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$560M lottery winner losing $14k a day in interest in court fight to remain anonymous

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent

February 08. 2018 8:31AM



NASHUA — The mysterious New Hampshire woman claiming to have won the $560 million Powerball ticket sold last month is losing about $14,000 a day in interest, according to the attorney who is trying to fast-track a court hearing in the case.

The woman has not yet submitted her winning ticket to the New Hampshire Lottery Commission in the hopes that a Hillsborough County Superior Court judge will allow her identity to remain a secret — even though she already signed her name on the winning ticket purchased at Reed’s Ferry Market in Merrimack.

New Hampshire Lottery Commission rules and regulations require that a winner complete and sign the back of a winning Powerball ticket before being able to claim the prize. Had the ticket been signed by the trustee of a designated trust, the winner could have maintained her privacy.

She has filed a complaint for declaratory judgement and injunctive relief, and a hearing was set to take place on Feb. 21. However, attorney Steven Gordon of the law firm Shaheen and Gordon, who is representing the lottery winner referred to as Jane Doe in court documents, has filed a request to reschedule the hearing to Tuesday.

“Time is of the essence in this matter. For every day that a resolution is delayed, Ms. Doe loses approximately $14,000 that would be generated in interest on the after-tax cash prize amount of approximately $268 million,” said Gordon.

The $560 million winning lottery ticket is equal to a lump-sum cash prize of $352 million before taxes.

“Regardless of whether the court ultimately decides in her favor, Ms. Doe has a strong interest in seeing this matter resolved as quickly as possible so that the prize can be claimed without further loss of interest,” added Gordon.

Furthermore, Gordon said he is not available on Feb. 21; the legal counsel for the New Hampshire Lottery Commission is unavailable from Feb. 14 to March 5.

Feb. 13 would work for both parties, he said.

“Pushing the resolution of this case into March will subject Ms. Doe to serious and irreparable financial harm,” Gordon said in newly filed court records, adding his client would lose more than $280,000 in interest if the hearing was postponed until March 5.

In a statement to the New Hampshire Union Leader, Gordon said his client’s personal privacy is the only reason for the court petition.

“We believe our request states our position clearly and we have no further comment,” he said.

According to court documents, the winner is a longtime resident of New Hampshire and an engaged community member who does not want to be known or targeted as the winner of a half-billion dollars.

The winner plans to remain in New Hampshire and contribute a portion of her winnings to a charitable foundation.

Gordon contends that the disclosure of her identity would constitute an invasion of privacy because the limited public interest is outweighed by Doe’s interest in remaining anonymous. He said her winnings are certain to attract unwanted and malicious attention.

A judge is currently reviewing the request to expedite the hearing.

Charlie McIntyre, New Hampshire Lottery executive director, said last week that while he respects the player’s desire to remain anonymous, state statutes and lottery rules clearly dictate protocols.

“After consulting with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office on this matter, we have been advised that the Lottery must proceed in accordance to its rules and by state law in processing this claim like any other,” said McIntyre.

khoughton@newstote.com


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