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48 Philly transit workers win $172M Powerball jackpot

Apr 30, 2012, 8:15 am

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Powerball

Trains and subways might zip along a little faster in Philadelphia this week after a group of 48 transit workers hit a $172 million Powerball lottery jackpot.

The workers, who will get about $3 million apiece, are choosing to remain anonymous, but range in rank from senior managers in the purchasing department to "a favorite janitor," according to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) spokesman Richard Maloney.

"They have all asked to be anonymous on this. When you get a windfall, it's easy to be joyous for a second, and then, you know, you don't want everybody in the world to know," Maloney said.

A worker leaving SEPTA headquarters said "no comment" and it was clear he was not changing his mind.

"Some are talking about retiring; some have already said 'no, we're going to continue working.' It's a lot of money, but if you're a young person that's not a whole lot of money," Maloney said.

The workers range in experience with the company, from just under a year to close to 40 years service, and all work in the headquarters in Philadelphia. The "floating pool" the workers took part in has been going on for years, with certain members joining in or sitting a week out depending on personal choice, Maloney said.

It turns out, an IT technician who usual contributes to the pool did not this time.

"She didn't pay up recently, they sent her an email and she didn't respond so she was out on the winnings," SEPTA employee Mitch Schwed said.

Maloney said the 48 SEPTA employees range the whole gamut of workers from upper management, finance, purchasing and union members.

This week, for the $172 million Powerball, workers each put in $5 to buy 120 tickets.

The winning ticket was sold three blocks down from SEPTA headquarters at the News Stand at the Gallery, 9th and Market streets in Center City.

"We're excited to have sold this jackpot-winning Powerball ticket in Pennsylvania, and this will be the second Powerball jackpot we get to award in just five months," Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Todd Rucci said. "Today also marks the 23rd anniversary of the April 26, 1989, Super 7 drawing that awarded $115.5 million to 14 winning tickets and still holds the record as the largest jackpot awarded by the Lottery."

Maloney said that despite winning it big this week, no employees had tendered their resignation or booked trips to Hawaii yet.

"Not so far. While it's a lot of money for anybody, for a young person who still has a career, to continue working, it's a nice cushion. If they're nearing retirement, it's a nice nest egg," Maloney said.

Many of the winners worked on the 11th floor, in purchasing, he noted, and are well-versed in managing finances.

"You go up there, you feel the vibe. It's just so great just to walk up on the floor, just to hear somebody that close to you won," SEPTA employee Cynthia Griffin said.

One of the winners was a janitor which thrilled his buddies on the custodial staff.

"I'm very happy he won, he always said when he wins, he wins it with a whole lot of money and he done it today," coworker Wanda Alexander said.

Maloney said some of the winners were very coy about their new found wealth, while others were "dancing in the hallway."

The Pennsylvania Lottery said that no winners had officially come forward yet.

"We're excited to have sold this jackpot-winning Powerball ticket in Pennsylvania, and this will be the second Powerball jackpot we get to award in just five months," Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Todd Rucci said. "Today also marks the 23rd anniversary of the April 26, 1989, Super 7 drawing that awarded $115.5 million to 14 winning tickets and still holds the record as the largest jackpot awarded by the Lottery."

On Thursday, standing in front of the store where the winning Powerball ticket was sold, Rucci presented the owner of the News Stand at the Gallery with a $100,000 check for selling that jackpot-winning ticket. Rucci said the store had been a lottery retailer since 2001.

The Powerball winning numbers for Wed., Apr. 25 were 4, 25, 29, 34, and 43, with Powerball number 29.

Powerball drawings are held each Wednesday and Saturday night at 11:00 pm Eastern Time.  The winning numbers are published at USA Mega (www.usamega.com) minutes after the drawing.

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