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Disputed $50M lottery jackpot partially paid out

Canada Lotto MaxCanada Lotto Max: Disputed $50M lottery jackpot partially paid out
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Includes video report

A disputed $50 million lottery win is set to enter civil court as the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation pays out about $31 million of the prize to its 19 original claimants, leaving the remainder to be fought over in court.

Nineteen employees of a Toronto-area Bell call centre originally claimed the $50 million Lotto Max prize from Dec. 31, only to have their claim disputed by several other people who said they should have been on the list, as well.

For the past several weeks, the OLG has been conducting an investigation into the claim, consisting largely of interviewing all the would-be winners to see if their stories match up. Awarding part of the prize, and pouring the rest into court, indicates there's no suspicion of criminal activity — but also that the OLG investigators, who've been in discussions with lawyers for both the original and the additional claimants, believe there's some credence to the claims that more people should have been included.

The $50 million prize is being divided into 30 shares of approximately $1,667,915.53, including interest — that means $31,690,395.07 is being paid out Monday and the remaining $18,347,070.83 will be decided in court.

Lawyer Marek Tufman, who is representing nine of the additional claimants, said there may be as many as 11 who eventually come forward.

Mr. Tufman said he'll file a statement of claim on behalf of his nine clients by the end of this week.

"I think it is more fair than holding up the group of 19 until such time as everything is settled," he said. "This way they're going to get the undisputed shares, and it preserves the balance of the shares to be argued over."

Mr. Tufman said he's optimistic the matter can be settled out of court.

"It's always in the interest of all parties to settle if it can be done."

http://media.lpimg.com/2011021501.mp4

Playing in a lottery pool can be tough luck

Play the lottery with buddies from work.

Win big.

Spend an eternity, a fortune, and your sanity tussling over the cash.

The scene playing out for two groups of employees in the Toronto area — each claiming a $50 million jackpot, only to find part of their cash payout put on hold because of competing claims of who bought in, who meant to buy in and who should have been included — plays into some of the most basic psychosocial instincts of trust and group loyalty.

The case of a group of Bell employees wanting in on a prize claimed by 19 of their colleagues is set to become a civil suit after the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. divided the $50 million prize into 30 shares on Monday. Nineteen of those shares were paid out to the original co-workers who claimed the cash; the other 11 were put into civil court, where they await a legal tussle over the winnings.

It will build on a growing, often fuzzy file of Canadian lottery-dispute case law, in which trust principles (what should you reasonably have expected from your co-workers?) often come into play as much as oral contracts and written evidence.

But the unfolding drama also offers a window on the bizarre psychological politics of workplace lottery pools gone wrong. The combination of group loyalty, the rush of gambling victory and individuals' conviction that they might be cheated out of rightfully won prize money converge to ensure these cases become protracted, hard-fought and bitter.

In six months, three of the OLG's 12 group payouts over $1,000 resulted in disputes. And the workplace fallout can get ugly.

Just ask former workers at the Powco steel plant in Barrie, Ont. For three years, 27 claimants of a $24.5 million jackpot duked it out with four people who also claimed part of the money. They finally settled over Christmas, 2010, but not before the dispute hijacked their lives, turned their workplace toxic and drove most of them to seek employment elsewhere.

"It's supposed to be the happiest time in your life, and it's anything but that," said Travis Rommelaere, who felt forced to quit his job at Powco shortly after the victory that wasn't — he just couldn't take the work environment.

"These people who lodged a complaint, they'd be five, 10, 20 feet away. ... Working beside them for the next three or four months, you feel like smashing them in the face."

Even Nick Lymbertos, among the four additional claimants who got some of the money after the out-of-court settlement, is upset at how things turned out.

"No, I'm not happy. I'm not happy about what happened: Three years of our life went to hell," he said. "I'm done with it.

"We settled. ... When you settle, nobody wins."

Don't get Donald Taylor started: The McGill psychology professor doesn't like the way lotteries hijack meritocratic societal assumptions — "that you get rewarded depending upon your ability and effort."

Lottery jackpots throw that concept out the window — but at the same time, he said, winning big can create a "false sense of deserving."

"People believe they caused themselves to win. ... The implications are that when you win, instead of saying, 'God, that's dumb luck,' you say, 'No, I caused it to win.'" And that makes it all the harder to relinquish a portion of the winnings: It becomes a matter of principle.

On Monday, there was a lot of relieved laughter at the OLG prize office as an oversized novelty cheque was handed over and giddy co-workers posed for photographs. But the 19 employees at the Toronto-area Bell call centre argue the number on the cheque — $31,690,395.07 — was $18 million short. And they say they're prepared to go to court to get their due even if it takes years.

