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Lottery fight brewing in Massachusetts

Oct 18, 2005, 6:57 am

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Massachusetts Lottery

Once the Blackstone man won more than $3,000 in a week. Another time, he scored about $20,000 on a winning lottery ticket.

But the one time he hit the $1 million jackpot, he said, he accidentally threw away his fortune.

Now he wants to collect his riches and has hired a lawyer to wrench the winning ticket away from the 82-year-old Blackstone resident who said he found it in the garbage last week.

"He's pretty emotionally upset," said Dan Doyle, a Blackstone lawyer representing the buyer of the ticket, who is in his 50s and wants to remain anonymous. "Obviously, he also is concerned . . . because this older gentleman found this windfall and he looks like the bad guy because he's trying to get what's rightfully his."

Doyle said yesterday that his client went into the White Hen Pantry convenience store in Blackstone last week and bought more than $600 worth of tickets. While still in the store, he scratched each ticket, placing the losing ones in a pile. He accidentally put the winning ticket in the loser pile, which he then threw in the wastebasket.

The store owner called to tell him that Edward St. John went into the trash can right after he left, Doyle said.

The incident was filmed on the store's video camera, Doyle said. But St. John maintains he found the ticket in a garbage bin outside.

"Well I'll be darned," he said in a brief telephone interview yesterday. "Can you imagine that? That's all I got to say."

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