updated 9/16/2009 7:17:49 PM ET 2009-09-16T23:17:49

A woman who worked catering events for the University of Notre Dame said it was her lucky day when the school tipped her $29,000 in her check. But now the university is suing to get back the money she said she's already spent.

Sara Gaspar said in court documents filed this week that she "thought finally something wonderful had happened" in her life when the school paid her a $29,387 tip on April 17. She said in court documents that she called the school's catering department three times about the payment, but didn't hear back until she received a threatening call from the school in June.

Gaspar said by that point, she had spent the money on a new car and bills.

Notre Dame contends Gaspar should have been paid only $29.87, but was overpaid because of a typing error. The school says in a lawsuit filed Aug. 27 in South Bend that Gaspar did not notify the school about the error, and instead spent the money knowing it wasn't hers.

Notre Dame said it discovered the mistake in May and requested repayment, but Gaspar refused. The lawsuit accuses her of unjust enrichment, fraud and conversion.

'A mistake'
Gaspar, who no longer works for the school, says she suffers from depression and is frightened by the prospect of taking on a "power" like Notre Dame.

"If this was a mistake it was their mistake," Gaspar said in court documents. "Now I am paying for their mistake."

Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown declined to comment on the lawsuit.

There was no contact number listed for Gaspar in any of the court documents, and she did not respond to the lawsuit through an attorney. A phone message left at the only number listed in the Granger area under the name Gaspar was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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