Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited December 3, 2016, 6:52 pm
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Mass. Lottery dispute takes bizarre turn

Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: Mass. Lottery dispute takes bizarre turn

In October Kevin Donovan became the talk of the town when he claimed to have thrown away a winning $1 million lottery ticket that another man found in the trash.

Now, while embroiled with the Massachusetts Lottery Commission in a battle to reclaim the ticket from the man who found it, Donovan has suffered the ultimate loss.

Just 49 years old, Donovan suffered a fatal heart attack while traveling in Hyannis on Tuesday, according toKate Donovan, his ex-wife. The couple had been divorced since 2002, and Kate Donovan said she had no interest — financial or otherwise — in her ex's legal bid to reclaim the ticket.

"He was optimistic about it," she said. "But he was a gambler. I'm a very risk-averse person."

Donovan's death does not necessarily mean the end of his claim, however.

Donovan had two children, including Dan Donovan, 20, who is considering pursuing his father's claim. As an heir and legal adult, he has the standing to do so, his mother said. At this point, however, he is undecided.

Kevin Donovan ran a gas station in town and lived with his son on Lincoln Street, according to Kate Donovan, of Indian Run Road in Bellingham.

News of Donovan's untimely demise took just about everyone involved in the lottery imbroglio by surprise.

"You gotta be joking," said Edward St. John, the 82-year-old man who discovered Donovan's jettisoned jackpot. "Is that official?"

St. John was reluctantly thrust into the national spotlight in early October when he discovered the ticket while making his usual rounds at the White Hen Pantry, a convenience store on Main Street where he regularly fishes through trash receptacles for discarded lottery tickets. Earlier, St. John found a $10,000 winner in the store's trash bin.

When St. John picked out a $1 million winner on the Texas Hold 'em Poker game, even Jay Leno and Good Morning America wanted to put him on TV — offers St. John has spurned. Upon learning of Donovan's untimely demise yesterday, St. John was very stingy with his expressions of sympathy for the man he blames for blocking his payday.

While St. John said he feels sorry for anyone who dies, he added that it's pretty hard to feel sorry "when they're trying to give you the business like he's been doing to me."

St. John said he would have been able to cash the disputed ticket long ago if it weren't for Donovan, and now he's just waiting for a call from the Massachusetts Lottery Commission to see what happens next. All he wants is to collect his winnings so he can share the windfall with other members of his family.

"This isn't fun for me," St. John said. "I just want to get this straightened out so I can live my life — what's left of it. I know my time is limited."

Donovan, through his lawyer, Dan Doyle, had claimed he inadvertently discarded the winning lottery ticket knowing it was a winner, but unaware of the actual size of the jackpot.

Donovan was said to have purchased every ticket on the White Hen Pantry's dispenser of Texas Hold 'em tickets on the day in question — about $600 worth. Among the evidence introduced to the Massachusetts Lottery Commission on his behalf was a security videotape from the store showing Donovan buying tickets.

Donovan had filed an appeal with the commission and, following a hearing in November, he and St. John had been waiting for a decision.

The ruling, however, was expected to be a mere prelude to yet another phase of the dispute in Superior Court. Despite granting Donovan an internal, administrative hearing, the commission had already announced publicly that St. John was entitled to the winnings because lottery tickets are "bearer instruments," payable to whomever is in possession of them.

Doyle did not return telephone calls for comment about the case.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Beth Bresnahan, spokeswoman for the lottery, said officials at the agency were also stunned by news of Donovan's death.

"When I told the paralegal her jaw just dropped, so this isn't something that happens very often," said Bresnahan. "This was an amazing story to begin with."

Such situations are so rare that Bresnahan could not initially say how Donovan's death would affect his appeal. But after researching the matter, she said that in the eyes of the law, Donovan's appeal is a property claim, meaning his estate — his heirs, in other words — have the option of pursuing it. A decision in the case is due next month, she said.

In addition to his son, Donovan also had a daughter, Lisa, 17, who lived with her mother in their yellow raised ranch overlooking Lake Hiawatha, Kate Donovan said.

Kevin Donovan would have turned 50 on Feb. 12. Lately, it seems, his family had been plagued by tragedy because his father, Francis Donovan, just passed away about two months ago, leaving his mother, Mary, alone, according to Kate Donovan. Francis Donovan was a well-known public servant in the Milford area, she said.

Kevin Donovan was traveling on Cape Cod with a girlfriend when he suffered a heart attack and was later pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, said his ex-wife. His body was to be cremated after his organs harvested for donation, she said.

