SUNNYVILLE – A $1.2 million lottery prize dispute has divided a local family and fuelled a torrent of social media response and news coverage -- across Canada and internationally. One of the two key players in the dispute, Barb Reddick of Sunnyville, told The Journal she is now open to mediation with her nephew, Tyrone MacInnis, and his parents. But if they are unwilling, she plans to take Tyrone to court.
Last week excitement mounted as the Margaree Chase the Ace, in support of the Margaree Volunteer Fire Department and the North East Margaree Fire Department, came down to the final draw. The ticket drawn on Wednesday, July 11 listed two names; Barb Reddick and Tyrone MacInnis. And with the ace of spades drawn, the ticket holders won the $1.2 million jackpot. And that is when this good luck story turned a corner and ventured into unexpected territory, a serious disagreement between family members as to who rightfully won the money.
Barb Reddick says the money to purchase the ticket was email transferred by her to her nephew for the purpose of purchasing a Chase the Ace ticket. She told him to put his name on her ticket, along with her own, for good luck as this has been her habit when purchasing any lottery tickets.
“All the tickets that I buy, I always put his name on it,” Reddick says but adds, “I buy all kinds of tickets and never win anything.”
MacInnis bought the ticket as instructed and sent her a picture of the ticket which showed that he had only put his home phone number as the contact number on the ticket along with both names. “I looked at it but I couldn't do anything about it cause it was already in the box,” says Reddick.
On Thursday, July 12 Reddick and MacInnis went to Margaree to pick up the cheque, where an argument ensued about the winnings. “We were arguing about it. His father was there and I said, 'I don't think he is entitled to half. I didn't tell him I was splitting. He bought other tickets with just his name on it.'" Tyrone maintained it was just like 50/50 tickets Reddick purchased in the past, where there was an agreement to split any winnings, she said.
Reddick explained that in the past she'd bought 50/50 tickets for a hockey drive in Glace Bay. At the time her nephew wasn't old enough to buy lottery tickets, “so all the tickets I bought for years, his name wasn't on it because he wasn't old enough, but I always told him, 'If we ever win the 50/50 I'll split with you.' I told him right there, 'The 50/50 and Chase the Ace are two different things.'”
With the disagreement over who would claim the jackpot unresolved, the pair went inside to claim the ticket.
“I just sat there and Tyrone's mother asked the lady to separate the cheques, cause she took the phone call, cause he (Tyrone) had his home number on it. They didn't call me to tell me I won, they called Betty MacInnis, his mother. She answered the phone and she took right over.”
The organizers split the amount into two cheques, although Reddick said she made it clear to her nephew that she hadn't intended to split any winnings for the ticket.
“I told him outside, I told him I'll give him $150,000. That's good enough for him to pick up a ticket for someone. He didn't put any money into it. It was my money, my $100. He bought other tickets but my name wasn't on them. So if he had of won, he was meaning by himself; you know what I mean.
“Why does he deserve half when he bought the ticket with my money? It wasn't his money and a lot of people don't know that he bought other tickets (with his money) and my name wasn't on it. I don't think he deserves half a million dollars but I think he deserves some of the money.”
While this family turmoil continues to simmer, the fact remains that both parties are now significantly richer than they were last week. Many people fantasize about what they would do with $1 million but Reddick says, “I didn't think that far. I didn't think I was going to win.”
As a regular lottery player, Reddick says that she's always thought, if she won a big prize, she would “Buy a house, normal stuff...I didn't think I was going to win and that was why when I said I'll put your name on it for good luck, we didn't say split; how much money, we didn't discus that cause I didn't think I was going to win. It's the luck of the draw.”
Since this story broke on social media last Thursday, Reddick has been the target of many negative comments. When asked about her reaction to the criticism, she says, “That don't bother me cause they don't know the true story that Ricky Reddick is behind everything. Tyrone was like a son to me and I would have gave him $150,000. Tyrone would have got most of the rest of the money anyway. I just bought him a car a couple of months ago. I support him in college; everything.”
With all the disruption the Chase the Ace win has brought to Reddick's life, is she still happy she won?
“I ain't got no feeling. I cashed my cheque the other day and it was like cashing any other cheque; took the glory right out of me, all the excitement you get. I never got the phone call.”
Reddick says the next steps will be to court unless MacInnis will go to a mediator. “If they want to go to a mediator I will pay for it, to settle this, but if not I am taking it to court.”
She says that the dispute over the money is not really between her and her nephew but, “the fight is with his father and mother – that's who the greedy people are. Tyrone by himself, he'll tell you the truth, but it's Ricky Reddick wants a truck and soon as they heard the amount of money, they went crazy."
Reddick says she has had no contact with her nephew since last Thursday, the day the winning cheques were distributed.
The Journal was unable to reach Ricky Reddick or Betty MacInnis for comment by press time.