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Media Battle in the Mega Millions Jackpot Dispute

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Media Battle in the Mega Millions Jackpot Dispute

Lottery Post presents a selection of photos and descriptions in the struggle over the $162 million Mega Millions jackpot.

Two women one with a ticket, one tearfully without lay claim to a $162 million lottery jackpot Tuesday, triggering a legal dispute that could come down to "finder's keepers" or fraud.

Elecia Battle went to police Monday with the teary story of a lottery ticket lost outside a convenience store, and a small crowd with flashlights soon gathered in the snowy parking lot in search of the precious paper scrap.

Tuesday morning, Rebecca Jemison said Battle's claim prompted her to quit stalling, submit her ticket and collect the prize from the Dec. 30 drawing.

"I was angry at first, but not worried at all," said Jemison, 34. "I knew what I possessed."

Police, who originally said Battle, 40, had told a credible story about losing the winning ticket, are now investigating whether she lied in a police report, a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days to six months in jail.

Jemison turned in the ticket for the 11-state Mega Millions jackpot at Ohio Lottery headquarters. The lottery validated it Tuesday as the sole winning ticket for the drawing and Ohio Lottery Director Dennis Kennedy said the lottery is confident Jemison bought the ticket, not found it.

As proof, Jemison provided another ticket purchased at the same time and place as the winning ticket and had an outdated lottery ticket that showed she had played the same numbers in the prior drawing, Kennedy said.

Battle immediately filed suit Tuesday seeking to halt any payout to the winner.

"My ticket was lost. I do recall all the numbers. They are all somehow family-related. No one can tell me what I did and did not play. I did it honestly and I have no doubt," Battle told The Associated Press at the office of her attorney, Sheldon Starke.

Battle's suggestion on television that she had bought and lost the winning ticket "made me laugh," Jemison said.

"Let authorities handle her," she said. "It's very unfortunate that someone would think of something like this."

The lottery commission had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, said spokeswoman Mardele Cohen. Jemison, who said she had waited to come forward because she wanted to speak with a lawyer and accountant, could not be reached for comment after the suit was filed.

Jemison, who handles telephone and doctor paging duties at a suburban hospital, said she is looking forward to buying a new home, taking a vacation and sharing her prize with her family. She and her husband, Sam, have a 12-year-old daughter.

She took her winnings in an immediate lump sum of $94 million, before taxes. After taxes, it will be worth an estimated $67.2 million.

Earlier Tuesday, Starke, unaware that the lottery was validating Jemison's claim, said he intended to make a case that the winning ticket was Battle's lost property.

"If there is one type of property that is not presumed to be abandoned, it's money," he said. "Anyone who finds it is not the owner."

The Ohio Lottery says the ticket is a bearer note, which means whoever turns in a valid ticket is legally entitled to the winnings.

After learning that Jemison turned in the winning ticket, South Euclid police Lt. Kevin Nietert said he had not been able to reach Battle and her attorney by phone. "From a police department point of view, it obviously draws into question the integrity of Elecia Battle's report."

The winning ticket was sold at Quick Shop Food Mart in South Euclid, about 15 miles east of Cleveland.

Battle filed a police report saying she dropped her purse as she left the store after buying the ticket. She said she realized after the drawing last Tuesday that the ticket was missing and told police that the numbers she picked represented family birthdays and ages.








AP /Luke Palmisano

Rebecca Jemison, left, talks with reporters after claiming the $162 million Mega Millions jackpot Tuesday.






REUTERS/Ron Kuntz

Rebecca Jamison answers media questions after coming forward to claim the $162 million Mega Millions jackpot prize in Cleveland, January 6, 2004. Jamison discovered she won the large amount after picking up her local newspaper outside her doorstep on New Year's Eve. Another woman claimed she had the winning ticket, but lost it in a parking lot.






REUTERS/Ron Kuntz

Rebecca Jamison answers media questions.






REUTERS/Ron Kuntz

Rebecca Jamison, quite excited about winning the $162 million Mega Millions jackpot.






REUTERS/Ron Kuntz

Rebecca Jamison is all smiles as she came forward to claim the $162 million Mega Millions jackpot prize in Cleveland, January 6, 2004. Jamison discovered she won the large amount after picking up her local newspaper outside her doorstep on New Year's Eve. Another woman claimed she had the winning ticket, but lost it in a parking lot. In the background is Jamison's husband, Sam.