Although Donovan had told his children that he had lost a $1 million lottery ticket, Kate Donovan said he never told her, at least face to face.

"He never had to," she said. "It was all over the news."

Woonsocket Call

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

39 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by LisaD1091.
Page 1 of 3
mylollipop's avatar - Trek STLOGO6.png

United States
Member #24380
October 21, 2005
623 Posts
Offline
Posted: February 4, 2006, 8:57 am - IP Logged

Hint, Hint...Let this man have the money.  He is the bearer of the instrument!

    Avatar
    Coastal Georgia
    United States
    Member #2653
    October 30, 2003
    1866 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: February 4, 2006, 10:09 am - IP Logged

    Hint, Hint...Let this man have the money.  He is the bearer of the instrument!

    I agree, but this is going to be tied up in court for a long time.

    The only winners here will be the attorneys.

     

    DD

     

                                   

                  

     

     

      fja's avatar - gnome1

      United States
      Member #91
      January 19, 2002
      11924 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: February 4, 2006, 10:16 am - IP Logged
      Talk about taking a turn to the surreal!!!

      You got to wonder what the out come of Kevin Donovan's life would have been if he hadn't tossed the ticket.

      My condolences to the rest of his family!


        United States
        Member #379
        June 5, 2002
        11296 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: February 4, 2006, 10:41 am - IP Logged

        Mr Donovan's death is why it's so stupid that MA has all these annuity-only scratch games (and Megabucks.) Wonder if Louise Outing is still alive? AFAIK she turns 96 next month.

          jeffrey's avatar - moon
          Hamilton, OH
          United States
          Member #4162
          March 27, 2004
          277 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: February 4, 2006, 10:59 am - IP Logged

          It is a bearer instrument but the trash should be locked up against bums rummaging. Yes, bums dig in garbage in this country. Wish he had seen his winner instead of throwing it away. Finding a winning lottery ticket is lucky. Digging and praying for someone to miss a winner is preying upon misfortune. He will get the money but Karma must be considered. Heart attacks run in streaks. Hope, Karma comes into play here.

            Avatar
            Sparta, NJ
            United States
            Member #18331
            July 9, 2005
            1977 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: February 4, 2006, 12:36 pm - IP Logged

            Massachusetts

            Represented by Kennedy & Kerry!  Who would have thunk integrity would bean issue.

             

            Cheers

            |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

            I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

              Avatar

              United States
              Member #434
              June 30, 2002
              675 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: February 4, 2006, 1:51 pm - IP Logged

              It is a bearer instrument but the trash should be locked up against bums rummaging. Yes, bums dig in garbage in this country. Wish he had seen his winner instead of throwing it away. Finding a winning lottery ticket is lucky. Digging and praying for someone to miss a winner is preying upon misfortune. He will get the money but Karma must be considered. Heart attacks run in streaks. Hope, Karma comes into play here.

              By wishing Karma to come into play here, you are wishing Karma to come and get yourself.

              First of all, St. John isn't a bum. He's actually smart. He knew they were bearer instruments, and the fact that he's won $10,000 by getting a ticket out of the trash previously, well....why not do it again.

              If someone is stupid enough to have a winner and throw it in the trash, it's their loss. Either understand the rules of the game you are spending $600 on, or don't play.

                Tenaj's avatar - michellea
                Charlotte NC
                United States
                Member #17406
                June 18, 2005
                4053 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: February 4, 2006, 2:21 pm - IP Logged

                It is a bearer instrument but the trash should be locked up against bums rummaging. Yes, bums dig in garbage in this country. Wish he had seen his winner instead of throwing it away. Finding a winning lottery ticket is lucky. Digging and praying for someone to miss a winner is preying upon misfortune. He will get the money but Karma must be considered. Heart attacks run in streaks. Hope, Karma comes into play here.

                Yes NodBums have the right to rummage thru trash cans if the property owners don't mind and it's not against the law.  Preying upon misfortune is way deeper than looking in a trash can for a overlooked lottery ticket.  Would he had been preying upon misfortune if he had been looking for food?

                Donavan throw away his right to the ticket when he threw it in the trash can.  He didn't deserve a dime and the only thing his family deserves is our condolences.

                 

                 

                takeemtothebank

                  Avatar
                  Columbia City, Indiana
                  United States
                  Member #2978
                  December 9, 2003
                  381 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: February 4, 2006, 3:24 pm - IP Logged

                  tenaj said:

                  "Donovan threw away his right to the ticket when he threw it in the trash can.  He didn't deserve a dime and the only thing his family deserves is our condolences."

