by Timothy Rollins, Editor and Publisher
January 8, 2004
With the turn of events the last couple of days regarding the MegaMillions winner in Ohio, this was simply too good to pass up. Then as a bonus, the richest loser in America made the papers again with yet another case of men behaving badly.
We begin with America's idiot of the moment, and I'm not thinking of Mr. Britney Spears (aka Jason Alexander of Kenwood, Louisiana), but rather 40-year-old Elecia Battle (right) of Cleveland. For the unfamiliar, here's what happened: Last weekend, there was a single winner of the 11-state $162 million MegaMillion Lotto jackpot resulting in a net payout of $67,200,000 after taxes. A few days passed and nobody came forward to claim the prize. Battle took it upon herself to go to the police with what is fast turning into a cock-and-bull story of having bought the winning ticket and having lost it as she was exiting the convenience store. Kinda like the "my dog ate it" excuse. She had people (who later turned out to be suckers) scurrying through the parking lot in the snow looking for a scrap of paper in vain hopes of finding the elusive 'winning piece of paper.'
Fast forward a couple of days and we have 34-year-old Rebecca Jemison (left) coming forward with the winning ticket in hand. Jemison had waited a few days before coming forward because she had taken time to consult with both an accountant as well as an attorney - something anyone coming into a large sum of money would do - whether by lottery or inheritance or other windfall such as a stock dividend or the like. After Battle's grandstanding for 15 minutes of fame, Jemison felt she needed to come forward and claim her legitimate prize. The Ohio Lottery Commission performed their confidential validation tests on Jemison's ticket and determined it to be the sole winning ticket, thus negating Battle's 'claim' that she had bought a winning ticket. Battle has since retained a lawyer and is suing to block the Ohio Lottery Commission from paying out the winnings. From a rule of law, this case is a SLAM DUNK for Jemison, and how Battle sucked in Beachwood, Ohio attorney Sheldon Starke to take the case is way beyond me, unless he also wanted 15 minutes of fame as well. There is no way on earth any judge is going to rule in Battle's favor with no physical evidence and scratchy hearsay at best - that, and Battle's past record for credit card fraud. Plus, lottery tickets are bearer notes and in effect, finder's keepers. Jemison had legitimately bought her ticket and had previous and subsequent ticket purchases in her possession that satisfied lottery officials that she bought the ticket.
Although at first convincing to police with the report of a lost ticket, Battle is now being investigated for filing a false police report which in Ohio carries a penalty of 30 days to six months in jail. This would not be Battle's first brush with the law. Jemison's response to all this: "Let authorities handle her," she said. "It's very unfortunate that someone would think of something like this." Clearly the signs of a class act.
It seems that Battle, under her married name, was arrested for credit card fraud as mentioned earlier as well as assault. When asked about past run-ins with the law, Battle said she was charged but not convicted.
"I'm done with that," she said. "I paid the fine. That's end of story. It makes me look like I'm a bad person. Everybody has bad in the past. I'm not even worried about that, really. I never did any jail time for that." Excuse me Miss Not-Completely-There, but when you pay a fine, it's usually in lieu of jail time, and the fact you paid a fine is evidence of a conviction. In other words, you were GUILTY of credit card fraud and whatever other charges that may have been piled on top of that complaint. Face it: you're a loser on this score, and probably on life in general. Rebecca Jemison on the other hand is a winner because she had the presence of mind to keep her wits about her and consult people who had the wisdom to handle finances responsibly, and hopefully these winnings will last her a lifetime and beyond.
Joining Battle in the loser's corner this week is the biggest Powerball winner in American history. Remember Jack Whittaker (right)? He won $314,900,000 on Christmas Day 2002 and elected to take a lump sum payment of $113 million after taxes. Perhaps the only good thing he did with part of the loot is start a foundation (more than likely for tax purposes) designed to help West Virginians find jobs, buy food or receive an education. Other than that, he remains the same idiot loser he was prior to the big win.
It seems he went to a bar he had been previously banished from and threatened the owner and said he'd have him and his family killed. Last summer, he carried a briefcase with over $500,000 in cash and cashier checks into a T&A bar only to get drugged and mugged - served the bum right. The loot was recovered and two club employees were arrested. He's currently out on bail for the threatening charges and faces a $100 fine and up to six months in jail if convicted.
Ever get the feeling that those who look for trouble find it? And deserve it?
If they wanted 15 minutes of fame, they should have followed the lead of seven-year-old Timmy Novotny of Sheboygan, Wisconsin (left), who crawled his way into the top of one of those stuffed toy machines with an opening 8½ inches square. He went in through the top and landed in with the stuffed animals at the local Piggly Wiggly store. That was last Saturday, and by Tuesday, he was in New York doing the morning TV show circuit. Now THAT'S 15 minutes of fame.
And a little child shall lead them
© 2004 Timothy Rollins
UPDATE: Since this article was posted, Battle has admitted to lying about having the winning numbers and has dropped her lawsuit to claim the winnings. Police are expected to file charges of filing a false police report against her, which would make this the fourth time she has had a run-in with the law. She could face 30 days to six months in jail, and with her record, could well get the maximum term, which she should, to set an example to keep other losers from pulling another "Battle Maneuver." She has prior run-ins with the law, to include:
While working at a Richmond Heights pharmacy in 1999, Battle used a customer's credit card number to make purchases, police said. She paid a $450 fine for misuse of a credit card, and a 10-day jail sentence was suspended.
Battle was convicted in 2000 in Cleveland Heights of assault for grabbing a drug store clerk's hair and scratching her, according to police records. Battle got a six-month suspended sentence.
She was convicted of criminal trespassing in 2002 and paid restitution
of about $1,250, according to South Euclid court records. Fines were suspended
because she was indigent. In other words, she was deemed a deadbeat not
likely to ever be able to pay.
© 2004 BY THE AMERICAN PARTISAN.
All writers retain rights to their work.