A group of 20 co-workers from the shipping department at a Cedar Rapids cereal plant stepped forward Wednesday to claim a $241 million Powerball jackpot.
The group, which formed a trust calling itself The Shipping 20, chose to receive the jackpot as the lump-sum option of $160.3 million. Members of The Shipping 20 said they have played Powerball together for years, with each person chipping in $5 for tickets, but only when the jackpot was $100 million or higher. Each member of the group – 18 men and two women – each will receive about $8 million ($5.6 million after withholding taxes).
Members of the group range in age from 35 to 64 and all live in and around Cedar Rapids. All are long-time employees of the Quaker Oats plant and are members of Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. On the job, they ship out boxes of Quaker Oats cereal from the plant. At least 11 members of the group said they would retire after winning the prize.
According to lottery officials, the group laughed that they had the worst-kept secret in the state, as word of their win in the June 13 Powerball drawing had spread like wildfire -- first through the Quaker Oats Co.plant in downtown Cedar Rapids where they worked and then nearly as quickly through the community.
A man identified only as Al, 61, buys the tickets for the group and said he had just recently planned to tell a neighbor the good news, only to learn that the neighbor already knew.
“So, yeah, it’s the worst-kept secret, I guess,” he told lottery officials.
Lawyers for the group stated that the members of The Shipping 20 want their individual names to remain confidential and intend to request an injunction to that effect, which is allowed under Iowa’s Open Records law. The lottery believes the names are public and should be disclosed, but understanding the specifics of the law, the lottery has agreed to give the group 10 business days to seek an injunction.
Al, who bought the group’s tickets, said he has worked at the plant for nearly 30 years and plans to keep working until Sept. 1.
“I feel bad for Quaker. It’s a busy time of year so it’s going to be hard on the guys who are there, so I kind of feel sorry for them,” he said. “I’ll stick around as much as I can.”
This was the same drawing that produced three $1 million winners and one $2 million winner from tickets sold at west Broward Publixes.