SACRAMENTO "“ California Lottery officials announced the winner of the $266 million MEGA Millions jackpot claimed their ticket today. Gilbert and Jackie Cisneros have been household names since winning the record-breaking jackpot on May 4th. But many people haven't yet heard that when Jackie Cisneros, a KNBC employee, found out that her husband held the winning ticket, she couldn't leave her news instincts behind. She repeatedly tried to get her husband to do an exclusive interview with her own employer. Gilbert Cisneros laughed while agreeing that his wife was "news professional first, protective wife second" when she first found out about the winning ticket.
Here's how it happened: Jackie Cisneros went to work at KNBC as usual at 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 5th. The big news story that morning was the Lottery winner who bought their ticket in Pico Rivera. She decided to call her husband, at 2:30 a.m., and have him check his tickets. "I saw it was her calling so I figured I'd better answer it, "said Gilbert Cisneros. Usually at that time of morning, it's bad news, luckily, this time it wasn't." Once she realized her husband held the winning ticket, Jackie Cisneros went into "newsroom mode," she explained. "I wanted the exclusive, something no other station in town had and since it was my husband, I figured I had a good chance of getting it," she said. But she was wrong. First she asked Gilbert Cisneros if KNBC could bring a camera to their home and interview him. He said he didn't want news people at their home. Next she asked if he would go to the retailer and get interviewed there, again he answered no. She continued with her pleas, all of which were denied. Finally, she asked if he would scan the ticket and email it to her. He agreed, giving her employer an exclusive of sorts. "That way I could double check the numbers and we would have a graphic to use with the story that no one else had," said Jackie Cisneros. What do they plan on doing with their money? "We want to make it last and donate some to charity," they explained. But first, they will fulfill a long time dream and jointly appear on Oprah. The retailer who sold the jackpot ticket, the owner of L & L Hawaiian BBQ, will receive the maximum retailer bonus of $1 million. Jackpot winners have 365 days from the date of the draw to claim the jackpot prize. The cash option amount for this ticket is worth approximately $165 million.
Counting this ticket, there have been 13 MEGA Millions jackpots won in California, including the historic $315 million jackpot won on November 15, 2005, which was the largest California jackpot ever. Gilbert Cisneros becomes the largest single individual winner of a jackpot in California Lottery history. MEGA Millions is a multistate game, played in California and 39 other states. Players pick five numbers from 1 to 56 plus a Mega number from 1 to 46. Draw times are Tuesdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m. PST. Tickets are $1 and can be purchased from any of the more than 21,000 California Lottery retailers. Please visit the California Lottery's MEGA Millions site for more information. The California Lottery is celebrating 25 years of enhancing education and supporting local communities. More than 95 cents of every Lottery dollar is returned to the community in the form of contributions to education, prizes and retail commissions. The Lottery contributes at least 87 cents of every dollar that players spend on Lottery products to public education and prizes. Since the Lottery's inception in 1985, Lottery players have contributed nearly $22 billion to California schools out of total sales of more than $59 billion. Retailers benefit too, earning $3.8 billion in compensation since 1985. www.calottery.com
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