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Minnesota couple claim $11.7M Hot Lotto jackpot

Hot LottoHot Lotto: Minnesota couple claim $11.7M Hot Lotto jackpot
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Generous couple gives store clerk college money

Rhonda Meath waits tables for a living. Her husband, Joe, is a retired turbine operator who still does some snowplowing at a nearby gas station. They live on a quiet 10 acres in northern Anoka County.

None of that is likely to change, the Bethel couple say, now that they're $11.71 million richer, thanks to a winning lottery ticket Joe bought at that gas station.

As the Meaths drove to Minnesota Lottery headquarters in Rosevilleon Monday morning to claim their Hot Lotto jackpot, Rhonda was thinking about her job at the Lake Elmo Inn.

"I have a fabulous job, and I like to work. I actually have to work tonight," she said as she and Joe chatted with family members, friends and reporters.

As it turns out, she was able to get her shift covered and enjoy the day with her family, including lunch out. The waitress got a $100 tip.

The Meaths, married 32 years, are Minnesota natives with four grown children, three grandchildren, three dogs and a penchant for small-town life.

"I don't think it's going to change our life that much," Joe said.

"We really hope it doesn't change the people around us," Rhonda added.

The couple struck it rich Saturday night when their Hot Lotto numbers were drawn. As a bonus, the lottery picks up the taxes on this game's big payout. Otherwise, the Meaths would have been on the hook for state and federal taxes totaling 32.25 percent.

The Meaths are the second Anoka County family to hit it big on the lottery recently. Paul White of Ham Lake won a $148 million Powerball jackpot last year.

Joe Meath, 53, who retired from Xcel Energy about three years ago after a back injury, plays the lottery every day.

He bought the ticket Saturday at Corner Express in East Bethel, the service station that he plows in the winter.

Players choose five numbers from 1 to 47 and one Hot Lotto number from 1 to 19. Saturday night's numbers were 1-2-3-25-30 with a Hot Ball of 19.

When Joe Meath realized he had won big around 10:30 Saturday night, he woke up Rhonda and stashed the winning ticket in his gun safe.

They called relatives and friends. It was nearly life as usual for the rest of the weekend. Rhonda Meath still attended a dog show on Sunday.

Joe Meath said the prospect of becoming instant millionaires has been "overwhelming," conceding that he had a hard time sleeping.

"It took a while for it to sink in," he added.

"We're just ordinary people," said Rhonda Meath, 51.

She grew up in White Bear Lake and he in Red Wing. They moved to Bethel 17 years ago when White Bear Lake started to feel a bit too citified.

Joe Meath likes to hunt pheasants and ducks. He may go elk hunting this year.

Rhonda Meath raises and shows German shepherds. Her dog Smith is nationally ranked in agility competitions. She also started and oversees the network of therapy dog owners who volunteer at the Anoka County Corrections juvenile division.

Asked what they'll do with the money, the Meaths are thinking modestly so far.

"We are going to set money aside for each of our kids," Rhonda Meath said.

They'll probably buy a new vehicle — another dog-friendly Chevy Suburban. Joe Meath said he's been thinking about getting an RV.

Rhonda Meath, who volunteers with the St. Paul Police K-9 Federation, will donate a German shepherd to be named Ronny, after her father.

Asked whether they'll buy a big new house, the couple said they had been talking about downsizing.

Corner Express, at Viking Boulevard and Coon Lake Drive, will receive a bonus from the lottery as seller of the jackpot ticket. That is a tidy $10,000, but the store will be liable for the taxes.

The Meaths met Monday with the 18-year-old clerk who sold Joe the winning ticket and gave her $15,000 for college.

The total is the biggest Hot Lotto jackpot hit in Minnesota, which has sold tickets for this game since 2002. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia also participate in Hot Lotto. With Saturday's game producing a winner, the pot now rolls back to $1 million for Wednesday's drawing.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Star Tribune

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35 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Drenick1.
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maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
Massachusetts
United States
Member #37433
April 14, 2006
2747 Posts
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Posted: September 9, 2014, 10:11 am - IP Logged

Is it just me seeing it this way or are more winners lately claiming their jackpots within a week of winning? There was time when we'd even have forgot about a JP by the time it got claimed.

Congratulation Mr and Mrs Meath

That money's gone fo ever

    leon11's avatar - 4eyes
    Mandeville
    Jamaica
    Member #156053
    June 7, 2014
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    Posted: September 9, 2014, 10:52 am - IP Logged

    Congrats guys enjoy ur cash

    Luck i$ when opportunity knock$ and you an$wer.Big Smile

      ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
      Idaho
      United States
      Member #56506
      November 21, 2007
      6537 Posts
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      Posted: September 9, 2014, 12:05 pm - IP Logged

      Wow, that was quick but I could see myself doing the same thing. LOL Congrats to them!

