The three wealth managers who have claimed a $254 million Powerball jackpot in Connecticut may not be the real winners, according to a friend of one of the men.
Thomas Gladstone, who owns the building where winners Gregg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff and Tim Davidson work, told ABC News that a client of the men approached them with the winning ticket and asked for their help protecting his money, which amounts to about $104 million after taxes.
Gladstone told ABC News that one of the bankers had admitted to him the trio had claimed the winning ticket for one of their clients.
"These are smart guys. They want to turn the 100 million into three or 400 million," Gladstone said. "The plan was to keep all this private. You've seen people pry into other people's lives. They want to protect their client."
Skidmore, Lacoff, and Davidson are all money managers at a startup asset management firm called Belpoint Capital in Greenwich. The company manages $82 million, according to the SEC. Skidmore is the president and CEO of the company.
The men and their attorney, New York lawyer Jason Kurland, appeared at the Connecticut Lottery offices Monday to claim their jackpot and said they had formed a trust to manage the money and planned to donate most of it to charity.
Gladstone, however, said the trio plans to invest some of the money in charity, but not all of it.
"This was a very very smart thing to do," Gladstone told ABC News. "The fact they are trustees, they are doing this guy a tremendous service. I never heard of this type of advanced planning. These are smart guys who know if they invest this right away they can get a whole lot more for it."
The winning ticket from the Nov. 2 drawing had gone unclaimed for so long that Connecticut lottery authorities had begun to advertise widely for people to double-check their tickets.
But Skidmore, Lacoff and Davidson were just taking their time to set up the Putnam Avenue Family Trust, Kurland said.
The attorney said that Davidson had bought a single Quick Pick ticket for $1 at the Shippan Point BP gas station in Stamford. A computer chose the random numbers of 12-14-34-39-46, Powerball 36. The jackpot was the largest ever won in Connecticut and the 12th biggest in Powerball history.
The three remained almost entirely silent at the press conference while Kurland answered questions, though he declined to describe the trio's relationship with one another, how they came to purchase a $1 ticket together or what they would do with the money, except to say that Connecticut charities would benefit from the windfall.
"From the first conversation I had with them, it was very philanthropic," he said. "Charities was definitely, probably No. 1 on their priority list."
Kurland said the group called him the day after the drawing.
"They thought they were the winners, and then, that night, I think, one of the local TV stations had the numbers, and the Powerball number was wrong on the TV screen, so that put them into a little bit of a tizzy," he said. "But the news, to their credit, corrected it a few hours later, and they were confident they had it."
Calls to the Connecticut Lottery and Kurland were not immediately returned. The Associated Press contributed to this report.