Prize fight

Court to de­cide whether agree­ment in place to split $100,000 grand prize

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY CAPE BRETON POST STAFF

Five Cape Bre­ton­ers walked into a Syd­ney car deal­er­ship on Jan. 6 as fi­nal­ists in a grand prize draw for a cool $100,000.

On Wed­nes­day, the five walked into a Syd­ney Supreme Court for an in­junc­tion hear­ing be­fore Jus­tice Frank Ed­wards who must now de­cide whether there was an en­force­able con­tract among the five to split the win­nings.

The $100,000 prize was of­fered by the MacDon­ald Auto Group as part of its 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions. The names of those who pur­chased a car in 2016 were en­tered into the draw with five se­lected as fi­nal­ists. One of the five would re­ceive the grand prize while the oth­ers would be awarded gift cer­tifi­cates for car de­tail­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to af­fi­davits be­fore the court, the five fi­nal­ists ver­bally agreed that who­ever won, the prize would be split equally, en­sur­ing each fi­nal­ist would walk out the door with $20,000.

The fi­nal win­ner was Darin Sey­mour of Glace Bay who wasn’t present for the draw but was rep­re­sented by his wife, Kim.

In her af­fi­davit, Kim Sey­mour said the sug­ges­tion to split the prize was made by an­other fi­nal­ist, Priscilla Gould, of Eska­soni.

“I did not re­spond to it and I im­me­di­ately started to feel anx­ious and that anx­i­ety grew each time she made the com­ment,” stated Sey­mour.

She said when Gould di­rected the ques­tion at her about split­ting the prize, she said “I guess so” be­cause she didn’t want to be con­fronta­tional and dis­agree with her.

“I was in­tim­i­dated by Ms. Gould who was bois­ter­ous and loud. It was an ex­tremely awk­ward so­cial sit­u­a­tion and I was ex­tremely anx­ious,” said Sey­mour.

But af­fi­davits filed by two other fi­nal­ists, Matthew Stand­ing, of North Syd­ney, and Rita MacMullin, of Syd­ney Mines, sug­gest no one put pres­sure on Sey­mour to ac­cept the propo­si­tion of split­ting the prize.

“I ob­served Mrs. Sey­mour to look happy that she would be leav­ing with $20,000. I do not be­lieve there was any pres­sure put on Mrs. Sey­mour or any other fi­nal­ists to agree to the agree­ment,” stated Stand­ing.

Rita MacMullin stated that all five met in a meet­ing room at the deal­er­ship and ver­bally agreed to split the prize and Sey­mour stated her “word was good.”

Fur­ther, MacMullin said it was Sey­mour who col­lected the con­tact in­for­ma­tion of the other four af­ter the draw, telling them she would be in con­tact shortly to ar­range for the de­liv­ery of their prize share.

Kim Sey­mour de­nies that, stat­ing the con­tact in­for­ma­tion was given to her by an em­ployee at the deal­er­ship.

Prior to the draw, some of the con­tes­tants signed a waiver ac­knowl­edg­ing they were rep­re­sent­ing the in­di­vid­ual who ac­tu­ally pur­chased the ve­hi­cle. They were also told the deal­er­ship would only be pro­duc­ing one cheque to one win­ner.

In his af­fi­davit, Darin Sey­mour ex­plained that he pur­chased the car with his own fi­nanc­ing since he and his wife have sep­a­rate bank ac­counts.

“I was aware that Kim had to sign off with the deal­er­ship as my rep­re­sen­ta­tive. Kim and I never had any dis­cus­sion re­gard­ing her hav­ing fi­nal de­ci­sion mak­ing author­ity over the win­nings and I would never have agreed to this,” he said.

He noted that his wife suf­fers from anx­i­ety and that she avoids con­flict wher­ever pos­si­ble. He said she is un­able to op­pose a strong per­son­al­ity or a group of strangers with­out great tur­moil.

“I won the $100,000 in a draw. I would not un­der any cir­cum­stances agree to give $80,000 of it away to four strangers,” stated Sey­mour.

Lawyer Candee McCarthy, who rep­re­sents the Sey­mours, said in her ad­dress to the court Wed­nes­day that some­thing said in a mo­ment of ex­cite­ment or pas­sion is not en­force­able by a court.

She said there was plenty of op­por­tu­nity at the deal­er­ship to put the agree­ment in writ­ing, which was not done.

She said Darin Sey­mour had a right to be con­sulted about the agree­ment prior to the draw. Two of the other fi­nal­ists did con­tact the in­di­vid­u­als they were rep­re­sent­ing prior to mak­ing a fi­nal agree­ment to split the prize.

“This was her hus­band’s win­nings and she did not speak with him prior to the draw.”

Chris­tine Mur­ray, who rep­re­sents the other four fi­nal­ists, said there was a mu­tual prom­ise by Kim Sey­mour and she vol­un­tar­ily agreed to the propo­si­tion.

Mur­ray said Sey­mour could have called her hus­band af­ter sign­ing the wavier but did not do so. She also could have de­clined to par­tic­i­pate in the plan to split, noted Mur­ray.

Ed­wards has al­ready is­sued an in­terim order that pro­tects the win­nings from be­ing spent for the time be­ing.

He ad­journed Wed­nes­day with­out nam­ing a day for a fi­nal rul­ing on the in­junc­tion. He did re­quest fur­ther le­gal briefs from McCarthy and Mur­ray.

A fi­nal de­ci­sion could come as early as next week, given that Ed­wards ended the hear­ing Wed­nes­day, say­ing he didn’t like to let his cases drag on for too long.

CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO

Kim Sey­mour cov­ers her face as she and her hus­band, Darin, left a Syd­ney court­room Wed­nes­day af­ter an in­junc­tion hear­ing over a $100,000 grand prize won by the Glace Bay cou­ple.

CAPE BREON POST PHOTO

Matthew Stand­ing, of North Syd­ney, and Priscilla Gould, of Eska­soni, leave a Syd­ney court­room Wed­nes­day af­ter an in­junc­tion hear­ing in­volv­ing a $100,000 grand prize. The two are among four con­tes­tants claim­ing it was agreed to split the prize.

CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO

Rita MacMullin, of Syd­ney Mines, and Karen Doucette, of Eska­soni, are among four in­di­vid­u­als chal­leng­ing a Glace Bay cou­ple who won $100,000 and failed to split the prize with the other fi­nal­ists.

SUB­MIT­TED IM­AGE

Last month was a hap­pier time for five Cape Bre­ton­ers who were fi­nal­ists in a $100,000 grand prize draw. The five are now in court seek­ing a rul­ing on whether there was an agree­ment in place to split the prize equally. Shown in this screen cap­ture shot from a YouTube video of the draw are, from left, Matthew Stand­ing, North Syd­ney, Rita MacMullin, Syd­ney Mines, Kim Sey­mour (win­ner) of Glace Bay, Karen Doucette, of Eska­soni rep­re­sent­ing her mother Rita, and Priscilla Gould, Eska­soni.

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