When Tom Cook and Joe Feeney agreed to split their future lottery winnings years ago, the friends didn’t think their handshake would mark a multimillion-dollar agreement.
But last month, Cook checked the numbers for his June 10 Powerball ticket and
discovered he had won $22 million. He didn’t hesitate.
“A handshake is a handshake, man,” Cook said of the arrangement in an interview with the Wisconsin Lottery. The Lottery confirmed Thursday that Cook and Feeney are splitting the prize.
Their pact is so old that Feeney couldn’t remember exactly when it started. He guessed it dated back about 20 years. In a release, the Lottery traced the deal to 1992, when the lottery game was first offered in Wisconsin.
“We said whenever the big winner comes, we’re going to split it, so we buy every week … not really thinking it would happen,” Feeney said.
The win came against steep odds: Currently, the chance of hitting the Powerball’s grand prize is 1 in 292,201,338.
The pair laughed when Feeney recalled learning the news: “Are you jerking my bobber?” the avid fisherman said to Cook.
Cook and Feeney are taking a cash payout of $16.7 million, and each will get about $5.7 million after taxes, the Wisconsin Lottery says.