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N.Y. couple wins $162M lottery jackpot - but owes $1M

Mega MillionsMega Millions: N.Y. couple wins $162M lottery jackpot - but owes $1M
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A Long Island couple will step forward Thursday to claim a $162 million jackpot, but Suffolk County already has their hands in winners' pockets.

County officials say Richard and Mary Morrison owe $950,000 stemming from an audit of a homeless shelter they ran for 20 years. The audit showed the couple doled out bonuses to themselves, billed the county for benefits they later pocketed and bought big-screen televisions.

An judgment against the couple was filed in 2008.

An angry Richard Morrison told reporters outside his home in Miller Place Wednesday night that the county's claims were baseless.

"It's a lie!" he hollered. "It's a lie!"

The Morrisons were scheduled to claim their winnings at a news conference at 2 p.m. Thursday. They opted for a lump-sum payment which will given them roughly $100 million before taxes.

A Suffolk County judge has ordered that $1 million of the winnings be placed in escrow after officials charged that the Morrisons owe the county $950,000.

Richard Morrison, a 59-year-old psychotherapist, and Mary Morrison, a 57-year-old massage therapist, planned to use the bonanza to pay off their mortgage and open a seafood restaurant — but top on the list is financing Richard's book about the Preamble to the Constitution.

Richard, a psychotherapist, said in an exclusive interview Tuesday he considers the Preamble to be not an introduction at all, but a legally binding statement and "the most magnificent constitutional sentence in the history of mankind."

The Morrisons, native Long Islanders who met 40 years ago at Carle Place High School, also plan a host of charitable endeavors with the winnings, which lottery officials have said will be a lump-sum payment of more than $100 million before taxes.

"We're common folk, we're part of 'We the People,' " Richard said, adding the couple has been "called up to a higher stage" of service by the prize.

Richard, 59, and Mary, 57, a massage therapist, said they have not always been fortunate, saying they reached the brink of bankruptcy in recent years. Sitting shoulder to shoulder Tuesday, giggling occasionally, the couple said they have "multiple children" between the ages of 14 and 38 — declining to say how many — and that they have spent most of their lives with little money.

Richard said he grew up in a single-parent household with eight siblings, and lost his childhood home in a fire. Years later, as a young married couple with a baby, the Morrisons scraped by on Mary's waitress wages while Richard worked toward his degree at Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus, the couple said.

The Morrisons said the lessons they learned during those hard times served them well in their careers as social service providers. The couple worked as house parents for juvenile delinquents in the 1980s and ran homeless shelters in Suffolk County for 20 years.

Richard said their new charitable endeavors will support programs that encourage disadvantaged people to work their way off public assistance.

"If you give people a job, you give them dignity," he said.

Suffolk canceled its contract with the Morrisons' shelters in 2005 after Comptroller Joseph Sawicki found that the shelters owed the county $612,700 for improper charges such as retroactive raises and unfunded pension charges in 2000. A 2008 State Supreme Court order indicated the Morrisons' Love'M Sheltering Inc. would be responsible for repaying Suffolk, plus interest and other costs. The grand total owed the county was $809,417.91 at the time.

The money has not been paid, county attorney Christine Malafi said Tuesday.

The Morrisons declined to comment about the lawsuits beyond Richard saying that dealing with the county fueled his interest in the Constitution and increased his desire to make it easier to find jobs for homeless people.

The Morrisons said winning the lottery reaffirmed their commitment to providing service to the poor, and "especially to disadvantaged children," Mary said.

But she said the winning ticket almost wasn't purchased.

Mary bought the ticket at Sonny's Cards 'n Things, a Rocky Point store. She was only in the store because it is next to a Michael's craft store, where she had to do some shopping.

Even then, she wasn't going to buy a lottery ticket until one of her younger children's pestering got to her.

"And I said, I never win, but OK," she said.

Said Richard: "It felt like divine justice."

"We are very happy for these folks and wish them well with their laudable plans for their winnings," Suffolk County Social Services Commissioner Greg Blass said in a statement. "We believe it is in the best interests of county residents to recoup money wrongly used by Love'M Sheltering Inc., which is owned by Mr. Morrison."

The winning numbers for the drawing on Dec. 22 were 3, 33, 35, 39, 45. The Mega Ball number was 13.

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64 comments. Last comment 7 years ago by computerhead723.
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time*treat's avatar - radar

United States
Member #13130
March 30, 2005
2171 Posts
Offline
Posted: January 7, 2010, 12:16 pm - IP Logged

County officials say Richard and Mary Morrison owe $950 million stemming from an audit of a homeless shelter they ran for 20 years.

That can't be right. Blue Thinking

In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

    Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
    Clarksville
    United States
    Member #487
    July 15, 2002
    17638 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: January 7, 2010, 12:50 pm - IP Logged

    They'll be broke inside of 5 years..they should pay the 1 million they owe for the shelter and open another one w/o state assistance.

    If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

    You never know when you will get another hit.

      Avatar
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #77101
      July 13, 2009
      7805 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: January 7, 2010, 1:08 pm - IP Logged

      Richard Morrison sounds like a man standing on his belief and principle.  He doesn't think he did anything wrong so why should he have to pay the $800,000 judgment. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out - something tells me this is not the last we'll hear from Mr. Morrison.  

      Lep

        Jack-C's avatar - us
        San Diego, CA
        United States
        Member #61467
        May 24, 2008
        28146 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: January 7, 2010, 1:51 pm - IP Logged

        County officials say Richard and Mary Morrison owe $950 million stemming from an audit of a homeless shelter they ran for 20 years.

