Colleagues Cut Pizza Guy out of Pool Lottery Winnings

Doing business with family and friends sounds like a great idea, but things can get ugly really quickly. This applies to colleagues pitching in to buy a lottery ticket and winning CA$1 million ($780,000). And, when you have 17 people participating, you are bound to have someone kick up a fuss.

Former Pizza Delivery Guy Denied Slice of Lottery Prize

In the case of a Windsor, Ontario pizza delivery guy, this is precisely what happened. Philip Tsotsos is suing his now-former colleagues for cutting him out of the win. However, a lawyer for the winners said that since Tsotsos was not part of their syndicate, he was entitled to none of the winnings. Naturally, Tsotsos disagrees.

In his opinion, the syndicate affiliation has nothing to do with him being entitled to a fair share, as Tsotsos participated in the lottery pool himself. Tsotsos was part of the pool that had a credit system for multiple years and paid contributions. While he sometimes fell behind by as much as $100, he always paid in the end. Tsotsos owed the pool $30 when the ticket was won but was immediately cut out.

He, though, has been covering all of his contributions – notwithstanding his frequent delays – for the better part of six years, which gives Tsotsos credence when he claims that he should be cut a fair share. Now, this fair share has grown to CA$70,000 or $54,000 because of the mounting legal costs and expenses he needs to cover, and as the dispute drags on, the costs aren’t likely to go down either.

Tardiness Does Not Mean Disqualification as Per Opt-out Rules

Speaking to CBC, the 16 winners’ lawyer, David Robins, made it explicit that Tsotsos had not “paid to play.”

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. In this instance, he did not play, and he was not included.

Group lawyer David Robins

However, Tsotsos’ lawsuit has accounted for this and argues that the “opt-out basis” of how the pool is run means that unless a person and the pool members have agreed on a person leaving the pool, then everyone is considered a member, despite whether the specific debt is incurred.

Even more importantly, the 16 members of the pool were okay with Tsotsos being late for six years as he always paid, contributed, and effectively made it possible for the pool to keep going. There is no indication in the lawsuit and the publicly available information whether other members of the pool were habitually late, but this is usually the case.

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