An attempt by CBC Vancouver to find out more about the mystery winner of a $50 million Lotto Max ticket sold in Langley has failed to uncover many new details, according to a report posted online by the broadcaster last week.
After the CBC filed a request under Freedom Of Information (FOI) guidelines about the March of 2014 jackpot, it said the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) withheld 275 pages of material.
CBC said the provincial gaming authority claimed the documentation would “reveal policy advice or recommendations; reveal legal advice; harm the effectiveness of investigative techniques; harm intergovernmental relations; and harm personal privacy.”
According to the CBC report, BCLC indicated the process of verifying the winner was still underway, several months after someone finally stepped forward in March of this year to claim the prize.
“The response (to the CBC) also says that BCLC won’t provide any more information about the claim until the verification process is concluded,” the online report stated.
The CBC reported the BCLC did release a memo issued by BCLC president Jim Lightbody, who told staff to be careful about being overheard discussing the matter.
“As you know, we are now in the process of verifying the rightful ticket holder and we expect that process to take some time,” Lightbody wrote in March, shortly after the anonymous person claimed the $50 million.
“In the meantime, BCLC has made certain commitments to keep all information regarding the prize claim confidential until we complete our internal processes.
“To meet those commitments, we need all employees to uphold our confidentiality standards: be mindful of where conversations are occurring (stay away from discussing this matter in public locations such as the parkade or local coffee shops); share information only on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.”
The CBC application was not the only attempt to use a Freedom Of Information request to find out more about the mystery winner.
A report posted on the BCLC website shows an unnamed individual made a separate FOI application to find out exactly which Langley lottery distributor sold the ticket, and was denied the information.
While lottery corporations usually require winners to be identified, the CBC report notes there has been at least one exception granted, in Manitoba in 2008, because the winner was in law enforcement.
A lawsuit over the jackpot was filed last year, but has not yet been heard by a judge.
Dalbir Sidhu was taken to court by Gayleen Rose Elliott, who is convinced that Sidhu, a co-worker who was responsible for buying tickets for a workplace lottery pool, has the winning March 14 Lotto Max ticket that was sold in Langley and is trying to avoid sharing the winnings.
Elliott filed her notice of civil claim in the Vancouver B.C. Supreme Court registry on Dec. 1. of last year.
In his response, filed on Dec. 19, Sidhu said he forgot to buy the tickets on March 14 but “mistakenly believed he did purchase the … tickets at a gas station in Surrey …” and didn’t realize his mistake until Elliott asked about the purchase after the $50 million prize went unclaimed.
Sidhu said he checked with BCLC and none of the numbers the pool was playing were drawn on March 14.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.