Did Belpointe Asset Managers Lie About Winning CT Powerball?

A London-owned newspaper broke news this morning that the Greenwich money managers who showed up to claim a $254 million Connecticut Powerball lotto ticket didn’t actually win the money. Instead, commercial real estate broker Tom Gladstone says Belpointe’s Brandon Lacoff told him they are just managing the money for a client. Daniel Bates of the DailyMail who beat the Greenwich Time to the news has the story here.

Yesterday, the trio from Greenwich-based Belpointe Asset Management showed up in Rocky Hill, CT for a press conference about the big score but left reporters frustrated when they wouldn’t answer detailed questions about how and why they teamed up to buy a single Quickpic ticket. The AP ran a story that Tim Davidson, a trader for Belpointe, said he bought the ticket but according to multiple people at the press conference Davidson only said “our ticket was bought at” the Shippan Point gas station. The emphasis is on the “OUR” here.

People involved with the CT lottery commission told me Lacoff, Skidmore, and Davidson all went through an ethics check before the discounted cash take home pay of $103.5 million was handed out. This means their individual names were checked to see if they had any liens or unpaid taxes against them and all three passed. The check was made out to the Putnam Avenue Family Trust (a street in downtown Greenwich) and it’s unclear when Team Belpointe set up this trust. Assuming Gladstone has his facts straight and the trio didn’t win the ticket this leaves the CT Lottery Commission with a challenge. They can’t check if there are liens or unpaid taxes against the real winner. So while it’s great the State made $14 million* off this Powerball run I’m still bothered that our system allows anonymity for lotto winners. How do we know they are even a US Citizen?

Another problem for the Belpointe boys, besides the fact they just appeared to have lied to press and the lotto commission about winning the ticket, is they might have gotten caught up in fraudulent conveyance. According to people who work with the commission if the real winner set up the Trust to hide incoming money that is owed or claimed by others then that’s a big NO-NO. But until we know the identity of the winner we might not ever get this answer. Of course the CT AG could encourage the Lotto Commission to look into this. The CT lotto President was in a closed door meeting when I called and has not responded to these questions yet but this situation reads like the Belpointe boys have some more explaining to do.

UPDATE 2:30pm: I learned from people involved with the CT Lotto Commision that the Belpointe Boys working as trustees for Putnam Aveune Family Trust have not actually gotten the funds from the lotto commision yet. This might be why the government officials were locked in closed doors late this morning and could still have a chance to show CT residents the money is going into clean hands.

UPDATE 11.30.11 – Team Belpointe has hired an expensive New York PR firm run by Howard Rubenstein and last night we get a carefully scripted statement denying there is an anonoymous fourth participant. My favorite (and informed) Greenwich blogger Chris Fountain has a few choice words on who is lying here and I have to agree with him. The PR firm has been crafty with their statement though and I’d like to see Team Belpointe deny there is another beneficiary of the trust, which in my book is different than a ‘participant’ or additional trustee. But until we see a copy of the trust agreement we’ll likely never know who really won the jackpot ticket. The CT Lotto Commision could ask for a copy and see who the beneficiary is so an unpaid taxes and liens check could be performed but I’m not counting on the State giving lotto winners a hard time. Why – well it’s bad PR for them to scare off all the illegal residents wasting their hard earned greenbacks betting on the easy money American dream. Or as Chris Fountain puts it: This is also known as “a regressive tax on stupid people“.

* Frank Farricker, Chairman of the CT Lottery, says $4 million was earned in additional sales after the Powerball went above $200 million and $10 million was collected in CT taxes. The $14 million goes into the general State budget fund.

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Comments

  1. Andrew Coffey says:

    Nothing is ever straight forward anymore.Great insight

    • thomas leahy says:

      lost a ticket in my hotel room at the days inn on nov 2 and bought a ticket at the shell station right next door could it have possibly been stolen buy a maid who were of mexican descent red car i thought i just lost it but now after reading your article there might be more to the story with those guys and also can they trace the ticket back to actual stop were they bought it.

      • thomas leahy says:

        i also heard that the wrong number were posted i might thorw them away and disregraded it and a mexican maid picked it up found it was the winner

  2. nice story, but imho a lottery winners identity should not necessarily be made public (unless the winner chooses to be made public) for security reasons. how would you like it if you won and all of a sudden you have people tracking you down and asking you for money….or worse (kidnapping, anyone?)???
    with that said, the identity should of course be known to the lottery officials (and not hidden behind a blind trust) so they can check for unpaid taxes/liens/child-support…etc.

