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Powerball winners who split $1 million take it in stride; For 13 co-workers, lottery's 2nd prize 'a very nice windfall'

Today's arithmetic quiz: When a group of 13 co-workers wins a $1 million lottery jackpot, how much will each receive from the $661,800 net total?

The answer: about $50,907 apiece.

That may not be enough to retire or buy a yacht or summer beach house, but it surely can pay off some credit cards, fund some home improvements or finance a few nice trips.

Nobody will be calling them multimillionaires, but five of the 13 co-workers who won the March 31 Powerball $1 million second prize stood in front of the media Monday in the local New York Lottery office to claim their prize.

"It's a nice little nest egg," said Cynthia Sudlik of West Seneca, one of the co-workers at Multisorb Technologies. "None of us have illusions of retiring on $50,000, so it's been business as usual. We still go to work every day. But it's been a very nice windfall."

This was a shy, low-key group that stood in front of the cameras. And despite the group's official name, no one was whining.

You wouldn't know that, though, from the group's name filed on federal tax forms: "Winer 13."

There's a story behind that.

Under lottery rules and regulations, any group larger than 10 must have the net total sent to a taxable corporation or to one of the winners; it can't be broken into individual checks. This group went for the corporation and named it, for obvious reasons, "Winner 13."

"When it came back from the government, it came back with a typo, 'Winer 13' instead of 'Winner [13],' " Sudlik explained. "It was just a funny thing, so we kept it."

The group won the $1 million second prize by matching the first five numbers: 5, 14, 36, 54 and 58, but not the Powerball number, 27. No one won the $60 million Powerball jackpot that day; the Buffalo group was one of three second-prize winners in the nation, along with winning entries from Virginia and New Mexico.

Lottery rules stipulate that such a prize must be paid as a one-time lump-sum cash payment.

The drawing was March 31, so, of course, there were some hijinks the next day.

Sarah Plenty-Paige, of Buffalo, found the winning numbers on the Internet. But try giving that information to your 12 co-workers -- on April 1.

"Of course, it was April Fool's Day, so we said it can't possibly be happening," Sudlik said. "It took a couple times to hear it."

The group of 13 formed last October, throwing in about $4 a week apiece. Lottery officials say the group includes Richard Anzalone, of Grand Island; Janis Boland, of Kenmore; Leah Calkins, of Angola; Carmelita Cawthon, of Buffalo; Diane Correa, of Buffalo; Karen Dickey, of Buffalo; Michael DuVall, of Kenmore; Greg Koeppel, of Buffalo; Wayne Krytus, of Angola; Andrew McDonough, of Amherst; Nancy Pokrywa, of Depew; plus Plenty-Paige and Sudlik.

Have they won anything before?

"A little bit here and there, maybe a few dollars," Sudlik said. "We keep rolling it into more chances."

Lottery officials were asked how common it has been to have such a large group of winners.

"It's become a more popular way to go," New York Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman said, adding that the group of 13 is nowhere near a record.

Just a few months ago, in February, 110 workers in the Elmont schools on Long Island split a similar $1 million Powerball prize.

Because of different tax withholdings, those workers received anywhere from about $4,000 to $6,000 apiece.

Hey, you never know.

email: gwarner@buffnews.com