Rochester plumber credits mom's random luck for $22,500,000 Lotto win
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — New York Lottery draw team members Yolanda Vega and Gretchen Dizer Wednesday teamed up to present Lottery prize checks to Monroe County's newest Lottery millionaires, including the winners of the March 27th Lotto jackpot worth $22,500,000.
The winners, from Rochester and Webster, received their ceremonial over-sized checks at the Gates Big M store on Spencerport Road where the winning Lotto ticket was sold.
March 27, 2010 started out like any other day for Antonio DiBattista and his mother, Giuseppina. The 46-year-old Antonio recalls giving his mother, 79, "a couple of bucks" to buy some tickets for that evening's Lotto drawing. The elder DiBattista spent a total of $4 on eight sets of numbers for that evening's drawing for a jackpot worth $22,500,000.
"She picked all the numbers," explained Antonio, speaking on behalf of his Italian-speaking mother. "She picked all the numbers at random. They were her own Quick Picks."
As usual, Antonio, who works as a plumber for the Spencerport-based Leone Plumbing company, checked the winning numbers in the paper the day after the drawing, but this time, instead of having a couple of numbers that matched, he and his mother had all six matching numbers — a combination worth $22,500,000.
"I went a little numb," said the life-long Rochester resident. "It didn't seem real then and it doesn't seem any more so now."
The DiBattistas claimed their winning ticket on May 5, 2010 after spending more than five weeks devising a strategic plan for how to receive the money.
"We wanted to be as responsible with the money as we could be," explained Antonio. "To us," he continued, "that meant putting the money in a trust to preserve as much of the principal as possible. We want the money to last as long as we do."
At the time of purchase, the DiBattistas opted to receive their prize as a one-time, lump sum payment valued at $12,122,690. The family members claimed the prize in the name of two separate trusts, with each trust receiving a percentage of the lump sum. The Trust to be administered by Giuseppina DiBattista will receive a net payment valued at $5.336.406. The second trust to be managed by Antonio DiBattista will receive a net payment totaling $2,668,205.
Antonio said he and his mother planned to celebrate the family's good fortune with a trip to "sunny Florida." Other plans may include the purchase of a new house, "in Rochester, of course."
Webster Dad Proves the Early Bird Catches the $1,000,000 A Week For Life Jackpot
Getting an early start on the weekend does have its advantages according to Webster's newest Lottery Millionaire Michael Cellini, Jr. The 46-year-old Xerox engineer said he owes his new fortune to being an early riser.
"I normally go to Wegmans every Saturday morning around 8:30 before it gets too busy," said the father of four. "But, on this particular Saturday, I went an hour earlier than I normally do for no reason other than I woke up early and felt like getting the shopping out of the way."
Cellini said he used prize money he won on another Win $1,000 A Week For Life ticket, plus $1 of his own money, to purchase two more of the same tickets. "The value shopper in me figured these were the best tickets to buy because the potential winnings versus (the) cost were the highest. And," he said, "I figured if I ever won, $1,000 a week for life would be enough for me."
Cellini realized the true value of being a bargain hunter when he returned home with his groceries and scratched his three new Win $1,000 A Week For Life tickets. "I won $2 on one of the first two (tickets)," he said. "When I saw the third 'Life' on the third ticket, I calmly asked my wife , Jackie, to double check the ticket, which she did right before she started jumping up and down and screaming."
Cellini will receive his prize as 19 annual payments of $52,000 each (net $34,336). His 20th payment will total $12,000 (net $7,924) to realize his guaranteed minimum payout of $1,000,000. After the 20th payment, he will continue to receive an annual net check totaling $34,336 for life.
Cellini said the events leading up to his fateful purchase on April 24th were part of a bigger plan. "I don't believe in coincidences; everything happens for a reason according to God's plan," he said. The self-described "church going man" said he and Jackie plan to use their windfall to help their aging parents and "do good in the community."
The New York Lottery continues to be North America's largest and most profitable Lottery, earning more than $39.3 billion in education support statewide since its founding over 40 years ago. The Lottery contributed nearly $2.67 billion in fiscal year 2009-2010 to help support education in New York State, which was over 12 percent of total state education funding to local school districts. Lottery revenue is distributed to local school districts by the same statutory formula used to distribute other state aid to education. It takes into account both a school district's size and its income level; larger, lower-income school districts receive proportionately larger shares of Lottery school funding.