May 6, 2010 in Nation/World

TV news employee hits Mega jackpot

Sue Manning Associated Press
 

LOS ANGELES – A TV newsroom employee found out while working the graveyard shift that she and her husband have the Mega Millions ticket worth $266 million, her boss at KNBC said Wednesday.

Assignment manager David Reese said the newly minted millionaire called him at 2:30 a.m. to share her good news. Then she finished her shift and asked her colleagues to keep her name a secret until she’s ready to step forward, Reese said.

Her good fortune led KNBC’s evening newscast. Reporter Cary Berglund said the woman, whom he called “Millionairess X,” heard that the winning ticket was purchased in Pico Rivera, called her husband and learned the news.

“She started crying,” colleague Nicole Stevenson told the station. “She asked him to repeat it. She thought he was kidding, thought he was messing with her.”

The winner has a year to turn in the ticket.

The winnings can be paid in 26 equal payments of $10.2 million or in a lump sum of about $165 million, minus federal taxes, said lottery spokeswoman Cathy Doyle Johnston.

The woman has worked as a freelancer for KNBC for about four years, and her husband was laid off two weeks ago, Reese said.

“She’s usually the most pleasant and nice person to work with even when all hell is breaking loose,” he said. “It renews your faith in the universe that something like this can happen to someone who really deserves it.”

On Tuesday night, the woman had wanted to order dinner from Kentucky Fried Chicken, but her husband insisted on going to a barbecue joint where he bought the tickets, Berglund said.

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