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23 cabdrivers win access to $90 million jackpot

lottery winners
The group of 23 cabdrivers, many of whom are from Ghana, will each receive about $2.1 million before taxes  


By From Anne Krendl
CNN Atlanta Bureau

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A group of 23 cabdrivers claimed a $90 million Big Game jackpot Wednesday after more than a month of legal battles with several of their colleagues.

At least five other drivers who were not part of the group -- which called itself Sankofa LLC -- had filed restraining orders against it to keep its members from obtaining any of the money.

A total of 14 drivers -- including the five who have already been to court to protest the division of the winnings -- have been trying to stake their claim on the May 4 Big Game jackpot because they at one point played in the lottery pool organized by winner Max Ossei-Wusu.

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In a court order released Wednesday, the plaintiffs' motions were denied and the Georgia Lottery Corp. was authorized to distribute the winnings as soon as possible.

"By about 12:45 today, the Big Game jackpot cash of the $90 million jackpot was wired into their bank account," said Georgia Lottery President Rebecca Paul.

Sankofa LLC attorney Ernest Tate said the win does not signify the end of the group's legal battles, noting that Sankofa overcame the restraining order against it and still could face a trial.

However, Tate said that the money had been given to each acknowledged winner in accordance with Georgia law, which mandates that a person's money cannot be held while waiting for resolution in a civil matter.

Ossei-Wusu, who organized the pool, said he feels no sorrow for the plaintiffs.

"If you see a liar weeping or crying, don't hesitate to ask him, it's probably the truth that is beating him up," he said.

The name Sankofa translates roughly to "if you forget something, you can always go back and retrieve it," said member Frank Safo, whose brother was also a winner.

The 23 members of Sankofa -- many of whom are from Ghana -- will each receive an equal portion of the $49,402,808 in winnings, which amounts to about $2,147,000 each before taxes.


Greta@LAW





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