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Lawyer alleges he represents winners of $162M Mega Millions jackpot

Michael Solomon, a Greenport lawyer, shows off what

Michael Solomon, a Greenport lawyer, shows off what he says is a copy of the winning $162-million Mega Millions ticket at his office. (Dec. 31, 2009) Credit: Joel Cairo

Show me the money, says a Greenport lawyer who said Thursday he represents the winners of the record-setting $162-million Mega Millions jackpot.

Show us the winning ticket, says the New York Lottery Commission.

Attorney Michael Solomon said Thursday he represents a Suffolk County couple who won the jackpot and have already said they want the money in a lump sum, expected to be more than $100 million before taxes. Solomon said the couple chose to remain anonymous until they collect their fortune. They are a married couple who bought the winning ticket at a Rocky Point store, he said.

Lottery spokeswoman Jennifer Givner said Thursday that the winners need to bring the winning ticket to a lottery office in Garden City to claim their prize. Solomon said that could happen as soon as Monday, when lottery offices reopen after the holiday.

At his office, Solomon produced a photocopy of the winning ticket, which was dated 10:41 a.m. Monday, Dec. 21, and included the winning numbers - 3, 33, 35, 39, 45 and Megaball 13 - on its fifth and final line. The original ticket is in a secure location, he said.

State lottery officials declined a reporter's request that an official look at an e-mail of the photocopied ticket, saying the agency only authenticates original tickets.

Givner said lottery officials would like the winners to come forward to "get the validation process started." A news conference with the winners will likely be held a few days after they come in, she said.

Solomon is a lawyer with Solomon & Herrera, with offices in Greenport, Levittown and Marathon, Fla. He said his clients have spent the past several days meeting with financial planners and tax consultants, and that preparing for the life-changing award has been "a very tremendous undertaking" for the couple.

The winning numbers, drawn on Dec. 22, represent the largest-ever single ticket Mega Millions jackpot winner in New York and the largest Long Island winner in the history of the New York Lottery, officials have said. At Cards and Things, the Rocky Point store that sold the ticket, the big win has been the source of speculation about the winners since last week.

Solomon described himself Thursday as a longtime friend of the winners who has represented them legally for more than 30 years.

He described the winners' feelings as "hysteria and a beautiful thing."

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