TROY, Ohio — Four Piqua residents are suing their city co-workers who won the $207 million Mega Millions lottery earlier this month, claiming the winners didn't keep their word about sharing any winnings with all regular players.
And they want $41 million.
A lawsuit claiming breach of contract and conversion was filed Tuesday, Dec. 23, in Miami County Common Pleas Court by Doug Harter, Israel Carnes, Tammy K. Wright and Jon Litchfield, all of Piqua.
Named as defendants are winners: Kenny Kirby, John Dembski, Richard Donnelly, James Montgomery, Cynthia Hershberger, Ritchie Williams, Scott Bradley, Dennis Steinke, Loyal Davis Jr., Rodney Stephenson, Jolaine Routson and Arthur J. Rudy, all of Piqua; Amos Steinbrunner of Tipp City; and Clifford Scott Helman of Piqua. The 15th winner, who is retired and did not work for the city, is not named in the suit.
The lawyer for the winners could not be reached immediately for comment.
In the suit, the four claim they are co-workers of some or all of the winners and said they and the winners pooled money to purchase tickets for the Mega Millions drawing.
"Plaintiffs and defendants had an oral agreement whereby if any of the pooled tickets purchased resulted in a winning Mega Millions ticket then all parties would share equally in the proceeds of said winning ticket," lawyers for the four, Erick Bauer and Robert Preston III of Dover, Ohio, wrote in the suit.
The four further claim they joined with the others in a pool for the Dec. 9 Mega Millions drawing from which some cash winnings allegedly were then used to purchase tickets for the Dec. 12 drawing. The co-workers had the winning numbers for the $207 million Dec. 12 drawing.
The four said they were out of the office and unavailable to contribute to the office pool for the Dec. 12 drawing.
When the winning ticket was presented to the Ohio Lottery, the four said, they "were not included ... contrary to the office pooling oral agreement/informal partnership/joint venture, and were not permitted to join with defendants in making a claim for the proceeds."
By not being included in the winnings, the four claim they have suffered immediate injury and an estimated loss of $41.4 million.
The four seek compensatory damages estimated at $41.4 million; punitive damages of inesxcess of $25,000; costs and attorney fees. They also seek a temporary restraining order and against the defendants.
A jury trial is requested.