May 13, 2010 in Nation/World

Woman needn’t split jackpot with sister

Gambling pact ended in 2004 dispute, judge says
John Christoffersen Associated Press

(Full-size photo)(All photos)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – An 87-year-old Connecticut woman doesn’t have to split her share of a $500,000 lottery jackpot with the 84-year-old sister she hasn’t spoken to since they began fighting over the windfall in 2005, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Rose Bakaysa and Theresa Sokaitis stopped speaking shortly after Bakaysa refused to give Sokaitis any winnings from the Powerball jackpot, split by Bakaysa and their brother, Joseph Troy Sr. A judge ruled Wednesday that Bakaysa can keep her share.

“There is something in this tragedy that touches most people,” New Britain Superior Court Judge Cynthia Swienton wrote in her decision. “While the court may be able to resolve the legal dispute, it is powerless to repair the discord and strife that now overshadows the once harmonious sisterly relationship.”

Sokaitis says they signed a notarized contract a decade earlier to split all gambling profits, but Bakaysa says that deal ended in 2004 during a spat over a few hundred dollars. The judge ruled that the contract ended during the argument.

It was Sokaitis who told her sister during the argument that she didn’t want to be her partner anymore, the judge said, noting that after the argument the sisters never again bought lottery tickets, went to the casino or gambled together.

The case has wound through Connecticut courts since 2005.

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