Family feud over $1.2 million Chase the Ace lottery jackpot lands in court
PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. -- A family feud over a million-dollar lottery jackpot has landed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, as a woman followed through on her claim that she never intended to split the Chase the Ace winnings.
Barbara Reddick has sued her nephew Tyrone MacInnis after the $1.2-million grand prize of a charity fundraiser in rural Cape Breton was divided between the two, leaving them each with $611,319.50.
The lawsuit was filed in Port Hawkesbury on Thursday, along with a motion for a preservation order seeking to freeze MacInnis's winnings until the case is resolved.
Adam Rodgers, Reddick's lawyer, said Friday the tickets were purchased with his client's money and there was no contract or agreement of any kind to share the proceeds -- even though both of their names were on the winning ticket.
"She agreed to have his name on the ticket for good luck," Rodgers said. "That's obviously been a point of contention for some people but that in itself doesn't create a contract."
Chase the Ace has gained increasing popularity in Atlantic Canada in recent years, with rural areas using the lottery to raise money for everything from local fire departments to legions.
The controversy over the lottery in Margaree Forks, N.S., gained widespread attention after a celebratory photo op earlier this month ended with Reddick telling her 19-year-old nephew she intended to take him to court. The scene was caught on video and quickly went viral.
Rodgers said while his client has managed to "buffer" herself from the public attention, she is bothered by the breakdown in her relationship with her nephew.
"This is a very special person in her life," he said. "She hopes they can somehow reconcile that relationship in the future."
Reddick did not have children of her own and she has supported her nephew financially and emotionally, Rodgers said.
"She was very involved, a positive influence in his life," he said. "She was employed in the navy for 23 years, so she had some resources to help him out and she was happy to do so."
Reddick referred calls to her lawyer, while MacInnis could not immediately be reached on Friday.
A hearing on the motion for a preservation order will be heard in Port Hawkesbury on Aug. 10.
Dates have not yet been set for the hearing on the lawsuit itself, although Rodgers said he hopes the matter can be resolved by this fall.
"There's a lot of money involved but the issues are not terribly complex and the evidence is not all that extensive," he said.
Chase the Ace, a popular fundraiser in Nova Scotia, is similar to a 50-50 draw, but with a twist.
Instead of giving half of the ticket sales to the person whose ticket is drawn, they instead get 20 per cent -- and the chance to draw an ace of spades from a deck of playing cards for a larger jackpot. If they fail to draw the ace, 30 per cent of the ticket sales are added to a growing pot until another winner draws the ace.