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    WEIRD BUT TRUE

    Lottery player rejects Tedeschi clerk's $1.7M lost-ticket offer.

    FALMOUTH, Mass. -- Raymond MacDonald, a Cape Cod retiree, turned down an offer to split the remainder of a $4 million scratch ticket he claims he bought but mistakenly gave to the Tedeschi convenience store clerk to enter in another drawing, reported LotteryPost.com.

    Instead, Julie Prive cashed in. In a last-ditch effort to avoid a second civil trial, the former clerk made an offer that would allow her to keep the $600,000 she has already collected and split the remaining $3.4 million with MacDonald, according to MacDonald's attorney, Leigh-Ann Patterson.

    "It's not fair for her to keep $600,000 and to not throw that into the mix. That needs to be taken into consideration," Patterson said.

    Prive's attorney, Jeremy Carter, said he was "surprised" MacDonald didn't accept Prive's "extremely fair" offer. He wouldn't discuss specifics. "He's got an uphill battle," Carter said.

    MacDonald, 65, and fellow Falmouth customer Monica Hertz, 62, sued Prive after she cashed in the winning ticket in 2002.

    MacDonald said he mistakenly gave Prive the winning ticket, thinking it was a loser. He and Hertz had bought a bunch of tickets at the convenience store on May 17, 2002, he said, and gave Prive the pile they had scratched, intending Prive to enter them in a second-chance contest -- unaware the $4 million winner was in the mix.

    MacDonald originally offered to split the entire $4 million with Prive, who declined and offered him $20,000 to drop the lawsuit. A jury came up deadlocked last week after a five-day trial.

    MacDonald vowed to go back to court after a majority of the jurors -- 10 of the 14 -- said they believed he was the ticket's rightful owner. MacDonald won $2 million on another scratch ticket in 1997.

    Both sides met Tuesday before a judge, who again urged them to settle. They negotiated for nearly an hour but failed to reach an agreement. Prive, now 28 and pregnant, "flat out" refused a proposal to pursue mediation, Patterson said. A tentative trial date was set for Jan. 19, 2005.

    "I was quite hopeful we were going to be able to settle the case. We were not able to bridge the gap," Patterson said.

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