UPDATED , 2:40 p.m.–After reading WON Bass Director Bill Egan’s post this morning on westernbass.com, I must say, I didn’t see “Disorderly Conduct” as an anticipated charge in the court proceedings surrounding the Mike Hart/U.S. Open case.

I’m sure Nancy Grace would have figured on the “attempted fraud” charge since the defendant left the state before receiving any ill-gotten prize money. But there must be something in the wording of the Nevada law (burning rubber in the parking lot or speaking harshly to NDOW staff?) that got disorderly conduct on the docs.

It just points up how iffy a situation like this can be. Just think, if the State’s proscecutors had not been able to get enough ammunition from the WON staffers and other witnesses involved and the case were somehow thrown out or worse, a “not guilty” verdict had been reached–where might we be now?

Sure, the California TD’s would block his entrance into local tournaments, but you could see how the right (or is that the wrong) attorney might then say: “Hold it. You’re violating my client’s rights: the court said he is not guilty of any charges.”

Of course, that didn’t happen. [Indeed the official WON story (click here) states that Hart will serve no jail time, and in fact, his “only” penalty was a $1000 fine, something anticipated on this site.

And yet, I’ve already sensed a softening of resolve from the crowd that was holding “the rope” a couple of summers back. I’ve even heard the sentiment: “Guys are tired of this Hart thing,” as time seems to be erasing the bad memories.

So what do you think? Is it time to move on? Or should we be concerned the risk/reward factor for cheaters has not been diminished?


8 Responses to “Nancy Grace probably didn’t see that coming…”

Its time to move on.


Pat McDonell reported that the two convictions were for petty larceny, as opposed to grand larceny (which means a major theft) and disorderly conduct. So basically the crime was reduced from grand larceny to petty larceny, for the various reasons you and others have mentioned.

Mike will never be able to fish another tournament and that is punishment enough.

He will have to live with this disgrace the rest of his life. That’s harsh punishment. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to look any of my friends in the face ever again. It’s very sad.

I hope the plea agreement discourages those who have a desire to defraud others at tournaments. Unfortunately we do read about tournament cheaters across the country from time to time, at all levels of tournament fishing. Some people are willing to break the rules to earn an extra dollar at some one else’s expense. I just hope those who try to cheat, continue getting caught.

Hart took off across the parking lot adjacent to the weigh area when confronted and was later found sitting in his car — so he didn’t really flee the scene but I guess could be said to be disorderly. Also, the weights were rigged with single hooks (looked like Owners to me, but not the kind of endorsement they want) and not “small trebles” as was reported in the last couple WON stories.

While the news and shock value of Mike Hart’s tragic decision(s) to cheat is past, I can’t agree with Brian Linehan that it should ever stopped being discussed or kept in the minds of tournament directors, especially team tournament directors. Unfortunately in our culture there are many who believe the only thing you can do wrong when cheating is get caught.

That is the beautiful upside to the Hart story — the SOB got caught. As for what happens in a court of law, it’s interesting but has no bearing in the bass fishing community. In that small world it’s up to the tournament director and the rules — the real law that tournament fishermen live by — say the decision of the tournament director is final.

Sorry Brian, guess you guys look alike even in type.

No worries Rich, I’m used to it. By stating that it was time to move on, I’m just giving my opinion. It was an unforgiveable action by Mike that will haunt him and his family for the rest of their lives. Now that his legal case is closed, what more do you want from the guy? I’m guessing that a two page story on why he did it would garner alot of national attention. But who would benefit from this? Within any tabloid, controversy sells papers and attracts web hits. The fishing community will not forget Mike Hart or what happened. Again, just my opinion but I say we focus on the positive stories rather than this stuff. Rich, maybe inconsistencies like the few you mentioned had something to do with the district attorney going light on Mike.