    • Well people try to track me down often – even more so when I report on a bank or a hedge fund that ends up getting sued or arrested after my story comes out. I don’t expect any privacy as a journalist so I’d have no problem with anyone knowing I’d won the lotto.

    • Well, one problem is that most winners would then elect to remain anonymous meaning that the lottery would then lose out on much needed and valuable advertising.

      A major attraction of the lottery is seeing ordinary people just like you win big money. People savor all the details. Would you rather hear that Anonymous from No Name Street won the lottery or that Jim Smith down the block won?

  3. Teri, I loved your work a few years ago but this post just lacks any form of rigor. your entire source is a UK newspaper known for exagerating things?

    a simple check on 411.com shows the gentlement who claims to have bought the ticket lives a few hundred yards away from the gas station it was sold at. doesn’t seem to unreasonable to me.

    sometimes the truth just doesn’t make for great headlines

    • Andy – The person in the Dailymail story outing the Belpointe Managers is actually a well known Greenwich real estate player who also went on the record for Greenwich Time today. At first I thought Lacoff got his buddy to do a pr spin for him because he really bought the ticket and didn’t want to be accountable to people trying to sue the Beacon Hill project. But then I checked out Gladstone and found he was telling the same story to multiple people and my reporter instinct believes him. It’s my understanding Lacoff has been shooting his mouth off before they claimed the ticket about the winner being a client. My own sourcing comes from sources within the lotto commission. Davidson actually never claimed to buy the ticket at the presser and he doesn’t live in CT he lives in New York. The AP reporter miss read what Davidson said so that notion is out the window.

      thanks for reading,
      Teri

  4. Doesn’t it just have to be a guy or gal who is going through a divorce…and doesn’t want this to be a part of his/her combined assets? I am sure wealth management fees must be less than “half” right?

  5. Sep Klossner says:

    Great insight. I think this story is far from over. It’s obvious the traders- or whomever they represent -needed a bailout and couldnt get one from the fed government.

    So they went to the state govt, pulled some strings with a good old boy (there are a lot of them, check out the website) on the conn. lottery board of directors…and with great finesse, it was arranged for them to be given the winning ticket. Pretty simple. There are no coincidences in life. Come on people.

    Get smart or you will continue to be ripped off, duped, played for fools.

    Keep digging; Creating a Trust can be a complex, time intensive process if one is not a lawyer and must hire one to create the document; so to have it set up and already in place a mere week after winning seems unrealistic.

  6. Just_looking says:

    I suspect that they bought thousands of tickets to increase their odds, and they possibly used investment funds to do so, you know as an “investment”. Hence the secrecy.

    • Joe Bagadonuts says:

      Yeah that’s probably what they did: stood at the gas station in Stamford buying quick pick powerball tickets all day long. Unbelievable.

      • Joe – glad to have ur comments but there’s no reason to rip someone else’s view point of Team Belpointe’s PR mess…even if there is not a remote chance it happen. How about you help me find someone who’s seen a copy of that damn trust agreement instead.

        • Joe Bagadonuts says:

          I’m looking. If I find it you and CF will be the first to know. In the meantime, as an investigative journalist you do have some obligation to at least shoot at, if not shoot down whacko theories posted on your blog. No? I mean come on, first the Sep guy then this guy.

          • Joe – It’s pretty clear by now I’m a firm believer in America’s freedom of speech laws and feel like anyone can say almost anything when voicing their opinion about a news event…which is all they are doing. It’s not like I’m reporting their ideas.

  7. It’s a known fact there are more than few very corrupt countries where government run lottery is rigged! There it’s a known fact for locals. Now, what if we have some powerful folks in this country copying the idea? Possible? Maybe? Anything can happen, especially under all that secrecy providing whole lot of protection. Go figure!

  8. I don’t know what others think about the whole thing, but I have trouble believing three rich guys buying (sharing) one lotto ticket!

    Also, to ALL nitwits who believe buying more lotto tickets increases winning chances: very, very silly idea!!! No matter how many tickets you are buying your chance to win is same as when you buy a single ticket! What happens is, you are buying more “one in a million chance” tickets just to play more, that’s all. You are playing with one single ticket, no matter how many of those you bought.

    Idea of lotto was copied by government from mobsters, who as we all know were not shy to hire talented, nerdy bookies with excellent knowledge of numbers! No different now, except you buy a ticket officially, in the store, instead of doing it in a street.

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