Five co-workers, and members of a long-standing lottery syndicate, scooped the $36 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot from the Mega Millions lotto draw held on June 11th 2010. The lucky five – known only by their first names – had the winning Mega Millions numbers 6, 13, 33, 34, 42 and mega ball of 25. The Michigan Lottery Commissioner M. Scott Bowen said the prize is the seventh largest in Michigan history to date. Michigan’s last Mega Millions jackpot was won in October of 2008.
Acting as group spokesperson Bernard “B.J.” Thelen, 51, of Portage identified his team mates by their first names only - Rick, Randy, Randy and Larry. Jokingly he said that if he had revealed his friends’ last names, “they would break my arms”. The Mega Millions lottery jackpot winners’ ages range from 47 to 60, and Thelen said the acronym of their syndicate club is made up of the first letters of each man’s first name.
The lucky quintet also declined to confirm the name of their workplace, although Thelen hinted it is associated with the automotive industry. He went on to tell how he and his co-workers had been buying lottery tickets twice a week for around three years and their largest prize to date was $150. The club originally had “14 or 15 members,” he said, “but as Mega Millions went up and down, people started dropping out.”
The five Michigan Mega Millions lotto winners have opted to take the lump-sum value of $23 million after taxes. And assuming their winnings are split equally, each man will take home a share worth around $4.5 million for their Mega Millions lottery jackpot. The winning ticket was one of six purchased at One Stop Mart, 2536 Sprinkle Rd., in Kalamazoo. The store itself will receive a commission of $50,000.
Thelen told reporters that The One Stop Mart has always been his favourite location for lottery tickets. “It’s on the way home,” he said. The day after the draw Thelen stopped by the One Stop to check the numbers on his latest batch of tickets. One of the tickets was a $2 winner. He said when he scanned the last ticket, the computer told him to contact the merchant. As Thelen and the One Stop cashier checked his ticket, they realized it had all of the winning Mega Millions numbers on it.
“I got home and woke my wife up, and asked her what she wanted for our 25th wedding anniversary,” Thelen said. His wife was hoping to take a day trip to the beach. “I think that’s on hold,” Thelen told her, before breaking the good news.
His wife’s advice: “Get a safety deposit box.” Thelen said he did just that. It appears Michigan’s latest Mega Millions lotto winners are planning very sensible ways to spend their winnings by taking advice from financial advisers and paying off mortgages and any debts as a priority. But the men have not decided whether or not to quit their jobs. Thelen declined to say if he or any of his co-workers would be resigning soon.
“I’m still trying to get used to it,” he said. “And we’re all trying to stay sedate.”
Forty-two states participate in the Mega Millions lotto game, which has drawings every Tuesday and Friday.