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Family Law: Georgia Family Law Blog
Wife Sues Husband for Share of Secret $600K Lottery Win
By Stephen Worrall
The airline mechanic, 52, disconnected the phone line at home and forbade his stay-at-home wife, Donna Campbell, 48, to watch television, Campbell claims in a lawsuit. Eventually, however, she learned the truth: Ramdass, along with 16 other mechanics at Miami International Airport, had won a $19 million lottery jackpot. Split among the 17 workers, it amounted to a $600,000 lump-sum payday, before taxes, for each of them, reports the Miami Herald (story reprinted below)
In her suit, Campbell claims Ramdass fraudulently conspired to conceal the lottery payout from her, and contends she is entitled to a 50 percent share of her husband's take from the winning ticket, because it was purchased with marital assets.
Once the lawsuit is resolved, the newspaper says, she plans to divorce him.
See the lawsuit here.
Couple's Lotto dispute going to court
So she sued.
Campbell v. Ramdass, the lawsuit, comes to a Miami-Dade courtroom this week. It's a tale of luck and betrayal, a case study in how a financial windfall can make a seemingly stable marriage go sour in a hurry. At stake: $600,000 in winnings, Ramdass' cut of a $19 million jackpot he split with 16 other mechanics at Miami International Airport.
The spousal spat -- yep, they're still married -- has taken some bizarre turns since it was first reported in The Miami Herald in November.
Ramdass, who eluded process servers for months, eventually returned to his job and resurfaced at his Miramar home. He and Campbell, who said their vows in 2005, run into each other at the house but do not speak or e-mail or otherwise interact. It's a house divided.
''Like ships passing in the night,'' said Campbell's attorney, Bruce Baldwin of Miami's Mase & Lara.
Campbell wants at least half of the loot, figuring she's entitled because the winning ticket was bought with marital assets. In his legal response, Ramdass says she doesn't deserve a penny.
Repeated attempts to contact Ramdass, 52, were unsuccessful. His attorney, Robert Puzio, said in an e-mail there would be no comment.
Campbell, 48, a former model and runner-up at the 1979 Miss Trinidad and Tobago beauty pageant, said her husband's refusal to share his good fortune has burdened her. He always handled the money. She did not work outside the house.
He's apparently been paying the mortgage and bills, but other than that she is broke and despondent.
''I have to rely on my friends to come and take me to lunch, bring me dinner,'' Campbell said from the clean, white living room of her well-appointed home in the Silver Lakes development. ``I'm extremely stressed about everything. I don't know what I'll do if this goes on much longer.''
The saga started when Ramdass hit a $19 million jackpot in June along with 16 co-workers at Miami International Airport. The lucky numbers -- picked by the computer, as was the group's custom -- were 6, 31, 34, 44, 45 and 49.
Instead of taking $19 million over time, the group opted for $10.2 million in a lump sum, which translated to exactly $600,000 per player before taxes.
Campbell said Ramdass didn't tell her a thing. But he started acting suspiciously, she said, disconnecting the phone line and forbidding her from watching TV.
Alarm bells went off when she found a postcard congratulating her husband on buying some out-of-state property.
She Googled her husband's name. There it was: a Florida Lottery press release about the lucky airline mechanics.
''I sat him down and he denied it,'' Campbell said.
Ramdass then told his wife he bought the ticket for his daughter Janelle, from a previous marriage, who lives in Orlando. But Campbell didn't believe that story.
'I said, `Look me in the eyes. Do you think I'm a gold digger?' ''
That was the last they spoke before his disappearing act, she said. Soon, Campbell got a lawyer and filed suit, alleging her husband fraudulently conspired to keep the money from her.
Campbell still doesn't know where her husband is spending his nights, but he drops by during the day, generally to tinker around the house and yard.
It's not clear whether he will drop by Thursday's hearing, at which Judge Jennifer Bailey could throw out Campbell's lawsuit or give it a green light to move forward to a jury trial.
Campbell said she will divorce Ramdass once the lottery dispute is finished. She doesn't have the energy or money right now, she said, but knows their relationship is beyond salvage.
''It's over between us,'' she said. ``I just want him to tell the truth.''
SOURCE: Miami Herald in a story by EVAN S. BENN
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