Tuesday, February 5, 2008

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A Western Maryland man testified yesterday that he gave his neighbor $20 to buy them a state lottery ticket that ended up a $1 million winner.

But the neighbor says his former hunting buddy is a desperate, dishonest barfly who concocted the story after learning of his friend’s good fortune.

A judge has frozen $500,000 of the winnings until a Washington County Circuit Court jury decides this week whether Brian S. Kendle, 38, a Roto-Rooter operator, bought the “Countdown to Millions” ticket on his own or in partnership with Frederick S. Cade, 37, a self-employed electrician. The trial is scheduled to run through tomorrow.

Mr. Cade sued Mr. Kendle in January 2007, about three weeks after Mr. Kendle redeemed the ticket for $672,500 after taxes. On the witness stand yesterday, Mr. Cade told the jury that he gave Mr. Kendle money to buy the $20 ticket at McNamee’s Tavern after bumping into him at the bar and carryout store near their homes in Fairplay on Dec. 15, 2006.

“He asked me if I’d heard of ‘Countdown to Millions,’ Mr. Cade said in direct testimony. “I handed him a $20 bill and asked him if we’d win and split it, and he said, ‘Yeah, good.’ ”

Later, under cross-examination, Mr. Cade said he offered Mr. Kendle the cash because “he said he was going to buy a ticket, but they were $20 and hinted like he didn’t have the money to buy it.”

Mr. Cade testified that after Mr. Kendle bought the ticket, he asked to see it and wrote down the randomly generated numbers — 129615 — on a work receipt with a pencil from the tavern. The receipt was admitted as evidence.

Mr. Cade testified that on the afternoon of Jan. 2, 2007, a day after the winning numbers were drawn, he checked the receipt and saw that the numbers matched. He said he then told Mr. Kendle by telephone that he thought they had won and arranged to meet at Mr. Kendle’s house to check the ticket numbers.

“He said, ‘Oh, my God, we won,’ ” Mr. Cade testified.

He said Mr. Kendle drove them to a bank, where they planned to put the ticket in a safe-deposit box, but the bank was closed because of former President Gerald R. Ford’s funeral. On the return trip, Mr. Kendle stopped to talk with his wife, Mary, Mr. Cade said. Mr. Kendle then dropped Mr. Cade at home, telling him that he would put the ticket in a safe place, Mr. Cade testified. That night, Mr. Kendle told Mr. Cade that he had given the ticket to his brother-in-law for safekeeping, Mr. Cade said.

Mr. Cade said the men agreed to go together to the Maryland Lottery office in Baltimore two days later to claim their winnings, but instead he saw Mr. Kendle and Mary drive off together. Two days after that, on Jan. 6, Mr. Kendle told him that because Mr. Cade hadn’t signed the ticket, he didn’t have to split it with him, Mr. Cade testified.

He said Mr. Kendle told him, “I really don’t have to split it with you, but I will take you on a hunting trip.”

Mr. Kendle has stated in a sworn affidavit that Mr. Cade didn’t contribute to the ticket purchase and that they never discussed buying it or sharing in the proceeds. He also stated he never saw Mr. Cade write down the ticket numbers at McNamee’s.

Mr. Kendle’s attorney, Edward L. Kuczynski, said in his opening statement that Mr. Cade is a “desperate” and “angry” man who “hangs out” at McNamee’s and fabricated the claim after somehow learning on Jan. 2 that Mr. Kendle had a winning ticket. He suggested during cross-examination that Mr. Cade had entered Mr. Kendle’s empty house that day. Mr. Cade denied it.

Mr. Kuczynski also suggested during cross-examination Mr. Cade had entered the Kendles’ home between Jan. 6 and Jan. 10 and stolen a signed statement he had given them acknowledging he had falsely told McNamee’s patrons while intoxicated that he was entitled to half the winnings. Mr. Kuczynski said Mr. Cade had written the statement, which has since disappeared, after Mr. Kendle confronted him at his home Jan. 6.

Mr. Cade denied the assertion.

Mr. Kuczynski promised to produce witnesses who will swear Mr. Cade told a number of people that Mr. Kendle — not he and Mr. Kendle — had won the lottery.

“It is our position that Mr. Cade, for whatever his personal reasons are, fabricated this story,” Mr. Kuczynski said.

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