The store owner who sold the unclaimed $3.5 million Connecticut Classic Lotto ticket in February will not be receiving his $10,000 sales commission unless he settles outstanding accounts with the state lottery, according to a spokeswoman for the lottery.
Zee Zahid, proprietor of Coventry Getty Mart, was to receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket on Feb. 14, 2006.
But the expected windfall became more hassle than help for Zahid.
"No, I didn't get the $10,000, and they gave me more hard times because of it," Zahid said Tuesday.
According to Zahid, publicity over his bonus from the unclaimed ticket has brought people out of the woodwork asking for their own piece of the action.
"Everybody is asking me for money," Zahid said. "Customers are asking me for free gas, my employees are asking me for bonuses, and suddenly my creditor pops up in the middle."
The lottery "didn't make any security for the people who sold the ticket," Zahid said, adding the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, which administers the state lottery games, should have released the check before releasing information about him to the public.
"Fourteen years you have been getting money from me," Zahid said, "and now that I can make some money, I get nothing."
According to CT Lottery spokeswoman Diane Patterson, Zahid has not received his bonus because "unfortunately, Mr. Zahid does owe some money to the lottery. At this time there is a net balance to the account."
The amount has not been disclosed.
According to Patterson, lottery vendors must maintain separate bank accounts dedicated to lottery monies.
"There is no charge to the retailer" to sell Lotto tickets, Patterson said, "but vendors do pay a commission to the Lottery for each ticket sold."
Zahid has stopped selling Lottery tickets, and had the vending machine removed from his store.
Before restoring service, Patterson said, the Lottery is requiring a $10,000 bond from Zahid.
The CT Lottery sometimes requires a bond for new vendors having "unsatisfactory credit history," according to Patterson.
Zahid, a Lottery vendor for more than a decade, says the bond is absurd.
"I have always been on time with keeping up with my account payments, and now you say I need to put up a $10,000 bond to continue?" he asked.
Zahid has 20 days to file an appeal with the CT Lottery if he wants to receive his $10,000 commission.
He said his lawyer is filing the appeal.
If the winning ticket had been cashed in, he would have been entitled to a $35,000 bonus.