Apr 2, 2012 16 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
MONEY TROUBLES: Mirlande Wilson (above) claims she purchased a winning Mega Millions ticket for herself and won’t share it with co-workers in her pool, including Davon Wilson and Suleiman Osman Husei (headline photo)
Excerpted from The New York Post:
Mega Millions mania has plunged a Maryland McDonald’s into a bubbling cauldron of controversy hotter than a deep-fried apple pie.
Workers at the fast-food joint who pooled their cash for tickets are furious at a colleague who claims she won with a ticket she bought for herself and has no intention of sharing.
“We had a group plan, but I went and played by myself. [The ‘winning’ ticket] wasn’t on the group plan,” McDonald’s “winner’’ Mirlande Wilson 37, told The Post yesterday, insisting she alone bought one of the three tickets nationwide that will split a record $656 million payout.
“I was in the group, but this was separate. The winning ticket was a separate ticket,” the single mother of seven said as she and her fiancé left her home in the squalid Westport neighborhood to attend church.
The Haitian immigrant refused to show what she said was the winning ticket, claiming she had it hidden in another location and would present it to lottery officials today.
Pressed as the day went on, she became more cagey.
“I don’t know if I won. Some of the numbers were familiar. I recognized some of [them],’’ she said. “I don’t know why’’ people are saying differently. “I’m going to go to the lottery office [today]. I bought some tickets separately.”
With winning tickets also sold in Illinois and Kansas, a single Maryland winner would get an after-tax lump sum of $105 million, or $5.59 million a year for 26 years.
If Wilson won, and if it was with a pooled work ticket, the situation would be shockingly similar to that of New Jersey lottery louse Americo Lopes, who tried to screw five former colleagues after hitting a $24 million jackpot before a jury ordered him to spread the wealth.
Wilson’s co-workers — who make little more than $7.50 an hour — are sizzling with anger over the notion.
“She can’ t do this to us!” said Suleiman Osman Husein, a shift manager and one of 15 members in the pool. “We each paid $5. She took everybody’s money!”
A man identifying himself as the boyfriend of a McDonald’s manager named Layla, who was part of the pool, said Wilson bought tickets for the group at the 7-Eleven in Milford Mill, where the winning ticket was sold.
The group’s tickets — along with a list of those who contributed to the pool — were left in an office safe at the burger joint, said the man, who gave only his first name, Allen, as he stood next to Layla. She declined to comment.
Then, late Friday, before the night’s drawing, the owner of the McDonald’s, Birul Desai, gave Wilson $5 to buy more tickets for the pool on her way home from work, and she went back to the 7-Eleven and bought them, Allen said.
Wilson took those tickets home with her, Allen said.
But Wilson insisted yesterday that she had bought the second batch with an unidentified pal — not for the pool — and that the winning ticket was among them.