The long saga of the New Jersey gym that defied governor Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 shutdown order has taken yet another turn, as a judge this week levied a substantial fine against the gym.
Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy fined Atilis Gym $125,000, as well as an additional $10,000 to cover the state’s legal costs, according to the Philadelphia CBS affiliate.
A GoFundMe legal defense set up by Atilis owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti has since raised in excess of $300,000.
The judge fined Atilis $25,00 for each day the gym was open between Aug. 1-14.
Smith and Trumbetti were ruled to be in contempt by Lougy at hearing last month.
“While I wish it had not come to this, I am grateful that the court recognized the need for compliance,” state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement issued after that hearing.
“The vast majority of businesses and residents are following these rules and doing their part to keep their friends and neighbors safe, and those few companies who flout our Executive Orders are once again on notice that we will hold them accountable.”
Smith and Trumbetti argued that they had implemented safety measures and implemented new protocols that would ensure social distancing. They argued that it was their constitutional right to remain open for business despite Murphy’s statewide executive order.
“We will not leave this building under any circumstances unless they take us out in handcuffs,” he said.
Smith and Trumbetti have since filed a federal lawsuit against the state of New Jersey.