And if they stick it out, it likely will take years — despite assertions by lawyers for both sides that they're hoping for a speedy resolution.

Marek Tufman is becoming an expert at this: He represented Salomir Kawolewski, one of the claimants in the Powco case. This week, he plans to file a statement of claim on behalf of the nine of the 11 Bell employees who say they should be part of their co-workers' $50 million jackpot.

"It usually all comes out of the woodwork when there is a win," he said. "People look at much more money, usually, than they have ever, ever, ever seen in their lives. And other emotional factors take over. And they get saucer eyes ... and they forget the colleagues with whom they worked all these years, and with whom they're still working, and with whom they're participating in all this stuff — they perhaps ought to be part of that jackpot, as well."

The prospect of that kind of cash "changes people on both sides of the equation," he said. "People who won, not surprisingly, they want to win more. And people who are told they didn't, they would like to have a piece of that pie, as well.

"The question is, are they entitled to it?"

At the same time, in cases involving workplace lottery pools, most rules of group dynamics align initial groups of claimants against any other would-be winners.

Tim Salomons, who studies the brain and behaviour at the Toronto Western Research Institute, said when it comes to choosing between a settlement and a pricey, protracted court case, individuals would probably be more likely to take the deal — they might just say, "'Well, it's in my individual interest to collect the money and my best chance of getting the most money is just to settle this peacefully.' I think people in group decision-making will behave less rationally because of the group identity. So if the group sort of ginned them up to say, 'We can't do this, this person doesn't belong' ... they might behave less rationally."

Saul Glober, the lawyer representing the 19 Bell employees who posed with their cheque Monday, said his familiarity with estate law will help him in this case: He sees similarities between employees tussling over lottery cash and family members feuding over a disputed will.

"I'm used to family disputes, which these things are," he said. "You get a big group with diverse views. ... They all know each other — in fact, some work across the desk from each other. That's almost family-like. And it's very difficult to go to work each day and look across the table and say, 'You're attempting to do something nasty to me.'"

Globe and Mail

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24 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by oncap.
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awwcrap's avatar - moon
ky
United States
Member #37768
April 19, 2006
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Posted: February 15, 2011, 2:47 pm - IP Logged

This is the reason why i don't get into lottery pools at work.

    joshuacloak's avatar - Money Swim-uncle-scrooge-mcduck-35997717-677-518.jpg

    United States
    Member #32537
    February 12, 2006
    698 Posts
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    Posted: February 15, 2011, 3:06 pm - IP Logged

    i don't see how their can be a disput

    everyone who put money into the pool FOR THAT 1 DRAWING, shares the jackpot among the pool

     

    people are gredyt thefts, who put no money into pot, and thanks to canada in this case, and other nations courts in others, People Use the Law as their mafa and try to shake down the rightful winners, cease  "they deserve the money too" classic theft thinking"

     

    i don't play with people in lottery pools, but god help the poor souls who would try to rob me of my money

    if anyone try's to steal my lottery winnings, claiming i said i give them half, or some sort of bs, i won't fight it in court, i freaking get a gun and end their lifes

    I can't stand thefts getting away with harsement of rightful winners, i can;t stand the fact society allows people, thefts to pull this stuff out

    you know how to end almust all bs lawsuits, Make the Losers Pay for the winners legal costs

    make lawyers who started the lawsuit , also personally held accountable for all defence costs, if they are fou8nd to0 lose

    cease i should not have to spend millions and tons on time in court over a long time defending whats rightful mine, Its just Wrong, society that allow lawsuits should be shamed of them selfs

     

    lottery pools where people played in before, But who don't help buy the tickets that draw,  think somehow its their win too, ITS BS

    ether they was "in" at that draw, they put money in that want on to buy the group of tickets, where 1 won the jackpot, Or they was Out and had no money, no bet with the group for that draw

      MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
      Beautiful Florida
      United States
      Member #5709
      July 18, 2004
      20119 Posts
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      Posted: February 15, 2011, 4:47 pm - IP Logged

      This is why you draw up the rules before you get the money. After the rules are drawn, you get every individual to sign, especially if it states if money is not in by certain time, their portion would go to the rest who paid their due.

      Without a good foundation the pool will likely cause what you're seeing in Canada.

                                                   

                                                     "  When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty "

        Avatar
        NY
        United States
        Member #23835
        October 16, 2005
        3474 Posts
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        Posted: February 15, 2011, 4:48 pm - IP Logged

        This is the reason why i don't get into lottery pools at work.

