Robert Fishbein, former CEO of I & K Distributing in Delphos, enters the courtroom Thursday morning in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas. Fishbein was arraigned on eight fifth-degree felony counts of violating a civil protective order, to which he pleaded not guilty. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
Robert Fishbein, former CEO of I & K Distributing in Delphos, enters the courtroom Thursday morning in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas. Fishbein was arraigned on eight fifth-degree felony counts of violating a civil protective order, to which he pleaded not guilty. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — In the end it apparently was not such a good idea after all. At his arraignment hearing on Wednesday, Robert Fishbein, 50, had requested that he act as his own attorney for his case. Fishbein, the former CEO of I & K Distributing, formerly of Delphos, reconsidered when his case reconvened Thursday morning.

Fishbein explained, “Your honor, I had just seen the indictment ten minutes prior to coming in here. I was just kind of taking it all in, and I was thinking about various types of things I wanted to do, but after further consideration, it would probably be in my best interest to take on counsel.”

Judge Charles D. Steele agreed and appointed Ryan Warnecke to serve as Fishbein’s defense attorney. Fishbein pleaded not guilty to the eight fifth-degree felony counts of violating a civil protective order. A pretrial hearing in his case has been scheduled for May 14.

Fishbein has been held in prison in Lancaster, Ohio on a three-year sentence for intimidation of a witness and telephone harassment of a female former employee back in 2012. He told the court Thursday, that he is due to be released this fall. The release date could be pushed back in Fishbein is found guilty of any of the eight counts against him.



Three years ago, Fishbein was charged with 21 felony and two misdemeanor counts of telecommunications harassment, stemming from making 300-400 telephone calls to a then-22-year-old female former employee, with some of those calls being threatening in nature. At one point, Fishbein was released on bond with the stipulation that he was not allowed to use the telephone unless another person placed the call and monitored the conversation. Minutes after those conditions were explained to his, Fishbein was observed by court officials in the lobby outside the courtroom talking on a cell phone. His bond was then revoked and he was held in jail until he was sentenced.