🔺 Atilis Gym created buzz defying NJ COVID closures

🔺 Municipal charges have been dismissed, lawyer says

🔺 State sanctions remain separate, state says

Four years and six figures in fines after COVID, the New Jersey gym owners who battled state pandemic shutdowns have declared a legal victory.

Ian Smith rose to conservative fame as co-owner of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, alongside Frank Trumbetti, following their defiance of state restrictions in spring 2020.

“Dumb NJ meathead who didn't close his gym,” is the opening line of Smith's bio on X, formerly Twitter.

Ian Smith via X, Atilis Gym via Google Maps
(Ian Smith via X, Atilis Gym via Google Maps)

On May 18, Smith posted to X that “80+ municipal citations of violations of a governor's order, public nuisance, disturbing the peace, and operating without a license against us have been dropped by the courts WITH prejudice.”

John McCann, one of the attorneys that represent Smith and Trumbetti, confirmed those dismissals to NJ.com.

In the same NJ.com report, McCann said with municipal charges dismissed, he would pursue trying to recoup state fines that were paid.

Contempt sanctions and attorney fees stemming from enforcement actions by the state Department of Health had remained separate from municipal charges and fines, a spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General said to New Jersey 101.5 on Wednesday — adding the state was not involved in the citations issued by municipal authorities.

Ian Smith Atilis Gym video fines
(Ian Smith via Instagram)

$174K in paid sanctions, possibly more

Last year, the same legal team lost an appeal to overturn court-ordered sanctions of about $124,000 against Atilis Gym — for non-compliance with COVID restrictions.

Read More: NJ prosecutors watching Atilis Gym's videos to add up fines

Smith previously said in 2021 that the governor had seized what he calls “all of the gym’s assets” from donations and apparel sales - in the amount of $165,000.

At the time, a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General said that was inaccurate, while also saying the state did intend to collect on the amounts granted by a judge.

As of Wednesday, the Atilis gym owners had paid $174,457 to the state Department of Health, an OAG spokesperson said to NJ 101.5, while still owing another $83,987.

In any event, the gym did raise over half a million dollars online, in GoFundMe donations over the first year of court battles, to use for "court relief" and other bills.

From the first COVID-19 death in New Jersey confirmed in March 2020 through the end of the year, 16,495 deaths were directly due to COVID, state officials said.

Between March and August 2020, as the state forced some small businesses that included gyms to remain closed, Atilis did its own temperature checks at the door, in addition to running a UV air scrubber and handing out personal bottles of disinfectant for equipment, Smith previously said to New Jersey 101.5.

Read More: As NJ gyms reopen, 'We're still screwed' Atilis co-owner says

The gym lost its business license in August 2020 after a vote by the Bellmawr Borough Council, which Atilis then sued the borough over.

By the time the state allowed gyms to reopen with restrictions in September 2020, masks had become a major point of backlash among those weary of COVID lockdowns.

“This victory opens the battlefield again and gives us options to continue to push back and bring justice to the treasonous actions of Phil Murphy and his lackies,” Smith said in his May 18 post on X.

Ian Smith announces his candidacy for Congress
Ian Smith announces his candidacy for Congress (Ian Smith for Congress)

Moving on

Smith, who did time in prison for killing a 19-year-old man in a drunk driving crash in 2007, faced new charges of DWI in 2022, as he was running in a Republican primary for U.S. Congress.

SEE ALSO: Ian Smith leaves NJ GOP for Libertarian Party

One failed campaign later, Smith not only left the Republican party, but also appears to have moved from NJ.

His relocation to Florida is based on numerous Instagram posts, including a recent video in which he said he lives there.

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