        This is the reason that lottery pools need to have written rules that cearly spell out who is in the pool and any reasons that a member would be dropped from a drawing.

          Guru101's avatar - rw6jhh
          Indiana
          United States
          Member #48725
          January 7, 2007
          1954 Posts
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          Posted: February 15, 2011, 5:18 pm - IP Logged

          Another issue that needs to be addressed is the purchasing of additional tickets for one's own self, particularly by the person who is running the pool. For example, lets say there's a pool of 20 people who each pitch in $2 for a total of $40. While purchasing the pool's tickets, the person running the pool buys an additional $5 ticket for him/herself. If that $5 ticket wins the jackpot, members of the pool are likely to believe that deception has occured. Even if the person running the pool was actually telling the truth, the other members aren't likely to believe that person when they say "Well, this was an additional ticket that I bought for myself".

          Gonna win.Big Smile

            dpoly1's avatar - driver
            PA
            United States
            Member #66141
            October 16, 2008
            1672 Posts
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            Posted: February 15, 2011, 5:39 pm - IP Logged

            I never, ever play in a lottery pool & I never, ever promise anyone a share of a lottery prize!

             

            Not greedy, but just smart!

             

            Cool

             

            Oh, and this happened in "perfect" Canada!

              BaristaExpress's avatar - BaristaExpressMX zpsfb0d8b5d.png
              Magnolia, Delaware
              United States
              Member #18795
              July 20, 2005
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              Posted: February 15, 2011, 7:18 pm - IP Logged

              Another issue that needs to be addressed is the purchasing of additional tickets for one's own self, particularly by the person who is running the pool. For example, lets say there's a pool of 20 people who each pitch in $2 for a total of $40. While purchasing the pool's tickets, the person running the pool buys an additional $5 ticket for him/herself. If that $5 ticket wins the jackpot, members of the pool are likely to believe that deception has occured. Even if the person running the pool was actually telling the truth, the other members aren't likely to believe that person when they say "Well, this was an additional ticket that I bought for myself".

              And this is the prime reason to "NEVER" buy any tickets for yourself at the same place as you made the purchase for the lottery pool!

              You as the person running the lottery pool "ALWAYS" purchase your personal tickets at another retailer 10 minutes after the purchase for the lottery pool! And you "NEVER" buy the same number of tickets as the lottery pool!

              I will never buy into any lottery pool of any kind at any time in my life, for this one reason as above in the article! I don't need the headache from the whole mess! My Numbers I picked, My Solo Win!Thumbs Up

              Keep dreaming the impossible dream, it just may come true! Thumbs Up

                Boney526's avatar - NjlpLogo
                New Jersey
                United States
                Member #99032
                October 18, 2010
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                Posted: February 15, 2011, 9:01 pm - IP Logged

                I'm thinking about doing a small lotto pool.  If I do, it's going to be among a few friends but I am going to first make a contract and make sure that it is legal for me to add a clause that says in the case of a dispute, the director (me), can determine if somebody is entitled to anything.  Because I trust myself to do what is right, and because I doubt a dispute would occur within the friends I'm planning on doing this with.... It's other people outside of it that I'd be concerned about.

                  dphillips's avatar - littleuns
                  Albuquerque, New Mexico
                  United States
                  Member #5128
                  June 18, 2004
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                  Posted: February 15, 2011, 9:24 pm - IP Logged

                  dpoly1, Amen to that.

                  See Ya!-- Bye, bye!  When you win, may you glow as brightly as theSun Smiley

                    GiveFive's avatar - Lottery-026.jpg
                    NY State
                    United States
                    Member #92609
                    June 10, 2010
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                    Posted: February 15, 2011, 9:36 pm - IP Logged

                    I'm thinking about doing a small lotto pool.  If I do, it's going to be among a few friends but I am going to first make a contract and make sure that it is legal for me to add a clause that says in the case of a dispute, the director (me), can determine if somebody is entitled to anything.  Because I trust myself to do what is right, and because I doubt a dispute would occur within the friends I'm planning on doing this with.... It's other people outside of it that I'd be concerned about.

                    "I doubt a dispute would occur within the friends I'm planning on doing this with"

                    While you know your friends and I dont, and you certainly could be correct with your assumption, you should never forget money (especially large amounts of it) will make even the most loving of family members turn against one and another.  I witnessed that very thing happen in my own family.  I saw every ugly bit of it, including the lawyers for each side. 

