You could say it's the "Battle of Bellmawr," and the latest shot has been fired by the Borough council.

According to, the Bellmawr Borough Council voted 5-1 to rescind the Atilis Gym's business license after it repeatedly refused to close their gym due COVID-19 restrictions put in place, defying both Gov. Phil Murphy's executive orders and direct order from a court.

Ian Smith, who owns the gym with Frank Trumbetti and was in the chamber, came on my show after the news broke and talked to me about it.

I told Ian that I simply couldn't believe that this happened.

"I can," Smith replied.

What the hell is going on down in Bellmawr?

"Murphy is exercising his will by putting pressure on the Democratic town council down here," Smith said. "So, it's a move that we expected and I can't say that I'm surprised. Disgusted, but not surprised."

What was Ian expecting going in? Was he ready for this?

"Absolutely. They put forth not a single shred of evidence that proves that our gym is any risk to the public. All they did was show a bunch of arrests that they charged us with that still hasn't been resolved," he said. "They showed us the Health Department violation which, if everyone remembers, nobody ever stepped foot inside of our building. And then they showed us the court order and that was sufficient enough for them."

The state Attorney General last week asked a judge to approve fines of at least $10,000 per day and possible imprisonment. How far are are the owners willing to take this battle?

"Now it's $15,000 a day," Ian said. We're willing to take this to the end and whatever that end is, we will go there."

There's no reason why the gyms can't be open in New Jersey. Working out build our immune system and improves our mental health which we need now more than ever. The only reason they are closed, I believe, is like Ian says: "It's personal."

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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