Published February 20, 2019
Thanks 437 million, Andy!
The group of 23 Long Island coworkers scored the Mega Millions’ eye-watering New Year’s Day jackpot of $437 million, lottery officials revealed Tuesday.
But like so many winners before them, the lucky Long Islanders didn’t want their names out there for vultures, and hired local attorney Eric Jaffe to help them out.
He learned that Cuomo had just vetoed a bill that would have let lottery winners stay incognito — but had also mentioned a loophole.
“If a person wishes to remain anonymous, the law already allows for such a scenario,” Cuomo wrote when nixing the legislation.
“For the past 40 years, individuals wishing to keep their name and information out of the public view have created LLCs to collect their winnings for them.”
The governor’s remark seemed like “an afterthought,” Jaffe told The Post — but they ran with it, and it worked.
“The triggering factor was Gov. Cuomo’s specific statement that you could form an LLC,” he said. “So going on that language and some history [of other cases], they opted to form the LLC.”
The winners claimed their prize as New Life 2019 LLC in January, and the moolah came through last week, he said.
Co-workers revealed as winners of New York Lottery's biggest jackpot
They opted to take a lump-sum payment of $262,213,914 — $176,155,308 after state and federal withholding, or around $7.7 million per person.
Lottery officials — who prefer to trumpet their big winners with photos and giant novelty checks — were “very nice” about the group staying under wraps, Jaffe said.
“It’s not their preference — they’re in the business of PR and they want your picture holding up the big check,” he said.
What Jaffe would reveal about the newly minted millionaires is that they all work for a retail business in the “Nassau to west-end Suffolk” area with fewer than 50 employees that is “not a chain or a big store.”
The winners are “salt of the earth … working-class folks,” Jaffe said, and many are planning on keeping their jobs.
“No one’s acting crazy, they’re getting good financial advice. There’s a long history of lotto winners going bankrupt. They’re scared straight about that,” he said.
“I know they want to travel and pay off mortgages but no one wants to buy the Yankees.”
A worker at Brookville Auto Service Shop in Glen Head, where the winning ticket was sold, said it was bought by a woman in her 60s who’s been coming in every Sunday for more than three years.
“My boss told me I sell the ticket. And I’m waiting for the day whoever win comes back and tips me. Write it down, my friend,” said Niz Aydrogan, 53.
The store will receive $10,000 from the New York Lottery for selling the ticket.
To read more from The New York Post, click here.