Another suit over $118 million lottery prize
June 7, 2012 5:43AM
Updated: July 9, 2012 6:12AM
Another person has filed a lawsuit in the dispute over who’s entitled to the $118 million Mega Millions jackpot won by a group of Chicago Heights workers last month.
Chris Tzinis, of Schiller Park, filed suit Wednesday against 18 former co-workers at the Pita Pan bakery and four other workers who had sued previously.
Jose L. Franco and Marco Medina, both of Chicago, last month sued 12 former co-workers at Pita Pan and Northstar Lottery Group, which runs the Illinois Lottery. J. Santos Bello and Nikko Chamopoulos later in May filed separate lawsuits against the 12, Franco, Medina, Northstar and the Illinois Lottery.
The suits all claim the plaintiffs regularly participated in a lottery pool at the bakery. Two of the tickets won a total of $9 in the May 1 drawing, and the $9 was among the money used to buy tickets for the May 4 drawing, according to the lawsuits.
They contend that after the group won the jackpot for the May 4 drawing, defendant Mario Juarez, on behalf of the lottery pool, informed the plaintiffs that they were excluded from the pool because they had not given more money for that drawing.
Juarez collected money for the May 4 drawing on Wednesday instead of Thursday that week, which was a “departure from the usual custom and practice” and prevented the plaintiffs from being able to contribute for that drawing, according to the lawsuits.
The plaintiffs seek to stop Northstar from paying out the jackpot until it’s determined who has a legal claim to the money. Otherwise, the defendants likely would spend some of the money, making it difficult for the plaintiffs to recover their share, the suits say.