In a monumental victory against tyranny, Ian Smith, co-owner of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, announced a court dropped all 80+ charges against the gym with prejudice. 

The lengthy legal battle stems from the gym owners refusing to close the facility during the height of COVID lockdowns in 2020.

Atilis Gym made national headlines in May 2020 when it defied Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy’s authoritative stay-at-home order.

Per ABC News:

A New Jersey gym that became a rallying point of resistance against Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home order was closed overnight by the state health department.

The Atilis Gym in Bellmawr gained national attention after reopening this week, and its owners had vowed to stay open despite local police handing them $2,000 citations on two consecutive days for violating Murphy’s executive order meant to blunt the spread of the pandemic.

A red embargo sign from the Camden County Division of Environmental health was slapped on the front door of Atilis Gym in the middle of the night along with a notice from the state Department of Health that the facility would be shuttered until further notice.

The state does not believe Atilis Gym or any business can “set their own divergent health measures, done without approval of the State and its health officials,” the four-page notice reads.

Atilis Gym refused to close and racked up more than $1.2 million in fines.

Smith’s prior message to Gov. Murphy was clear.

From the New York Post in December 2020:

Smith sent a clear message to Murphy and other state officials in a video shared by TMZ in which he vowed to stay open — filmed without a mask in the middle of his packed gym.

“Gov. Murphy will see this video and fine us $15k for it,” reads one of a series of flashcards a smiling Smith holds up in the video.

“But … free men don’t ask permission. Or for forgiveness,” it continues.

“F–k you, Murphy,” a male voice then says loudly in the video after Smith walks off camera.

Smith told Fox that the governor has “thrown everything he possibly could to shut us down.”

“He has arrested my partner and I, given us over 60 citations, some of them criminal. He fines us $15,497.76 per day for every day we’re in operation,” he said.

“Our fines are totaling over $1.2 million, but every single day, Frank and I open our gym,” he said.

He called the damage being caused to a small business “a complete tragedy.”

“I would go so far as to call it criminal,” he said.

“You are putting people out of business for good. You are making them reliant on big government. You are taking away their civil liberties under the guise of pretending like you care about public health.”

The Bellmawr Borough Council also voted to rescind the license of the gym in 2020.

In 2021, Smith said Gov. Murphy seized 100% the gym’s assets ($165,000).

Per Instagram:

Governor Phil Murphy seized 100% of our assets today – $165k, all of which came from donations and apparel sales. This is done in the middle of ongoing litigation defending ourselves against these fines, our 80 charges, the revocation of our business license, and the unconstitutional health department shutdown.⁣

This was never about protection, it was always about control. ⁣

In March 2023, a state appeals court ruled the gym owners had to pay roughly $124,000 in fines.

Patch reported:

Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti, who owned Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, appealed the $123,982 that stemmed from violating the state’s shutdown orders in 2020. But the three-judge panel ruled against Atilis Gym, finding the business’s arguments had “no substantive merit,” according to a court opinion issued Wednesday.

Smith and Trumbetti gained national notoriety when they chose not to follow a mandate from Gov. Phil Murphy that ordered the closure of all gyms and many other institutions in the first six months of the pandemic. In July 2020, the pair were arrested for defying the pandemic orders. One week later, they kicked in a plywood barricade to reopen the gym.

The state followed by asking the courts to fine them $15,000 per day that they violated the executive orders. The appeals court panel ruled Wednesday that the gym was bound to the public-health-emergency orders and must pay the fines.

Fast forward to 2024 and “ALL OF THE 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,” Smith announced.

From Ian Smith:


4 years ago today, we reopened Atilis Gym in direct violation of an unconstitutional order by Governor Philip Murphy to close small businesses in New Jersey.

The support we received locally, nationally, and internationally for our stand is something I will be forever grateful for.

With that being said, I am thrilled to announce that we have achieved a major victory in the long, hard fight against the State.

ALL OF THE 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. This means the State has NO ability to revist or refile these charges.

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.

Again, thank you to all who supported us. We could not have done it without you.

Special thanks to our fearless attorneys – John McCann and Giancarlo Ghione. Some of the most high profile attorneys around the country ran from our case – knowing it would be a long, hard road and would make them a target of the stare. These two gentlemen stood with us through the darkest days of the storm, have not flinched, and never once cared about being in front of cameras to gain notoriety from their work.

More updates later.

Nobody is coming to save you, save yourself. Spit on your hands and hoist the black flag. No quarter.🏴

Suck my d*** Phil Murphy.

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