A borough council in New Jersey voted to revoke the business license of a gym that defied officials’ demands and continued to operate throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bellmawr council voted 5-1 on Tuesday to rescind Atilis Gym’s mercantile license, according to NJ.com.
The council members argued that the gym’s owners, Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti, had been given ample warning to shut down their business and obey the city’s coronavirus restrictions.
The city issued at least nine citations and even boarded up the building at one point to prevent Smith and Trumbetti from accessing the gym.
“If you believe this business is unsafe to your residents of Bellmawr and you believe that laws have been violated, you have the right … to revoke this license,” Howard Long, the borough’s attorney, told the council.
Smith, however, argued that the council’s decision had been made before the vote began.
“Anybody who didn’t already have their minds made up would have made the right choice,” he said.
And given the pressure the state government has been putting on Bellmawr to crack down on Atilis Gym, Smith is probably right.
Just a few weeks ago, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office declared that Atilis Gym is a threat to “an organized judicial system,” and to the “public health and the safety of New Jerseyans.”
The city’s attempts to prevent Smith and Trumbetti from making a living are “something out of Orwell,” said John McCann, Smith’s attorney.
When the city boarded up the gym, for example, Smith and Trumbetti were then arrested for taking the boards down.
“The bottom line is we are fighting for our constitutional rights,” Trumbetti said. “We all have the right to make a living. We all have the right to actually do what we want to do as Americans. We are promised liberty. And they have actually put such oppressive restrictions on us that it’s just unacceptable to us.”