New Jersey wants to fine gym owners $10K a day, jail time for defying executive order shutting down businesses


Bellmarw, New Jersey – We at Law Enforcement Today have been keeping up with an ongoing display of civil disobedience by two gym owners in New Jersey that refuse to keep their doors closed during the pandemic.

Now, the state Attorney General’s office is suggesting these gym owners be fined up to $10,000 a day and possible jail time if these two keep up their act of contempt against state executive orders.

Gym owners Frank Trumbetti and Ian Smith are the men behind Atilis Gym, which they’ve been pushing back against the COVID business shutdowns that have occurred due to Governor Phil Murphy forcing certain classifications of businesses to remain closed during the pandemic.

The recommendation by the AG’s office was delivered on August 3rd, which came two days after Trumbetti and Smith kicked in the plywood barricade that was erected on the front doors of Atilis Gym and reopened once again for their customers.

This clashing between the executive orders and the gym owners has been going on for weeks now, which the duo have seen themselves cited for contempt time and again.

When Trumbetti and Smith found themselves in handcuffs in late July for remaining open in defiance of the executive order, they were both charged with one count of fourth-degree contempt, one count of obstruction, and one count of violating the Disaster Control Act.

In a letter sent to the courts from the AG’s office after the two reopening Atilis Gym again on August 1st, the following was mentioned:

“Atilis Gym’s brazen conduct is abhorrent to an organized judicial system, jeopardizes the public health and the safety of New Jerseyans, and must not be tolerated. It is clear that additional sanctions and relief are necessary to coerce Atilis Gym’s compliance with the court’s order.”

If that weren’t enough, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office even filed a disorderly persons complaint against Trumbetti and Smith – for them removing the plywood on their business.

The rationale of the AG’s office asking for a daily $10,000 fine against the two is that they’d taken notice of a GoFundMe which has now amassed nearly $170,000. Since that money is available to Trumbetti and Smith, state officials said that a $10,000 daily fine wouldn’t be out of theirs means to pay.

There was a scheduled appearance for Trumbetti and Smith to appear before borough officials on August 4th to determine whether their business license would be revoked, but there’s currently no information available on that outcome yet.

Here’s Law Enforcement Today’s original story on when the two gym owners were arrested in July.

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Two gym owners in New Jersey who decided not to abide by state Governor Phil Murphy’s order related to COVID-19 found themselves arrested for keeping their gym doors open.

Despite the two getting arrested, one witness to the arrest wanted to make sure that people knew the officers “were polite & respectful.”

According to police, 33-year-old Ian Smith and 51-year-old Frank Trumbetti were both charged with one count of fourth-degree contempt, obstruction, and violation of disaster control act. The terrible act that led to these charges?

Keeping a gym open.

Officials stated that between July 24th and the 27th, a myriad of people were spotted making their way into Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, likely in an effort to get their workouts in.

But that was a big no-no in the era of COVID and also the governor’s order to close up those pesky “non-essential” businesses.

A friend of the gym owners, BJ Dowlen, was presently at the gym when police arrived to arrest the two owners:

“Well, this was a first. I stayed the night in the gym writing, my book clients Ian & Frank were just waking up, I’m gathering my computer & notebooks, just waiting for the guys to come out for a few final questions, and then a SWARM of Camden County Sheriffs & local Bellmawr police (with K-9 units waiting in a vehicle) come bursting thru the door…to me, sitting there, writing, by myself.”

Dowlen’s noting of the event on Facebook also detailed that police were “respectful” while having to take the gym owners into custody over the violation of Governor Murphy’s order:

“First & foremost, the law enforcement officers were polite & respectful. Look for my video footage on national channels. And tonight/this morning, I am writing this new book chapter right now!!!”

Both Trumbetti and Smith were transported over to the Bellmawr Police Department, where they were processed, charged and subsequently released. The charges levied are among disorderly conduct/persons charges and may result in minimal consequences if convicted. 


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