Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mega Millions a mega prize for 18 Ground Zero workers: 'It's a great way to start New Year'

BY Lukas I. Alpert and Bill Hutchinson

Ground Zero construction workers won $250,000
A group of 18 Ground Zero construction workers won $250,000 on Mega Millions Christmas Eve.

Hardworking Ground Zero hardhats struck gold on Christmas Eve, hitting a $250,000 lottery jackpot.

The 18 workers on the transit hub at the World Trade Center site were winners of the Mega Millions drawing that night by picking five of six numbers.

"It's a great way to start off the new year," said foreman Patrick Hickey, 44, of Westbury, L.I. "We are all ecstatic."

The guys - who work for a number of different trade unions - have been running a workplace pool for a year-and-a-half, each tossing $5 into a pot once a week.

Until Dec. 24, they hadn't won a dime, but that night, they almost walked off with a $168 million bonanza.

Using the automatic Quick Pick option, they correctly had the numbers 15, 16, 27, 40 and 52, but 18 for the Mega Ball - which was two digits off from the winning number 16.

"I can't even think about that," said carpenter John Kennedy, 47, of Richmond Hill, Queens, who purchased the $90 block of tickets at a newsstand in the shadow of the fast-rising Freedom Tower.

"This was still pretty amazing," he said. "It's a great little Christmas present."

The pool later swelled to $380 million, the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history. It was won by two people in Tuesday's drawing - one in Washington State and the other in Idaho.

The unexpected year-end bonus has just made its way to their pockets. Lottery rules require that any group of winners larger than 10 must set up a corporation - complete with tax ID number - to distribute the funds.

Attorneys at law firm O'Dwyer and Bernstein offered their services pro bono.

"Winning the lottery on Christmas Eve is certainly good karma for the 1 World Trade Tower," said senior partner Brian O'Dwyer. "It's one of the most fun cases we've had."

After taxes, the group got a check of $165,075, which works out to $9,170 each.

"It's not a life-changing thing, but every little bit helps," said laborer Mike Perrone, 48, of East Islip, L.I. "I think my wife's got it spent already."

Most plan to put the money in the bank or use it to pay bills, but some had other ideas.

"Maybe I'll go on a little vacation with the wife and kids," Hickey said. "I hear Aruba is pretty nice at this time of year."


  1. Losing numbers are 608. Rot in hell UNITY TEAM !

  2. funny how they got O'Dywer involved - did joey have anything to do with it??

  3. The story is wrong this was the first time they played together.


I would ask that if you would like to leave a comment that you think of Local 157 Blogspot as your online meeting hall and that you wouldn’t say anything on this site that you wouldn’t, say at a union meeting. Constructive criticism is welcome, as we all benefit from such advice. Obnoxious comments are not welcome.