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Minnesota family wins first Lotto America jackpot worth $22.8 million

Mar 20, 2018, 7:41 pm

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Lotto AmericaLotto America: Minnesota family wins first Lotto America jackpot worth $22.8 millionRating:

Debbie Kujava stopped at a Holiday convenience store in Roseau, Minn., to buy a Diet Sunkist after work on March 13.

While there, she decided to buy a lottery-ticket bundle for $7. She thought she might win $1 or $2.

When she realized on Thursday that her ticket matched every number for the multi-state Lotto America game, she stepped outside to calm down and smoke a cigarette.

"I was shaking. My heart was beating so fast," Debbie Kujava said Monday at Minnesota Lottery headquarters in Roseville. "I couldn't believe it."

Then, she called her brother, Dennis Kujava. The siblings had an agreement: if either of them won the lottery, they would split the money evenly.

The siblings live a half-mile apart in Badger, Minn.; a small town of 375 near the Canadian border on Minnesota 11.

Debbie Kujava thought they won $2 million. When she told her brother she thought they were millionaires, he said, "Yeah, right."

It was Dennis Kujava's daughter, Denise Kujava, who discovered they had actually won $22.8 million. She and her sister will share their father's half of the jackpot.

After finding out she won the jackpot, Debbie Kujava worked three 12-hour shifts over the weekend as a licensed practical nurse at LifeCare Medical Center in Roseau.

She resigned from her job at 7 p.m. Sunday.

When she told her boss she was quitting because she had won the lottery, Debbie Kujava started crying. "I love my job. I love my residents," she said.

Debbie Kujava, 57, plans to pay off all of her bills and her house, as well as donate to multiple charities including North Country Horsemen Saddle Club in Middle River, Minn.

Denise Kujava, 34, works at Polaris Industries in Roseau and plans to pay off her camper. "That's all I know for now," she said Monday as she, her father and her aunt validated their winning ticket with the Minnesota Lottery.

Dennis Kujava, 66, is retired from working at Polaris. He plans to donate some of the money to Concordia Lutheran Church in Badger.

"We've been going there all our lives, and it's a rural church," Dennis Kujava said.

After taxes on the $13.5 million cash-option payout, the Kujavas will receive a check for about $9.4 million. As the store that sold the winning ticket, the Holiday at 503 Third St. N.W. in Roseau will receive a $10,000 bonus.

The Kujavas won the first jackpot prize in the Lotto America game that began just four months ago. Lotto America replaced the canceled Hot Lotto game.

The odds of matching all five Lotto America numbers plus the Star Ball are 1 in nearly 26 million, according to the Minnesota Lottery.

Along with Minnesota, Lotto America is played in Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.

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31 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by ressuccess.
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music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
Fresno, California
United States
Member #157851
August 2, 2014
3869 Posts
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Posted: March 20, 2018, 8:16 pm - IP Logged

The tax man certainly ruins the party. The Kujavas may also owe more taxes on the $9.4 million check. State and Federal taxes are silent partners in our game. 

When will COVID-19 be finished?  A vaccine may protect all of us.

    lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

    United States
    Member #118605
    November 4, 2011
    1423 Posts
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    Posted: March 20, 2018, 9:35 pm - IP Logged

    The tax man certainly ruins the party. The Kujavas may also owe more taxes on the $9.4 million check. State and Federal taxes are silent partners in our game. 

    I totally agree Music.  Dont get me wrong, I would be happy and grateful to win this jackpot but to come out with less than $9.4 million net from a $22.8 million jackpot, well that is pretty pathetic.

    But congrats to the winners.

      rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
      Texas
      United States
      Member #55887
      October 23, 2007
      10100 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: March 20, 2018, 9:53 pm - IP Logged

      You are missing the fact that they chose a $13.5 million CASH PAYOUT.  The $22 million was an annuity. The taxes were based on the cash amount, not the $22 million.

      CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

      A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

        Avatar
        Chasing $ Millions.
        White Shores- California
        United States
        Member #136473
        December 12, 2012
        6219 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 20, 2018, 10:09 pm - IP Logged

        You are missing the fact that they chose a $13.5 million CASH PAYOUT.  The $22 million was an annuity. The taxes were based on the cash amount, not the $22 million.

        Exactly- added to that is the fact that these folks are at home in a small community of 300 plus people.That $9 million split down the middle in that little Town will go further than $9 mil in NY or SF. They set for life.

