A Canadian pizza delivery man has filed suit against the winners of a $1 million lottery prize, claiming the group of his friends that are “like family” to him left him out of his share of the winnings.
But a lawyer representing the 16 defendants says the man did not pay into the pool for the winning ticket, and therefore he is not entitled to any part of the prize.
Philip Tsotsos, a pizza delivery driver from Windsor, Ontario, told CBC News that for six years he was a member of a lottery pool that won the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Association’s Maxmillion prize with a Lotto Max ticket last summer, and that he remained a member of the pool of former colleagues at an auto-parts delivery business even after leaving that job shortly before their win.
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Tsotsos says he has text messages to prove that he was in on the pool, and that he was devastated to learn on social media that his ex-coworkers won the prize and had left him out.
Now, he’s suing them for $70,000 plus interest, which he says is his rightful claim.
“Why wouldn’t they tell me they won?” Tsotsos told the outlet. “These guys are like family to me.”
Tsotsos acknowledges that there were times he did not pay for his part of the pool right away, but that the group operated on an opt-out basis and that he always eventually paid what he owed.
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He claims he was carrying a $30 tab with the group ahead of the winning drawing, and has text messages showing that the lottery pool’s organizer, Steven Todesco, told Tsotsos to pay the $30 plus another $10 to stay in on the pool.
Tsotsos claims Todesco also agreed over text that the $40 total could be taken out of the prize if the group was to win, but that Tsotsos would have to pay “a high interest rate” for the service.
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The lawyer representing the group of Tsotsos’ friends says the pizza delivery driver has no claim to the winnings.
“Mr. Tsotsos did not pay to play, so we deny that he is entitled to any of the relief that he is seeking, and we’ll be vigorously defending the claim,” attorney David Robins told CBC. “In this instance, he did not play and he was not included.”