The Lyrical Elitist

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Retired School Principal Hits New York’s Biggest Jackpot


Before Election Day, Harold Diamond, an 80-year-old retired elementary school principal, enjoyed a $55,000 annual pension after working for 39 years for the Monticello School District.

Now Diamond, of Wurtsboro in Sullivan County, is a millionaire a hundred times over. He won a $326 million jackpot from New York’s Mega Millions. It’s the largest Lottery payout in the state’s history.

“I simply can’t envision that kind of money,” Diamond said, according to a news release from the New York Lottery. “It’s very hard to fathom. We feel very blessed.”

Diamond opted to take the cash value of the prize, earning him a single lump sum payment totaling $197,456,087, according to the Lottery. That means $130,676,438 in cash after required withholdings.

Diamond bought the winning ticket after voting on Nov. 4. The weather was bad. His wife, Carol, insisted they pull over at the Valero on Route 302 and eat at a Subway restaurant instead of going further into Middletown for dinner.

“I reluctantly agreed,” Diamond said.

Diamond bought 10 $1 tickets, letting the system generate the numbers. One combination — 09 15 24 39 41 and Mega Ball 01 — ended up being worth $326 million.

But Diamond didn’t realize it immediately. “I put the ticket in my wallet and forgot about it,” he said, according to the New York Lottery.

The next day he went to play golf. Some others in the clubhouse were talking about a jackpot-winning ticket sold at the Valero on Route 302. The news sent Diamond home to get the ticket, watch the evening news and realized he’d made New York history.

“I was in a dither, a real daze,” he told the Lottery.

Yolanda Vega, right, talks with Carol and Harold Diamond after Harold was awarded a $326 million Mega Millions jackpot from the New York Lottery in Middletown, N.Y. Harold Diamond, 80, is a retired elementary school principal. Jan. 12, 2015.
New York Lottery

Today, Diamond gave full credit to his wife, a 36-year veteran of the Goshen school district where she taught math at Goshen High School before retiring in 1994.

“I have to thank her with both barrels because if it weren’t for her insistence, we would not be here today,” he said.

Diamond said he has been working with a financial adviser to figure out what comes next.
Preliminary plans for the money include helping family and “giving back to the local community,” according to the Lottery.

Written by Teri Weaver


Contact Teri Weaver anytime: Email | Twitter | 315-470-2274


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This entry was posted on January 12, 2015 by in Headlines, New York, U.S. and tagged , , , , .

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