Upstate Mega Millions Winners Thank Fate, Snickers For Good Fortune

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The seven state workers who purchased the winning ticket in last week’s $319 million Mega Millions jackpot have two things to thank for their win: fate and Snickers.

The “Albany Seven” made their first public appearance in Schenectady Thursday. They are Mike Barth, 63, of Albany, Kristin Baldwin, 42, of Clifton Park, Leon Peck, 62, of Johnstown, Tracy Sussman, 41, of Colonie, John Kutey, 54, of Green Island, Gabrielle Mahar, 29, of Colonie and John Hilton, 57, of North Greenbush.

The four men and three women are information technology workers at the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports: A Simple Twist Of Fate

Barth, who bought the winning ticket at a newsstand in downtown Albany last Friday, said the group’s fortune was sealed by the “fickle finger of fate.”

“I was at the counter. It was my turn to buy a ticket when I reached down to grab a Snickers bar from the candy display and someone reached over me, actually cut in front of me to buy a ticket,” he said. “I thought about saying something but decided to just let it slide. I bought the next ticket — the winning ticket.”

The winners tried to keep the news quiet while consulting with professional financial advisers. During that time, John Hilton kept the winning ticket hidden for safety.

“I put it in two it in Ziploc bags, put it in a five gallon bucket of bird food I had in the garage and hid it in my basement. I didn’t know what to do with it,” Hilton said.

Mahar said she was dumbfounded when she saw the numbers come up on the nightly news.

“I wrote them down and then I looked at my photocopy, I checked the ticket and I rechecked it and rechecked it and rechecked it,” Mahar said. “I just couldn’t believe it was real.”

Word spread quickly among the group. Peck figured his phone ringing after hours meant there was an equipment malfunction at work.

Sussman thought the same thing after getting the call early Saturday morning call from a co-worker. “I got on the phone and said, ‘What’s wrong now?'”

They’re each collecting checks for $19.1 million after taxes.

The new millionaires have many plans for the money.

Mahar plans to buy a new dishwasher, Barth is looking at a new set of tires and a college education for his son. Hilton said he wants to fly like a star – in first class, and Kutey just wants to go to every Disney Park with his wife.

At their official introduction, the group feasted on a large cake that resembled the winning ticket and, of course, Snickers bars.

It turns out the group has been running an office pool annd playing big jackpots over 100 million for a couple years now.

“Usually, we all throw in two bucks each drawing,” Hilton said.

The seven winners could have reportedly been eight. A co-worker had apparently decided to opt out of the pool on Friday saying that  he didn’t feel lucky.

The jackpot was the fifth-largest in the multi-state game’s history.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. pvJennyb8 says:

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  2. Andy says:

    Can you imagine what the 8th guys wife is saying to him every morning…..

    1. NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR says:

      Well Andy, put it this way. She’s not saying anything ..TO HIM..she filed for divorce the very next day..WHAT A LOSER…

  3. Jon says:

    The kicker or mutilplier doesnt include the jackpot only the prizes below the jackpot…the Lottery isnt that generous

  4. jesus says:

    the blacks dont win because they spend all of their money on expensive escalades while recieving free lunch at school. they have already won

    1. MRS. I. UNDERSTAND says:

      @ “jesus”..How dare you first off hide behind such a name like that ?..Secondly, it is evident that you lack not only common sense but a 2nd grade education..were you every taught that it’s I BEFORE E EXCEPT AFTER C..?
      It’s ignorant morons like you that use these types of forums to spew your inner anger, racial hatred.
      Stick to the subject at hand if you can..It’s about a winning lottery ticket. When the machine generates a winning ticket it has no racial knowledge of the receipient.

      GET A LIFE..AND AN EDUCATION..

  5. Tina says:

    THE GAME IS FOR WHITES ONLY!! BECAUSE THAT IS ALL THAT WIN THE LOTTERY.

    1. Devil Whitey says:

      Tina,

      Is your last name Urkel, by chance?

  6. Kiki says:

    Congratulation$ to the “Lucky 7!” $pend it wi$ely.

