Jun 23, 2011, 12:04 pm
After legal battle, judge rules original Lotto Max claimant entitled to prize
A $33 million lottery jackpot should soon be in the hands of an Edmonton man who has waited almost two months to claim the prize, one of the biggest awarded to a single lottery winner in Canada.
A judge on Wednesday ruled that Matthew Hayduk should be immediately entitled to $33,301,693.30 after finding that another would-be prize claimant, Ted Baltoussen, did not have standing to assert a claim to the money.
After he gets his long-awaited cash, Hayduk says he will leave town as soon as possible.
"Once the prize is paid to me, I will be able to afford to take my commonlaw wife on a well-deserved vacation and 'disappear' from the media and others," Hayduk wrote in an affidavit presented in court.
The case gained attention last week after it became a legal battle, two months after Hayduk approached the Western Canada Lottery Corporation with a winning ticket for the April 22 Lotto Max draw. The lottery corporation started a standard review of the ticket purchase, and investigated inquiries from six other lottery players who suggested they could be the rightful winners of the prize.
The other players presented several scenarios, including that they might have lost their tickets or accidentally thrown them away. Baltoussen claimed a convenience store clerk had swapped two tickets he had asked to be verified. He told a court last week he wanted "to get to the bottom" of the situation and thought there was a chance he was the real winner.
The five other lottery players backed away from their claims once the issue got to court. At least one player said he had simply made an inquiry to the lottery corporation about a lost ticket and never wanted to be part of a court action to claim the prize.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Denny Thomas last week asked Baltoussen to file an application and affidavit stating where he bought his winning ticket if he wanted to continue with his claim. Baltoussen did not file any documents by the June 21 deadline set by the judge.
According to an affidavit presented in court, the delay in determining the lottery winner has caused Hayduk stress and anguish.
"I have been anxiously waiting since April 28, 2011, after which I presented the winning ticket to the (lottery corporation) to be paid the winnings of $33,301,693.30," Hayduk said in the affidavit.
Hayduk said he and his family have essentially gone "into hiding" since his name has become public as the winner of the Lotto Max draw.
The lottery corporation has said there won't be a formal check presentation to Hayduk.
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