                    I live in the state of New York.  The NY Lottery offers players in NY the option to buy a group subscription. Many years ago, I ran a lottery pool at work.  We bought a group subscription and it was great.  All 10 members of the group were identified to NY by their names, addresses and Social Security numbers.  All I did was collect the money from the group (annually) and mail it in.  The group picked the numbers we wanted to play, the state entered us in every drawing, and if we won any prize less than a jackpot, I as the group trustee would receive a check in the mail.  It was up to me to disburse the proceeds to the members of the group. On one occasion, we won $129.  As a group, we decided that it should be applied to the next subscription renewal, so I didnt even have to give each member $12.90.  Should a group subscription win a jackpot, the state will disburse funds equally to each member.  IMHO, this is the best and only way to participate in a lottery pool.

                    About playing the lottery --  You will lose more than you win. Until you hit a jackpot.  Then everything changes!

                      HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                      United States
                      Member #72448
                      March 18, 2009
                      1228 Posts
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                      Posted: February 15, 2011, 11:31 pm - IP Logged

                      Wow, receiving $1M less than you thought must be really painful (at several levels) and enraging!  As the one woman interviewed said, it means the difference of retiring or not for each of the 19 lottery monies receivers.  Being free to retire to otherwise is the the reason why most people play the net multi-million dollar lump-sum lottery games for.

                      Having 11 of one's coworkers standing in the way of one's early retirement ... wow, the experience! 

                      Also is a BIG headache for Bell and anyone who works in and/or calls into this Customer Service Department.

                      Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

                      Disney

                        Avatar
                        New Member

                        United States
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                        February 16, 2011
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                        Posted: February 16, 2011, 3:03 am - IP Logged

                        I've run the office pool at two companies and we've always provided copies of the tickets "before" every draw along with the names and amount contributed by each participant.  That way there is no dispute as to what tickets belonged to the Pool participants and what tickets were purchased for themselves personally.  People who see our copies laugh and say it could only be created by a bunch of cpa's and attorneys which we are.

                          savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
                          adelaide sa
                          Australia
                          Member #37136
                          April 11, 2006
                          3300 Posts
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                          Posted: February 16, 2011, 4:45 am - IP Logged

                          i lke the part about " others may come forward "

                           

                          like hell no  i didnt buy a share in a ticket, but id theres a class action and i may get something sure ill be paret of that

                           

                          qurestion is did they buy a share? not could they have, should they have, would they have ,but DID they.

                          im suprised the company boss isnt there in with a claim as well

                          2014 = -1016; 2015= -1409; 2016 JAN = -106; FEB= -81; MAR= -131; APR= - 87: MAY= -91; JUN= -39; JUL=-134; AUG= -124; SEP = -123; OCT= -84  NOV=- 73 TOT= -3498

                          keno historic = -2291 ; 2015= -603; 2016= JAN=-32, FEB= +12 , MAR= -86, APR = -77. MAY= -48, JUN= -29, JUL=-71; AUG = -52; SEPT= -43; OCT = +56 NOV = -33 TOT= -3297

                            OldSchoolPa's avatar - Lottery-057.jpg
                            Gurnee, Illinois
                            United States
                            Member #49731
                            February 12, 2007
                            917 Posts
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                            Posted: February 16, 2011, 7:08 am - IP Logged

                            This is the reason that lottery pools need to have written rules that cearly spell out who is in the pool and any reasons that a member would be dropped from a drawing.

                            It is funny that people only get lawyers involved AFTER a big win, but it would seem prudent for those who choose to play the lottery as a group to have a lawyer draft up an air tight agreement and terms of inclusion.  I say this because it seems as though the problem that arise stem from when people take time off from work, or have a medical emergency that keeps them out of the office and are not able to contribute their weekly share. 

                            So that is why I am with the first poster to this discussion and why I NEVER HAVE and NEVER WILL participate in a lottery pool.  When all of my 6 numbers match that drawing, that jackpot will be MINE and Uncle Sam's (that is presuming I am the sole winner...of course, isn't it ironic that Uncle Sam is always a winner?!!!).

                            Get MONEY!!! Winning a JACKPOT lottery is all the HOPE and CHANGE I desire!!!  NOW give me MONEY!US Flag

                            The guy who won the presidency in 2008 really won the lottery...he is now millions richer, travels in first class style, and even has a staff that would be the envy of the richest Powerball winner (she has a staff of 2). Every night he goes to sleep, he probably plays the close of Dave Chappelle's Show: I'm rich beyatch!