  7. MRS. I. UNDERSTAND says:

    IT’s all about..LUCK..LUCK..LUCK and of course being in the right store..right time..right machine…and of course..THE RIGHT NUMBERS..

    I’ve been in the search for years and just awaiting my ship to pull in…

    CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. laura says:

      what kind of idiot doesnt play the kicker, it was 4 times the win for one extra dollar. they could have won one BILlION dollars if they played the kicker,

      anyone who thinks black people dont win need to look at the winners page in Detroit lotterys

  8. Peter says:

    to the truth that’s because the white people play for the big $$$ and the rest play pick it & pick 4 oh ye can’t forget the stratch offs

  9. p8nt says:

    State employee’s shouldn’t be eligible for the lottery.

  10. THE TRUTH says:

    HAVE ANYONE NOTICED IT THAT, HOW COME ONLY WHITE PEOPLES WIN THE LOTTERY

    1. False Information says:

      @ “Truth”…smells like racial jealousy. Try and utilize those “brain-cells” to recall the BLACK correction officer from BROOKLYN who won the mega when the ticket she requested…Powerball..was mistakenly giving to her.

      Think outside the ignorant box..the lottery machine has no eyes..

    2. Stan says:

      BECAUSE WHITE PEOPLE DON’T PLAY WITH SCARED MONEY…

    3. jayne says:

      You all seem to be forgetting the Famous Curtis Sharp. Celebrity winner of 5.6 million in 1982.

      I see a lot of sour grapes here.

      1. Curtis Sharp says:

        I still gots my white derby. But that’s all I gots!

  11. Olivia B says:

    if one of the group opt d out, that was his choice.
    respect it! he’s out.!

    1. Stan says:

      HE WAS PROBABLY NOT WHITE

  12. Bill says:

    What a lot of people don’t realize, due to the nature and exact timing of quick pick purchases, is that the seven people won because of that one person’s failure to play. That hesitation in that one person deciding to play or not to play was all key in the win. Had that one person played, the timing of everything (even if off a couple seconds) could have caused someone else to win (either in the same store or another state). Due to the slightest change in arrival time and purchase at store would create a different outcome. That mega-millions ticket had to have been purchased at the exact second that it was purchased, otherwise, it would have been a different combination. I do think this non-player should be given some $$ for his failure to play. It will never be proven, but most likely, he caused the others to win.

    1. ItsStillOneInABijillion says:

      what school of statistics did you graduate from? the timing of the ticket being bought has nothing do with it.

      1. Bill says:

        Correct – timing would not make a difference if you selected your own numbers, but it does with a quick-pick (random generated numbers).

      2. jayne says:

        Since most random number generators use time to seed the generator, time has EVERYTHING to do with it.

    2. Steve says:

      Your kidding me right? Do i get a cut for not playing the lottery too?

  13. Glo says:

    The person who cut in front of the guy on the line must be kicking him or herself royally. Loser!!!!!!

  14. brooklyn4ever says:

    I am so happy for them!!!!!! Our office plays $5 per person, usually alot more people than 7 play and this gives us hope that it can actually be us someday standing there with Yolanda Vega! I hope they all have wonderful “rest of their lives”!

  15. sigh says:

    I am the guy who opted out. Heading out to buy some rope.

  16. DP says:

    Collectively they should give the guy some money…I cannot imagine that guy who bailed living with himself over the long haul..this will be hanging over him like a black cloud forever..some money would ease that pain

    Have a heart winners give hime some $$$$

    1. SNC says:

      TOTALLY!!!!!

      He chipped in every other time…

  17. JIM says:

    I THINK ITS REALY A SHAME THAT THESE PEOPLE ONLY GET 19 MILLION AFTER TAXES. THERE SHOULD BE A JACKPOT OF TAX FREE WINNINGS AND GIVE PEOPLE A BREAK.

    1. Kiki says:

      I so agree with you. I understand the Euro lotteries are tax-free!

    2. jayne says:

      In Jessey, lottery winnings are tax free (from state taxes anyway)

  18. SNC says:

    Come on people, give the poor guy a cut!!!! Have a heart

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