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Woman, Shopkeeper To Share Jackpot

August 18, 1998

BOSTON (AP) _ A 72-year-old woman and a convenience store owner who both claimed a $21 million lottery jackpot on Tuesday agreed to share the prize, ending a six-month dispute.

As part of the agreement, neither Paraskeve Kantges nor Nick Havan, owner of Coolidge Provisions Watertown, will reveal how the jackpot was split, said Laurence Johnson, Havan’s attorney.

Havan withdrew his claim for the ticket and Ms. Kantges was named the winner.

``The prize will be apportioned as they’ve agreed,″ Johnson said.

A source close to the dispute said Havan was getting less than $1 million. Johnson, however, dismissed the information as ``poppycock.″

Ms. Kantges, of Watertown, is not listed. Her lawyer, James Merberg, did not immediately comment.

Ms. Kantges had claimed she had telephoned Havan for a ticket, as she had done many times, and it turned out to be the Mass Millions winner. Havan said he took the ticket for himself after Ms. Kantges canceled her bet.

The two sides reached an agreement as a judge hired by the Lottery Commission weighed a decision in the case after a weeklong hearing on the dispute last month.

State treasurer Joe Malone, who oversees the lottery, declared Ms. Kantges the rightful owner of the winnings, but Havan appealed. The Lottery Commission then hired retired Superior Court Judge Robert Steadman to settle the dispute.

Also Tuesday, Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci signed legislation to prohibit placing lottery bets over the telephone by fax or computer, in order to reduce such lottery disputes.

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