PLANTATION — A dozen real estate agents who won $1 million in the Powerball are paying it forward and sharing part of their earnings with a new employee who opted out of joining the South Florida agency's office pool.
"The way we are as a group, we absolutely would not want anyone to ever feel left out," team leader Laurie Finkelstein Reader said Thursday.
The 12 Realtors at Keller Williams Partners Realty in Plantation joined the office pool for the March 23 Powerball drawing, pitching in $20 each. Employee No. 13, Jennifer Maldonado, started her job March 8 and decided not to join the pool until she received her first paycheck.
"I said to her, 'Jen, if you don't play, we are definitely going to win,' " Finkelstein recalled. "And her response was, 'I'll take the fall for you guys.' And look what happened — we hit the Powerball."
The team of 12 matched five numbers, winning $83,333 each after taxes.
Finkelstein, excited about the winnings, had to be the one to tell Maldonado. It got her thinking: "This is just not going to be fun without her." So, Finkelstein said, she sent a text message to the team. "It would be a great idea for us to include her," she texted. One by one the Realtors chimed in and said they were one.
Maldonado won't say how much her co-workers are giving her, but she is looking forward to taking a vacation with her son and husband with the money.