Ocean City Today
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Appeal filed in 2016 White Marlin Open case

Angler forfeited record $2.8 million purse
By Brian Gilliland | Aug 02, 2017
Photo by: File photo

(Aug. 2, 2017) Well ahead of the 30-day window to do so, and on the eve of this year’s tournament, Philip Heasley filed his intent to appeal U.S. District Court Judge Richard Bennett’s decision to strip him of the 2016 tournament’s prize money, and divide it amongst other anglers.

“We feel confident that Judge Bennett’s decision will be upheld,” said Jim Motsko, tournament founder.

Heasley was initially declared the winner by catching the only qualifying white marlin during the 2016 tournament. His 76.5-pound catch was worth a record-breaking $2.8 million.

“We filed today’s appeal because the district court ruling last month was fundamentally wrong. It became clear that the judge based much of his ruling on a deeply flawed assumption, and discarded facts, evidence and eyewitness testimony that contradicted it,” Heasley said in a press release. “The Kallianassa crew and I caught the tournament’s only qualifying white marlin fairly, legally and without violating any tournament rules.”

The appeal will focus on disputing two of the court’s decisions, according to a release issued by Harry-Jacques Pierre, associate vice president of Rasky Partners, a Boston and Washington D.C.-based public relations and lobbying firm.

Heasley disputes the court’s finding that the Kallianassa had her lines in the water prior to the 8:30 a.m. official start time, and the validity of polygraph tests as admissible evidence.

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