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WAITRESS CLAIMS TIP, SUES FOR LOTTO SHARE TICKET DONOR SAYS IT WAS PRIVATE GIFT

WAITRESS CLAIMS TIP, SUES FOR LOTTO SHARE TICKET DONOR SAYS IT WAS PRIVATE GIFT

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TORONTO -- The man who left a lotto ticket worth $185,000 as a gift for his favorite waitress is furious that another waitress at the Toronto bar is suing for a cut.

Last month, auto parts salesman John Steele, 55, left a lottery ticket as a tip for Tracy Dalton, his favorite server at Al Mac's bar in Scarborough. When the ticket came up a winner, Steele and Ms. Dalton split their good fortune in half.

Now, Jennifer Codner, another waitress at the bar, has filed a lawsuit claiming a share.

The bar's policy, her lawsuit argues, is for all tips to be pooled in an empty container and divided at the end of the night.

Ms. Codner's action calls for her to be given a share of the winnings, an amount that ranges from half the total cash winnings, to a one-third share or, at least, half of Ms. Dalton's take.

Ms. Codner also claims punitive damages of $10,000, legal costs and any interest due her.

"I don't like people like that," Steele said of Ms. Codner.

"I won't use the words I was thinking, but I'm very unhappy when people take the truth and bend it to get money. I've said from day one it was a gift to Tracy. I don't care what the bar's policy is, I'm a private person."

Last Nov. 4, Steele and 24-year old Ms. Dalton, made headlines when a tip from a "cheap" Scotsman turned into a Hollywood-style windfall for the pair.

"It was not a tip," Ms. Dalton said, "It was a gift from him to me."

Ms. Dalton, who no longer works at the bar, has hired a lawyer to defend her fortune.

Meanwhile, the man whose generous gesture launched the court fight admits the battle between the waitresses has left a bitter taste.

"It sickens me," Steele said. "At this time of year, it really makes you wonder about people, especially at this time of year."

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