UPDATE 2-Asset managers' $254 mln Powerball win in question

Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:27pm EST

Related News

* Three money managers claim Powerball prize

* Firm may stand to profit $2.1 mln in management fees

* Winner of ticket is in question

By Ashley Lau

Nov. 29 (Reuters) - The winner of Connecticut's largest-ever Powerball jackpot was in question on Tuesday amid uncertainty over who purchased the ticket.

Three Connecticut money managers, Tim Davidson, Brandon Lacoff and Greg Skidmore, of Greenwich-based Belpointe Asset Management, claimed the state's $254 million jackpot prize - coming forward with the winning ticket at a press conference on Monday.

But Thomas Gladstone, a Greenwich, Connecticut, resident who said he is a close friend of Lacoff and has known him for 30 years, told Reuters on Tuesday that the actual prize belongs to one of the money managers' clients.

"I called him up and had him on the phone, while I was still on the phone with the guy from London, and he said, 'we're the trustee for the winner,'" Gladstone said in a telephone interview.

He said Lacoff told him their firm, Belpointe, would be the investment adviser for the trust.

Gladstone did not elaborate on why he chose to speak with reporters on the topic.

If Belpointe, which oversees money for high net worth investors, does manage the assets for the trust holding the prize money, then the firm could stand to profit about $2.1 million from the winning ticket, based on an annual management fee of as much as 2 percent of the assets.

Requests for comment from the three money managers were referred to the trio's lawyer, Jason Kurland. Repeated calls to Kurland were not returned.

Calls to Connecticut Lottery Corp were not returned.

Davidson, Lacoff and Skidmore formed a trust, according to Gladstone, after the lottery numbers were first announced and before they claimed the prize. The three money managers are trustees, with the owner of the trust being one of the firm's clients, said Gladstone.

Gladstone said after receiving a call from a reporter at a London-based newspaper on Monday evening, he called Lacoff and asked him about the lottery.

A Belpointe portfolio manager, Chris Sandys, told Reuters "this is a client matter" and that he was not permitted to talk about the situation.

"Our policy is strict secrecy with our clients," he said.

WINNING TICKET

Belpointe, founded by Skidmore and Lacoff in 2007, has about $82 million in assets under management, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

The three waited almost four weeks before coming forward with the winning ticket after the numbers were pulled on Nov. 2.

After taxes, the winner would reap about $104 million.

The three have a long history of money management experience. Skidmore previously worked for Citigroup's Smith Barney wealth division, while Davidson previously worked at UBS Financial , both in Connecticut, according to SEC documents.

The managers' firm is based in Greenwich, Connecticut, a town with an average per capita income more than three times that of the national average of $27,041, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures.

The jackpot winner would have had until the end of April to claim the prize. After that, the ticket would have expired, according to the state's lottery rules.

While smaller lottery prizes can be redeemed more anonymously at any state lottery retail location, prizes of $5,000 or more require the winner to go to the the Connecticut Lottery's headquarters in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

The winning digits were 12, 14, 34, 39, 46, with a Powerball number 36. The prize was the 12th-largest jackpot in Powerball history, according to the Connecticut Lottery Corp.

An employee at the Shippan Point BP gas station in Stamford, where the winning ticket was sold, said he has seen in an increase in the number of people stopping by the station to buy lottery tickets since the winner was announced.

Vasil Golodinskii, who has worked at the station for three years, said he and the other seven employees who work out of the shop are trying to determine who sold the winning ticket.

"We're trying to figure it out," he said, noting that he and his colleagues sell hundreds of tickets each round. "Only the customer can tell us."

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