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From Monte Carlo to Mexico. OTTAWA CITIZEN Imprimir

15 Nov 2011 Ottawa Citizen
TONY LOFARO 

Stittsville resident Bill Brownlee wins $1.86M, Casino du Lac Leamy’s biggest jackpot ever
Bill Brownlee is scheduled to be on a plane to Mexico on Tuesday, three days after winning a huge jackpot at the Casino du Lac Leamy in Gatineau.

CASINO DU LAC LEAMY PHOTO Bill Brownlee wagered only $15 on each of three occasions before cashing in big on Saturday night.
 
The Stittsville man won $1.86 million on a slot machine, the biggest jackpot in casino history, a casino spokeswoman said. He played the maximum $15 bet on a $5 slot machine and it paid off big time.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Brownlee said at his Stittsville home on Monday night. He is booked on a flight to Mexico this morning with his family after collecting the windfall and posing with an oversized cheque and casino staff members.

He said he played the Monte Carlo slot machine three consecutive times — at $15 a pop — and was lucky on the third spin.

“It was the first time I’ve been there (casino) in five months and I walk over and I win it,” said Brownlee, who said he planned to go to his sister’s home for dinner on Monday evening before finalizing preparations for his Mexican vacation.

“I was shocked, I still can’t believe it.”

Brownlee said he was surprised by all the commotion that ensued on the casino floor after he hit the jackpot.

Casino spokeswoman Catherine Schllenberg said people near Brownlee became excited. “People were going up to him and congratulating him. It all happened very quickly,” she said, adding that the lights on the machine began flashing and bells started ringing.

The last big payout at a slot machine at the Casino du Lac Leamy was in 1999, when someone won $825,000, Schellenberg said.

Brownlee, who went to the casino by himself, said he liked to go there sometimes just to “people watch” and to observe the action on the casino floor.

Brownlee’s win has an ironic twist.
“I guess you know who my son is,” Brownlee said in his brief interview with the Citizen.

Brownlee’s son, Matthew, was convicted of causing a car crash on Jan. 21, 1996, that killed a mother and her 12-year-old son. He pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal negligence causing death. Matthew, with more than three times the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream, got in a car and, while racing another car on Greenbank Road, crossed the centre line and slammed into a vehicle carrying five members of a Barrhaven family.

Brian Lebreton-holmes, 12, died at the scene, and his mother, Linda Lebreton-holmes, 35, died in hospital the next night. Linda was the daughter of Senator Marjory Lebreton, and Brian was her grandson.

Matt Brownlee, now 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal negligence causing death and was sentenced in July 1997 to six years in jail. An additional year for breaching his bail conditions was added.

Matt Brownlee, who had an atrocious driving record, was also seriously injured in the collision and spent 21 days in a drug-induced coma. He has permanent brain damage.

Soon after his father posted the bail money and signed on as overseer of his son’s release conditions, Matt Brownlee began going out at night and visiting what was then called the Casino de Hull. Surveillance videos taken by casino security staff were shown in court in April 2000 court hearing to determine what would be done about the $50,000 bail the father had put up in 1996.
In one casino video from Jan. 27, 1997, Matt Brownlee is seen knocking over a chair in the casino bar after he is refused alcohol. He then staggers about until security staff ask him to leave. Eventually, his father appears and the cameras follow Matt outside, where he slams his father’s truck before getting in and being driven away.

Another video from about a month later shows a staggering Matt Brownlee slapping blackjack tables over lost bets and being asked to leave. And a month and a half after that, another a short video shows him downing the better part of a large drink in the casino bar.

There was no evidence Bill Brownlee ever drank with his son or accompanied him to the casino, according to news reports on the April 2000 court hearing.

He was also arrested in 2005 and charged with a number of offences, including impaired operation of a motor vehicle, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

On Monday evening, Bill Brownlee was reluctant to talk about his son’s criminal record.

However, in a previous interview with a Citizen reporter in 2005 charges, Brownlee said his son had shown no understanding of the consequences of his behaviour. His said then that his family tried to get Matt off the streets and into a treatment program or admitted to the Royal Ottawa Hospital so he would not harm anyone else. He said he wanted people to know that his family tried to “address” the situation with his son, but that their efforts had been in vain.

 


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