Octogenarian Sisters Battle Over Lottery Winnings

Octogenarian Sisters Battle Over Lottery Winnings

It's sister versus sister: Two gambling grannies wage war over half a million dollars.   

It's gotten so bitter 87-year-old sister Rose Bakaysa and her 84-year-old sister Theresa wouldn't even look at each other in court.

Rose won $500,000 in the Connecticut Powerball lottery, and now Theresa is suing to collect half of her winnings.

The elderly sisters used to be close; they bought lottery tickets and gambled at casinos together two or three times a week. They even drew up a contract that reads: "We are partners in any winnings we shall receive to be shared equally."

But the sisters had an angry breakup six years ago over a measly $250 in gambling winnings.

Rose told a judge, "She was hollering on the phone. She said to me she didn't want to be partners anymore. I said okay."

Not long after, Rose and her brother Joseph bought the winning lottery ticket together. He testified that Theresa was shocked when she found out her sister had struck it rich: "I said, "I think we won some serious money,' and she commented 'What'd you win, a thousand dollars?' I said, 'Try half a million.' "

When Theresa demanded her share of the jackpot, "[Rose] said I wasn't going to get a dime," she told the judge.

The gambling grannies weren't talking to reporters outside court, but their lawyers had plenty to say:

Theresa's lawyer, Sam M. Pollack, said, "They had to share their winnings with the other sister, so she needed to share her winnings, whatever she won."

But Rose's lawyer, William J. Sweeney, told reporters, "By their actions the parties rescinded the contract."

Despite the bitter battle, Theresa said in court, "I love my sister."

A ruling on the case is expected on April 15th.