Lawyers gave me bad lottery advice, mum claims
A TICKET holder who paid $55 for a chance to win a $1.5 million Queensland pet resort won $70,510 as a consolation prize after Queensland authorities took the promoter to court to shut it down in this state for being illegal, court documents claim.
Natalie Marie Giumelli, 32, and her husband Brock Giumelli, who own the Yapper Valley Pet Resort in Woodstock south of Townsville, did not award the major prize of the "house, land and business" package on September 24 because they failed to sell 40,000 tickets.
Under the conditions of the draw, the consolation prize is cash to the value of half of all tickets sold.
Ticket sales were slashed after the pair agreed to refund $180,930 to 3326 Queensland ticket purchasers after Queensland authorities took legal action against them in the Supreme Court, and the lottery went ahead in other states with 2564 tickets sold, netting $141,020.
The couple have told the District Court in Brisbane that they blame their former lawyers for losses stemming from the competition because they allege Anisimoff Legal gave negligent advice on how to set up the lottery in Queensland.
The couple state in court documents that they have "taken steps to change their names and their children's names to avoid being identified" after The Courier-Mail reported on action by the state's gambling regulator to shut the competition in this state.
They also claim that they chose to leave their home at the Yapper Valley resort and move their family three hours drive away into a rental home in November last year, two months after it became known that their lottery had failed to award its major prize, because Ms Giumelli alleges she "became known amongst people in the community as the mum who conducted the 'pet resort scam'".
They claim they received bad legal advice which left them anxious and substantially disappointed.
Details of the couple's claims were revealed in their claim against St Leonards, NSW-based Anisimoff Legal, which was filed in court in Brisbane last week.
The couple said they were inspired by a couple who successfully raffled off their cafe on Victoria's Phillip Island in 2018, their claim states.
The lottery was the first of its kind in Queensland.
Mr and Mrs Giumelli had hoped that by using the promotion to sell off their 45ha pet resort in a competition they could sell their "house, land and business" by selling 40,000 tickets for $55 each and make a profit of up to $680,000 minus the substantial costs of the lottery, the claim states.
But instead in June last year, two months after the competition began, the state's Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation sent Ms Giumelli a letter telling her to stop promoting the competition because Ms Giumelli's company was breaking the non-profit gambling laws because it "was obtaining a personal gain from the competition" and was not promoting the pet resort.
In their lawsuit the Giumelli's allege that Anisimoff's "defective" legal advice caused Ms Giumelli to break the state's non-profit gambling laws.
The couple are seeking $748,650 in damages including $285,000 in damages for Ms Giumelli's "loss of reputation" and $388,651 for loss of "goodwill, income and profit" at their pet resort.
Anisimoff Legal has not yet filed a defence to the claim which was filed in court last week.
Originally published as Lawyers gave me bad lottery advice, mum claims