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Offset Press Workers Offset Odds With AM-Lotto Bjt

August 22, 1985

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (AP) _ ″Good morning, you’re a millionaire 3/8″

With that greeting, Wilfred Jon-Ming and 20 other workers at an offset press factory learned Thursday morning that they had offset the odds by pooling $1 each to win a chunk of New York state’s $41 million lottery jackpot.

″I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t do anything. I was in shock,″ said Kevin Fleming, another of ″The Lucky 21,″ the name they signed on papers at lottery offices, agreeing to split their winnings equally.

Lottery officials said two other tickets bearing the right combination of 6 numbers out of 48 turned up in a computer check following Wednesday night’s drawing for the largest lottery prize ever in North America. The other winners were in the New York City borough of Brooklyn and Albany, officials said.

The 21 assembly workers at Hantscho Co. in Mount Vernon agreed Wednesday to chip in $1 apiece to buy lottery tickets and split any winnings.

″I came in (to work) this morning and Willie comes down the driveway beeping the horn and yelling, ‘We won 3/8 We won 3/8’ I though he was just joking,″ said Fleming, 31.

″I didn’t believe it. I really didn’t believe it,″ said Jon-Ming, 38.

Peter Lee, 38, of Yonkers, said he suggested Wednesday afternoon that the group go in together on some Lotto tickets because ″we might as well take a chance.″

He reasoned that ″with more people we might have more luck.″

Each worker chipped in $1 and played two games, filling in six numbers per game on computer cards used to process the tickets. Lee kept the tickets, while his co-worker Virat Lao, 36, of Yonkers, kept the computer cards.

Lao watched the televised drawing with his wife Wednesday night, and realized they had the winning numbers. He called Lee to make sure he hadn’t lost the ticket.

Lao said he never got to sleep that night because his phone kept ringing as word spread among the 21.

The man who chose the winning numbers, Celso Manuel Garcete, 43, of Queens, said he picked them at random.

Each of the three winning tickets was worth $13,666,667, which would be distributed in 21 annual payments of $650,793.

Each member of ″The Lucky 21″ will receive 21 annual payments of about $24,000 after taxes, according to their lawyer.

″I’m still going to work but I’m not going to make any promises,″ Fleming said. ″The company has been good to us.″

Another of the group, Jimmy Chu, 43, of Yonkers, said as far as plans for the money were concerned, ″I’m going to defer to my wife.″

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