Defendant claims plaintiff gave up claim to $1 million lottery ticket in letter

February 06, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A dispute between two Fairplay neighbors over a $1 million lottery ticket brought out testimony Tuesday about a mysterious signed letter from the plaintiff relinquishing any claim to the money and alleged harassment.

Frederick S. Cade, 37, filed suit in January 2007 against his former friends and neighbors, Brian and Mary Lee Kendle, claiming he and Brian S. Kendle, 38, agreed to split any proceeds from a lottery ticket that Kendle purchased in December 2006 from McNamee's Tavern.

The Kendles found out Jan. 2, 2007 that they won the "Countdown to Millions" promotional lottery.

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III, who is presiding over the trial, has frozen $500,000 of the winnings until a jury decides whether Kendle bought the winning ticket himself or in partnership with Cade.

Mary Lee Kendle testified during an injunction hearing in February 2007 that Maryland Lottery officials paid out $672,500 for the winning ticket. After making payments on a vehicle, the couple has about $660,000 left, she said.


Cade had testified much of Monday, saying the men had agreed to go together to the Maryland Lottery office in Baltimore to claim their winnings, but instead he saw the Kendles drive off together.

Brian Kendle testified Tuesday morning, and emphatically denied that there had been a discussion about Cade going with the couple to claim the ticket Jan. 4, 2007.

"When I purchased the ticket, he gave me no money," Kendle testified under questioning by defense attorney Greg Bannon.

Kendle also testified about a Jan. 6, 2007, encounter with his neighbor. Cade rang the doorbell, and when Brian Kendle answered it, the man handed him a signed apology, stating he had no claim to the money, Kendle testified.

Kendle showed the letter to his wife and brother-in-law. Mary Lee Kendle placed the letter on a desk in her home office, Kendle testified. When the couple went to find the letter when they were served with the suit around Jan. 25, 2007, the letter had disappeared, Kendle testified.

Under questioning by Bannon, who asked if it was true there was not a note, Kendle denied the accusation.

"Yes there was," he said.

Both Kendle and his wife testified about harassment they endured, allegedly by Cade.

At one point, Brian Kendle was driving his children home from football practice when Cade, in another vehicle, swerved toward him, Kendle testified.

"He's trying to intimidate me," Kendle testified. "The worst part it we've got two little kids that have to deal with this."

The Kendles are parents to a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old. Cade has children of similar ages.

During much of her testimony, Mary Lee Kendle looked directly at Cade, who was seated at a table with his attorney.

She talked about the harassment, which included a time when eggs thrown at their vehicles and garage. Cade also followed her in his work vehicle once during the summer of 2007 when she drove to Baltimore/Washington International Airport for a business trip, she testified.

"Greed is one thing, but this takes it to a whole other level," she said, looking directly at Cade.

The defense called other witnesses Tuesday, including a woman who works at McNamee's who testified that Cade has a reputation for being untruthful.

Mark McNamee, owner of McNamee's Tavern, testified Tuesday that he didn't recall seeing Cade at the tavern when Kendle bought the ticket. The Kendles gave McNamee a $2,500 tip for selling the winning ticket.

NBC25 reporter Megan Healey also was called to the stand and showed a short clip of the news broadcast that she put together Jan. 2, 2007, when news broke that a winning lottery ticket had been sold at McNamee's. In the clip, Cade was shown saying he already had a nice home and business, so he hoped someone who needed the money had won it.

Cade visited her at the station later that week, and said he was disappointed in the coverage because it made him look like he didn't need the money, Healey testified. Cade also told her at that point that he and his neighbor had gone in on the ticket together, she testified.

Healey was the only witness Tuesday to say she had heard Cade claim that he and Kendle agreed to split any winnings.

Kendle's attorney, Edward L. Kuczynski, plans to call seven or eight more witnesses, he said.

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