MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – A retired school principal is the sole winner of the $326 million Mega Millions jackpot drawn on Nov. 4, the biggest prize in New York Lottery history, officials announced Monday.
Harold Diamond, 80, of the Sullivan County town of Wurtsboro, said he bought the ticket at a highway service center where he had stopped at his wife's insistence to wait out a storm on Election Day. As they ate lunch at the Valero on Route 302 in Middletown, Diamond noticed the flashing Mega Millions sign and decided to spend $10 for 10 sets of Quick Pick numbers.
"I put the ticket in my wallet and forgot about it," Diamond said in a statement released by New York Lottery. "I went to play golf the next day and the guys in the clubhouse were talking about the jackpot-winning ticket someone bought at a Valero on Route 302, and I thought, wait a minute — I bought a ticket there last night!"
Diamond said he dashed home, checked his tickets and found he had the winner.
"I was in a dither, a real daze," said Diamond, who retired as principal of George L. Cook Elementary School in Monticello in 1995.
The New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega presented a giant ceremonial check to Diamond on Monday. He has chosen to take the cash value of the annuitized prize, which comes to about $130 million after taxes.
Diamond says his plans for the money include helping family and "giving back to the local community."
He said he owes his good fortune to his wife, Carol, a retired Goshen High School math teacher.