The plot thickens: Maryland Mega Millions winner claims prize -- anonymously

The obligatory follow-up to Friday’s post on the Curious Case of Mirlande Wilson, who “won” $200 million, then hid the ticket in the McDonald’s where she works, then said she couldn’t find it but that she hadn’t checked her work pants yet, and seemed … pretty darned mellow about the whole thing.


Maybe she finally got around to checking her work pants?

Maryland’s record-setting Mega Millions jackpot ticket-holder wishes to remain anonymous, according to Maryland lottery officials.

Whether or not it was purchased by a McDonald’s employee who claimed to have the winning ticket — or whether or not it was purchased for her employee pool — remains a mystery. Lottery officials will not confirm whether or not Mirlande Wilson bought the ticket…

Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino said the winning ticket was sold about 7:15 p.m. on March 30 — less than four hours before the drawing — at the 7-Eleven on Liberty Avenue in Baltimore. It was a Quick Pick ticket and was the only one purchased at that time.

Lottery officials will hold a presser tomorrow morning to share a “storyline” with the public about what happened. I guess that means Wilson didn’t win because how do you tell that “story” if she’s the winner while respecting her anonymity? It’s either a story about her finding the ticket or it’s a story of some crazed publicity-seeker having fun with the media while the real winner quietly waited to come forward. (A happy footnote to that: Officials worried that Wilson’s claims about winning might have led the real winner to throw out their ticket without checking it. Whew.)

Another reason to believe Wilson didn’t win? Compare the boldface part above with this account from the New York Post shortly after the drawing, when she first emerged:


Then, late Friday, before the night’s drawing, the owner of the McDonald’s, Birul Desai, gave Wilson $5 to buy more tickets for the pool on her way home from work, and she went back to the 7-Eleven and bought them, Allen said.

Wilson took those tickets home with her, Allen said.

But Wilson insisted yesterday that she had bought the second batch with an unidentified pal — not for the pool — and that the winning ticket was among them.

The timeframe is right — she bought her tickets the night of the drawing — but assuming the Post’s report is accurate, the number is wrong. She bought a “batch,” the winner bought just one. We’ll see tomorrow.

Exit question: Why’d Wilson do it? At first I thought maybe it was a pretext to promote the “Sweet Swine Pork Rinds” brand that was on her hat during the news conference, but that appears to be a dead end. Just good ol’ fashioned attention-seeking, maybe?

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