Family feud over jackpot

Often, gamblers decide to pool their resources and share both the costs and the gains from their gambling. Lottery clubs are the best example of this. Sometimes, though, it ends badly, as in this Connecticut case. From the Boston Globe:

For years, Theresa Sokaitis and Rose Bakaysa were the closest of siblings, whiling away long hours over card tables and slot machines, and sharing countless lottery tickets. They always played the same numbers. If one won, they both did. All pots were split 50-50.

Now, in a bitter family feud that seems ripped from a Hollywood script, the elderly widows are locked in a protracted legal battle over a $500,000 lottery jackpot, with Sokaitis saying she is rightfully owed a share of the winnings.Yesterday, the two faced off in New Britain Superior Court, with testimony focusing on whether a notarized, decade-old compact between the sisters to share any gambling proceeds was in effect when their longtime lottery numbers came in.

In 2005, Bakaysa, an 87-year-old from Plainville, Conn., won the Powerball prize with her brother, Joseph F. Troy Sr. Sokaitis, an 84-year-old from Middletown, quickly sued for breach of contract, saying her sister had violated their agreement to split all gambling proceeds equally.The contract, dated April 12, 1995, stated, “We are partners in any winning we shall receive. Such as slot machines, cards, at Foxwoods Casino, and tickets, etc..’’

The sisters, who had gambled together for years — going to Foxwoods as often as three times a week and buying a profusion of lottery tickets — drew up the deal after winning $165,000 at a casino. The printed, single-page document included their names, Social Security numbers, and signatures, and was notarized by an accountant.

But about a year before the winning lottery draw, the sisters had a fight over a loan of some $250 that one had made to the other. The fight became a bitter split. And Bakaysa’s lawyer, William Sweeney of Connecticut, contends the feuding sisters nullified their agreement to split winnings.

via Sisters feud over $500k lottery jackpot – The Boston Globe.

While gambling and losing is bad, gambling and winning can create its own problems.

2 thoughts on “Family feud over jackpot”

  1. Yes. Gambling and winning can become its own nightmare. I always wondered how people can figure out how to split a ‘parntership win’. The check is usually made out to an individual who is required to pay taxes on the full amount. How can he correctly ‘portion out’ a fair amount? His tax calculation might not be correct and it might take three years to be free of potential tax liablities.

    I personally would stay away from all partnership arrangements. Especially with family. Me and my own older brother couldn’t even split a candy bar fairly. Older brothers usually feel entitled to a 60-40 spilt.

    In gambling, my motto is “every man for himself”.

  2. I once had a guy want to go into a 50-50 partnership. He invented something and wanted me to market the thing. I got some major department store accounts for him and things were ready to roll. THEN, he came over one night and wanted to adjust the partnership agreement to 33% and to include his wife as the other, third partner.

    The new proposal irked me (to say the least) and I told the guy: “Include me out Ace”.

    I gave him all the account info, ads and package designs and told him to take a flying leap and that he was 100% free to do everything himself.

    It wasn’t “the principal…it was the money”.

    His invention ended up rusting away and he lost a good friend.
    I always remember the case of the Warner Bros. They became multi-millionaires from their family, movie-making partnership. Yet, almost every single day they hated each other and went to great efforts to prove it to one-another.

    As for me…I’d rather have 100% of nothing, than 50% of an anger-filled and bitter, million-dollar partnership.

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