Office Tussle Over $118 Million Lottery Ticket

     CHICAGO (CN) – Four bakery workers sued the winners of a $118 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot, claiming they were members of the office pool that bought the winning ticket, but their co-workers cut them out of it.
     The four plaintiffs filed three complaints in Cook County Chancery Court, against their former co-workers, who were recognized as winners of the May 4 jackpot, and against Northstar Lottery Group dba the Illinois Lottery.
     All the individual plaintiffs and defendants worked at Pita Pan, a wholesale flatbread bakery in Chicago Heights. The plaintiffs say they all participated in a workplace lottery pool.
     “The purpose of the office pool was for each of its members as a joint venture and partnership to contribute money towards the purchase of a set of Illinois Lottery tickets for the office pool and if any of the Illinois State Lottery tickets were winning tickets, all of the members of the office Pool would share the winnings equally,” according to J. Santo Bello’s complaint.
     Similar complaints were filed by Nikko Chamopoulos, and by Jose Franco and Marco Medina, together. Citations in this story are from Bello’s complaint.
     “On or about May 1, 2012, one of the tickets purchased by the office pool won approximately $9.00 from Illinois State Lottery ticket drawing,” the complaint states.
     “At some point prior to May 1, 2012, the agreed upon procedure by the office pool for such winnings was to roll them over towards the purchase of future Illinois State Lottery tickets; …
     “The winnings from the May 1, 2012 lottery drawing were used by the joint venture and partnership of the office pool to purchase tickets for the Mega Millions jackpot May 4, 2012 drawing; …
     “On May 4, 2010, one of the tickets that was purchased on May 2, 2012 with the rolled over winnings of the May 1, 2012 drawing was the winning Illinois State Lottery Mega Millions jackpot ticket;
     “The May 4, 2012 winning Mega Millions jackpot ticket was for a total of $118,000,000.00. …
     “Subsequent to the May 4, 2012 drawing, the defendants have refused to share and equally distribute the winnings of the Mega Millions jackpot to each of the members of the office pool as previously agreed.”
     Bello claims that “the defendants have presented the winning Illinois State Lottery Mega Millions lottery ticket to the State of Illinois Department of Revenue for distribution to the defendants and not the office pool.”
     He and his co-plaintiffs seek a declaration that the office pool constituted a joint venture, want the defendants ordered to share the $118 million equally among all members of the office pool. They also seek damages for constructive trust and breach of contract.
     Bello is represented by Steven Seidman; Franco and Medina by Erron Fisher with Fisher & MaMonica; and Chamopoulos by Michael Baird with Stotis & Baird.

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