Ex-wife of lotto winner was 'duped'
Sues for share of $30M prize; winner has visited Canada
Allan Woods
National Post

June 12, 2004

BURFORD, Ont. - The third ex-wife of Canada's largest-ever jackpot winner has filed a lawsuit that claims her uncontested divorce from Raymond Henry Sobeski should be struck down because it was a ruse and alleges their 10-year relationship continued until the day after he collected his $30-million prize.

Mr. Sobeski, who has returned to Canada several times since fleeing media attention and legal scrutiny over what amount he must share with his three former spouses, has hired a prominent Toronto divorce lawyer to handle the lawsuit brought by Nynna Louise Ionson.

Ms. Ionson, 43, claims she suffered mental, physical and psychological abuse during the relationship, which she says ended on April 2.

The uncontested divorce was finalized in January, more than eight months after Mr. Sobeski learned of his April 11, 2003, lottery win.

None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been proven in court. Stephen Grant, Mr. Sobeski's lawyer, this week filed a notice of intention to file a defence.

Mr. Grant was in a London, Ont., court yesterday and unavailable to discuss Mr. Sobeski's defence of the allegations.

Ms. Ionson's lawsuit alleges Mr. Sobeski "duped her into not dealing with the divorce proceedings."

The suit also alleges "their marriage and conjugal relationship continued after being served with the Petition of Divorce as it had been in the past."

The mother of three children, none of whom are Mr. Sobeski's, is seeking a $500,000 lump sum payment, a $10,000 monthly stipend, half of the couple's marital properties and damages for emotional and physical abuse, according to a statement of claim filed in court.

"The defendant promised a better financial future for her and her children," the document says.

Included in the court filings are copies of several handwritten notes that are alleged to be written by Mr. Sobeski.

One reads: "So here's your f---ing note! That's two days in a row I drove to Woodstock [Ont.] for nothing. I guess you can find a phone when you really need to, can't ya ... Did you make sure you wouldn't be here just to be a bitch?"

Ms. Ionson claims she has suffered "physical, emotional and psychological harm" and is unable to work.

The $340-a-month public assistance cheque she receives, plus the $250 monthly support payment by the father of one of her three children, doesn't afford her a telephone, dental care, a car nor a driver's licence, the statement says. Subsidized rental housing costs her $85 a month for her two-storey home in nearby Woodstock, Ont.

The dozens of pages of court documents include pictures of Mr. Sobeski with his arms around Ms. Ionson's children; a provocative 2004 Valentine's Day card, sent after their divorce was finalized; "Sexual fantasy vouchers" with cartoon depictions of sexual acts; $900 in three Western Union money transfers from March, 2004; and hotel, restaurant and car rental receipts.

The Sobeski family has closed ranks around their multi-millionaire brother and son as his private life is exposed to the world.