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Elmhurst lotto winner heads to court

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The three co-workers filed suit against Elmhurst resident John Piccolo, an employee of Mt. Sinai hospital who routinely participated in an office lottery pool, claiming that when he struck it big, he forget about them.In court filings, Piccolo maintained that he purchased the winning second-place ticket with his own money and should keep the money. But a State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan last week ordered one of Piccolo's bank accounts frozen and told his three co-workers they could proceed with their suit. The workers say Piccolo used $3 the group won in an earlier drawing to buy the winning ticket.Piccolo declined to comment, saying he was unhappy with coverage of his case."I ain't saying nothing," Piccolo said. "I appreciate it, though."After taxes, Piccolo netted about $109,000 in the November Mega Millions drawing, said Joey Jackson, the attorney for Piccolo's three co-workers.Jacksonsaid Piccolo already had spent $28,000, more than the net proceeds that would correspond to him in a four-way split."He decided that he wasn't playing with them this time ... so he conjures up some nonsensical story about buying the ticket with his own money," Jackson said. He added his clients were fully prepared to take their case to a jury.News reports indicated that the lottery conflict had soured relations among the four administrative workers at Mt. Sinai Medical Center's Department of Hematology and Oncology on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. But a hospital employee who was filling in on the phone there said the lottery battle had not drawn too much attention outside their office."There's little hits here and there, but it's not the center of attention," she said. "You can't let it affect your work."Of the conflict, she said, "I guess it's the principle of the matter."The co-workers, Veronica Edmondson, 30, Denise Beaulieu, 47, and Joan Pitcan, 46, did not return a phone call to their office requesting comment.The lucky lotto winners will return to court May 3.Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

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