50 Local Hoover Co. Employees Claim Record Jackpot

By PAUL SINGER, Associated Press Writer

NORTH CANTON, Ohio (AP) - Fifty Hoover Co. employees who routinely work seven days a week can now afford a day off.

They claimed the Super Lotto Plus game's advertised $75 million jackpot, an Ohio Lottery record, at the lottery's Canton regional office on Monday.

Each will receive $458,700 after taxes. The employees all work in the motor assembly department at the vacuum cleaner manufacturer and have been working seven days a week, some for up to five years.

Elaine Randle said she has worked seven days a week for three years, since her daughter went to college.

"Everybody who works here needs the money. Anybody that's in this department really needs it. We have worked so hard," she said.

Jim Steigerwald, 54, said he has been working seven days a week for five years. "Not anymore. I'm done. I walked in today and told my foreman, 'I'm going to five days,'" he said.

The co-workers gathered at the far end of the lottery office parking lot and walked together to file the claim. Some chanted, "Show me the money."

The crowd cheered when the winning ticket was validated by the lottery. It was the only ticket sold with all six numbers for the drawing Saturday night, Ohio Lottery spokeswoman Mardele Cohen said.

The winners asked for the cash option, which means they shared $22.9 million after federal and state taxes. The discounted cash option is the amount the lottery would have to set aside to pay the advertised jackpot in annual installments.

Lottery officials went to Woodlawn Market in Canton on Monday to present a $75,000 check to its owner, Ken Wilcox, for selling the winning ticket.

The winning numbers Saturday night were 17, 25, 29, 31, 32 and 35.

Woodlawn Market manager Peggy Martin, 39, of Canton, said Sunday she had not heard from any of the winners, but she did remember selling the winning ticket to the workers.

Martin said Saturday that she's been waiting to sell the winning ticket for the 13 years she's worked at the convenience store.

"I don't think anybody really goes into it thinking they're actually going to win," she said, crying. "Maybe they think they'll win something, but the big one, nah. But that's what we always tell everyone. Someone has to win it, some regular person like all of us."

Sales for the game were more than $19 million, and players who won prizes short of the jackpot shared nearly $36 million.

The size of the jackpot approached the levels lottery players will see routinely next month when Ohio joins a multistate game.

On May 15, Ohio players for the first time can try The Big Game multistate lottery's Mega Millions game, which will have a minimum jackpot of $10 million, average jackpots of $80 million and a potential jackpot of more than $500 million.

Super Lotto Plus jackpots have averaged about $17 million this year.

There had been 13 consecutive Super Lotto drawings without a jackpot winner, allowing the top prize to grow.

The odds of winning the jackpot with the correct combination out of a possible 49 numbers are one in 13.9 million.

The previous top Ohio Lottery jackpots were $56 million on Wednesday, when no winning tickets were sold, and $54 million last July, when two winning tickets were sold.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)