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Lottery win bad news for gas station employees

Jan 29, 2009, 11:00 am

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Store owner allegedly sold winning lottery ticket, fired staff to avoid sharing commission

Selling the winning lottery ticket turned out to be unlucky for four employees at the gas station that sold the $25.5 million ticket Jan. 3.

The employees, a former manager and three cashiers, allege that they were fired because the Wadsworth Mobil owner did not want to share the one percent commission he received for the winning ticket.

"I'm kind of sorry we sold the winning ticket only because it cost everybody their job," said former cashier Sandy Creamer.

Former manager Sabu Elvumkll of Park Ridge met with the owners on behalf of the cashiers to ask that some of the $255,000 commission be shared with the other employees.

Shortly after this meeting, Elvumkll and the other employees were let go.

The commission is paid to the gas station owner six to eight weeks after the winning ticket was sold, said Illinois Lottery spokeswoman Laura Lehmann.

"Whoever is the owner of that store would receive that one percent. Whatever they decide to do with that money is up to them," Lehmann said. "Most do put it into revitalizing their retail location."

She added that while many also share with their employees, they are under no obligation to do so.

Wadsworth Mobil owner Jose Mathew of Elmhurst said he lost about $200,000 from the land's high rent.

"God gave me the gift to cover the loss to pay back a credit card," Mathew said.

He added that he felt no obligation to share the commission with any of the employees.

Mathews said he fired Elvumkll because he was short of inventory, and said he fired the cashiers for failing to show up to work with a new manager.

The former employees all tell a different story and say it's strange that all the staff involved with the winning lottery ticket sale were replaced.

Creamer, who worked there for about nine months, said she and the others never missed a day. The cashier job was her second job, which was necessary for her to supplement her income after her husband passed away.

"I think everybody was treated unfairly — it all stems from greed," Creamer said.

Like Creamer, former cashier Donn'ye Watkins of Waukegan showed up for work last weekend and was told he wasn't needed any more. "I asked if all this was about the lottery (and) was told not to worry and that we have someone to replace you," Watkins said.

Elvumkll was taken aback at the inventory charge. He poured his own money into stocking the store when he took over its management, Watkins and Creamer said.

They added that they all ran the store and that the owner was rarely around.

"(The owner) is talking like that because he wants to fire everybody because he doesn't want to share the money," Elvumkll said.

Nasty business: four employees allege they were fired because the owner of this Wadsworth Mobil station didn't want to share his lottery bonus.
Nasty business: four employees allege they were fired because the owner of this Wadsworth Mobil station didn't want to share his lottery bonus.

Thanks to ThatScaryChick for the tip.

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