Dollar and a Dream…But Then What?

Tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot is $241 million.  So naturally, I couldn’t resist buying into the office pool with my colleagues.  To be honest, I don’t play the lotto much, but I always buy into the office pools out of fear that the group will win without me (kind of like this poor fellow from Albany).

So I’ve been thinking — what happens when a large group of colleagues wins the lottery?  Is there a mass exodus of people quitting their jobs?  If so, what happens to the employer?  (Check out this entry on The Business Ethics Blog by Chris MacDonald, Ph.D, which raises several interesting ethical questions surrounding the ramifications of workplace lottery pools ).

More interestingly, what happens when the employer is a group of professionals?  I’m sure people don’t want or expect their doctors and lawyers to quit suddenly and leaving them high and dry.  Imagine the chaos that would ensue if the local hospital’s ER staff won the lotto and quit their jobs en masse.  For attorneys, that’s where Rule 1.3(b) of New York’s Rules of Professional Conduct comes into play — attorneys simply cannot neglect matters entrusted to them.

Thus, rest assured, that my colleagues and I will be at work bright and early tomorrow morning, even if…I mean when…we win tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot!

(P.S.  I’m Jake Lamme.  I’ll post a bio soon so that you can get to know me a bit.  Thanks to Tom for inviting me to think ethically on Think Ethically!)

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One thought on “Dollar and a Dream…But Then What?

  1. Jake-

    Ethical considerations are well and good (of course), but when it comes time to do your tax planning, don’t forget to stay on the right side of the IRS. (N.B. -Feel free to give me a call, but there will be no discount. Especially since I ignored the emails from my office lottery pool).

    As reported by the TaxProf Blog:

    “The Tax Court yesterday held that an Alabama Waffle House waitress who won a $10 million lottery jackpot on a ticket given to her by a customer was liable for gift tax when she transferred the ticket to a family S corporation formed for this purpose in which she owned 49%. Dickerson v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2012-60 (Mar. 6, 2012 — 13 years to the day of the lottery jackpot):

    ‘We fail to see how a lottery ticket given to petitioner by a customer at the Waffle House where she worked could metamorphose into a lottery ticket owned by petitioner’s entire family. Petitioner and her family did not pool their money to jointly purchase lottery tickets. They did not keep lottery tickets individually purchased (or acquired) in a place where all family members had access to the tickets. There is no evidence that a family member knew if another member had acquired a lottery ticket. There was no agreement as to exactly how the proceeds of any winning ticket would be shared. … In conclusion, there was no enforceable contract among the Reece family.'”

    http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2012/03/tax-court.html

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