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Father Awarded Lottery Winnings in Court Fight Against Son

November 26, 1987

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) _ A man awarded a $1.2 million lottery jackpot by a jury says he has only one plan so far for the money - he’s not going to give any of it to his children.

″I’d rather give it to charity,″ said 54-year-old Ernest Dureault after a Superior Court jury Tuesday ruled that his son had reneged on an agreement to turn over the winnings to him. The jury awarded Dureault the entire 1983 jackpot.

Dureault said that his children haven’t spoken to him in four years because of the dispute, in which all seven took sides against him.

During the trial, Dureault charged that his son Bruce took advantage of his alcoholism by convincing him he would lose some of his winnings unless he let his son turn in the winning ticket and claim the prize.

The younger Dureault then refused to give him the money, his father charged.

The elder Dureault, his second wife, Vivian, and their attorney, Nicholas Macaronis, were escorted to their car by two court officers after the verdict.

Bruce Dureault, 36, his wife, Nancy, 39, and more than a dozen relatives and friends, milled about on the sidewalk glaring at the three.

″I hope you rot in hell,″ a woman shouted at Ernest Dureault and his attorney as they left the courthouse.

Bruce Dureault and his wife, the parents of four children, declined to comment.

Ernest Dureault’s ex-wife and the mother of his seven children, Beverly Johnson, called the verdict unfair and said Dureault deserved none of the money.

″Because he had nothing else going for him in his life, he took his son and his wife to court over this lottery ticket,″ said Ms. Johnson, who divorced Dureault in 1964.

″This man has done nothing for his children his entire life. He never gave them any support, or any gifts. He was drinking all the time, and that’s why I divorced him.″

Dureault had said he gave his daughter-in-law Nancy $5 to buy five tickets, and the winning numbers were his.

But Bruce and Nancy Dureault testified that Ernest was not involved in the ticket purchase and there was no agreement to give him any of the earnings.

The jackpot is worth $46,000 a year for 20 years.

The jury, which deliberated for five hours, found that Bruce Dureault had exerted ″undue influence″ on his father and that the elder Dureault and his son had an agreement authorizing the son to hold the proceeds for the father.

Bruce Dureault’s attorney, Joseph Miragliotta, said he has not decided whether to appeal.

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