Fishermen plead not guilty to cheating during Lake Erie walleye tournament

19 News
19 News
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:26 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The two anglers who allegedly stuffed lead weights into fish during a Lake Erie tournament faced a Cuyahoga County judge on Wednesday.

Court records show that 42-year-old Jacob Runyan and 35-year-old Chase Cominsky were recently indicted on charges that include, cheating, attempted grand theft, and unlawful ownership of wild animals.

Both Runyan and Cominsky pleaded not guilty during Wednesday’s arraignment.

According to investigators and tournament officials, the two men stuffed varying-sized weights and several filets into other walleye, but they were caught after the Lake Erie Walleye Trail director sliced open the fish.

If Runyan and Cominsky won the tournament, they would have received a total prize of over $28,000.

19 News caught Cominsky walking out of the courtroom. But it’s safe to say he was tightlipped about the accusations

Runyan was just as quiet about the scandal.

However, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said this is a very serious matter.

“All of those fishermen involved in that tournament had put up their hard-earned dollars and they expected a fair and level playing field and with the conduct of these individuals there wasn’t a fair playing field” said O’Malley

Bond for both men was set at $2,500. They are expected to appear in court again on Nov. 9.