80-year-old collects Mega Millions jackpot, largest in NY history

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Harold Diamond poses with lottery personality Yolanda Vega (New York State Lottery)

Harold Diamond poses with lottery personality Yolanda Vega (New York State Lottery)

MIDDLETOWN, NY (PIX11) – A retired elementary school principal says he nearly forgot about the Mega Millions ticket until his golfing buddies heard someone had purchased the winning Quick Pick at a local gas station.

Harold Diamond, 80, of Wurstboro, says he has his wife to thank for the $326 million jackpot — the largest in New York lottery history.

“My wife and I were driving to Middletown for dinner after voting on Election Day but the weather made us rethink our plans,” Diamond said. “My wife insisted we stop here to eat and wait for the weather to clear, and I reluctantly agreed.”

While eating a Subway sandwich at the Valero on Route 302, Diamond’s eyes were drawn to a flashing Mega Millions light and he decided to play.

He bought ten Quick Picks for $10 and “I put the ticket in my wallet and forgot about it,” Diamond recalled.  “I went to play golf the next day and the guys in the clubhouse were talking about the jackpot-winning ticket someone bought at a Valero on Route 302 and I thought, wait a minute — bought a ticket there last night!”

The Diamonds’ winning numbers were 09, 15, 24, 39, 41 and the Mega Ball of 01.

The couple have already hired a financial adviser and decided to take the single lump sum payment of $197,456,087 — a net check $130,676,438 after required withholdings.

“I simply can’t envision that kind of money,” Diamond said.  “It’s very hard to fathom. We feel very blessed.”

Their plans for the fortune include taking care of family and donating to the local community.