A man pictured in yesterday's editions as a finalist in the District's $1 million lottery drawings was incorrectly identified. He is Charles Puryear, a 53-year-old security guard
Charles Puryear is a 53-year-old security guard at the National Labor Relations Board who makes $12,000 a year, but by late Tuesday night he may be a millionaire. Ditto for Theodore F. (Teddy) Allen, a $24,000-a-year television repairman, and Corrine E. Askew, who makes $14,000 as an FBI clerk.
The three of them, along with 17 others, had envelopes containing their names plucked from a rotating barrel containing a collection of 3,121 such envelopes yesterday in a drawing to determine the finalists for two $1 million prizes in the D.C. Lottery.
"I was stunned," said Allen, 29, a Northeast Washington resident. "I'm still stunned." He had stood anxiously with a handful of other would-be millionaires on the windswept sidewalk in front of the District Building as 17 names were drawn before he heard his own announced.
"That's a dream," Puryear, also of Northeast Washington, said of the prospect of winning $1 million. But Puryear, the father of eight and the only other finalist who witnessed yesterday's drawing, quietly cautioned, "I'm not counting it yet."
"Oh wow! Oh my goodness," Askew, 26, of Alexandria, exclaimed as she learned she was a finalist when a reporter told her. "I was thinking they'd never draw my name."
All 20 of the finalists, whose names were drawn from among those who won $100 prizes in the city's initial lottery game that ran from Aug. 25 to Oct. 20, won at least another $1,000 when current and former D.C. City Council members pulled their envelopes from the barrel.
But two of them will win $10,000, minus the 20 percent bite the Internal Revenue Service takes out of large lottery winnings; another two will win prizes of $25,000; and the two million-dollar winners will get $50,000 a year for the next 20 years.
Lottery officials said the 20 finalists will themselves determine who gets the two $1 million prizes in an elaborate presentation Tuesday night at the Sheraton-Washington Hotel. Their names will be placed into red plastic balls that in turn will be dropped into red flannel pouches with gold drawstrings.
The pouches will be tossed about in a vibrating tumbler and then each of the finalists will select one and place it unopened on a display board by the numerical designation of the prizes to be awarded. Contestants who think they have drawn their own name from the tumbler can place it by the $1 million designation, or wherever they wish.
When the pouches and balls are opened, and the names revealed, the winners of the various amounts will be known.
More than 100 people waited yesterday as the names were drawn and then checked against a computerized master list to make certain that no one had slipped in a ringer looking for a chance to become a millionaire.
The first six names drawn were those of Maryland and Virginia residents, prompting a few worried looks among the council members and lottery officials. As he read the sixth name, former council chairman Sterling Tucker jokingly admonished the crowd, "D.C. residents better start buying these tickets."
Moments later, council chairman-elect David A. Clarke, now the Ward 1 councilman, shouted "Come on, D.C.!" before poking his hand into the barrel and drawing three names, two of them from the District.
In all, eight of the finalists are District residents, seven live in Virginia and five in Maryland.
Puryear, Allen and Askew all said they bought multiple lottery tickets and more often than not lost money before winning the $100 prizes that made them eligible for yesterday's drawing. Puryear said he purchased at least 50 $1 tickets in the city's first lottery game, Allen about 35 and Askew seven.
Lottery players have about a 1-in-10 chance of buying a winning ticket in the instant prize games that the city is now sanctioning, the first legalized gambling in the nation's capital in 75 years. A total of 46 percent of the gross revenues are awarded in prizes, similar to lotteries in other states but far less than in other forms of legalized gambling.
The other 17 finalists are:
Mara Spade, Chevy Chase; Bernice M. Blunt, Alexandria; Vincent L. Dodson, Beaver Heights; Wallace R. Otterson, Fairfax; Paul B. Gray, Arlington; Derrick J. Osborne, Fort Washington; Samuel March Jr., Washington; Bonnie L. Somers, Arlington; Abdul R. Koroma, Washington; Leroy L. Armstrong, Washington; David E. Marshall, Colmar Manor; Frances Gwendolyn Cowan, Clinton; Pilar Ruiz, Springfield; Shaikh Osman, Washington; Johnny Martino, Washington; Vernelle T. Nelson, Washington; and Alberto Martinez, Arlington.