freedom to go buy the ticket," McVeigh said.

But in the end, the judge said, she had no choice but to deny the request to freeze Quezada's assets pending full trial.

"As empathetic and compelling as your argument is — and as much as I consider 10 years a long-term relationship — I don't have that in writing to hang an opinion on that these assets need to be restrained," she said.

She added: "This is a unique situation. It's something that most people dream about — stepping into the bottom of the rainbow, into that pot of gold. Or did you think I was going to say something else?" McVeigh joked.

But the joke was bitter-sweet. "That's what money does to people: It changes positive relationships into bad ones. It doesn't always enhance a relationship, or bring out people's better qualities. Her [Sanchez's] life has been up-ended by this winning ticket...But I am a judge. I don't create the law. I have to follow it," she said.

"Our Legislature has spoken. It specifically said, 'For these types of arrangements, relationships, to be upheld there needs to be a writing. You cannot go forward with these types of relationships without something in writing."

The judge refused to dismiss the overall lawsuit itself claiming Sanchez should get a fair share of the winnings. She did, however, refuse to stay her decision pending an expedited seven-day appeal.

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

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

Bergen Record, Lottery Post Staff

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83 comments. Last comment 12 months ago by mypiemaster.
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Avatar
London
United Kingdom
Member #148681
November 8, 2013
39 Posts
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Posted: November 10, 2013, 9:20 am - IP Logged

Drama at it's best. I hope and wish the best for him !!

    Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    Member #103816
    January 5, 2011
    1530 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: November 10, 2013, 9:37 am - IP Logged

    "That's what money does to people: It changes positive relationships into bad ones. It doesn't always enhance a relationship, or bring out people's better qualities."

    Well said, Judge!

      Avatar
      New Member

      United States
      Member #147416
      October 1, 2013
      5 Posts
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      Posted: November 10, 2013, 9:51 am - IP Logged

      Quote: "Ines Sanchez and Quezada lived together for 10 years and shared ownership of a grocery store in Passaic, according to attorneys. Sanchez is the mother of one of Quezada's children, while each also has children from other relationships."

       

      I'm sorry, but I wouldn't call Ines just an "ex-girlfriend".

        mypiemaster's avatar - peace
        He who dies with the most toys WINS!!!.

        United States
        Member #141039
        April 2, 2013
        722 Posts
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        Posted: November 10, 2013, 10:05 am - IP Logged

        The lure of easy money, has a funny way,  of bringing out peoples true colors. Lawyers rejoice!!!

        Seekand ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

        Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

          Erzulieredeyes's avatar - spider miss.png
          Painesville, Ohio
          United States
          Member #117722
          October 12, 2011
          107 Posts
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          Posted: November 10, 2013, 12:00 pm - IP Logged

          Next, he'll be in court with the IRS questioning him where all this money has gone in this short period of time. Only $300,000 for a home? Yet he sends $57m to the DR, $5m gave away, and $20M cannot be found?

          Very sketchy.

            Avatar
            Texas
            United States
            Member #82092
            November 5, 2009
            46 Posts
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            Posted: November 10, 2013, 12:06 pm - IP Logged

            He still should have about $70 million left, where is that.  He must have bought houses for family members in the DR.

              Lucky4Life's avatar - batman14

              United States
              Member #85038
              January 7, 2010
              192 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: November 10, 2013, 12:15 pm - IP Logged

              how do you misplace 20M?????????? Makes me SICK!!!

                savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
                adelaide sa
                Australia
                Member #37136
                April 11, 2006
                2812 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: November 10, 2013, 12:28 pm - IP Logged

                if they both bought lotto and specifically if they ever shared a lotto win, even just $20, before then its pretty much done and dusted. 10 years of living together, and sharing costs?  he better hope that $20 mill hasnt really disappeared.

                2014 winnings

                JAN S 119/ W71;  FEB S90 /W 13 ; MAR S93/ W75;  APR S146/ W50 ; MAY S94/ W32 : JUN S98 /W 13 JUL S110 /W21; AUG S185 / W56 SEP S 140/W 13 ; OCT S 130 / W 66

                S $1292W $450Tot -$840

                 

                  noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
                  Bay Area/ California
                  United States
                  Member #136482
                  December 12, 2012
                  2125 Posts
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                  Posted: November 10, 2013, 12:35 pm - IP Logged

                  Miss Sanchez attorney is reaching.Just because one is in a relationship for 10 years does not mean you entitled to a piece of the pie if you do not have it in writing and after that fire has gone out. Depending on how young their child is, she is entitled to child support and that's it, sorry but those are the facts.
                  I think lou Rawls the singer had a similar situation, he broke off with his long term gf and she took him to court claiming that he said he would take care of her " for life- no matter what". The Judge tossed the case.
                  If she somehow gets half or a third, this opens up a whole new section of the law where we could possibly see people claiming compensation for relationships going back decades.

                    helpmewin's avatar - dandy
                    u$a
                    United States
                    Member #106669
                    February 22, 2011
                    17812 Posts
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                    Posted: November 10, 2013, 12:38 pm - IP Logged

                    Shocking News Eek

                                     

                      Greg2117's avatar - Lottery-035.jpg
                      New York
                      United States
                      Member #145711
                      August 12, 2013
                      109 Posts
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                      Posted: November 10, 2013, 12:45 pm - IP Logged

                      $82.3 million already gone in just a few months. I'm betting he will be broke by next summer.

                      "When you begin to see, then you begin to feel. And when you begin to feel, then you begin to believe".

                        noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
                        Bay Area/ California
                        United States
                        Member #136482
                        December 12, 2012
                        2125 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: November 10, 2013, 12:47 pm - IP Logged

                        Next, he'll be in court with the IRS questioning him where all this money has gone in this short period of time. Only $300,000 for a home? Yet he sends $57m to the DR, $5m gave away, and $20M cannot be found?

                        Very sketchy.

                        The IRS got their portion before he got his my dear,  they going to want their 2nd bite at the apple come next year.He had better have that onhand.
                        " $20 million can't be found"-  right.  He knows exactly where it is. If one knows where their car keys are for the most part after misplacing them, there is no way you don't know where you misplaced any sort of serious cash, particular- millions.

                          helpmewin's avatar - dandy
                          u$a
                          United States
                          Member #106669
                          February 22, 2011
                          17812 Posts
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                          Posted: November 10, 2013, 12:48 pm - IP Logged

                          $82.3 million already gone in just a few months. I'm betting he will be broke by next summer.

                          I Agree!

                                           

                            Artist77's avatar - batman14

                            United States
                            Member #121750
                            January 16, 2012
                            3323 Posts
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                            Posted: November 10, 2013, 1:42 pm - IP Logged

                            Pedro...Pedro....I think if you look at the old posts when he won, a number of LP'ers predicted he was going to blow his money because he seemed to like the limelight too much. If you need that money to make you feel important and to say "Hey look at me", that money $ is going to disappear soon.

                            Just as the bird sings or the butterfly soars,

                            because it is his natural characteristic,

                            so the artist works.

                            by Alma  Gluck