The California State Lottery Commission has been challenged to release video of Edwin Castro buying his $2 billion winning ticket by one of the men at the center of a lawsuit claiming he’s not the rightful winner.
The record-winning jackpot has been questioned by Jose Rivera, who claims in a lawsuit he bought the ticket and it was stolen by another man — Urachi “Reggie” Romero — before it ended up in Castro’s possession and he cashed it.
The commission has filed to get itself removed from the messy civil suit, saying they did make all the necessary checks to ensure Castro was the rightful winner before awarding the prize.
“Please release the video because all that it will show is Jose buying that ticket and a pack of Marlboros,” Romero countered to The Post Tuesday.
Romero added he thought the lottery commission are just trying to “cover their a–es” by trying to back out of Rivera’s lawsuit.
Rivera says in his suit he bought the ticker from Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, California, the same location as Castro.
“They have the video, but it ain’t Castro on there … [The Commission] should be responsible because they have been negligent. Someone already claimed they had that ticket way before Castro came out.”
The California State Lottery Commission wants out of the suit to let Castro and Rivera duke out who is the rightful owner of the historic $2.04 billion Powerball ticket in court themselves.
Lawyers for the agency said it stands by its decision and that Castro “produced the winning ticket, was determined the winner after a thorough investigation, and has been paid,” according to court documents filed on June 5.
State Deputy Attorney General Lisa Freund, who is representing the Commission, also said the lottery is a “public entity” and by law can’t be held liable for punitive damages.
Lottery rules also state winnings could only be paid once and only to the person who presents the winning ticket, Freund pointed out in a May 10 letter to Rivera’s attorneys.
In February, Rivera filed the lawsuit against Castro, the Lottery Commission and Romero, claiming the latter “took” the ticket from his table.
The lawsuit, however, does not explain how Castro and Romero know each other, or how the ticket got into the Castro’s possession.
Brian Kramer, Rivera’s attorney, said his client is not seeking monetary damages against the commission but is asking the judge to determine who is the rightful owner of the ticket.
Kramer said when the lawsuit was filed, Rivera didn’t know whether payments had been made to Castro.
Romero, who had rented a room to Rivera, maintains his former tenant is the rightful winner.
Here’s everything to know about the $2B Powerball jackpot lawsuit
Edwin Castro claimed a winning $2 billion Powerball ticket in February and opted for a one-time lump sum payment of $997.6 million
With his money, Castro purchased a $25.5 million Hollywood Hills mansion in March that’s stacked with amenities, including 7 bedrooms and an infinity pool.
On April 25, however, process servers brought court papers to Castro’s home, in a suit claiming the winning ticket was stolen.
Jose Rivera claims he purchased the winning ticket on Nov. 7, 2022, the day before the drawing.
Rivera is suing Castro and his former landlord Urachi “Reggie” Romero, who he claims stole his ticket and told him it was a “loser.”
Romero has denied stealing the ticket but supported Rivera’s claim that he was the rightful ticket holder.
California Lottery officials said they are confident Castro is the rightful winner.
But according to the lawsuit, Rivera allegedly asked Romero to return the ticket to him after the winning numbers were announced, but he refused. Rivera claimed his landlord was trying to blackmail him into splitting the jackpot 50/50.
In a prior interview with The Post, Romero said Rivera went to Joe’s Service Center in Altadena to buy a ticket around midday on Nov. 7. He claims Rivera showed him the Powerball and explained why he chose specific numbers — even before the winning numbers were announced the next night.
Romero, who had a falling out with his former tenant, wants to know why the Lottery Commission hasn’t been more transparent.
The agency announced Castro was the winner on Feb. 14 and that he would be taking the lump sum payout of $997.6 million.
“When it comes to the vetting process for big winners, California Lottery has the utmost confidence in its process for doing so,” spokesperson Carolyn Becker said in a statement.
“California Lottery remains confident that Edwin Castro is the rightful winner of the $2.04 billion prize stemming from the Powerball drawing in November of 2022.”