20 Costco Employees Awarded Long Island's Biggest Lottery Prize Ever: $201.9 Million
The New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega today awarded a $201.9 million Powerball jackpot to a group of 20 Costco employees calling themselves the "1937 Flatbush Avenue Dodgers LLC" at the Melville warehouse store where they all work. The winners include:
Anthony Manzolillo, 73, of Lindenhurst, a member services employee
Earl Smith, 63, of Amityville, a member services employee
Ralph Green, 61, of Copiague, a security employee
Jasper Corso, 60, of Woodbury, a pharmacist
Carlos Torres, 60, of Farmingdale, a member services employee
Gwendolyn Paolini, 57, of Lindenhurst, a photo manager
Chris Duran, 53, of Deer Park, an assistant general manager
Maureen Prior, 49, of West Hempstead, a demonstrations employee
Cindy Magnes, 46, of Wantagh, an administration employee
Geraldine Smyth, 45, of Farmingdale, a vault clerk
Jose Garcia, 44, of Lindenhurst, a meat cutter
Ed Obarowski, 42, of Islip, a supervisor
Camille DiGiona, 41, of Lindenhurst, a payroll clerk
Joyce Malik, 41, of Selden, an administrative manager
Valerie Woolley, 41, of West Babylon, a supervisor
Kim Karkota, 37, of Mastic, a merchandise manager
Jaime VanDett, 27, of Lindenhurst, a photo department employee
James Farrelly, 27, of Lindenhurst, a supervisor
Michael Volino, 25, of Bethpage, a supervisor
Kevin Saphire, 24, of Lindenhurst, a front end supervisor
Group ticket buyer Anthony Manzolillo, 73, of Lindenhurst, explained the group's distinctive name. "I grew up on Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn so that's where that came from," he said. "And, we're all fans of the 1937 Dodgers – at least we all are now." Manzolillo purchased the group's set of winning Quick Pick numbers for the June 1st Powerball drawing at Maulik & Chandni Stationery on West Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst. The jackpot-winning numbers for the June 1st drawing were 8 - 18 - 38 - 46 - 56 - Power Ball (31). The 20 new Lottery millionaires claimed their prize on June 7th at the Lottery's Customer Service in Garden City.
The six Nassau and 14 Suffolk County winners, ranging in age from 24 to 73, began their Powerball pool just days before hitting the jackpot for $201.9 million.
"We got in when the jackpot was $144 million," explained group member Kim Karkota, 37, of Mastic. "We each paid $5 per drawing. We decided if we won anything, we would roll it right back into the pot." On May 31st, group member Anthony Manzolillo, himself a long-time Lottery player, visited the Maulik & Chandni Stationery store on West Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst to buy his usual tickets and realized he forgot something.
"I forgot the group's money!" he laughed. "I went all the way home and back to the store so I could buy our numbers so I could get in on a special deal they had on Powerball tickets." The "deal" offered Lottery players two free sets of Quick Pick Powerball numbers for every $10 spent on Powerball. Manzolillo then distributed photocopies of the group's numbers to each member of the pool. "The originals," he said, "sat on my kitchen table until after the drawing."
The morning after the June 1st drawing, Ralph Green, 61, of Copiague, got up at 4 a.m. to get ready for his shift in store's security unit, "and to check the Powerball numbers." It wasn't long before he was spreading the good news. "I called Camille [DiGiona] and said, 'We hit the Powerball last night!'" Green explained. "I think she was mad I woke her up but that didn't last long." DiGiona then called Karkota who called Manzolillo. It was Manzolillo who made the remaining 16 wake-up calls to other members of the group. By 9 a.m. on June 2nd, all 20 coworkers -- even one who was vacationing in Mexico -- knew they had won a share of a $201.9 million Powerball jackpot.
The New York Lottery can make individual payments for a group of up to 10 members. When 10 or more people share a single jackpot, the group may elect one person to receive the prize on behalf of the group, or the group may opt to form a legally established entity (with its own tax identification number) to which the Lottery will award the prize. The Costco coworkers opted to set up a legal entity called the 1937 Flatbush Avenue Dodgers LLC. The group elected to receive the prize as a single, lump sum payment equal to the cash value of the $201.9 million jackpot. The cash value of the June 1st Powerball jackpot is $106,159,637. Each member of the 1937 Flatbush Avenue Dodgers LLC will receive a share of the lump sum amount.
While all members of the 1937 Flatbush Avenue Dodgers LLC are committed to making their share of the jackpot last, there are some who have mentioned a few specific plans ranging from "moving out of my parent's house" and "upgrading my Harley [Davidson]" to "getting all my family from across the US together for a reunion" and "partying in Vegas."