NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CN) – A $500,000 Powerball jackpot winner doesn’t have to split her money with her estranged sister, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Theresa Sokaitis, 87, sued her sister, Rose Bakaysa, 84, in 2005 after Bakaysa refused to give Sokaitis any of her winnings that Sokaitis split with their brother. Sokaitis said the two signed a contract years ago to share all gambling winnings.
“There is something in this tragedy that touches most people,” New Britain Superior Court Judge Cynthia Swienton wrote before adding that the court “is powerless to repair the discord and strife that now overshadows the once harmonious sisterly relationship.”
Sokaitis says she and her sister signed a contract 10 years ago in which they agreed to split all winnings. But Bakaysa says the deal ended in 2004 following an argument over a couple hundred dollars, The Associated Press reported.
Sokaitis sued, but a judge dismissed the lawsuit under a Connecticut law that bans gambling contracts.
The state Supreme Courtm ruled the case could go to trial.
But Swienton ruled that the contract ended during the argument, and that it was Sokaitis who told her sister that she didn’t want to be her partner anymore. The two quit buying lottery tickets, going to the casinos or gambling together.