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Another Suit Filed Over $118M Jackpot Payout To Workplace Pool

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CHICAGO (STMW) – Another person has filed a lawsuit in a dispute over who was participating in a workplace lottery pool that won the $118 million Mega Millions jackpot with a ticket bought at a south suburban gas station earlier this month.

Jose L. Franco and Marco Medina, both of Chicago, initially filed a lawsuit in May against 12 former co-workers from Pita Pan, a Chicago Heights bakery, and Northstar Lottery Group, which runs the Illinois Lottery.

J. Santos Bello and Nikko Chamopoulos later filed separate suits against the winners. Bello’s suit also names the Northstar Lottery Group LLC, the Illinois Lottery and Chamopoulos, Franco and Medina as defendants.

Schiller Park resident Chris Tzinis filed Wednesday’s lawsuit against 18 former co-workers at Pita Pan, plus Franco, Medina, Bello and Chamopoulos, who all initially bought into the pool for $10, he claims.

The suits claim the plaintiffs regularly participated in a pool conducted by defendants Tony Koumalis and Doug Lein. Two of the tickets won a total of $9 in the May 1 drawing, and the shares of those winnings were rolled over into the pool for the May 4 drawing, the suits contend.

After the group won the jackpot for the May 4 drawing, defendant Mario Juarez, on behalf of the lottery pool, informed the plaintiffs they were excluded from the pool, according to the suits.

Juarez collected additional money for the pool on Wednesday instead of Thursday that week, which was “a departure from the usual custom and practice,” according to his suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking to prevent Northstar from paying out the jackpot until the matter is resolved in court. The co-defendants would likely “spend various sums of it,” making it difficult for the plaintiffs to recover their share, the suits said.

The 12 co-defendants have all quit their jobs at Pita Pan, while Franco and Medina still work there, according to attorney Michael Lamonica, who is representing Franco and Medina.

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