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Waitress Must Share $10M Lottery

April 21, 1999

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ A former waitress who won a $10 million jackpot with a lottery ticket left as a tip has been ordered to share the money with four co-workers.

A jury on Tuesday decided against Tonda Dickerson, 28, who denied that she had agreed to split any winnings with her Waffle House co-workers.

The co-workers had also received lottery tickets as tips and testified that they and Mrs. Dickerson had a share-the-wealth plan. A couple who regularly dine at the Waffle House in Grand Bay testified that Mrs. Dickerson told them of the deal.

Mrs. Dickerson, who had turned down a settlement offer that would have given her $3 million of the Florida jackpot, left court without comment.

Her former co-workers were jubilant.

``I have a 5-year-old girl and she’s going to get a new collection of toys,″ said Jackie Fairley, 21. ``I want a new wardrobe and a new car.″

A beaming Sandra Deno, 45, said: ``I might work two days a week. I don’t really have any hard feelings toward Tonda.″

Judge Robert Kendall said he will decide how the money will be divided after consulting with attorneys and Florida lottery officials.

Mrs. Dickerson’s attorney, Dwight Reid, said he expects the five will share equally.

Mrs. Dickerson was given the lottery ticket on March 7 by a breakfast regular at the Waffle House, Edward Seward Jr., who said he wanted only a new pickup truck if the ticket won.

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