Million-Dollar Gravy: Meet Queens' New Millionaires
by By Jeffrey Harmatz
Oct 02, 2008 | 4908 views | 0 0 comments | 107 107 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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Proving that ordinary people win the lottery every day, three Queens residents will be receiving million dollar paydays from the state’s most famous gaming initiative.

Willie James McCain and Kwan Shek Chu, of Far Rockaway and Auburndale, respectively, both won $1 million each from scratch-off tickets, but Astorian Kenneth Rosado won big with a $14 million jackpot.

Rosado, who works at the Parkchester South Condominiums in the Bronx, had purchased a Lotto ticket but hadn’t bothered to check it until his co-workers informed him that the winning ticket had been purchased at the same store where he bought his. After playing the lotto once a week for the last six months, he admitted that he was incredulous that he was actually holding on to a winning ticket.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God!’ I couldn’t believe it. I was more in shock than anything else,” said Rosado. “I still don’t believe that I’m a winner, even after all that’s happened. It’s kind of surreal.”

Rosado opted to receive his prize in a one-time, lump sum payment which, after taxes, works out to $5,123,306. Rosado said he will continue working at the condominiums, despite his wife’s suggestions that he retire, and that the money will make an excellent college fund for Rosado’s two children, one of whom was just born earlier this year.

“By the time my kids are graduating high school, the cost of college should be astronomical,” he said.

Million-dollar winner Chu was just an occasional lottery player when he asked his mother to buy a ticket for him. That ticket turned out to be a big winner for Chu and his family, and it was passed around in the convenience store in disbelief when his mother redeemed it.

Chu plans to use the money to travel to foreign countries and practice the many languages he has learned over the years, and spend some time writing a long-planned novel.

McCain, who works as a caretaker for the New York Housing Authority, said that his million dollar jackpot was his second big Lotto win, having scratched-off his way to a $100,000 prize in 2003. Part of the previous prize money was spent on a Mitsubishi Galant, and McCain and his wife plan to spend some of the new winnings making needed repairs to that same car. They also might buy a co-op.

“Now we can live without always worrying about the money,” he said. “Now we can relax.”

All three Queens winners bought their tickets within three days of each other this September. The New York Lottery brought them together at the Cup Diner in Astoria, where Lotto numbers drawer Gretchen Dizer handed them their big checks.

Three Lotto winners from Queens gathered at the Cup Diner in Astoria with New York State Lottery officials to receive their ceremonial checks.

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