Chatham Lotto Dispute Gets Messier

Maurice Thibeault picks up cheque. January 5, 2018. (Photo courtesy of OLG)

A messy and lengthy lottery dispute between a former Chatham couple continues to drag its way through the legal system.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) was in court on Monday trying to remove itself from the Maurice Thibeault and Denise Robertson $3-million lottery dispute and asking that it be absolved of any liability in connection to its handling of the matter. Robertson says she is a joint owner of the $6-million winning ticket in 2017 but Thibeault denies any deal was ever made to split the prize.

OLG lawyer James Doris says the fight is between Thibeault and his former live-in girlfriend, who accuses Thibeault of taking her half of the winnings. Doris says he has a problem with Thibeault’s allegations that the OLG didn’t investigate the matter in a reasonable manner. Doris says it’s a “he says, she says scenario,” and adds the OLG wants the $3-million held by the court or Thibeault’s lawyer until the dispute is resolved.

Thibeault is suing the OLG and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for at least $825,000.

The OLG is denying any allegations of colluding with Robertson after she refused an OLG interview. Doris says there is no evidence of collusion and adds the OLG is the “meat in the sandwich.”

Thibeault’s lawyer, Richard Pollock, says the OLG has an obligation to ensure the prize is paid to the right person. Pollock accuses Robertson of not cooperating with the OLG investigation and adds she “has no business filing an injunction”, “has no claim against the OLG” and ” there’s no question to who should get the money.” Pollock also says the court didn’t have proper legislation during 2017 proceedings, which would have denied Robertson’s injunction request.

Pollock says the OLG interview process was flawed because it allowed too many restrictions and conditions at Robertson’s request. Pollock claims the court “was misled” and Robertson “misrepresented herself to the OLG from the beginning.” Pollock accuses Robertson of submitting a false sworn affidavit and says she is not a bonafide claimant. He says Robertson’s affidavit is misleading because she is not married to Thibeault or his common law spouse.

Robertson’s lawyer, Steven Pickard, says the allegations against his client that the court was deceived or that she submitted a false affidavit are not true.

Pickard says Robertson has made a claim and her position has been known from the start. He wants this issue to go to trial, something Pollock is agreeable to.

Pickard says Thibeault was very inconsistent in his cross-examination and is baffled how he passed a polygraph test. He says Thibeault admitted he left because of Robertson’s infidelity but also admitted he didn’t want to tell her about the lottery winnings.

Pickard says Thibeault can’t be trusted to hold the money and only a trial will resolve the matter. He says Robertson didn’t want to be interviewed by the OLG because she wanted counsel present as there was another legal process underway.

Pollock says Pickard’s attack on Thibeault’s credibility is unwarranted.

The OLG lawyer says his client can’t determine who gets the $3-million because of credibility issues and wants the court to award it. Doris says “it’s Mr. Thibeault’s fault he has received negative media attention because he lied to his girlfriend about the winning ticket.”

Thibeault has already been awarded $3-million by the OLG.

Justice Gregory Verbeem will have a decision at a later date but no date has been determined.