A group of Vancouver fast food workers who are feuding over who should get a cut of a $14.5-million lottery win have been given until the end of the week to settle their dispute — or face a judge.
A senior official with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation said Wednesday that eight women and a man who work at the A&W burger restaurant in Mission, B.C., will definitely get a share of the prize from Saturday's Lotto 6-49 draw.
The question is whether two other women who work at the restaurant are entitled to a share of the winnings.
They have filed a complaint with the lottery corporation claiming they were also part of the pool.
Now the Corporation says it could ask a judge to settle the feud if it's not resolved during the next few days.
"One option we have is to pay it into a court and have the court decide, after hearing everyone's testimony, who are the rightful owners," said the BCLC's Jim Lightbody, vice president of gaming.
Lightbody says this kind of situation has never happened in B.C. before.
"Normally, all of these winners are able to work out their differences amongst themselves. And that's really what we hope happens in this case. We've given the parties a few days to think about it and hopefully they'll be able to decide amongst themselves," he told Canada AM.
"I'm not really convinced that they're going to be able to come up with a solution amongst themselves. So I think that there is going to be a court having to decide this for them."
Tanis McQuillan, 25, and Megan Weisgarber, 19, have retained Vancouver lawyer Patrick Lewis to represent them in their quest for some of the cash winnings.
"Stabbed in the back is how I feel," Tanis McQuillan told CTV News.
McQuillan claims she is entitled to a cut because both she and Weisgarber consistently put money into the weekly pool.
However neither of them have any paperwork to prove their claims.
McQuillan, who has worked at the restaurant for six years, told the Vancouver Sun she feels betrayed by people she considered her friends.
"They are people I've had in my house," she told the newspaper in a story published Wednesday. "They are people that come over for barbecues and for birthday parties."
Earlier this year, 81-year-old cancer survivor Robert Edmonds of Coboconk, Ont., sued the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. for giving his prize money to the wrong people.
He went to verify a ticket at a local convenience store and the clerk told him it was a loser. She and her husband then tried to cash it.
The lottery corporation paid the couple the $250,000 winnings.
Edmonds sued and the lottery corporation spent more than $400,000 of taxpayers' money in a court battle before eventually settling with him.
Lightbody says there are ways to avoid such disputes.
"Many of our players across Canada do play in groups and we actually think it's a great way to play Lotto 6-49.
"What we would recommend is they just appoint one person to be the trustee and then go to our website and download a group agreement form and fill that out. That's what many of our players do and then it's very clear to everybody that when and if they do win, that all their interests will be taken care of."