One of Three Winning Tickets Held by 21 Co-Workers : 22 Claim Shares of Largest U.S. Lotto

Associated Press

Twenty-one factory workers who shared one ticket and a Brooklyn man claimed two-thirds of New York state's $41-million lottery jackpot Thursday, and officials waited for a call from the holder of the third winning ticket in North America's largest prize ever.

Each of the three winning tickets is worth $13,666,667, which would be distributed in 21 annual payments of $650,793.

That means each member of "The Lucky 21"--the name they signed on papers at lottery offices--will receive 21 annual payments of about $24,000 after taxes, according to their lawyer.

Other Winner Not Identified

Lottery Director John Quinn, who confirmed their winning ticket, refused to identify the other known winner except to say that he is a Brooklyn man. The third winning ticket was bought in Albany.

The lucky 21, who work at the Hantscho Co., an offset press manufacturer in the New York City suburb of Mount Vernon, told reporters that they had agreed to pool $21 to play and split any winnings.

"I just thought it was a good idea" to play together, said Peter Lee, 38, of Yonkers. "We're like a family here. We have a good relationship with our bosses. We decided to take a chance."

One of the 21, Wilfred Jon-Ming, said he got the good news when he arrived at work. "People said: 'Good morning, you're a millionaire!' " he said.

Another employee, Kevin Fleming of Mount Vernon, said he didn't realize that one of the group's 42 plays had been a winner until he arrived at work.

'We won, we won!'

"Willie comes down the driveway, beeping the horn and yelling: 'We won, we won!' " Fleming said. "I thought he was just joking . . . . I looked at the piece of paper I had, and there in the (newspaper) was the number. I couldn't eat. I couldn't do anything. I was in shock."

The 21 signed an agreement Thursday morning to split the money equally, Fleming and other workers at the Hantscho Co. said.

After Wednesday's drawing, lottery computers whirred through the night to determine whether any of the record 36.1 million $1 bets held the winning combination of 14, 17, 22, 23, 30 and 47.

Lottery officials placed the odds of picking the winning combination at 6.1 million to 1.

Bettors wagered a record $15.1 million Wednesday, exceeding the previous one-day high for New York state lottery sales, $13.2 million set Tuesday, said James Nolan, regional lottery director for New York City.

The pace averaged 17,654 bets per minute through Wednesday at the state's 3,500 Lotto outlets, peaking at about 21,000 between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. and tapering off until windows closed at 8 p.m.

The record-setting ticket-buying frenzy generated an estimated $40 million for state schools, Quinn said.

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