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Two Wisconsin friends split $22 million Powerball jackpot after a deal made 28 years ago

Jul 24, 2020, 5:56 pm

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PowerballPowerball: Two Wisconsin friends split $22 million Powerball jackpot after a deal made 28 years agoRating:

Lottery winner never forgot that handshake from nearly three decades ago

By Kate Northrop

Handshakes still haven't gone out of style after one Wisconsin man honored a deal he made with his close friend 28 years ago.

When Thomas Cook won a $22 million Powerball jackpot from the June 10 drawing, he called up his buddy Joseph Feeney to let him know of the news and that he would be upholding his end of their bargain struck three decades earlier.

Back when the Powerball game started in 1992, the two Wisconsin natives shook hands on a deal — that if either one of them won the lottery, they would split the winnings equally.

Finally, after years' worth of buying lottery tickets, Cook purchased the winning Powerball ticket at the gas station convenience store at the Synergy Coop on Exit 45 in Menomonie, Wisconsin. He checked his numbers while having breakfast with his wife and had her double-check them for him once he realized he won.

"It was quite an experience when I read those first two or three numbers," Cook recalled. "I kind of froze and handed them to her, and she froze."

Then, he gave his job two weeks' notice and got ready to call Feeney, who was already retired from his job at a fire department.

"Are you jerking my bobber?" Feeney asked Cook out of disbelief during their phone call.

"A handshake's a handshake," Cook said.

The two friends visited the Wisconsin Lottery headquarters in Madison to claim their shared prize with their wives. After choosing the lump sum payment of $16.7 million before taxes, they both took home about $5.7 million each after federal and state taxes were deducted.

"We said whenever the big winner comes, we're going to split it, so we buy every week... not really thinking it would happen," Feeney said.

With their newfound wealth, the pair said they could pursue whatever they feel comfortable with and could not think of a better way to retire. They've already taken some road trips with their PT Cruiser convertible. As far as plans go, they're considering upgrading it for future road trips and intend on spending quality, stress-free time with family while traveling.

And, to this day, Cook still plays the Powerball.

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21 comments. Last comment 2 months ago by noise-gate.
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Avatar
Simpsonville
United States
Member #163184
January 22, 2015
2263 Posts
Offline

A great feel good story.    So happy the ticket purchaser had the integrity to remember his friend and handshake.   $5.7 million on top of his friend's nice retirement as a firefighter is jus wonderful.

    MzDuffleBaglady's avatar - Bitmoji 20with%20dreads%20lol.jpg
    50
    Statistical player!
    United States
    Member #81312
    October 16, 2009
    30975 Posts
    Offline

    PartyNice!

    Stay healthy, be safe, take care of yourself and others!  "Mask On" !Type

      TheGameGrl's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
      A long and winding road
      United States
      Member #17083
      June 10, 2005
      6488 Posts
      Offline

      Rare to find, men of their words.

      Rarer still for a winner to claim openly.

      Thank you for restoring faith that their is no shame in sharing your name. 

      Enjoy the friendship and enriched life style.

      0330,4600,8757,2886

        MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
        50
        Beautiful Florida
        United States
        Member #5709
        July 18, 2004
        24250 Posts
        Offline

        You don't find that type of Friendship around too much these day's

        Enjoy your new found wealth Gentlemen.

                                                     

                                                       "Slander becomes the tool of the loser when the debate is lost." - Socrates.

          ohiopick3's avatar - Lottery-063.jpg
          Ohio
          United States
          Member #3023
          December 14, 2003
          4246 Posts
          Offline

          Nice for those guys! Good Friends?

          But if I ever win the "jackpot", I'm in trouble? I told many people that I will give them lots of money if I ever win it "Big"?

          I might be "Broke". "Oh No!" I just hope they don't remember or find out! "Yeah"!

          US Flag

            music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
            USN United States Navy
            Fresno, California
            United States
            Member #157851
            August 2, 2014
            3959 Posts
            Offline

            Nice for those guys! Good Friends?

            But if I ever win the "jackpot", I'm in trouble? I told many people that I will give them lots of money if I ever win it "Big"?

            I might be "Broke". "Oh No!" I just hope they don't remember or find out! "Yeah"!

            US Flag

            ohiopick3,  "lots of money" changes with each rollover.   I just stopped talking about the lottery. I only discuss it with a few friends and a couple of relatives. 

              I have only promised three people the amount the IRS allows as gift tax free. This year that amount is

             $15,000.00. So the total is $45,000.00  I use that thought as lessons for keeping quiet. As each jackpot rolls over the pain is less. 

             These are life lessons each of us learns. 

              Financial Counselors and Wealth Managers could be in your future. 

             "We are all in this together!" 

              Avatar
              Chasing $ Millions.
              White Shores- California
              United States
              Member #136473
              December 12, 2012
              6315 Posts
              Offline

              That's what l am talking about. For some people..

              "Honesty is absolute - your word is your bond, a handshake is more binding than a contract." 

               * Voice of Reason *   

               

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

                maximumfun's avatar - Lottery-030.jpg

                United States
                Member #124612
                March 16, 2012
                3713 Posts
                Offline

                Not sure I could do that.  Wonder how the wife felt when her hubby told her of his decades old deal.

                  Nikkicute's avatar - wi lotto3.jpg
                  Wisconsin
                  United States
                  Member #123286
                  February 17, 2012
                  4115 Posts
                  Online

                  Not sure I could do that.  Wonder how the wife felt when her hubby told her of his decades old deal.

                  I'm sure she felt good about it, she married him for a reason, he's a good honest man.

                  I"m happy for them!!Thumbs Up

                    Raven62's avatar - binary
                    25
                    New Jersey
                    United States
                    Member #17842
                    June 28, 2005
                    130545 Posts
                    Offline

                    Party Congrats to the Winners! Party

                    Keeping a promise lays the foundation for trust and respect.

                    A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

                    Catch-22: A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

                    Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges: When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous.

                      SaraAnnRapp's avatar - Lottery-059.jpg

                      United States
                      Member #205233
                      March 19, 2020
                      316 Posts
                      Offline

                      That's a really great story! Congrats to them all! Cheers

                      BTW, I wonder how they split it since WI only allows one person to claim the prize?

                        sweetie7398's avatar - flower2
                        100

                        United States
                        Member #22701
                        September 30, 2005
                        13353 Posts
                        Offline

                        That's awesome. Be a person of your word. Congrats💯

                        Life, love, family Love

                          Avatar
                          Maryland
                          United States
                          Member #155449
                          May 19, 2014
                          33 Posts
                          Offline

                          Am I math challenged, or did the reporter make a mistake?  $16.7 Million (after tax) lump sum payout and each of them took a check home for $5.7 Million? Who got the other $5.3 Million?

                            Avatar
                            Simpsonville
                            United States
                            Member #163184
                            January 22, 2015
                            2263 Posts
                            Offline

                            Wonder if the Chief Bottle washer won the Mega Millions last night???