        I am no smoker, but what’s with folks always reaching for a cigarette for almost anything? Close car crash, gotta light up! Go over Niagara Falls in a barrel & survive.. gotta have a cigarette.

         * Voice of Reason *   

         

        People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

          Avatar
          ma
          United States
          Member #188577
          March 15, 2018
          52 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: March 20, 2018, 11:45 pm - IP Logged

          they seem just as happy and contented as the winners of powerball and mega millions big jackpot winners are. they  weren't afraid of revealing their identity.

            Avatar
            Blue Bell,Pa
            United States
            Member #156243
            June 12, 2014
            23 Posts
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            Posted: March 21, 2018, 1:40 am - IP Logged

            I'm glad they're not afraid of publicity.

              Avatar
              Chasing $ Millions.
              White Shores- California
              United States
              Member #136473
              December 12, 2012
              6219 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: March 21, 2018, 1:50 am - IP Logged

              If they grew up in that little Town, chances are everyone knows everyone.What's there to be afraid of? The Town folks are their Posse! You ride in there looking to cause trouble.. 

               * Voice of Reason *   

               

              People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                Fresno, California
                United States
                Member #157851
                August 2, 2014
                3869 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 21, 2018, 7:21 am - IP Logged

                I will not argue the numbers. Any way you look at it the taxes are immoral.

                 Lottery winners must look ahead toward retirement. There is no loan or guarantee for retirement. A winner does not want to go back into the workforce. 

                 It is tacky to beg a lottery winner for some of the retirement funds that were won.

                 The green-eyed monster Jealousy, Envy, Resentment, Killjoy raises its head. Jerk. 

                When will COVID-19 be finished?  A vaccine may protect all of us.

                  Avatar
                  Simpsonville
                  United States
                  Member #163184
                  January 22, 2015
                  2207 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 21, 2018, 7:43 am - IP Logged

                  Being lazy with 5" of beautiful snow here.  This game replaced Hot Lotto; does that mean it is a RNG game?

                    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                    50
                    Chief Bottle Washer
                    New Jersey
                    United States
                    Member #1
                    May 31, 2000
                    25728 Posts
                    Online
                    Posted: March 21, 2018, 8:08 am - IP Logged

                    No, it's a traditional ball drawing.

                     

                    Check the State Lottery Report Card
                    What grade did your lottery earn?

                     

                    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                    Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                      Artist77's avatar - batman14

                      United States
                      Member #121741
                      January 16, 2012
                      7549 Posts
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                      Posted: March 21, 2018, 8:19 am - IP Logged

                      It is naive to assume if you live in a small town, everyone will be supportive of a big winner.  Jealousy and resentment is not limited to the big cities. Lol

                      Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.  We will rebuild!

                        CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
                        Central TN
                        United States
                        Member #121189
                        January 4, 2012
                        4610 Posts
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                        Posted: March 21, 2018, 9:16 am - IP Logged

                        It is naive to assume if you live in a small town, everyone will be supportive of a big winner.  Jealousy and resentment is not limited to the big cities. Lol

                        Wasn't there a girl who had a small child a few years ago from a small mid west town that won between $1-5 million and started getting harassed by people and had a stalker ? She then moved out to OR or WA and worked in a zoo. I know I am not properly recalling the story 100%

                        Integrity: There is just no substitute.

                          Avatar
                          100
                          ohio
                          United States
                          Member #5030
                          June 11, 2004
                          18965 Posts
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                          Posted: March 21, 2018, 9:43 am - IP Logged

                          The tax man certainly ruins the party. The Kujavas may also owe more taxes on the $9.4 million check. State and Federal taxes are silent partners in our game. 

                          they penalize you for taking a cash option, what a shame

                            rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                            Texas
                            United States
                            Member #55887
                            October 23, 2007
                            10100 Posts
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                            Posted: March 21, 2018, 10:12 am - IP Logged

                            they penalize you for taking a cash option, what a shame

                            There is no penalty for taking the cash option. The cash option is the amount that would be used to buy the annuity to pay out over however many years it's purchased for. If a person chooses the annuity, then he/she would receive the advertised jackpot over the life of that annuity. If a person chooses the cash option, he/she receives the cash amount up front that would have purchased the annuity. It's really not that hard.

                            CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

                            A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)