        That can't be right. Blue Thinking

        I Agree!

          ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
          Idaho
          United States
          Member #56506
          November 21, 2007
          6537 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: January 7, 2010, 2:09 pm - IP Logged

          County officials say Richard and Mary Morrison owe $950 million stemming from an audit of a homeless shelter they ran for 20 years.

          That can't be right. Blue Thinking

          Yeah, I'm guessing they meant to say $950,000 not $950 million.

          "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."


            United States
            Member #80778
            October 4, 2009
            4 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: January 7, 2010, 2:45 pm - IP Logged

            NOW I SEE WHY SOME PEOPLE CLAIM THEIR WINNINGS THROUGH A BLIND TRUST.The bad luck has already started for these poor people. i feel sorry for them.

              lottocalgal's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
              CA
              United States
              Member #57222
              December 23, 2007
              587 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: January 7, 2010, 3:57 pm - IP Logged

              Just a thought.  Pay the money and move on.  God knows what it would cost in attorney's fees to fight the Gov.  Not to mention the headache.  Especially if its true or even if its partially true.  Fighting it will cost more.  But only the winners know if theyve pulled anything funny.

                dpoly1's avatar - driver
                PA
                United States
                Member #66141
                October 16, 2008
                1672 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: January 7, 2010, 6:29 pm - IP Logged

                I don't trust any government !

                Off subject ... I got an email that told me to watch for news about Pennsylvania offering MegaMillions !!!!!

                Party   Dance

                  Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
                  Clarksville
                  United States
                  Member #487
                  July 15, 2002
                  17638 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: January 7, 2010, 7:46 pm - IP Logged

                  County officials say Richard and Mary Morrison owe $950,000 stemming from an audit of a homeless shelter they ran for 20 years. The audit showed the couple doled out bonuses to themselves, billed the county for benefits they later pocketed and bought big-screen televisions.

                  An judgment against the couple was filed in 2008.

                  They will have to pay because the judgement has already been rendered against them.  They gave themselves bonuses, billed for services they did not deliver and used the money to buy themselves a big screen TV. There is a word for that kind of thing..

                  I bet they will run through their money in much the same way.  They seem to be filled with "excesses".  No rhyme or reason for anything but spend, spend, spend..I deserve this, I deserve that..and they will wipe their supposed enemies noses with their new found wealth.

                  If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

                  You never know when you will get another hit.

                    dopey7719's avatar - Lottery-049.jpg
                    Midlands, SC
                    United States
                    Member #69698
                    January 14, 2009
                    303 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: January 7, 2010, 8:14 pm - IP Logged

                    County officials say Richard and Mary Morrison owe $950,000 stemming from an audit of a homeless shelter they ran for 20 years. The audit showed the couple doled out bonuses to themselves, billed the county for benefits they later pocketed and bought big-screen televisions.

                    An judgment against the couple was filed in 2008.

                    They will have to pay because the judgement has already been rendered against them.  They gave themselves bonuses, billed for services they did not deliver and used the money to buy themselves a big screen TV. There is a word for that kind of thing..

                    I bet they will run through their money in much the same way.  They seem to be filled with "excesses".  No rhyme or reason for anything but spend, spend, spend..I deserve this, I deserve that..and they will wipe their supposed enemies noses with their new found wealth.

                    I Agree!

                      rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                      Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                      United States
                      Member #73904
                      April 28, 2009
                      14903 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: January 7, 2010, 8:23 pm - IP Logged

                      I don't trust any government !

                      Off subject ... I got an email that told me to watch for news about Pennsylvania offering MegaMillions !!!!!

                      Party   Dance

                      I agree dpoly, Government doesn't get the benefit of the doubt from me anymore. They don't deserve it.

                      They're like the fox guarding the chicken coop.


                                                                   
                                           
                                                               

                       

                       

                       

                       

                                                                                                                         

                      "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                  --Edmund Burke

                       

                       

                        TnTicketlosers's avatar - Lottery-065.jpg

                        United States
                        Member #71120
                        February 19, 2009
                        1209 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: January 7, 2010, 8:27 pm - IP Logged

                        I Agree!

                          beaudad's avatar - animaniacs26
                          Mid Atlantic States
                          United States
                          Member #60043
                          April 3, 2008
                          1422 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: January 7, 2010, 8:38 pm - IP Logged

                          County officials say Richard and Mary Morrison owe $950,000 stemming from an audit of a homeless shelter they ran for 20 years. The audit showed the couple doled out bonuses to themselves, billed the county for benefits they later pocketed and bought big-screen televisions.

                          An judgment against the couple was filed in 2008.

                          They will have to pay because the judgement has already been rendered against them.  They gave themselves bonuses, billed for services they did not deliver and used the money to buy themselves a big screen TV. There is a word for that kind of thing..

                          I bet they will run through their money in much the same way.  They seem to be filled with "excesses".  No rhyme or reason for anything but spend, spend, spend..I deserve this, I deserve that..and they will wipe their supposed enemies noses with their new found wealth.

                          I agree !!!!!!!! beaudad

                          " I don't have a gambling problem,  I have a problem winning!"

                            ohiopick3's avatar - Lottery-063.jpg
                            Ohio
                            United States
                            Member #3023
                            December 14, 2003
                            4166 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: January 7, 2010, 10:07 pm - IP Logged

                            We always hear of extraordinary people and their stories winning millions of dollars?

                            Maybe a lot of us are just not extraordinary enough? Go figure.

                            But maybe not just yet!