Hmm, this seems more like that other Lottery than a nice friendly Village game among friends:
Seven members of a lottery pool in this huge retirement community are accused of cutting out an eighth member from a $16 million jackpot, according to a lawyer representing the woman who is suing to get her share.
Oh boy -- nothing in writing, an alleged custom and practice that the other friendly Villagers will surely disavow, oral agreements regarding potentially large sums of money.
"It's unfortunate," said Eric Shane, a Miami lawyer for Jeanette French, 72, who has been a member of the weekly pool for nine years and stands to lose a $1.1 million cut. "She really did consider them friends."
French and all but one of the pool members had worked together at the Hacienda Hills Country Club golf shop in The Villages, which bills itself as America's friendliest hometown. One of the members is listed as the club pro, Robert Jacobus.
But cutting out French, each of the pool members would collect an extra $165,265.53, pre-tax.
According to a civil lawsuit filed in Sumter County, the lottery group's usual practice was to collect money from each player, write the player's name on an envelope and then deposit the tickets in the envelope.
Shane said the group ordinarily covered the $1 entry fee for a pool member who was not at work or who did not have the cash on hand. French was not at work when the money was collected for the Dec. 15 drawing.
But, according to a sworn statement signed by French, pool member Richard Ciccone, 69, called her at home and asked if she wished to play. She said she did. When she arrived for work Dec. 16 — before the players had checked the ticket against the drawing's numbers — Ciccone informed French, "You owe me money" and she paid him.
He then gave her the ticket to check the numbers.
Shane said French compared the numbers and excitedly told Ciccone that they had won and gave him the ticket to doublecheck.
"She didn't think twice about keeping the ticket," Shane said. "They were all friends."
But French was forced to file a lawsuit last week to protect her right to an eighth of the jackpot because she learned that the other pool members planned to split the winnings only seven ways.
"Upon learning of the winning ticket, I was coldly informed that despite my conversation on Dec. 11 with Ciccone, and my years of consistent contribution and membership, my name was 'left off the envelope' and I would not take part in sharing the lottery winnings," French said in an affidavit, which was attached to the lawsuit.
Does anyone think Eric has a case?
BTW, note to the nice looking guys at Ferrer Shane -- why are all of you folding your arms?
Body language experts tell us folding your arms is defensive, suggesting a closed mind and unwillingness to hear what the person across from you has to say.
On second thought, maybe not a bad pose for a lawyer.