Two weeks ago Sharon Jackson, a Peoples Drug Stores pharmacist, attended the D.C. Lottery's first million-dollar prize drawings and walked away the winner of a 1983 Oldsmobile in a special door-prize contest for lottery ticket sales agents.
She thought she had a new $13,890 car. But yesterday Peoples officials said no: They will claim the shiny sable brown vehicle with power windows, locks and seats, and an AM-FM cassette radio.
Jackson, the officials said, will get a consolation prize -- a $100 check.
Jackson had hoped to use the new car to replace the 1974 Chrysler with 86,000 miles on it that she had just purchased the night before the lottery drawing. But Peoples corporate secretary James Schwarz said yesterday that the company is entitled to the car because it, not Jackson, is the lottery ticket sales agent.
"What are they going to do with the car?" the 36-year-old Jackson asked with a tone of incredulity when a reporter told her that Peoples officials intend to claim the car from McLaughlin Oldsmobile in Capitol Heights. "No one has said congratulations or anything to me.
"If the car is designated to anyone, then it should be designated to me," she said, voicing the same view she said she had conveyed to company officials during the two weeks since the drawing. "I'm entitled to the car because I was the only one there representing my store.
"If they're going to sell the car and divide the money, then all the employes at the store at 10th and F streets NW where she works should get some. I think I'm entitled to half," she said.
Schwarz said Peoples officials haven't decided what to do with the car, a top-of-the-line Cutlass CS Brougham model that was one of two door prizes offered for lottery ticket agents who attended the elaborately staged million-dollar prize drawings in a ballroom at the Sheraton-Washington Hotel.
The other prize handed out by Games Production Inc., the company hired by Washington's lottery board to run day-to-day operations of the city's game, was an all-expenses-paid, seven-day trip to the Caribbean. But it was won by an individual lottery ticket agent and so the problem Jackson has encountered with Peoples officials did not arise.
Jackson's store manager, Sylvester Brown, said he thinks she should get the car since she was the only one from the 10th Street store who attended the show.
Games Production had sent Brown's store and the other estimated 1,100 lottery agents three free tickets each for the million-dollar drawings. Brown took two of them and gave the third to Jackson, but Brown did not attend.
Gloria A. Decker, Games Production's general manager and the former director of the New Jersey lottery, said, "To the best of my knowledge, the car goes to Peoples. They're the registered agent."
Schwarz said it took Peoples two weeks to claim the car because it was trying to determine exactly what Games Production's rules were surrounding the door-prize drawings for the lottery agents.
"The lottery ticket agency was the store," he said. "The corporation gets the car."
"I'm disappointed," said Jackson, "but I'm not going to die."