Atilis Gym says NJ ’emptied out every single dollar that we have’ from bank account amid COVID-19 lockdown battle with state
By Dave Urbanski | TheBlaze.com
But state said it ‘has not seized their bank account funds’; rather they ‘apparently … were frozen as a result of a bank levy’
The co-owner of lockdown-defying Atilis Gym said the state of New Jersey “emptied out every single dollar that we have” from gym’s bank account amid a legal battle with the state over fines for breaking coronavirus-related rules for businesses.
What are the details?
Ian Smith appeared Thursday on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and told the host that he and business partner Frank Trumbetti checked their bank statement Wednesday morning “and we had no money in our bank account. The state emptied out every single dollar that we have.”
Smith on Wednesday tweeted that far-left New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) “and his cronies seized 100%” of the Bellmawr gym’s “legal defense money” to the tune of $173,613.60. Smith added, “If you think that’s gonna make us stand down, you’re delusional.” In a video tweet Thursday, Smith cited an amount of $165,000. The gym on Friday didn’t immediately respond to TheBlaze’s request for clarification on the dollar amount.
“This is in the middle of an appeals process and ongoing litigation in the matter of the fines and several other matters regarding the state, including a lawsuit against Governor Murphy and [State Health Commissioner] Judith Persichilli,” Smith told Carlson, adding that “this is an interference with our right to counsel.”
He added to the host that the money didn’t come from memberships since Atilis hasn’t charged members since April 1, 2020; rather it came from donations and T-shirt sales, which the owners used “to pay our bills and fight our legal battles.”
Smith noted that the money seizure is a “blatant violation of our constitutional rights and our ability to defend ourselves in the court of law.”
What did the state have to say?
A spokesman for the New Jersey attorney general’s office told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that the information Smith shared “is not accurate” and that “the state has not seized their bank account funds.”
Instead, the spokesman said “the state has obtained judgments against the owners, and intends to collect on them. The total due and owing as a result of court-entered judgments to date is $134,463.08.”
“Apparently the funds you reference were frozen as a result of a bank levy having been issued due to the state’s collection efforts, which is part of the enforcement of a judicial order,” the state is quoted to have said to “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
When Carlson asked Smith what he and Trumbetti will do now that there’s no money in their bank account, Smith said they will switch to a cash system.
“We will continue to fight this no matter what,” he added to the host.
Carlson noted how ironic it is that the gym owners are “being punished for trying to keep people healthy and trim in the middle of a pandemic that kills people who are overweight and out of shape.”
“You are doing more than [Gov. Murphy] has to save people’s lives,” the host added, “and, of course, you are being destroyed for it.”
Smith in his Thursday video tweet said the state also is leveling a $15,497.76 daily fine for each day the gym stays open.
Atilis Gym has gained national attention amid its battle with New Jersey bureaucrats.
Smith and Trumbetti have been issued numerous citations, have had their business forcibly closed and boarded by the state, and even have been arrested.