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New Jersey Couple Wins $258 Million in Mega Jackpot

Mega MillionsMega Millions: New Jersey Couple Wins $258 Million in Mega Jackpot

What to do with a piece of paper worth $258 million?

That was the immediate question that confronted Helen and Harold Lerner last Saturday morning after they checked the lottery numbers in the local newspaper and found that they had bought the winning ticket in the Sept. 16 drawing of the Mega Millions jackpot.

First they hugged and kissed. Then they checked the ticket "about 500 times," Mr. Lerner said, "and all of a sudden we were in a dreamland." They wrapped the ticket in cellophane, put it in a lockbox and hid it in the rear of Mrs. Lerner's lingerie drawer.

"It was a choice between my underwear drawer and her lingerie drawer," Mr. Lerner said. "So that choice was simple," he added at a news conference held here at Seton Hall University, Mrs. Lerner's alma mater, where lottery officials announced that they had won.

After consulting a lawyer, the Lerners contacted the New Jersey Lottery on Monday to claim the jackpot, the largest in New Jersey history and the fifth largest in the United States. The odds of selecting the winning numbers - 5, 16, 41, 46, 50 and the Gold Mega Ball No. 1 - were about 175 million-to-one, according to lottery officials.

The Lerners, who have two adult children, have lived in Rutherford for the last 12 years. Mr. Lerner, 60, worked as a self-employed salesman of kitchenware, and Mrs. Lerner, 51, was a pharmaceutical sales representative. They say they are now retiring.

Mrs. Lerner explained on Friday that she only played the lottery when the jackpot hit $100 million. So on Sept. 15, when the lottery was $250 million, she walked into the Leprechaun II store on Park Avenue in Rutherford and paid $10 for 10 quick-pick tickets.

When a friend called them Saturday morning to say the winning ticket had been bought in Rutherford, she checked the ticket and then looked at her husband. "Honey," Mr. Lerner recalled his wife saying, "I think we're millionaires."

They spent the next two days listening to friends and neighbors speculating about who might have won. "We were milling around trying to be really cool about this, and we were thinking, we know it's us," Mr. Lerner said.

Helen Lerner of Rutherford, N.J., gestures as she stands next to her husband, Harold Lerner, during a New Jersey Lottery Mega Millions news conference at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. Friday, Sept. 23, 2005. The New Jersey State Lottery announced the Lerners as the winners of the $258 million jackpot from the Sept. 16. 2005, Mega Millions drawing, the largest single-ticket win in New Jersey lottery history.Mrs. Lerner said she planned to donate money to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina and might buy a luxury car. Mr. Lerner said he hoped to buy an old Checker cab with jump seats in the back, a reminder of his days growing up in Brooklyn. "It will be a free ride for everyone," he said.

Mrs. Lerner, who bought the ticket, said she and her husband were splitting the money 50-50. Family, friends and Seton Hall University will be beneficiaries of their good fortune, she added.

"I know that God is good," said Seton Hall's president, Msgr. Robert Sheeran, who was on hand for the announcement. "Sometimes God is very very good."

Since the Lerners chose to receive cash rather than annual installments over 26 years, they will receive $156,141,600. Then there is the matter of the 25 percent federal withholding tax.

In the hours after the announcement, a uniformed police officer stood guard in front of the couple's modest two-story brick house. Neighbors declined to comment on the Lerners' luck.

Before Friday, the Lerners said all they had ever won was a pair of Yankees' tickets and a frozen turkey from a grocery store.

"This is much better," Mrs. Lerner said.

New York Times

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9 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
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Avatar
Sparta, NJ
United States
Member #18331
July 9, 2005
1977 Posts
Offline
Posted: September 24, 2005, 12:16 pm - IP Logged

"It was a choice between my underwear drawer and her lingerie drawer," Mr. Lerner said. "So that choice was simple," he added at a news conference held here at Seton Hall University, Mrs. Lerner's alma mater, where lottery officials announced that they had won.

Thats funny!!

Before Friday, the Lerners said all they had ever won was a pair of Yankees' tickets and a frozen turkey from a grocery store.

"This is much better," Mrs. Lerner said.

Thats also funny.

Cheers

|||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

    Avatar
    Bethesda, Maryland
    United States
    Member #16901
    June 6, 2005
    446 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: September 24, 2005, 1:28 pm - IP Logged

    LurkingHAPPY SATURDAY...9/24   

    AND ......MANY CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS............

      Avatar
      new delhi
      India
      Member #22145
      September 20, 2005
      174 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: September 25, 2005, 8:15 am - IP Logged

      they look so happy.......the very best to them............Party

        Avatar
        Wisconsin
        United States
        Member #1610
        June 3, 2003
        668 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: September 25, 2005, 1:45 pm - IP Logged

        Ten quick-picks from the same lotto terminal ... answers my question of 'what kind' and 'how many'... thanks Smiley

        ... the lottery never fails to surprise!
          psykomo's avatar - animal shark.jpg

          United States
          Member #4877
          May 30, 2004
          5124 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: September 25, 2005, 2:37 pm - IP Logged

           

          Congrats to........Mr. & Mrs. Lerner>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

          along with  the store on Park Avenue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          YOU sure know where to $$$$$$HOP.....MRS. LERNER.............

          LOL

          PSYKOMO 

            mken32's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
            I dont know where
            United States
            Member #1702
            June 18, 2003
            103 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: September 25, 2005, 6:36 pm - IP Logged

            It would been a nice present for me  today is my B-DAY

             

            Party

              mken32's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
              I dont know where
              United States
              Member #1702
              June 18, 2003
              103 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: September 25, 2005, 6:37 pm - IP Logged

              nice looking couple.....

                Avatar

                United States
                Member #6676
                September 3, 2004
                95 Posts
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                Posted: September 26, 2005, 9:27 am - IP Logged

                they look so happy.......the very best to them............Party

                I Agree!          Cheers

                --winner2b


                  United States
                  Member #379
                  June 5, 2002
                  11296 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: September 29, 2005, 6:25 pm - IP Logged

                  And the best from me too. They knew to take the cash.