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16-Year-Old Won’t Get Lottery Share

October 26, 2000 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ It turns out only 12 of the 13 employees at a Starbucks will share an $87 million lottery jackpot.

State lottery officials had said all 13 would share the winnings. But Keana Essex, a 16-year-old high school junior who works part time at the coffee shop, is ineligible because she is under 18.

But all is not lost _ the winnings will go to her mother instead.

``It’s really a big blessing,″ Kellye Richard, Keana’s mother, said Wednesday.

The single mother of four, who has held as many as three jobs at a time, said the money will help her entire family, including other children who are 7, 11 and 18.

Mary Ann Champaine, the store manager who bought 13 $1 tickets for her workers, said she knew all along that the 16-year-old was ineligible and had asked her mother if she wanted to be included in the pool.

Champaine, 53, fronted the money for several of the workers, who have since paid her back.

Lottery officials didn’t notice that a worker’s mother was among the winners when they announced the employees had won. The 13 winners will each get $6.7 million, before taxes, over 26 years.