And the winner is ...
Confusion over who purchased what ticket and when has three people — maybe four — and one corporation claiming ownership of Saturday's $1 million winning lottery ticket.
With the winner still in question, The Idaho State Lottery announced Thursday, it has turned the case over to the courts to determine who gets the dough.
Right now, the four main contenders for what would be $672,000 after taxes are: Michelle McCollough of Boise, a clerk at the Maverik Store at 8561 W. State St. in Boise where the ticket was produced; Maverik Store Manager Greg Dennler of Caldwell; Maverik clerk Christie Wade of Boise; and Maverik Stores Inc., a Wyoming company.
"We have the winning ticket. We have the million dollars. We want to pay someone," said Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson at a news conference Thursday.
Idaho Deputy Attorney General Jeremy Chou filed a complaint Thursday on behalf of the Idaho State Lottery Commission with the state's 4th judicial district. There's no clear timeline of when the case could be settled.
Follow the money
The story of what exactly happened with Saturday's winning Powerball/PowerPlay ticket is a complicated one.
Wade, a Maverik clerk, printed the winning ticket for a customer early Saturday evening. But she mistakenly printed the wrong kind of ticket, and the customer returned it to the store in exchange for a different one.
To add to the confusion, there's at least one Treasure Valley man, Tom Park, 34, of Eagle, who said he believes he was the original purchaser of that ticket and is thinking of trying to claim the winnings.
Idaho lottery law states that once a ticket is printed - even in error - it becomes property of the store that printed it. It cannot be cancelled, but it can be sold to another customer until 7:59 p.m. the night of the drawing.
That didn't happen in this case, and on Sunday morning McCollough discovered the winning ticket when she came to work.
According to court documents, she checked the numbers and determined it was a winner. She then paid the store the price of the ticket and agreed to split the winnings with her manager, Dennler.
The winning ticket matched all five numbers - 14, 18, 34, 42 and 43 - but not the Powerball, 32.
The original ticket was bought with an extra $1 per play, to multiply the potential winnings by 5. That brought the ticket's value from $200,000 to $1 million.
McCollough and Dennler filed with the Idaho Lottery Monday morning to claim the winnings.
But on Wednesday, so did Wade, the clerk who mistakenly printed the ticket. Later that day, Maverik Stores did, too.
A lotto confusion
The Idaho Lottery started an investigation into the ticket and on Tuesday confirmed its authenticity.
Seeing they were faced with multiple claimants, however, lottery officials opted to absent themselves from any liability by turning the case over to the courts.
The lottery also signed the $1 million over to the Ada County Treasurer's Office, to be placed in an interest-bearing trust until the case is resolved. The winner also would get whatever interest accrues.
McCollough and Dennler were placed on paid administrative leave Thursday pending resolution of the case, said Maverik spokesman Brad Call.
"It was just such a distraction in the store and the press were all over the place and hey, we're trying to run a business," Call said.
Call said it's not unusual for a clerk to accidentally print the wrong ticket, and that Maverik has "eaten" the financial loss of those tickets on many occasions.
"We obviously are very confident that this ticket belongs to Maverik, as Maverik is and was the owner of the ticket at the time the game ceased," Call said.
Regardless of the outcome, Maverik will receive a $50,000 bonus for its part in producing the ticket, per lottery regulations.
Dennler and McCollough are being represented by Boise lawyers Curt McKenzie and Paul Augustine.
"At this point, we're just looking forward to the opportunity to make their claim and have their ownership affirmed by the court," McKenzie said.
Wade and her husband, Adam Wade, both declined to comment Thursday afternoon.
Enter Tom Park of Eagle, who said he originally bought the winning ticket at the Maverik station on State Street. But he wanted 20 plays for $20, and the clerk instead printed out 10 plays with a multiplier, which also costs $20.
Park said he refused that ticket and instead took 20 new plays. But he said after he left the store he was hit with a feeling that he should have had that original ticket.
He said he went back into the store, stood in line and paid another $20 to get the original ticket back.
He said he doesn't think he got the right ticket though. He said the clerk gave him a different ticket that time around.
"I would like to see if it's possible for me to get the right ticket," said Park, an employee at Hewlett Packard. "That's what I had originally purchased and what I had paid to get back." Park said he plans to call the Idaho State Lottery, and will proceed from there.
"I felt like that was the ticket I was supposed to get," he said.