Feuding Elderly Sisters Don’t Have to Share Lotto Prize

By LeAnne Gendreau
|  Wednesday, May 12, 2010  |  Updated 11:57 AM EDT
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Theresa Sokaitis sits in the courtroom listening to her sister's testimony during trial Tuesday, March 23, 2010, in New Britain, Conn. Sokaitis sued her sister when her sister won a $500,000 Powerball jackpot and did not share it with her. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn, Pool) RIGHT PHOTO: Rose Bakaysa sits in the courtroom listening to her sister's testimony during trial Tuesday, March 23, 2010, in New Britain, Conn. Bakaysa's sister, Theresa Sokaitis, is suing her sister for a share of a $500,000 Powerball jackpot that Bakaysa and their brother, Joseph Troy Sr., won in 2005. (AP Photo/The Hartford Courant, Stephen Dunn)

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The fight for two elderly Connecticut sisters over $500,000 is over.

A judge has decided that Rose Bakaysa, 87, can keep her winnings and does not have to share with her sister, Theresa Sokaitis, 84, the Hartford Courant reports.

The trial lasted for just one day in March. Superior Court Judge Cynthia K. Swienton heard the case and it was up to her to decide whether Theresa was entitled to half of the $500,000 winnings.

The sisters had a written, notarized contract that they would split the take should they win. But, then the sisters had a tiff. Unfortunately, that happened about a year before Bakaysa and her brother won a $500,000 Powerball jackpot in June 2005.

The crux of the case was whether they were partners when the win happened, the Courant reports. 

When Bakaysa, who lives Plainville, took the stand, she traced the falling out to a phone call, the Courant reports.

"Yes, she was hollering on the phone," Bakaysa testified. "She said to me she didn't want to be partners anymore. I said OK." Afterward, Bakaysa said, she ripped up the contract.

Sokaitis says she never told her sister that she wanted to end the partnership.

"I told her I felt I deserved a share of the money and she told me I wasn't going to get a dime," Sokaitis testified. "I said, 'I have a contract.' She said, 'I tore mine up.' I said, 'I didn't."'

Sokaitis sued Bakaysa in 2005, claiming breach of contract.

Another wrinkle is that the brother testified that he actually bought the Powerball ticket and became Bakaysa's gambling partner after his sisters' tiff.

"I love my sister," Sokaitis told the judge. "There was no reason for us not to be partners."

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