The Mega Millions lottery was the talk of the nation last week as it reached an epic $656 million, the record for the largest jackpot from a lottery in the United States. People that would never buy a ticket normally were taking a chance, and millions upon millions were dreaming of what they would do if somehow, someway, they won the money. Now, someone did finally win…not just one person, but three. However, drama has ensued since the winning numbers were drawn, and the popular McDonald’s fast food franchise is finally in the news for something else besides hepatitis A.
There were three winners to the Mega Millions jackpot, meaning that after weeks and weeks of no one claiming the prize, three people played the same numbers in the same drawing. The winners are in three different states: Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland. For the first two, it seems pretty cut and dry. They are entitled to one-third of the mega jackpot. But for the Maryland winner, things are getting interesting.
Mirlande Wilson works at a McDonald’s in Baltimore, Maryland. According to a couple of her co-workers, they frequently pool together funds to buy lottery tickets to supposedly increase all of their chances of winning. Mirlande claims that she bought the history-making lottery ticket herself, with no help from her co-workers. Now, as you might imagine, the co-workers are pissed, and the battle lines are drawn for a legal drama that could last for months or years.
Mirlande says that there was a “group plan” for buying lottery tickets, but the one that ended up winning her share of $656 million she bought herself, separate from her arrangements with co-workers. The co-workers disagree, saying that the ticket was purchased with their collective funds. Over fifteen employees at the McDonald’s were involved, all contributing five dollars apiece. Now, they are pissed and want their share of the pie. It has already escalated plenty, with one of her co-workers telling her that this is not worth her life, implying that they would kill her over this if necessary. Of course, Mirlande can afford some pretty good security precautions if she really is the winner.
Whether Mirlande really won the jackpot with a ticket she bought independently of the group or not, this is one of those situations that everyone thinks about when they make plans like this, but of course, no one thinks it will ever happen. Should Ms. Wilson come clean and split her $105 million share with her co-workers? Or should she at least throw a little something to each of them to show her appreciation for their loyalty of throwing down with her in previous lotteries?
Most likely, courts will decide this, because so far, Ms. Wilson has no intentions of giving anyone any of the money.
The average price of a Big Mac is $3.29 in the United States. Ms. Wilson could buy well over three million Big Macs with her take from the Mega Millions jackpot. Is all this drama really worth it?