Angler Sues Tourney for $200,000 Winnings

The angler and captain failed lie detector tests, but say the tests were invalid because they were too drunk, and now want their winnings for a giant bigeye tuna they weighed in.

Edward Pollner and giant bigeye tuna
Edward Pollner with his giant bigeye tuna. Courtesy Rudolph Bonicelli

It happened July 24 during the four-day Tri-State Canyon Shootout annual fishing tournament off Block Island, Rhode Island.

Edward Pollner, 58 of Miami, had hired Rudolf Bonicelli of Montauk to captain his 46-foot boat “Ragnar”. On the last tourney day, they weighed a huge 195.6-pound bigeye tuna. It was large enough to claim fourth place in the event for heaviest tuna and resulted in Pollner claiming $199,880 in Calcutta bets handled by Tri-State tournament officials.

But the angler and captain failed lie-detector tests administered by Tri-State officials.

Pollner and Bonicelli say they failed the tests because they were too drunk following celebrating their win, and the lie-detector tests were inaccurate and so invalid.

So, Pollner is suing Tri-State, alleging the polygraphs shouldn’t have been made so soon after they returned from fishing. They claim tournament rules allow up to a week for lie-detector tests to be made, which is more traditional for such competitions.

But tourney officials insisted the tests be made soon after the anglers returned with their fish, according to lawsuit papers, says the NY Post. The polygraph examiner claimed responses made by Pollner and Bonicelli during the tests “indicated deception,” according to the lawsuit.

The Post reports the lawsuit explains that Bonicelli and Pollner passed polygraph tests they paid for subsequent to the tournament testing. But Tri-State rejected those lie-detector results and refuses to pay the anglers $200,000 they say they are due for catching their hefty bigeye tuna.

“Both Mr. Pollner and Mr. Bonicelli had consumed alcohol provided by Tri-State at the post-tournament ceremony, and Mr. Bonicelli informed the polygraph examiner that he had not slept the night before,” Pollner said in lawsuit papers, the N.Y. Post reports. “Despite the fact that their alcohol consumption and Mr. Bonicelli’s fatigue made them unsuitable examinees under widely accepted polygraph standards, Tri-State proceeded with the polygraphs.”

Neither tourney officials nor Pollner have commented since legal proceedings have begun.

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