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SALEM 12 share in the big payout as Lotto ticket hits for $17M



Published: Tue, February 26, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The group plays regularly but only when the jackpot exceeds $12 million.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

and NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITERS

SALEM -- Like he does most every Sunday morning, Wilbur Miller opened up a newspaper to check the Ohio Lottery numbers from the previous night's drawing.

Miller, of North Lima, buys $60 worth of lottery tickets for himself and 11 co-workers at the American Standard plant on South Ellsworth Avenue when the jackpot reaches at least $12 million.

"We don't think it's worth our while to buy tickets for less than that," he said.

When Miller opened the paper while at work and read the numbers -- 7, 8, 15, 18, 38 and 46 -- they had a familiarity to them.

At first glance: Miller checked copies he'd made of the tickets he had bought at Quaker Village at 201 S. Lincoln Ave. to see if the numbers matched. At first look, Miller saw that one of the tickets he bought had five of those numbers. That is because on the copy of the tickets, the winning one had the first line of numbers missing, he said. That meant 7 was not there.

"I thought we had five numbers and won $1,500," he said.

He then checked the original ticket he kept in his "dinner bucket" and discovered he and his co-workers had won the $17 million jackpot. They were the only winners of Saturday's Super Lotto Plus drawing.

"I didn't believe it," Miller said today. "It's unbelievable."

Getting the word out: Miller went down the stairs looking for co-workers who pool their lottery ticket money to tell them they had won. He saw Kirk Kennedy of Salem on the stairs.

"He told me we won, and I thought he was kidding," Kennedy said.

Miller ran to a telephone to call the Ohio Lottery hotline to confirm the numbers. Kennedy got on the Internet and checked the numbers on the lottery's Web site.

"It was so hard to fathom that it had actually happened," Kennedy said.

But it did happen, and reality started to set in for the 12 winners today. The workers have played the lottery together for more than 10 years, and the best they ever did before this was $1,500, Miller said.

Quaker Village's lottery computer picks the numbers for the workers at American Standard, which manufactures plumbing products and bathroom fixtures.

Taking cash: The group -- which includes 10 electric workers and two supervisors -- is electing to take the immediate cash payout of about $7.5 million instead of collecting the $17 million over a 30-year period.

The payout for each winner after taxes is $432,216.67.

The winners, who range in age from 25 to 57, say they are not going to quit their jobs. They do not know if they will continue to play the lottery.

Miller doesn't know what he's going to do with his winnings. Kennedy and others say the money will enable them not to worry about paying for their children's college tuition.

Besides Kennedy and Miller, the other American Standard winners are William Wilson Jr., George Thomas, John Toth, Jeffrey Johnson, Paul Fannin, Roger Howard, Dave Bloor, Michael Mellinger, Robert Perry and David Cibula.

Store: Dennis Kubina won't be sharing in this weekend's winning Ohio Lottery ticket, but he's still smiling today.

That's because his convenience store, Quaker Village, sold the winning Super Lotto Plus ticket to the workers.

"We're ecstatic," Kubina said Monday, speaking for himself and his employees.

The lottery commission will pay the store $10,000 for selling the winning ticket.




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