Harold Diamond, an 80 year old retired school principal is the sole winner of a Mega Millions jackpot worth $326 million which was drawn on Nov. 4. Officials say this is the biggest prize in New York Lottery history. Diamond said he waited to cash in his ticket until after Jan. 1 for tax reasons.
Harold Diamond received his giant ceremonial check to Diamond on Monday after he chose to take the cash value of the annuitized prize, which comes to about $130 million after taxes.
He said he bought the ticket at a highway service center after he had stopped at his wife's insistence to wait out a storm on Election Day last year. As they ate lunch at the Valero on Route 302 in Middletown, Diamond noticed the flashing Mega Millions sign and decided to spend $10 for 10 sets of Quick Pick numbers.
Diamond, who retired as principal of George L. Cook Elementary School in Monticello in 1995, said in a statement released by New York Lottery;
"I put the ticket in my wallet and forgot about it...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 — I bought a ticket there last night! I was in a dither, a real daze."
Diamond said he dashed home, checked his tickets and found he had the winner.
Diamond says his plans for the money include helping family and "giving back to the local community."
He said he owes his good fortune to his wife, Carol, a retired Goshen High School math teacher, who insisted they stop over at that particular eatery.