Winning The Lottery: Testing The Ties That Bind
BOSTON (AP) _ State lotteries may create millionaires overnight, but the newfound wealth brings with it stresses that can make or break even family ties.
In two contrasting cases in the past week, a disabled New Hampshire man gave his brother a lottery ticket worth millions, while a hospitalized Massachusetts man and his wife lost their legal battle over winnings they say his sister promised to share.
″Even in the most stable families, there’s lots of things that have to be renegotiated when someone gets a lot of money. But chances are, the problems did exist before,″ said Dr. Lyn Styczynski, who works at a family counseling center in Boston. ″It’s not all a godsend.
″It’s very stressful, and it’s a strange stress, not one we get a lot of preparation for.″
The case of Earl and Elwood Havlock was extraordinary, however, said David R. Ellis, a spokesman for the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission.
″That’s very unusual, very, very unusual, and very nice,″ he said.
Earl Havlock, who is disabled and unable to work, was buying his brother a series of lottery tickets for Christmas when he hit a $8.94 million jackpot.
The 42-year-old man lives alone in the central New Hampshire town of Ashland, on his Social Security checks and his brother’s generosity. He said he never considered holding the ticket for himself, and he handed over the multimillion-dollar present to his brother without qualms.
″Why not?″ Earl Havlock said. ″Ain’t goin’ back on my word.″
Earl bought the winning tri-state lottery ticket for northern New England on Saturday, a few minutes before the drawing.
Elwood, who makes about $31,000 a year working for the Plymouth Highway Department, said he plans to quit his job in three weeks.
As for Earl, Elwood said he would continue to help care for him.
″Anything he needs or wants, I get him,″ Elwood said.
In contrast, the gift of money served to rend the bonds between Toni Ann Lydon and her sister-in-law, Catherine Beauregard. The pair ran a beauty salon together until Beauregard and her husband, Francis, bought a winning ticket in 1985.
Last week, a Middlesex County Superior Court jury refused to award Lydon and her husband, Thomas, half of a $2.8 million Megabucks jackpot the Beauregards won. The jury found that previous agreements the couples used to split ticket winnings were unenforceable.
Lydon and her husband, who is Catherine Beauregard’s brother, said the couples had plans to share the earnings as they had done before.
The day before the jury verdict, Thomas Lydon was admitted to the hospital, his son, Bobby, said Wednesday.
″That’s our main concern,″ said Bobby Lydon, who would not comment on whether the family was seeking an appeal of the decision. He would not comment on his father’s illness.
The Lydons suit said that after the Beauregards bought their winning ticket, they told the Lydons they would pick them up to drive to get their checks together. The Beauregards never showed up, according to court papers.
Edward Sokoloff, the Lydons’ attorney, said the Beauregards thereafter began denying there had ever been an agreement. He said they claimed the splitting of previous smaller winnings with the Lydons was simply a nice gesture on their part.
Ellis said the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission does not get involved in such disputes, which are rare.
″We cannot be involved in this. How could we get involved?″ he said. ″We try to give them guidance, but it’s up to them to protect themselves. These are legal, voting-age adults.″