Winners of the 3rd-largest jackpot in history step forward
By Kate Northrop
Nearly two months after it was announced that one single Michigan ticket matched all six numbers to win the unimaginably huge $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot, an Oakland County lottery club stepped forward to claim the prize.
The largest prize awarded in Michigan Lottery history, the massive haul of $1.05 billion will be claimed by the Wolverine FLL Club, which consists of four members who jointly played the winning numbers for the Mega Millions drawing on Jan. 22, 2021 — 4, 26, 42, 50, 60 and Mega Ball 24.
While it is unclear who specifically bought the winning ticket on behalf of the group, the lone winning ticket was purchased as a Quick Pick at the Kroger grocery store on Grand River Avenue in Novi.
"A club member saw a sign that the jackpot was up to $1 billion and remembered that they hadn't bought their tickets yet, so they pulled into the Kroger," the club's representative and attorney, Kurt D. Panouses, esq. told the Lottery. "When you play, of course you dream of winning, but the reality of it has been incredible."
The club elected to receive the massive prize as a lump sum cash payment totaling $776 million. After 24% in required federal income taxes and 4.25% in state taxes were withheld (approximately $186 million and $33 million, respectively), the four players were awarded $557 million to be split evenly amongst themselves.
"This kind of money will impact the families of our club members for generations to come," Panouses continued. "We plan to stay humble and pay it forward through charitable giving in southeast Michigan."
For selling the winning ticket, the Lottery awarded the Kroger retailer a bonus commission check for $50,000, which the grocery store chain immediately allocated toward feeding the hungry.
"Kroger is committed to our mission of feeding our communities," Corporate Affairs Manager at The Kroger Co. of Michigan Rachel Hurst said in a statement. "Strong partnerships with both the state of Michigan and the Food Bank Council of Michigan are integral in driving our mission forward."
The $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot is the largest prize ever won by a Michigan lottery player, beating out the previous record, a $337 million Powerball jackpot won in 2012.
It is also the third-largest jackpot in history behind the $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot claimed by an anonymous individual in South Carolina in 2018 and the $1.5864 billion Powerball jackpot split three-ways by ticket-holders in California, Florida, and Tennessee in 2016.
"Having a record-setting jackpot win in Michigan is great news all around," Lottery Commissioner Brian O. Neill remarked. "Lottery sales help support public education and more than 10,000 retail locations across the State. Total Lottery contributions to Michigan's School Aid Fund over the last three fiscal years exceeded $3 billion."
"I believe that they're going to do some great things, and they're going to be good stewards with these funds," Panouses said regarding the club members. "I expect some great things happening in their community, southeast Michigan especially, as they move forward with this because it's very important to them."