Family feud: aunt sues nephew over $1.2M Chase the Ace jackpot

PORT HAWKESBURY: The Margaree Chase the Ace winners are indeed heading to court Friday.

A family feud over a $1.2 million-dollar lottery jackpot has landed the aunt and nephew in Supreme Court.

Barbara Reddick is suing her nephew Tyrone MacInnis after the $1.2 million grand prize was divided between the two, leaving each of them with $611,319.50.

The statement of claim filed in Port Hawkesbury Supreme Court on July 26 states there was never a contract of any nature between Reddick and MacInnis.

Reddick’s lawyer, Adam Rodgers, said Reddick purchased $100 worth of tickets and there was no agreement of any kind to share the proceeds, even though both their names were on the winning ticket.

“Barbara bought the tickets herself with her own money, so she’s entitled to the whole prize,” he said. “She did say put your name on the ticket for good luck, but there was no intention of splitting the prize.”

There are several legal principles at play here. The ticket has been an obvious point of contention but that in itself doesn’t create a contract.

“It would be a piece of evidence, the ticket itself is not a contract. It’s not comprehensive enough to rise to that level,” Rodgers said. “Tyrone bought his own tickets, he didn’t contribute anything to these tickets financially. There’s no consideration, that’s the contract term.”

A motion for a preservation order to have MacInnis’ assets frozen until the matter is determined was also filed with the court.

“Anything he does from this point on will be put under a microscope,” Rodgers said. “So if he intends to transfer, spend, or hide any of his money, I would think a court would view that as evidence that he doesn’t feel he has a strong case.”

Since there were two names on the ticket, organizers of the contest split the jackpot and wrote separate $611,319.50 cheques to both Reddick and MacInnis.

The controversy gained widespread attention following the cheque presentation and photo-op which left Reddick glum-faced and telling her 19-year-old nephew she was going to take him to court.

The scene was caught on video and quickly went viral. Since then, Reddick has been the subject to negative commentary, especially on social media.

“This is a 56-year-old woman who worked for the navy for 23 years,” Rodgers said. “So to see her portrayed in this way has been quite upsetting to her.”

Reddick has been financially secure her whole adult life, and has even supported MacInnis over the years. The money is not that important to her, the issue was her beloved nephew didn’t come forth with the truth in the matter, Rodgers said.

“She wasn’t somebody that all of a sudden could take a deep breath because they finally had some money,” he said. “She had a good pension from her employment.”

In speaking from experience of practicing criminal law for a long time, Rodgers notes that coming up with a credible lie on the spot, unexpectedly is a very difficult thing to do.

“Her response was an emotional one,” he said. “That spontaneous reaction is a genuine one, and adds to the credibility.”

Rodgers is hoping the matter won’t take too long to resolve, as the legal concepts aren’t that complicated and the evidence isn’t that extensive.

“In my view there really shouldn’t be a long drawn out process here, this should be a matter that gets resolved, pretty quickly and efficiently.”