Illinois lottery winners file lawsuit over halted payments

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CHICAGO — Two lottery winners have filed a federal lawsuit against the Illinois Lottery, which stopped paying out large prizes because there's no state budget.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Rhonda Rasche and Danny Chasteen seeks class action status.

Rasche is awaiting a $50,000 payout. Chasteen won $250,000.

Last month the state comptroller's office said that without a budget for the July 1 fiscal year, there wasn't authority to write checks over $25,000 and payments would be delayed.

The lawsuit says the lottery still pays wages and seeks a court order to stop ticket sales until Illinois pays. It alleges dozens await more than $288 million in prizes.

A lottery spokesman didn't return a message seeking comment.

Comptroller Leslie Munger says winnings can't be paid without a budget unlike other expenses dictated by court orders.