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$9.5M lottery win difficult for Canadian chef

Canada Lotto MaxCanada Lotto Max: $9.5M lottery win difficult for Canadian chef
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VANCOUVER, B.C. — Ivan looks like a big friendly guy who wouldn't attract much attention. Except that he won $9.5 million with a Lotto Max ticket in March 2010.

When interviewed, he wore his trademark fleece vest over a plain black T-shirt, with sweatpants.

"I'm not changing for nobody," he says.

He's never flown first class. "I could, but why?" he asks.

As a new multimillionaire, Ivan gave two weeks' notice — and proceeded to work them — before quitting his job as a delivery driver.

He was now mega-rich and retired.

And it almost killed him.

Ivan's good fortune is no secret in his hometown of Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Any jackpot of more than a few million dollars makes a big splash in the news, and Ivan's $9.5 million share of a $19 million Lotto Max draw was no exception.

Media flocked to the B.C. Lottery Corporation news conference to celebrate his March 2010 win and took photos of a beaming Ivan, his arms spread wide to hold the giant cardboard check. He told reporters he had quit his job and ordered a new Dodge Ram, "candy-apple red with a few extras."

The cat was out of the bag. All of Abbotsford knew who had won the lottery.

"How many brand-new trucks are there out there that are inferno red?" he says now. Not only that: How many guys out there look like Ivan?

With his bushy white beard spilling over his chin, he has the kind of instantly recognizable face that people in the Fraser Valley city of 134,000 people could spot a mile away.

In no time, complete strangers began approaching him in the street, asking for help paying their debts. Others would simply ask, "Oh, why don't you give us some money?"

Two years later, the appeals for money come less frequently — every week rather than every day — but they haven't stopped.

Claiming a lottery win anonymously isn't an option, so winners such as Ivan have no opportunity to keep their jackpot a secret.

"One of the conditions of receiving the prize is consenting to the release of their name and photo," BCLC spokeswoman Kim Steinbart says.

"We publicize wins because we want to demonstrate that players do win prizes."

Winners must claim their checks in person. The media are typically notified when the winner arrives to pick up the check.

Ivan didn't know what he was in for. "If I would've known all the newspapers would be there, I would have never went."

Even now, with an unlisted phone number, the stream of requests never lets up.

"I get people I don't know mailing me letters," he said. "I used to get pictures from a nice house with flower beds out front in Mission. They asked if I could pay their mortgage off so they could live freely."

His estranged brother contacted him, asking for help paying off tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes. Ivan obliged. When he refused to give hundreds of thousands more to pay off the family's house, his brother's wife tore into him via Facebook, trashing him through mutual friends. It got so bad that Ivan deleted his Facebook account.

"If I gave everyone all the money they want, I'd be broke."

Ivan has not gone broke. With the help of his bank, he invested a little more than half his winnings and gave some to his common-law wife, with whom he still lives. He's also used his new-found wealth to indulge his passion for vintage cars. He owns, among others, a 1968 Oldsmobile 442, a 1933 Chevy Hot Rod and a 1926 Model T.

Ivan spends his days visiting with friends, enjoying his new cabin, tinkering with cars and taking the odd trip to a casino. He donates to the Make a Wish Foundation, fulfilling dreams for sick children. He says he's happy.

It nearly wasn't this way.

In the first year after depositing his $9.5 million check, Ivan put on about 170 pounds, topping out at a whopping 415 pounds. Diagnosed as diabetic and forced to use a scooter for mobility, Ivan was given an ultimatum by his doctor: Fly to Toronto for risky gastrointestinal surgery, or die.

Ivan freely admits he caused his own misfortune. Moving from a delivery driver's salary to that of a retired multimillionaire has its perks — especially ordering prime rib whenever the urge hit.

So he began eating out all the time.

When you're poor, you can't afford all that. Almost never," he explained.

Not that he didn't know about food. Ivan is a chef by trade, having trained in French cuisine at George Brown College in Toronto. He once cooked prime rib for former prime minister Pierre Trudeau in Ottawa's parliamentary dining room.

But 12 months after his win, Ivan was sent for a laparoscopic adjustable gastric-band procedure, also known as "lap band," which uses a silicone band to squeeze off the upper part of the stomach. It reduces the stomach to roughly one-tenth its normal size, drastically limiting the amount of food that can be consumed in one sitting, and tricking the brain into thinking the stomach is full.

It's cruel irony for a multimillionaire who could afford to eat anything: All of Ivan's food must be weighed and his diet is now strictly controlled.

"I can't have any piece of meat bigger than the palm of your hand," he says, holding his palm flat. "No potatoes. No milk."

Ivan lost 85 pounds after his surgery, and although he still uses a scooter, he is finally able to get around normally.

The funny thing is, he says, there's little he would have changed since winning the lottery.

At the time of his win, Ivan was renting a small house. He and his wife now enjoy retirement in a Fraser Valley rancher worth $1.5 million.

He still buys a lottery ticket every day.

The Province

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34 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by TNPATL.
Page 1 of 3
Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
S.E.Iowa
United States
Member #120504
December 21, 2011
534 Posts
Offline
Posted: May 22, 2012, 8:04 am - IP Logged

I was under the impression that Canadians could claim their lottery winnings anonymously.I guess I was wrong.But Ivan is living proof that winners should be allowed to claim their winnings anonymously.

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

    maximumfun's avatar - Lottery-030.jpg
    Lavender Rocket

    United States
    Member #124616
    March 16, 2012
    2642 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: May 22, 2012, 8:11 am - IP Logged

    wow.  that is one sad tale of woe.

      time*treat's avatar - radar

      United States
      Member #13130
      March 30, 2005
      2171 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: May 22, 2012, 8:24 am - IP Logged

      I was under the impression that Canadians could claim their lottery winnings anonymously.I guess I was wrong.But Ivan is living proof that winners should be allowed to claim their winnings anonymously.

