Every week, eight employees at the Hacienda Hills Country Club in The Villages, Florida, get together and buy lottery tickets. Each one puts a dollar into the pool, and the money is used to buy the tickets. The friends always agreed that if they won, the money would get split evenly.
A few weeks ago, they hit the jackpot, winning $16 million with one lucky ticket. But that week, only seven people pitched in. Jeanette French, 72, wasn’t at work the day the winning ticket was purchased. Usually, when someone isn’t at work on lotto day, one of the others will pitch in a dollar. But nobody spotted French, and the winners say they don’t want to share with her. French feels that she has a right to one-eighth of the winnings, and she’s decided to do something about it.
French is taking her claim to court, and the judge has ordered the Florida Lottery to hold on to the winnings until a decision is made. The group chose to take a lump sum of $9 million, so if French is not included in the pot, each lotto player will get $1.3 million cash. If they decide to share with her too, everyone gets $1.1 million. Both sides have lawyers and the battle wages on.
“It’d be an awful shame for money to end friendships,” said French’s attorney Tom Culmo. But however the judge decides to end this disagreement, at least one person is going to come out of it unhappy.