                  __________________________________________________________________________________

                  While her remarks are very succinct, tenaj has driven home a point which should be embraced by our court system. 

                  If you're going to play the lottery, and you're not going to thoroughly check your own tickets, but will claim that you won something when someone else checks your ticket after you've already decided you didn't want it, then why not just write a check every month and send it to your state lottery along with a thank-you note?

                  Winning something in the lottery is more complex than simply purchasing a ticket. If it were that easy, all of us would win all of the time. Unfortunately, there are rules in place which state that the numbers or symbols on your ticket must match other numbers or symbols and, if they don't match, then you don't win.

                  The symbols on scratch-off tickets can be very confusing, so if you don't look closely, you might discover that someone more observant is actually getting paid for your efforts or, more precisely, for your lack of any effort. I've played many, many state lotteries in the past, but I've never seen a ticket that says, "The lottery will pay the purchaser of this ticket ..."

                  Anyone who spends $600 on scratch-off tickets in a single session, and then doesn't have the good sense to carefully check his own tickets deserves to lose his money. If the courts would begin to see things this way, we wouldn't be reading these stories anymore. Donovan should have considered himself lucky to have had six hundred bucks to waste on scratch-off tickets in the first place.

                  I'm sorry the guy's dead, but I agree with tenaj; Mr. Donovan and his family deserve nothing more substantial than our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy for his passing. 

                  Check your own tickets, kids, and examine them well; ignorance usually doesn't cost anything, but stupidity always comes with a price attached, and sometimes that price can be very high...

                  Come, Pinky; we must prepare for tomorrow night...

                  Jim

                    DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
                    Yinzer Country, PA
                    United States
                    Member #4067
                    March 18, 2004
                    2741 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: February 4, 2006, 4:47 pm - IP Logged

                    I think it's really stupid his son is trying to continue the claim for the money now.  Seriously, he had nothing to do with the ticket.  The lottery should just give it to the person who found it.

                    I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

                      Avatar
                      Sparta, NJ
                      United States
                      Member #18331
                      July 9, 2005
                      1977 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: February 4, 2006, 8:06 pm - IP Logged

                      America - and subsequently, the lottery - should stop supporting dumb actions by less then inteligent people.  If you can't make it in the real world, then sink.  When you throw away something, learn to live without it, don't expect to be forgiven.  America will rule the day they stopped counting score at Soccer Games. Children need to learn how to survive without mommie protecting them.

                      Cheers

                      |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

                      I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

                        konane's avatar - wallace
                        Atlanta, GA
                        United States
                        Member #1265
                        March 13, 2003
                        3333 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: February 4, 2006, 9:02 pm - IP Logged

                        Massachusetts

                        Represented by Kennedy & Kerry!  Who would have thunk integrity would bean issue.

                         

                          ROFL  ROFL  ROFL  ROFL  ROFL  ROFL      Green laugh  Green laugh  Green laugh   Green laugh   Green laugh

                        Good luck to everyone!

                          jeffrey's avatar - moon
                          Hamilton, OH
                          United States
                          Member #4162
                          March 27, 2004
                          277 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: February 4, 2006, 11:13 pm - IP Logged

                          It is a bearer instrument but the trash should be locked up against bums rummaging. Yes, bums dig in garbage in this country. Wish he had seen his winner instead of throwing it away. Finding a winning lottery ticket is lucky. Digging and praying for someone to miss a winner is preying upon misfortune. He will get the money but Karma must be considered. Heart attacks run in streaks. Hope, Karma comes into play here.

                          By wishing Karma to come into play here, you are wishing Karma to come and get yourself.

                          First of all, St. John isn't a bum. He's actually smart. He knew they were bearer instruments, and the fact that he's won $10,000 by getting a ticket out of the trash previously, well....why not do it again.

                          If someone is stupid enough to have a winner and throw it in the trash, it's their loss. Either understand the rules of the game you are spending $600 on, or don't play.

                          by wishing Karma on me you bring it on yourself. I'm rubber you're glue.No Pity!

                            jeffrey's avatar - moon
                            Hamilton, OH
                            United States
                            Member #4162
                            March 27, 2004
                            277 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: February 4, 2006, 11:22 pm - IP Logged

                            I actually pick up lottery tickets from the ground all the time. Can't stand the litter. Found some winners myself. Enjoy checking throwaways as much as buying them. Love getting responses to politically incorrect messages. Digging in the garbage is bad and can spread disease.  In my state, garbage cans are private property and digging in them is considered trespass. Sorry for the family of the man that died. Think everyone should try the high road in this case.

                            Check your tickets carefully, it's your money.