      May want to check and see if each province doesn't have its own rules.

      In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
      Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

        CDanaT's avatar - tiger avatar_04_hd_pictures_169016.jpg
        TX
        United States
        Member #121193
        January 4, 2012
        1637 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: May 22, 2012, 8:31 am - IP Logged

        While looking at the negatives of Ivan's win ( family greed, strangers greed, massive weight gain) there are a couple of great issues that stood out. Ivan, congrats on your windfall and helping family with tax issues !!!  Kudos to you having the surgery to work on your health. Double kudos for the contributions to the Make-a-wish foundation & taking half of your investment to live on. Finally, someone with some common sense on how to live with newly acquired wealth with the ability to give and yet say "no". 

        Stay Positive, Believe and good things will come your way


          United States
          Member #111442
          May 25, 2011
          6323 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: May 22, 2012, 8:38 am - IP Logged

          Congrat's to Ivan! Considering the barrage of beggars and family members hitting on him for years, he managed to do OK for himself.

          He was wise to have invested over half his winnings.

           

          Happy to hear his gastrointestinal surgery went well. Ivan please, no more prime rib. Fruits, salads and small portions of chicken and fish.

          Trade in your scooter for a pair of walking shoes, spring for a gym membership, and you'll live a long, healthy and prosperous life!

            dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
            Oklahoma
            United States
            Member #82391
            November 12, 2009
            6290 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: May 22, 2012, 8:52 am - IP Logged

            Congrats Ivan.....Thumbs Up

            I Love Pink & Green 1908

              luckyshoes's avatar - butterfly neg.jpg
              Pennsylvania
              United States
              Member #79502
              September 2, 2009
              6396 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: May 22, 2012, 10:22 am - IP Logged

              Theres always going to be people begging you to pay their bills when someone wins big. Of course even your  own family. They may be first in line. Sounds like this guy has a good head on his shoulders.

              Good for him !

              Surely the most important news of any day ...

                                                              is that the sun has risen one more time. Sun Smiley

                rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                United States
                Member #73904
                April 28, 2009
                14903 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: May 22, 2012, 11:14 am - IP Logged

                His estranged brother and sister in law sound like real gems.

                Glad he told them to take a hike before they bled him dry.

                Worthless, useless ingrates.


                                                             
                                     
                                                         

                 

                 

                 

                 

                                                                                                                   

                "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                            --Edmund Burke

                 

                 

                  LottoGuyBC's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                  British Columbia
                  Canada
                  Member #116101
                  September 4, 2011
                  4033 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: May 22, 2012, 11:17 am - IP Logged

                  Claiming anonymously should be an added. Group Hug

                  "You have to be in it to win it!"

                    Avatar
                    charlotte, nc
                    United States
                    Member #108516
                    March 26, 2011
                    53 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: May 22, 2012, 12:19 pm - IP Logged

                    This is a sad story how can his own brother and sister in law act like that, this goes to show that people act up over money.

                    I always cross the sc borderline to purchase my tickets because whatever i win i can claim it anonymous this sounds like nc

                    Most states will plaster your picture or your name on tv or their website i live in nc and they will post a $5000.00 win and will

                    post your picture up their like you won $1million i think people should have the option to choose if they want media coverage and pictures etc....

                      Avatar
                      Seattle, Washington
                      United States
                      Member #121153
                      January 3, 2012
                      120 Posts
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                      Posted: May 22, 2012, 12:35 pm - IP Logged

                      This stated reason for full disclosure is complete bullsh*t.  The reason lotteries demand & require winners to be outted has nothing to do with "showing people that a real person won"; that's ridiculous.  In real life, the reason they require disclosure is because they know full well that a lottery winner dog & pony show causes ticket sales to spike upwards, increasing lottery officials salaries, bonuses & the overal profitability of the lottery.  The proof is the unbelievable increase in sales & profitability of EVERY lottery, in good times & bad.

                        Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                        S.E.Iowa
                        United States
                        Member #120504
                        December 21, 2011
                        534 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: May 22, 2012, 12:50 pm - IP Logged

                        This stated reason for full disclosure is complete bullsh*t.  The reason lotteries demand & require winners to be outted has nothing to do with "showing people that a real person won"; that's ridiculous.  In real life, the reason they require disclosure is because they know full well that a lottery winner dog & pony show causes ticket sales to spike upwards, increasing lottery officials salaries, bonuses & the overal profitability of the lottery.  The proof is the unbelievable increase in sales & profitability of EVERY lottery, in good times & bad.

                        I Agree!

                        The reason that the state lotteries require the Dog & Pony show is for free advertisement,pure and simple.

                        When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

                        There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

                          Avatar
                          Republic of Texas
                          United States
                          Member #57557
                          January 9, 2008
                          1095 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: May 22, 2012, 1:45 pm - IP Logged

                          I Agree!

                          The reason that the state lotteries require the Dog & Pony show is for free advertisement,pure and simple.

                          Yup, exactly.

                          Good for him having the smarts to say no, and put $$ away. He had a rough adjustment period, but in the long urn, he will do just fine.

                           

                          PS - Dude's got good taste in muscle cars "He owns, among others, a 1968 Oldsmobile 442".

                          face

                          singlewinnersinglewinnersinglewinner   

                            weshar75's avatar - Lottery-042.jpg
                            Mcminnville, Oregon
                            United States
                            Member #3013
                            December 13, 2003
                            3055 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: May 22, 2012, 4:32 pm - IP Logged

                            Congrats Ivan on your big win.  I like rib eye steak myself medium well.-weshar75