AP/ Luke Palmisano

Rebecca Jemison, left, waits with her husband, Sam, before a news conference at Ohio Lottery headquarters in Cleveland Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004. Jemison, a hospital worker in South Euclid, Ohio, turned in the lone winning ticket for the 11-state MegaMillions jackpot.






AP/ Luke Palmisano

Rebecca Jemison, left, talks with reporters after claiming the $162 million Mega Millions jackpot Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004, at Ohio Lottery headquarters in Cleveland. Jemison, a hospital worker in South Euclid, Ohio, had the lone winning ticket for the 11-state jackpot.






AP/ Luke Palmisano

Rebecca Jemison speaks about her good fortune after claiming the $162 million Mega Millions jackpot Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004, at Ohio Lottery headquarters in Cleveland. Jemison, a hospital worker in South Euclid, Ohio, had the lone winning ticket for the 11-state jackpot.






AP/ Luke Palmisano

Rebecca Jemison walks into Ohio Lottery headquarters in Cleveland with her husband, Sam, left, to claim the $162 million Mega Millions jackpot Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004. Jemison, a hospital worker in South Euclid, Ohio, turned in the lone winning ticket for the 11-state jackpot. Jemison said she came forward sooner than planned because she was angered by another woman's claim that she bought the ticket and lost it.






AP/ Tony Dejak

Elecia Battle holds open her purse Monday, Jan. 5, 2004 in Cleveland. Battle told police she dropped the purse and lost the winning $162-million Mega Millions ticket as she left the Quick Shop Food Mart in South Euclid, Ohio. The lottery said last week that the winning ticket was sold at the store.






AP/ Mark Duncan

Elecia Battle listens to her attorney during a television interview in Beachwood, Ohio, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004. Battle claims to have purchased the winning MegaMillions ticket last week but subsequently lost it. Earlier the Ohio Lottery announced another area woman, Rebecca Jemison, had won the $162 million jackpot.






AP/ Mark Duncan

Elecia Battle, center, and her husband, Jim, right, listen to their attorney, Sheldon Starke in his Beachwood, Ohio office Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004. Battle contends she lost the winning $162 million MegaMillions lottery ticket last week after purchasing it at a South Euclid, Ohio store. Earlier in the day the Ohio Lottery announced the winning ticket had been validated by another area woman, Rebecca Jemison.






AP/ Tony Dejak

LaVerne Coleman searches for the lost lottery ticket at the Quick Shop Food Mart Monday, Jan. 5, 2004, in South Euclid, Ohio. Elecia Battle told police she dropped her purse and lost the winning $162 million Mega Millions ticket as she left the Food Mart. The lottery said last week that the winning ticket was sold at the store.






AP/ Tony Dejak

A customer, bottom left, leaves the Quick Shop Food Mart Monday, Jan. 5, 2004, in South Euclid, Ohio. Elecia Battle told police she dropped her purse and lost the winning $162 million Mega Millions ticket as she left the Food Mart. The lottery said last week that the winning ticket was sold at the store.






AP/ Jamie-Andrea Yanak

Jagdish Shah, co-owner of the Quick Shop Food Mart in South Euclid, Ohio, has his earpiece removed by a television journalist, after appearing on 'Good Morning, America,' Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2003. Shah's store sold the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket for the 155 million dollar drawing. Shah recieved a check for 100,000 dollars, and a cruise for two from the Ohio Lottery.






AP/ Jamie-Andrea Yanak

Jagdish Shah, right, co-owner of the Quick Shop Food Mart in South Euclid, Ohio, jokes with customer Rod Montaque, left, while selling him a lottery ticket, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2003 Shah's store sold the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket with a $155 million jackpot.



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1 comment. Last comment 13 years ago by angelman.
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angelman's avatar - wings2
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United States
Member #536
August 4, 2002
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Posted: January 7, 2004, 11:44 am - IP Logged

Elecia Battle, she needs to find another way to make money. The other lady, Rebecca Jemison, obviously had the ticket. And bought it legally. I am glad to see someone win money like that, someone who can really use it. I wish the best for her. I hope that Elecia gets whatever she deserves for trying to steal money that way. She does not need to get any of that. She really did not seem to look or act like she was terribly upset for losing a winning lottery ticket. Especially that amount. I am sure that anybody else would have been totally upset. She just did not give me the impression that she even had that ticket in the first place. Good luck Rebecca.