Former common-law couple at war after winning $21 million in 6/49
It's a perfectly ordinary-looking convenience store at the corner of King Street East and Union Street in Preston.
One Stop Convenience sells junk food, cigarettes and basic groceries — definitely no caviar or diamonds.
But according to a lawsuit filed in a Brampton court, the owner of the modest convenience store has a lottery ticket worth $21 million — and he's trying to keep it all to himself.
Young Hee Cho is alleging that Eun Chul Shin, also known as Paul Shin, is cheating her, his former common-law wife, out of her share of the winnings.
Cho had been seeing Shin for three years and living with him for a year and a half when their numbers came up in the July 8 Lotto 6/49 draw, said Cho's lawyer, Hyder Masum.
The couple regularly played the lottery with tickets they bought at their own store and had a verbal agreement to share any winnings, Masum alleged.
According to the statement of claim the law firm Mangal & Masum filed on Cho's behalf, Shin kicked Cho out of the apartment they shared within about a week after the draw.
"Practically speaking, she's homeless — she has individuals she's staying with but she doesn't have a place of her own," Masum said. "She didn't even have an opportunity to get her clothes before she was kicked out of the apartment. She was essentially left in a penniless situation."
Cho has also been deprived of her only source of income, because she helped Shin operate the store, sharing expenses and profits, Masum said.
Shin has since gone back to his estranged wife, said Masum, who didn't know if Shin was legally divorced.
Cho is devastated, her lawyer said.
"In the space of a month and a half, she's lost her home, she's lost the person whom she loved, she's lost almost everything that's important to her.
"Frankly, she's not devastated because of this lottery ticket so much as what ... it's done to her life and relationship with this man," Masum said.
None of Cho's claims have been proven in court. Cho speaks little English and doesn't want to speak directly to the media, the lawyer said.
Masum said his firm has been dealing with another law firm in the matter. Lawyer Thane Campbell has some knowledge of the case but apparently hasn't been formally retained, Masum said. Attempts to contact Campbell weren't successful. Nor could The Record reach Shin directly.
These days, the counter at One Stop Convenience is being staff by manager Chang Kim.
Kim has been around less than a month. He said a relative of Shin's introduced them when Shin was looking for someone to run the store. Kim said he didn't talk to Shin about why he needed a manager. He's since heard the rumours about the lottery ticket.
Shin ran the store with a woman Kim assumed was his wife. After the family moved out, Shin told Kim he was only 10 minutes away.
Masum said both Cho and Shin have teenage children from previous relationships but none together.
Shin, who still owns the building, comes in periodically to pick up his mail, Kim said. "He's a free man now."
Store regular Julee Medweth said Shin was "a nice guy, a family man." Like her neighbours, she hadn't heard anything about the win.
Teresa Roncon of Ontario Lottery and Gaming said the July 8 prize of $21 million was claimed but not paid out. Until a prize has been paid out, she can't say who's won it, she said.
Speaking generally, she said, a payout can be delayed for a number of reasons, including if the prize claimant is a retailer selling tickets or if there's a dispute over who owns the ticket.
"If they cannot work it out amongst themselves, sometimes someone might seek an order to pay the prize into a court and that's what OLG would do at that time. Then there would be court proceedings to determine what happens with the prize money."