“The Albany Seven” who stepped forward Thursday to claim their $319 Mega Millions lottery winnings might have been “The Albany Twelve” had the usual members of the office pool participated.
Each of the seven IT specialists and program managers from the New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal in Albany will receive $19,129,571 each after taxes are siphoned off their lump sum pay outs. Individual hauls from last Friday’s drawing might have been slimmer had not five co-workers who usually chipped in $2 each whenever the stakes reached $100 million declined to participate.
“I don’t think they’ll cut me in. I don’t think they should. I don’t deserve it,” one of the five non-participants told ABC News. “Mike,” who declined to provide his last name, said neither he nor the other four who opted out resented their colleagues’ good fortune. “These seven were the hardest working state employees I’ve ever come across . . . . I’ll be sad to see them leave,” he said.
“We are pretty buttoned up,” explained John Hilton, 57, one of the new millionaires. “We keep a check list of who’s in and who’s out for any particular drawing . . . . . We have a list every time you get in and if you’re not, you get a line through your name and you’re out,” said Hilton.
Mike Barth, 63, purchased the winning ticket at Coulson’s News in Albany. He would have had a losing ticket, had it not been for a customer who shoved in front of him while he was grabbing a Snickers bar from the display. “I thought about saying something, but let it slide,” he told reporters.
The other winners are Gabrielle Mahar, 29, John Kutey, 54, Tracy Sussman, 41, Kristin Baldwin, 42, and Leon Peck, 63.
While the winners talked about new dishwashers, Disney trips, and a liberation from college tuition woes, “Mike,” told ABC News “I just wasn’t feeling lucky that day.” Then he went back to work.