Truckee resident shares $500,000 house prize |

Truckee resident shares $500,000 house prize

If you were going to win a large sum of money or the equivalent, what better place to work than at an accounting firm?

This was the thought going through the minds of Sue Zangara and Susan Rosensteel Monday as they prepared to talk about winning a $500,000 home.

It was around 2:30 p.m. Thursday when Sue Zangara had the idea to purchase a $100 raffle ticket for a chance at a $500,000 Incline Village home being given away as part of a fund-raiser for the Parasol Foundation of Incline Village.

But the catch was she didn’t want to spend the entire sum herself.

In a few minutes she convinced a co-worker and former co-worker to go in on a ticket together. Each paid $33.33 except for Zangara who as the others tell it maintained a controlling interest by paying an extra penny.

The good news

About 10 hours later Zangara, Rosensteel and Michele Jenkins were each awakened by calls from Parasol Foundation officials telling them they had won the Gary Court home.

“I’ll be 46 this month and I’ve never owned a home,” said Zangara Monday, who has worked as a receptionist for 8 1/2 years at Ashley Quinn Nelson, an accounting firm in Incline.

Rosensteel, firm administrator at Ashley Quinn Nelson for 11 years, said when the call came in after midnight, her husband Norman answered the phone.

“Elizabeth (Croom, executive director of the Parasol Foundation) called my house and my husband answered the phone.

“He heard music in the background and screaming and thought it was a joke and hung up,” Rosensteel said.

Luckily, Croom called back and spoke to Sue Rosensteel who, though groggy, received the news well.

At the same time, Zangara also called the house and was on call waiting, waiting to confirm the trio had won.

Jenkins said she too was surprised when the call came.

None of the women attended the $250 per person fund-raiser during which the drawing was held.

“I went to the event after they called. I couldn’t afford the event because we’re just poor working people,” Zangara said.

The women didn’t expect to win given the lateness of the purchase and the fact that they had heard of others purchasing numerous tickets.

Kicking themselves

“There was one other gal in the office that was going to buy a ticket so I went to Michele and suggested that we get three or four of us to buy a ticket as none of us wanted to spend $100 on a ticket,” Zangara said.

“We asked the others to go in but they didn’t. Now they are kicking themselves,” Jenkins said.

Though the three women have won a home, none of them will live in it.

“We’ll sell the house and get money for it,” Rosensteel said.

“We have to split everything to pay the taxes,” Zangara said with a chuckle.


So, what plans do the women have for the money?

Jenkins, who is 55-years-old, worked with Zangara and Rosensteel for about a year before moving next door to work as a manager at Ag Accounting. She said she plans to invest the money for retirement but also will set some aside for immediate gratification.

“I bought a new top-of-the-line KitchenAid dishwasher and a new washer and dryer because all of our appliances are falling apart,” said Jenkins who lives with her husband Lou and son, Chris, in Truckee.

Rosensteel, age 42, said she and her husband have been planning a move from Tahoe City to Reno.

This money will be used to purchase a new, better house and for a new car.

“This is the most I’ve ever won in my whole life,” she exclaimed.

“For us this is more money than I could think about having at one time,” said Zangara, a Crystal Bay resident, before detailing plans of how she will use the money.

She plans to purchase or at least put a hefty down payment on a house.

Making the win even more interesting is the fact that George Ashely – the boss of Zangara and Rosensteel – was the one who pulled the winning ticket out of the barrel.

“I think I said something like, ‘Oh my God, I think I know this person.’ It was spooky. I didn’t believe it,” Ashley said.

The women have all lived in the Tahoe/Truckee area for years.

Rosensteel has lived at Tahoe for about 23 years with her husband and daughters Lauren and Rachel.

Zangara, her boyfriend Paul and son, Chris, have lived here 10 1/2 years.

Jenkins has lived in Truckee since 1980.

Taking title

The women are expected to take title to the home sometime this week and have not yet seen the inside of the home, except for the kitchen which is visible through the windows.

“On New Year’s Day we met there at noon and had champagne,” Zangara said.

Of course, with a $500,000 prize, there are also taxes to be paid.

The women are counting their lucky stars that they work or worked for a CPA firm.

Ashley said Monday the tax advice will be on the house as a fringe employee benefit.

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