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

        noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
        Bay Area - California
        United States
        Member #136477
        December 12, 2012
        4109 Posts
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        Posted: September 9, 2014, 12:50 pm - IP Logged

        Is it just me seeing it this way or are more winners lately claiming their jackpots within a week of winning? There was time when we'd even have forgot about a JP by the time it got claimed.

        Congratulation Mr and Mrs Meath

        Not all have been claiming their jackpots that soon Mr M- some folks have forgotten their tickets in their trucks & cars for months, recently we had a guy " finding his on his backseat" after months of driving around unaware of his winnings.

        This guy retired due to a back injury, perhaps his medical bills are stacking up- whatever the reason.. l say congrats to both of them.

        Party

          IPlayWeekly's avatar - avatarmoney
          Columbus, Ohio
          United States
          Member #128906
          June 5, 2012
          592 Posts
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          Posted: September 9, 2014, 1:38 pm - IP Logged

          Despite what they think, their life will change.  I would like to hear the 6mth story to see if she's still a waitress.  They may live in the same area but will do different things, people change.  Congrats.

            Avatar
            Pittsburgh, PA
            United States
            Member #113043
            July 1, 2011
            22 Posts
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            Posted: September 9, 2014, 2:11 pm - IP Logged

            Not all have been claiming their jackpots that soon Mr M- some folks have forgotten their tickets in their trucks & cars for months, recently we had a guy " finding his on his backseat" after months of driving around unaware of his winnings.

            This guy retired due to a back injury, perhaps his medical bills are stacking up- whatever the reason.. l say congrats to both of them.

            Party

            Can you imagine if the ticket on his back seat would've blown out the window somehow.  We'd then be reading about another unclaimed ticket due to expire.

            Congratulations to the Meath's on their BIG win!  Cheers

              sully16's avatar - sharan
              Ringleader
              Michigan
              United States
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              October 28, 2009
              40566 Posts
              Online
              Posted: September 9, 2014, 3:54 pm - IP Logged

              Congrats to the lucky couple, enjoy Party

              Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

              For a lead role in a cage?

               

                                                          From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

                Get paid's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                texas
                United States
                Member #152324
                February 11, 2014
                168 Posts
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                Posted: September 9, 2014, 3:54 pm - IP Logged

                PERSISTENT payed off the guy said he plays every day. Congrats to the winners.

                  dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                  Oklahoma
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                  Member #82391
                  November 12, 2009
                  6290 Posts
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                  Posted: September 9, 2014, 4:15 pm - IP Logged

                  Congratulation to Mr./Mrs. Meath Hurray! class act on giving the cashier $15,000 for college.

                  I Love Pink & Green 1908

                    maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
                    Massachusetts
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                    April 14, 2006
                    2747 Posts
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                    Posted: September 9, 2014, 4:42 pm - IP Logged

                    Not all have been claiming their jackpots that soon Mr M- some folks have forgotten their tickets in their trucks & cars for months, recently we had a guy " finding his on his backseat" after months of driving around unaware of his winnings.

                    This guy retired due to a back injury, perhaps his medical bills are stacking up- whatever the reason.. l say congrats to both of them.

                    Party

                    Oh yeah, the Long Island guy with a second home in Vermont.

                    That money's gone fo ever

                      Artist77's avatar - batman14

                      United States
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                      January 16, 2012
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                      Posted: September 9, 2014, 4:56 pm - IP Logged

                      A nice couple who also was active in the community. But she looks more like his daughter than his wife.lol

                      J'aime La France.

                        HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                        United States
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                        March 18, 2009
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                        Posted: September 9, 2014, 5:12 pm - IP Logged

                        PERSISTENT payed off the guy said he plays every day. Congrats to the winners.

                        PartyCongratulations jackpot winner! 

                        Expensive habit, finally moved from the reds into the black results lottery ticket!  Finally able to deduct the majority "loser tickets" from remaining Federal Income Taxes he pays come April!

                        Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

                        Disney

                          Saylorgirl's avatar - Lottery-065.jpg
                          Indiana
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                          Member #129225
                          June 13, 2012
                          546 Posts
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                          Posted: September 9, 2014, 5:57 pm - IP Logged

                          Great story, congratulations!!

                            Drenick1's avatar - villiarna
                            USA
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                            February 25, 2014
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                            Posted: September 9, 2014, 8:02 pm - IP Logged

                            PartyCongratulations jackpot winner! 

                            Expensive habit, finally moved from the reds into the black results lottery ticket!  Finally able to deduct the majority "loser tickets" from remaining Federal Income Taxes he pays come April!

                            The story mentioned that the lottery in this particular case picks up both the federal and state tax. I realize the 32.5% is just the initial fed/state withholding but I think the Minnesota lottery will pay the balance due on April, 2015 as well.

                            I wish this were the case with all lottery games here in the states.