Judge rejects Atilis Gym owners’ suit to restore Bellmawr, NJ business license
BELLMAWR — It’s another courtroom defeat for the owners of Atilis Gym, who’ve gained national attention and a growing mountain of debt since openly defying state mandates on businesses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
More than a year after Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti sued to try and get their municipal business license reinstated, Camden County Superior Court Judge Deborah Silverman Katz dismissed their lawsuit on Dec. 9.
The duo are co-owners of Triple Threat Gym, known publicly as Atilis Gym, according to court documents.
The judge said that the Bellmawr Borough Council’s decision to revoke the gym’s mercantile license was not unreasonable or arbitrary, as it was based on the gym’s failure to comply with a trio of orders invoking public safety, over a several month span.
Those included the executive order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy on restricted businesses during the public health crisis, a Department of Health order and a previous judge’s order.
“While plaintiffs may disagree with the law and the resulting license revocation, subjective belief does not constitute an unfair outcome,” Silverman Katz wrote in her opinion.
“We are disappointed with the decision but not surprised,” John McCann, an attorney for Smith and Trumbetti, said in a written response to New Jersey 101.5.
He also said they are carefully reviewing the decision to determine if they will appeal.
'Any form of compliance is a loss. If it takes walking away from your job to secure your freedom, then so be it. It is worth it.'
License lost last year
The Bellmawr Borough Council voted in August 2020 to revoke the gym’s license.
“Bellmawr’s procedure in place did not require the governing body to make any findings of fact, only what they ‘believed’ were to be violations of law and the gym was unsafe,” a defense attorney for Smith and Trumbetti said in a court filing last month.
“Stop negotiating your freedom with terrorists dressed in suits who wear an American flag pin on their lapel. The issue is non-negotiable,” Smith tweeted on Dec. 6.
He did not personally address the gym's most recent legal setback, either on Twitter or his most recent Instagram account.