Originally created 08/01/98

Worker left 'Lucky 13' three months before jackpot

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Talk about bad timing.

Robert Kronk dropped out of the "Lucky 13" about three months before the group of Westerville factory workers who pooled money for lottery tickets hit the $295.7 million Powerball jackpot.

But Kronk, of Columbus, said he isn't bitter or jealous of his coworkers at Automated Tooling Systems, who are now gearing up to become multimillionaires.

"I'm sure they'll take care of me. ... I've helped them out before," he told The Columbus Dispatch.

Kronk said he parted from the group because he wanted to choose his own lottery numbers instead of the computer-generated picks fancied by other members. That turned out to be a bad choice -- the numbers on the winning ticket Wednesday were chosen by computer.

While Kronk was thinking of what might have been, members of the "Lucky 13" called Columbus attorney Larry Sturtz on Thursday for advice on what to do with the $161.5 million single payment they chose over the $295.7 million, which would have been paid over 25 years.

Members of the group told Sturtz they wanted to remain anonymous, but a relative leaked John Jarrell's name and reporters staked out his northern Columbus home. Jarrell and his wife Sandy made a pact with the media: one quick interview if the reporters would then leave.

After Thursday's experience, Jarrell advised the other 12 men in the group to hide as long as possible, Sturtz said.

"Now they're even redoubling their efforts to stay out of the spotlight," Sturtz said Friday.

Sturtz said he has spoken with some members of the group about setting up a trust, which would allow Sturtz to claim the jackpot on their behalf and keep their names from being released.

The jackpot won't be formally claimed for another week or two, he said.

"I've got 13 people in different towns, in hiding places staying low," Sturtz said. "That's why it could take until next week."

Sturtz faxed a copy of the ticket Friday morning to Hoosier Lottery officials in Indianapolis. The winning ticket was bought at a gas station in Richmond, Ind., just over the state line from Ohio.

"We received a facsimile of what appears to be the winning ticket, but our rules state that we must receive the original before we can declare a winner. As far as we're concerned, we're still waiting for a winner or a group of winners to appear with the ticket," Hoosier Lottery spokesman Andrew Reed said.

The "Lucky 13" had been pooling money together in lotteries for years, but without much success until Wednesday's drawing. Membership has changed some over the years, but the number has always been 13.

Lost in the Powerball hoopla was the winner of Ohio's $20 million Super Lotto jackpot. The holder of the lone winning ticket, which was sold in Akron, took the lump payout of $9.3 million.

Lottery officials said a man claiming to hold the winning ticket called Thursday. He did not identify himself.


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