According to movie legend, seven is a magnificent number, and some very excited Mega Millions lottery winners from Albany NYC however, might just agree with that! After scooping a sensational $319m Mega Millions jackpot, the group – known as The Albany seven – were said to be in a state of ‘shock’. They claimed their prize as a group at the Lottery’s Customer Service Centre in Schenectady on March 28th 2011.
They won the huge jackpot after correctly matching all five numbers plus the Mega Ball. The Mega Millions winning numbers for the draw on March 25th were 22, 24,31,52,54, and the Mega Ball was number 4.
WHO ARE THE ALBANY SEVEN?
The Mega Millions lottery winners’ group consists of seven co-workers, all IT specialists, who work for the New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal, where they have been playing as a syndicate for many years. Taking home a $19m share of the Mega Millions jackpot each (after taxes), the group has been named as: Gabrielle Maher 29, Tracy Sussman 41, Kristin Baldwin 42, John Kutnet 54, John Hilton 57, Leon Peck 62 and Mike Barth 63.
FICKLE FINGER OF FATE
Of course it could all have turned out very differently if fate hadn’t intervened. In this case fate being a simple bar of chocolate! Mike Barth, the groups’ organiser, said he was waiting in line on Friday to buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket for his co-workers at an Albany news-stand when he reached down to grab a Snickers bar – and a man cut in front of him.
Rather than make a fuss, Barth said he let the man buy his lottery ticket – then he bought the Quick Pick ticket that happened to have the winning Mega Millions numbers on it and turned him and his friends into instant millionaires. Wonder how the queue-cutter feels now!
“I’m thinking later on, after all this went down, what if that guy would have won that ticket instead of me,” said Barth, 63, of Bethlehem N.Y.
Gabrielle Maher who watched the Mega Millions lottery draw at home with her boyfriend, said she wasn’t sure what she would do with the money. But she knows that she will at least be treating herself to a new dishwasher! And what of the man who was holding the winning ticket? John Hilton said he was so nervous when he knew they had won the Mega Millions jackpot that he sealed the ticket in 2 plastic bags and then hid it in a bucket of bird food he keeps in his basement. Hilton told reporters that when he delivered the winning ticket to the lottery offices, he actually brought the feed with him too!
There has been some controversy over the groups Mega Millions lottery triumph as it was disclosed that some members of the group who normally participated, decided on this occasion not to take part. Five co-workers bowed out of the March 25th lottery ticket purchase – which as we know turned out to be the luckiest day for the New York Mega Millions winners.
“Some of us got in and some of us didn’t,” said Gabrielle Mahar, quoting the famous lottery motto, “You’ve got to play to win.” The winners said they have not yet decided whether to share some of their winnings with the five who missed out.
The group, understandably, took the week off work, although it seems the seven co-workers still have not decided whether to retire permanently and enjoy their Mega Millions lottery winnings to the full. One of the lucky seven said staff training that had been underway for years as part of a state emergency preparedness exercise left him confident that “the people who are there are very capable of picking up if we choose not to return.”
The Mega Millions jackpot for this draw was the fifth-largest in the history of the multi-state game.