Angler Sues Fishing Tournament for $200,000 Winnings After Claiming He Was Too Drunk for Lie Detector Test

by Taylor Cunningham
Property released

An angler who was denied his winnings for a fishing tournament after failing a lie detector test has filed a lawsuit claiming he was too drunk to pass.

Edward Pollner, 58, says he rightfully won nearly $200,000 during the Tri-State Canyon Shootout on July 24. The four-day competition takes place annually just off of Block Island, Rhode Island.

According to the New York Post, he hired a Montauk resident named Rudolf Bonicelli to captain his 46-foot boat ahead of the competition. And by the last day, the duo handed over a 195.6-pound bigeye tuna. The catch put them in fourth place the for heaviest tuna division. And that meant they earned $199,880 in Calcutta bets handled by Tri-State tournament officials.

To take home the money, both Pollner and Bonicelli had to validate their achievement by passing a lie detector test. And they failed.

The Angler Claims He Had a Week to Sit for a Lie Detector

The team is now saying that they had gotten drunk while celebrating the feat. And they were still drunk when the Tri-State officials administer the test. So the results are invalid.

Court documents say that Pollner believes it was unfair for officials to make competitors sit for the test so soon after they return from sea. While it is commonplace for major fishing tournaments to administer lie detector tests to ensure anglers follow rules, anglers typically have up to one week to sit for them.

But despite the time allowance, organizers Kerry and Kyle Douton reportedly told the angler and his captain that they had to take their tests immediately.

“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,” read the papers. “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.”

Fishing Tournament Officials Refused the Results of a Second Test

During the test, the examiner asked the exhausted and inebriated Bonicelli if he’d followed all of the rules. They also asked if he had witnessed his partner making any infractions. The results “indicated deception.”

The petitioners went on to pass another lie-detector test given by an examiner they’d hired. But the Tri-State Canyon Shootout rejected the attempt.

The New York Post reached out to Mr. Pollner’s lawyer, but they refused to comment. Counsel with the fishing tournament did not respond to the same request.