In less than 2 months we will enter our 3rd year of the C-19 fiasco.
8 weeks after the initial shutdown orders, Atilis Gym Bellmawr reopened its doors to resume its service to our community and members. We made that decision confidently, for many reasons, but above all was to fight to protect the rights of Americans to not be subject to oppressive government measures. We did so because we felt it was in the best interest of our community to do so.
Most of you are familiar with what happened next:
- Over 80 municipal citations including “violation of a governor’s orders”, “operating without a business license”, and more.
- Members of the gym received citations, one arrested.
- 9 criminal charges for contempt of court and public nuisance.
- Locks changed on our building.
- Frank and Ian arrested.
- Doors boarded up.
- Business license revoked.
- Fined $15,497.76 per day for every day we were in operation, and for every day we operated without a mask mandate. Fines get allocated as the state sees fit, we receive legal notice and are totally removed from the process with no remedy.
- $173,000 taken from our business bank account
- LLC pierced so that Frank and Ian are held personally liable for all other fines.
All that and we are still open for business every single day.
All of this stemmed from our decision to reopen and stay open.
To date we have had 341,278 visits to our facility with no outbreaks linked to Atilis Gym Bellmawr.
So where are we now?
We are fighting 4 legal battles to ensure that this never happens to us, or any business, ever again. Here is the short version:
- Criminal Court – State of NJ v. Frank Trumbetti, Ian Smith
- In July 2020 Governor Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal filed 7 criminal charges against Frank and Ian for “Criminal Contempt of Court”.
- These charges are in Camden County in front of Judge Blue.
- These charges are limited to the scope of Frank and Ian violating a court order issued by Judge Robert Lougy to stay closed.
- We believe that order was unconstitutional and chose to ignore it.
- The question in court is “did we violate that order” and nothing else.
- It is clear we did. And we would do it again.
- Instead of wasting time and energy fighting a legal battle that is unlikely we would win, we entered a guilty plea to one of the criminal contempt of court charges – admitting that we took the doors off of the hinges to prevent the state from changing our locks for the second time and keeping us out of operation.
- This plea is called an “open plea” as we did not reach any agreement with the prosecution – the sentencing is entirely up to the judge with a maximum fine possible of $10,000 each and a maximum jail sentence of 18 months.
- Currently, we are set to be sentenced to these charges on Jan 27th, 2022.
- State Court – Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli v. Atilis Gym Bellmawr, Frank Trumbetti, Ian Smith
- The bulk of the punishment we have endured from the state stems from this case.
- Upon reopening, we were accused of violating Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order. Because of this we began to receive numerous municipal citations.
- On day 3 of reopening we received a demand from the Health Department to shutdown. With an absence of due process, we continued to reopen our business a day later.
- The charges, executive order, and health department shutdown were taken to Judge Robert Lougy and without anyone ever stepping foot inside our facility he issued a court order to have the locks on our doors to be changed.
- The court order was the justification for all punishment.
- Fines, criminal charges, locking of our doors, arrests, asset seizures.
- Finally, on July 24th, 2020 we found guilty of contempt of court and arrested on July 27th, 2020 at 6:00am.
- Our doors were subsequently boarded up, since they had been removed at that time,
- We are currently in the appeals process – appealing all of this on the grounds with our motion being filed
- State Court – Atilis Gym Bellmawr v. Boro of Bellmawr
- Atilis Gym Bellmawr sued the Boro of Belllmawr for the illegal taking of our business license. Our arguments are based on the substantive lack of due process, 5th amendment rights being violated during the hearing to revoke our license.
- Failure to swear in witnesses.
- No opportunity for Frank and Ian to be heard.
- Discovery was not given with ample time to prepare.
- Standards of the Revocation Ordinance were not followed.
- Oral arguments were heard by Judge Silverman Katz.
- Judge upheld the taking of our license and ruled in favor of the Boro of Bellmawr.
- Judge found that there was no violation of due process.
- Judge said we had broken the law.
- An appeal is currently being prepared and will be filed in the next week.
- Municipal Court – Boro of Bellmawr v. Frank Trumbetti, Ian Smith
- This is where all of the issues stem from – if we secure a victory in this court, everything falls apart.
- Was postponed time after time with C19 as an excuse.
- Due to conflicting interests with lawsuit against township, these matters have been sent to the residing Judge Carol Fabietti of Camden County.
- Most reasonable public official we have encountered.
- All arguments will be heard – in other courts we have not been allowed to bring constitutional arguments.
- We are currently awaiting a court dates.
We thank you all for the continued support through attendance at the gym, merchandise sales, donations, sharing our story and updates, and constantly giving us the encouragement to continue this path forward.
More updates to comes. Please share this post and sign up for our text and email lists.
- Frank and Ian