Divorce case diminishes returns
After the Texas-sized taxes, a month-long trial, and some hefty legal bills, a $20 million Texas Lotto jackpot that is part of a local divorce case is shrinking.
But whatever the amount, Circuit Court Judge Robert Childers ruled Tuesday that there was no conspiracy by Cordova, Tennessee resident Larry Stack and co-worker Christine Fellows to hide the money from his wife, Rosemarie Fair Stack.
Phase two of the lawsuit, the divorce itself, is scheduled for October. With the ruling, only half of the jackpot may be considered marital assets rather than all of it.
Mrs. Stack argued that her husband and Fellows were romantically involved when Fellows bought the winning ticket in 2001 in Texas with money he gave her to play for him.
The wife questioned whether Stack and Fellows actually had a prior agreement to split any winnings and alleged it was only a ruse to deny her marital assets.
Stack and Fellows said they became involved months after hitting the jackpot and there was no intention to defraud Mrs. Stack, a commercial real estate broker who had her business attorney set up a partnership account for Stack and Fellows because the Texas lottery presents the check to only one ticket holder.
Stack's attorney, David Caywood, said Mrs. Stack was happy that Fellows called her husband about the multi-million-dollar prize instead of claiming it for herself and heading for Mexico. He said Mrs. Stack even bought her flowers upon her return to Memphis.
Childers said that based on the evidence and testimony from all involved, the "overwhelming" proof showed there was a pre-jackpot agreement between Stack and Fellows to split any winnings and that there was no conspiracy to defraud Mrs. Stack.
Stack and Fellows, who both retired from UPS, could have received $1 million a year for 20 years, but opted for an $11.2 million lump sum. After taxes they had about $3.6 million each, all of which was placed in the partnership account.